First post here and I'm in dire need of assistance.
I live in Deerfield NH, so yes, it is cold. Yesterday morning my 1st
floor zone stopped working. I figured it was the thermostat so I
replaced it. Nuttin, still doesn't work. Service guy came out and came
to the conclusion that my line was frozen, said he couldn't do anything
about it because I have rubber hosing and not copper, collected 150 and
left. Now I still have no heat and I'm worried something going to
The confusing part is I've been here 3 years and never had a issue.
The only place I gather it could possible be would be in the garage.
The garage is under the house and there is an enclosed are that I know
has piping for the 1st floor bathroom.
Now the questions.
1. Is my pipe going to burst?
2. Is it really frozen or is it possible something else is in the
line? (I know this is hard to answer)
3. How do I get it unfrozen? Do I have to tear down the encasing?
I'm just really confused at to how it could possible be frozen.
There's a bottle of water that's been on the ground in the garage for a
while now and that didn't freeze.
#1. it's possible if it freezes enough of the water in it. Whether or
not this particular pipe is frozen, I'd also be worried about the
piping to the bathroom you mention. If that's not being heated now,
that piping will eventually freeze.
#2. not only hard but impossible to answer for sure without being
there. But yes it is possible that it's a blockage not ice.
#3. IF it's really frozen and not blocked in some other way, you'll
have to expose the pipe/hose in question. The fastest way to thaw
frozen pipes is to boil some water, soak some rags (towels work well)
in the boiling water and quickly wrap them around the frozen section.
The hot rags/water will thaw it pretty quickly.
I'm not sure about code in regards to rubber hose and hot water
heating, but it doesn't sound right to me. Maybe others here can shed
some light on that.
Before you rip apart the garage, I would call a different service
person out there. It seems strange that he would just leave without
fixing the problem or at least saying something about coming back to
figure it out tomorrow. It would strike me as being pretty
The immediate thing you want to do is turn your heater off and drain the
entire system as much as possible. Then turn your oven on (assuming no
little kids can touch it). Then get some kind of supplemental heat, like
electric or kero. AFTER you do all that, start calling contractors to find
one who's willing to replace the rubber with copper pipe.
Your house most likely had freezing problems in the past, and some DIY put
that rubber hose on. No reputable contractor will touch that system, because
then the liability is all on him.
Thanks for the replies.
Little more info in response to your responses. Right now I have the
valve open to try and force water through. Ever 15-20 minutes I go
down and try and see if I can get water to come out a hose I hooked up.
Hopefully that makes sense, I don't know how to explain it.
My house is 3 years old. There's copper coming out of the boiler and
everything running throughout is rubber/plastic?. Supposedly this is
what newer home builders are doing. The plumber said it was easier to
install and less prone to cracking. The problem he said was he
couldn't run electricity through it to heat it up.
Bob made a good point about draining the system. I wasn't thinking
about the possibility of it already being split. The piping is
probably PEX, not rubber. You'll still need to open up whatever
enclosure is around the pipe in question and get heat onto it somehow.
If this pipe froze while the house was heated normally, then something
is very wrong. That zone must have been off for a significant amount
of time for the water to freeze. Did you have that zone turned way
down, so that it didn;t come on for an extended period? For it to
freeze, not only would it have to be off for an extended period of
time, but the pipe must be exposed too. You need to trace the pipe
route and find out why it's happening. Possible reasons are lack of
proper insulation in a wall the pipe runs through, or some
crack/opening in the exterior wall allowing cold air to blow into the
I had a section of pipe freeze last winter, the first really cold day with a
north wind. Pipes are copper, but the frozen section was too large for the
The root cause was that the pipes were run along the top of the block foundation
on the north side, with inadequate insulation. Why it happened after 11 years
in the house was that I had that year replaced windows and done some renovation
work on the north side, including re-walling the external walls, including
adding insulation. Plus I had installed new thermostats, and put in a 6 degree
setback (to 60 at night from 68). For the past 45 years of the house's
'lifetime', the heat in that zone ran frequently enough to keep it free anyway.
But the house now held temperature at about 60, so that zone never turned on at
The solution was to cut that section and leave it, bypassing it through the
(heated) interior space along the bedroom walls. The old section was set with a
slant to drain through a break in the ceiling of the garage. A few weeks later,
a contractor built pine coverings over the pipes in the bedroom (blends pretty
much with the baseboards), I painted, it looks fine. He sheetrocked the opening
in the garage.
Not what other homeowners may have done, to me, it looks fine, that section is
in heated space now, and I won't have that problem again. Much cheaper and
quicker job than running it again within the external wall.
I really feel for the original poster, though. Painful. For me, the work was
covered by insurance.
PEX it is.
The only possible place it could be would be the garage, it it really
is frozen. I'm heading out to home depot now to get a kerosene heater
to heat the garage up. Since the pipes are enclosed, I have no idea
exactly where it is but, I'm hoping if I get the garage up to 60+
degrees it will free it up.
Yeah definitely relieve pressure as Bob says before thawing- unless you
want an indoor skating rink. After thawing/ replacing pipe, figure out
why it is freezing there- insulation inadequate? gaps? Sounds like the
builder was careless/ skimping- fix that situation very thoroughly-
seal any gaps, add pipe insulation, add extra insulation to area.
Faced this situation with a house recently. Water supply entered
through a poorly insulated "drain room." Pipe froze 2 yrs ago- didn't
leak until thawed. I insulated area thoroughly. Just last few days,
power out for 3 days in snow/ ice storm. Night time temp was 13 deg F-
but pipe still unfrozen as space is below ground level.
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