I had a strange problem starting this morning that I don't have any
water coming out from the facet on the sink in the kitchen, while every
other places the water is fine (bathrooms and etc.).
I don't know what happened, I am living in Bellevue, WA and in the last
two days we have snows and the weather is cold. I am not sure if this
is due to the cold weather or something clogged there, the odd thing is
it only happens to the facet on the sink in the kitchen.
Should I wait the weather to get warm a bit then check it out, or I
need to call for plumbing service the sooner the better, or in general
what could be the problem what I can do by myself?
Any help is very much appreciated.
You have a frozen water pipe.
If this happens often enough, the pipe will burst
and you will have a big problem.
You need to find where the pipe is freezing and
stop the cold air penetration that is causing it.
If it's a frozen pipe, opening the cupboard below the sink may
help get more heat to the pipes when it's cold. If your pipes go
through a crawl space, you may have to get under there and
insulate the pipes or wrap them with heat tape.
Or it could just be a clogged faucet aerator, but this rarely stops
the water completely.
Leaving the water dripping slowly when it's really cold out can help
avoid the problem also. The flow of water keeps the pipes just
warm enough to not freeze.
It looks like things will warm up tomorrow. Then, you need to
watch out for leaks whereever it was frozen. If you hear water
running, or see the meter moving when everything is turned off,
find the problem before it does a lot of damage.
in buffalo ny: remove sink cupboard doors for winter. pipes are
probably located in outside wall. if they are going thru the floor,
cold air is getting to them in your basement or crawl space so close
the basement crawl space windows and insulate. in summer reroute the
water lines properly indoors, that is, inside interior walls or floor.
insulate everywhere your climate requires. our plumber correctly taught
us that it's not just the temperature that freezes the water pipes,
it's the wind chill factor. moving water is reluctant to freeze, but
most folks can't afford to do that. it's cheaper to fix the water
problem now than drizzle your water every winter for the next $$$
I guess it _could_ be frozen pipes, but a few questions/thoughts...
Just how cold has it been and for how long? Unless you have been quite
cold or a pipe is running exposed in an unheated place (like under the
house, maybe?) I wouldn't have thought you would have had a complete
freeze in only a couple of days unless you're quite a bit colder than I
think it normally gets there...guess I could go look at a weather site
and see, but hey, it's usenet... :)
How long have you been in the house and have you had similar problem in
the past if been a while? Is it much colder than normal or has any
remodeling or any other modifications done that could have
changed/damaged the insulation in any location? Any chance there's
been a heat tape or other heat in an unheated area that you didn't turn
on or that has failed?
Is it hot or cold or both? Typically, hot water lines will freeze
before cold as the entrained air tends to come out by the water heater.
If it were the hot and not the cold, then I'd be pretty convinced --
not that the symptoms don't sound likely, I'm just surprised...
Others suggested the open cabinet doors "trick" -- any other way you
can think of to get some extra heating into an area where the pipes run
would be good. If there is a crawl space and they run through it,
adding insulation and/or heat tape or some other source would certainly
I'd also suggest leaving the taps open slightly -- if they thaw on
their own, watch very carefully for any signs of a leak as if you did
get a break the symptom won't show up until they thaw out. If it
begins running, leave them cracked open slightly while it is so cold to
prevent the freeze up again occurring and if you can't figure out where
the problem might be and how to solve it w/ insulation or whatever, you
really should call in a plumber to solve it so it won't happen in the
future and cause a major problem.
Story/example -- person before us in TN finished laundry area in the
garage. Previously, the supply pipes ot the washer ran inside the
wall. For neatness, they re-routed them through the exterior wall and
insulated. Very nice, attractive room, good job. First winter we were
in the house, had a real cold snap and those lines froze solid and
broke, causing a great deal of problems. In fixing, discovered they
had insulated but after the pipes were in place and place the
insulation on the inside, effectively ensuring as little heat got to
them as possible.
Thanks a lot!
1. Neither the cold nor the hot water comes out from the facet.
2. The weather has been cold for a couple of days
but I am not sure if that is cold enough since we are not very cold
here in Bellevue, WA.
3. I have been in this house for only 2.5 months, and this is the first
time I had a situation like this.
4. Do I need to call a plumbing service right away to prevent potential
burst of the pipeline? Rightnow we got very good sunshine and I am not
sure if I should wait for a while.
5. BTW, does the water pipeline usually goes outside of the house or
inside the house? I saw some pipelines outside of my house but I don't
know if they are water pipelines. Sorry I am pretty ignorant about
Thanks a lot!
I just looked at your weather. You have a forecast low of 18 that sure
can freeze any exposed pipes. If you are above freezing watch for leaks
as the pipes thaw out. Can you tell where the lines for the kitchen
come from? If they are outside they most likely froze.
If the lines thaw out today and are not leaking you better keep them
dripping a bit to keep them from freezing again. And maybe wrap
something around any exposed pipes.
There is not very much a plumber can do once the pipes are frozen. It is
not very likely that your pipes will burst so don't worry too much. Just be
alert. Do make sure that you know where the shut off valves are, so if a
leak does occur you can quick shut off the water at a point before the leak.
Then call the plumber.
. > 5. BTW, does the water pipeline usually goes outside of the house or
It may be that the kitchen wall plumbing gets cold enough to freeze and
block the flow of water.
If you can insulate the supply pipes that might help; or, you could leave a
small ( e.g 40 watt lamp ) lit under the sink to keep the pipes from
If you're new in the home and if it happens to be a new home a clog in that
fixture could very well be the problem. I had to replace my kitchen fixture
within a few months after I moved in to my new home because some excess
plumbers putty had clogged the inside. It does happen.
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