Frozen? pipes hard to diagnose - plumbing

I just bought a 1930's bungalow style duplex last summer in WI. The attic was converted into an upper flat some years ago. The faucet behind the tub froze and was replaced about a month ago, including the hot/cold cylinders. The access area behind the tub (where the faucet is located) is just below the roof line. After it was fixed, I placed R36 insulation in all crevices to keep it from freezing again. No problem until last weekend. Temperature has been in the teens. The tenant stated that his faucet wasn't working for a day or two (hot or cold), and then when he checked it later. When he turned on the faucet, yellow and brown "stuff" came out, and then gradually turned to regular water. He thinks it froze again, but I beg to differ. It's working fine now, but I'm concerned that in the near future it will break again. Hard to figure this one out. Do all the pipes need replacing? Any suggestions are appreciated!
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I don't think the pipe freezing would cause yellow and brown stuff to come out. It sounds like a problem somewhere else, maybe not even in your house.
Pipe freezes. Water doesn't flow. Pipe thaws, water flows , clear water. This is the usual case.
Is it possible that some gunk got into the system when you had the recent work done, got stuck, and then the pressure of the water finally pushed the gunk out ???
Whhhhdddddaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuu guys think ??
--James--
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I'll bet this isn't the first time there's been problems with those water lines. The previous owner probably left water running into the tub whenever really cold temperature was expected thus keeping it from freezing.
Tom.
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On Wed, 19 Jan 2005 19:07:23 -0600, "Michael Hurlock"

Yes, they froze again, and that caused the rust and crap to loosen in the pipes. If the pipes leading to that faucet are on an exterior wall, they will continue to freeze. You need to trace them all the way back to the source and find out where to insulate, or better yet, replace them to an interior wall. I had a relative who had the same problem, EVERY WINTER. I finally ran new pipes up an INTERIOR wall. No more problems.
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But copper does not rust. I'm more in line that there was crap in the line leftover from the replace. Its even within the realm of possibility that enough crap was in the line it clogged the faucet at the airator.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

No, it doesn't rust, but it does oxidize and collect deposits along the walls and especially at any elbows, unions, or material changes. Colored water from a frozen pipe is NOT at all unusual, and usually comes from the frozen area, so how long it takes to appear is sometimes an indication of how far away the frozen part is. Only a hint, not a definite locator; if the color is immediate, it was frozen with a few feet of the faucet.
IF the insulation being used is fiberglass, that won't stop drafts no matter how much of it is there. I had a similar problem and the freezing pipes were located at the juncture of my laundry room wall and a bedroom, about a 6 foot length whrere it went up the wall to an elbow. Once I got inside the wall, it was a windy day, I felt air coming in from outside at the joint area. I had put 12" insulation in there but didn't know about the draft when I ran the pipes (summertime and nice weather). First I wrapped the pipes in those tube-insulators and taped the seams shut. That' helped, but the first time it went past ten below and wind chills reached 40 below, they froze again. Finally I went in and added a sort of wooden "funnel" to create a small crack I could caulk all along that corner. I filled the majority of the slit I created for the wind with spray-expanding caul, and then GE Silicon II caulk the juncture of my "funnel" to the wall. The wind chill was -45 F last night, and it's headed to over 20 below F tonite with winds again at abt 15 mph, so the testing is on! No problem so far. I -think- I've got it whipped. If not, the wall covering there is going to turn into pegboard!!
BTW, usually leaving a faucet dripping will keep pipes from freezing until you can get to a fix. Did I mention I had plastic pipes? Yup!!
HTH,
Pop
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Michael Hurlock wrote:

I often wonder when someone writes "I placed R36 insulation in all crevices to keep it from freezing again." Did they put all that insulation between the pipes and the cold outside walls, or did they just fill the whole area with insulation, not only insulating the pipes from the cold, but also the warmth?
--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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!

Thats a good point....
If you wrap the pipes up in insulation you will only slow down the ineviteble freeze.
What you should do instead is place the insulation only between the pipes and the cold side leaving the pipies open and exposed to the warm side.
Mark
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Point well taken on the insulation! I will definately inspect the area again to make sure it is insulated PROPERLY. Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions!

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