Frozen shower supply line - but all other lines ok

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Old 01-09-10, 10:44 AM
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Question Frozen shower supply line - but all other lines ok

Got ready to get in the show this morning and only a trickle of water was coming out. Damn, probably frozen supply line! All other plumbing in the house seems to work ok, so why this line? Other shower works fine, why this one?

Ive still got the water turned on, and letting what little water is flowing, to continue out, to see if it will eventually start flowing again. Also turned the heat up in the house.

Help?!
 
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Old 01-09-10, 11:08 AM
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Depending on where you are located (Your profile is no help) and if the shower controls are on an exterior wall, you could very well only have that unit frozen up. Could be difficult to remedy without wall surgery. Is your shower tile?
 
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Old 01-09-10, 11:33 AM
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Well, after a bit, the water started flowing again. I opened the shower door with the idea of letting more air into the shower area to possibly heat up the shower wall. Yes, the shower is tiled. I think from now on when it gets cold like it is here (north texas), I will run this shower for a few minutes at night before going to bed regardless if i take a shower that night or not. might need to have a plumber come out as well to tear into the wall to insulate the supply line. My guess is its not presently insulated.
 
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Old 01-09-10, 12:46 PM
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Are you on a slab, or crawl/basement where you have access to the plumbing from below? Where a house rests on the foundation it often leaks cold air, and the freeze point may not be in the wall.

Check all easy options before you dig into the wall.

Bud
 
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Old 01-10-10, 06:21 AM
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Damn, froze again this morning! All other interior faucets, drains etc no problem, just this one shower and only the supply line.

Im on a slab. Im pretty sure the supply line somehow goes back into an area on the other side of the wall to the laundry room.

Going to call a plumber this week.
 

Last edited by BitShift; 01-10-10 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 01-10-10, 07:10 AM
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Since you are on a slab, old fashioned term, bank the house directly outside the problem area. Depending upon your siding, it can be a frame covered with plastic like a green house or simply hay bales. Even some fiberglass insulation in plastic bags, but the point is the exposed edge of a slab can be a huge heat sink. Depends on how it was constructed, but I haven't yet seen a good one during an infrared inspection.

On the other side, if you open up a wall area, say in the laundry room to allow more heat to get closer to the pipes that may help as well. Just keep the banking option as a last resort.

Bud
 
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Old 01-10-10, 07:41 AM
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Bud, thank you! I think you may be correct. Yesterday when the line finally started to sputter and then flow again, I thought it was due to me just letting the water dribble until it broke loose. However, I think it was actually the sun coming up and heating that side of the house that was the point at which that line cleared up. So, im going to look into this idea of "banking" as you suggest.

I dont want to pile up a bunch of stuff next to the slab do I if Im worried about termites getting an approach into the house? For example, placing mulch too high, can give termites easy access to the wood siding of your house. Maybe I can just keep some hay bails as you suggest for cold spells like this, and place them along the slab as needed for cold snaps.
 
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Old 01-10-10, 12:02 PM
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What type siding do you have? It is possible to attack this from the outside so we don't have to tear into the shower wall.
 
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Old 01-10-10, 01:57 PM
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Cool

Originally Posted by chandler View Post
What type siding do you have? It is possible to attack this from the outside so we don't have to tear into the shower wall.
All brick on all sides. Im going to try piling some hay up next to the slab tonight. Last night I didnt leave the shower running however.
 
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Old 01-10-10, 03:10 PM
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I always like it when we re-invent something. As I watch some homes in the neighborhood prepping for winter by installing plastic around their foundation, I drive past some of the much older homes that are bringing out the pre-made wood panels that fit at an angle up against the foundation. These materials have seen more winters than I have, by a wide margin. I know one is from 1880.

See what the plumber says.

Bud
 
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Old 01-10-10, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by BitShift View Post
. . . might need to have a plumber come out as well to tear into the wall to insulate the supply line. My guess is its not presently insulated.
There are a ton of variables, as has already been pointed out by others.

However, simply insulating a water line will only delay the time it takes to freeze -- it will not (necessarily) prevent it from freezing. You need to either stop the heat loss, or add heat via a heat tape, light bulb, fan, exposing the line to a heated area, etc.
 
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