I need any thoughts -- and solutions -- for a problem we just encountered in NH.
This past week was brutally cold (below zero for several days). We noticed a
stain/leak on the downstairs ceiling so we figured an upstairs copper line had
frozen and split. Upon further investigation, it was our top floor toilet. The
water was coming out from the wax seal, meaning a dirty water leak. I removed
the toilet. The waste line runs to the wall (an exterior wall) behind the toilet
and T's into the vent stack. Beneath the water I could see ICE in the drain
line. I tried to auger directly into the line but got maybe 16 inches before it
hit the immovable iceberg. The T was totally frozen closed. Any ideas what might
be the cause (dead animal? Leaves?) And a who has a solution -- both temporary
and permanent? Many thanks, jk
On Friday, January 12, 2018 at 5:14:06 PM UTC-5, jk wrote:
In order for a waste line to freeze like that, there must be a blockage tha
t is NOT water. Once you have a "cap" on the vent, anything lower than tha
t will have problems. You need to clear the blockage (obviously), but see
if you can find a plumber with a camera that can go from below to identify
what is blocking the pipe. I would do this investigation before the icemel
ts though. You should never have a 4" or 5" pipe freeze like that as it sh
ould never have standing water in it.
On Friday, January 12, 2018 at 5:21:27 PM UTC-5, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote
hat is NOT water. Once you have a "cap" on the vent, anything lower than t
hat will have problems. You need to clear the blockage (obviously), but se
e if you can find a plumber with a camera that can go from below to identif
y what is blocking the pipe. I would do this investigation before the icem
elts though. You should never have a 4" or 5" pipe freeze like that as it
should never have standing water in it.
In general, I agree. But what if the toilet isn't sealing correctly and
has a slow leak? That would allow a trickle which would keep freezing and
building, until it blocks completely. I assume this toilet was not used?
If it was, then you'd think the problem would have been discovered that
way. It had to have been flushed to create the problem. If it worked
normally, even if you later somehow cut off the drain pipe, there would
not be water to leak out around the seal. Which leads again back to the
theory that the toilet has a slow trickle leak that caused it.
I guess the other question comes down to how urgently a fix is needed?
It's warmer for the next day or so, maybe it will thaw on it's own.
If they had some kind of small immersion heater, that would probably
thaw it out faster.
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