Friend of mine, is acting as caretaker for a family member's
house. The power got shut off, and the house is cold inside.
Down to 37, last he checked. Four burneers on the stove for
an hour raises the temp two entire degrees.
Last night, we put RV antifreeze in the drain traps.
Toilets, sinks, showers. We considered the dishwasher. But
that hadn't run in six month or so, and probably the trap
dried out. Washing machine is in the cellar, and should stay
For $3.97 that might be a lot cheaper than replacing a bunch
of broken pipes. I got to thinking. On the way home, I
bought myself a jug of antifreeze. Might never need it. But
it might be cheaper than replacing a bunch of pipes and such
if I need it here, or for a friend some day.
Water can be in all sorts of lines you think you've drained. At our cabin,
we have one of the pull out snakes in the kitchen. The water in the bow of
the hose remained after the cabin had been drained, and it froze. Now, I
take off the head and blow through it to empty it, but that first year, it
burst. I think I'm going to make a Schrader input, and use air to blow it
out, so I can get more.
on 12/9/2009 5:06 PM (ET) Stormin Mormon wrote the following:
The water does not have to be turned on. Once the weather warms, the ice
in the frozen pipes that cracked the pipes will melt and the water will
escape from the cracks. I know this for a fact since I had to respond to
floods in unoccupied homes after a long freeze.
anyone who desnt beieve water will freeze and break lines and traps in
a unheated home lacks common sense.
its a real issue, and tearing into cielings and walls to replace lines
is no fun, let alone water leaks when things warm up and water is
turned bacxk on.......
Well as I said earlier the slug of water expands in all directions.
Not just the directions in line with the pipes. The pressure that
causes is more than enough to fracture stone so the piping has no hope
of surviving the experience. Every time the hunters have used the
toilets after they were antifreeze treated the toilets break and that
is just because the antifreeze is diluted with urine. When they are
also fastidious enough to use the sink the S trap breaks. So from
experience I can tell you that if the water hard freezes in the trap
it will fracture.
At my cabin, the floor is joists. All plumbing hangs under there, then goes
down to the septic tank.
Temperature in the nearby town was 0 last evening. 1,500 farther up at the
cabin, it varies from 10 to 15 degrees colder. So, it was below zero, not
just below 32 degrees, at the cabin. If I don't put RV antifreeze in all
the P traps, and make sure they have been flushed of water, I stand to have
substantial damage. I had a 3/4" copper line freeze on me last winter, and
the thing was open on the top end, so there was room for expansion.
I consider burst pipes a significant problem. YMMV.
If the p-trap is china or plastic, and for some reason the forming ice
can't expand along the normal water flow path, it can blow out the trap.
Toilets are probably the major risk, and then washing machines and
dishwashers. Picture how a toilet bowl is shaped- if it freezes before a
lot of the water in the bowl evaporates, it is locked into place on the
top side, on some toilets. And in stuff with plastic pumps in the
bottom, there is likely no smooth water path like on a siphon.
One year, one of my saturday jobs was changing the locks and pouring
antifreeze in the toilets on FHA repo houses.
Unless the drains were clogged, why would there be any water in them? And
what little is left in the traps would have plenty of room for expansion.
What you need to do is shut off the main water supply valve, and then drain
as much water as you can from the supply pipes by turning on ALL the taps,
especially the one in the laundry sink (in the basement), if there is a tap
Why is the power off? Reasons beyond the owner's control, or what?
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