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Rick
Rick, Construction Supervisor
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 15342
Experience:  Licensed Master plumber with 40+ yrs. experience.
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I have a frozen pipe (heating) and cant find where its frozen

Customer Question

I have a frozen pipe (heating) and can’t find where it is frozen i put a map gas torch to all the elbow and 45 but still can’t get water thought the pipe this is a two zone hot water system the one zone no problem the other that controls my living/ dine and kitchen is the problem.

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Rick replied 4 years ago.

Welcome to JustAnswer, I will do my best to help you solve your problem
The frozen section could be concealed in a wall or ceiling.
There are 2 ways to deal with this.
Either get a salamander heater (portable job site heater) and raise the temp of the space where any of the piping might pass through
or use a pipe thawing machine if you have copper tubing for piping, which is essentially a modified arc welder

Customer :
most of the pipe are exposed in the basement

Rick the plumber :
same answer
if all the piping in the loop is accessible you could use your torch to thaw it out
but you need to very carefully play the torch along all the piping in the loop not just the fittings

Customer :
that's what i did and that why i came to this site

Rick the plumber :
did you heat all the pipe in the loop?

Customer :
yes all that i could reach

Rick the plumber :
then you can't get to some of it

Customer :
just the pipe that goes threw the floor

Rick the plumber :
Then my original answer applies. Those are your only options
if this zone is on the first floor try playing the heat on the piping above the floor as well

Customer :
some of the pipes go along the foundation and up along the foundation

Rick the plumber :
same answer
my guess would be that your frozen section would be along the foundation
try heating up this area with your torch
just keep the flame away from anything flammable

Customer :
yesterday i open the drain valve on that zone and some hot water came out the stopped

Rick the plumber :
if there is craft faced insulation get it out of there before you heat that area
if you opened a purge station and the water stopped then you probably have a frozen line

Customer :
should i leave it open when i do that

Rick the plumber :
it doesn't matter but leaving it open will let you know when it thaws out

Customer :
because it is after the pump

Rick the plumber :
same answer
turn the thermostat way down on the frozen zone so the pump won't run

Customer :
which has a valve between the pump and the drain valve if i leave the valve open it will come out but if i close it it will come out the stop

Rick the plumber :
if you leave the valve open you are getting water from the boiler. if you close the valve the only water that can come out of the drain would be through that loop

Customer :
but what is going to push the water thought the pipe if the pump is not on

Rick the plumber :
the pressure in the system
you should have at least 10 psi on the system

Customer :
well let me try it then
it didnt work

Rick the plumber :
what didn't work. I gave you several options. Did you try them all?

Customer :
i put a space heater in the dining room witch has no heat the living room has a pellet stove so i think that is why i got the frozen pipe in the first place because the heat controls both and the dining room and living room

Rick the plumber :
you need to put heat in the basement, that's where the frozen pipe probably is.

Customer :
you told me that you have to raise the temp in the room that the pipe are

Rick the plumber :
there are pipes in the basement ?

Customer :
yes

Rick the plumber :
".... get a salamander heater (portable job site heater) and raise the temp of the space where any of the piping might pass through"

Customer :
that is not going to work in my basement becuse it is filled with stuff and the fire marshell will have me for lunch

Rick the plumber :
then your only option is to wait for it to warm up or hire a plumber with a pipe thawing machine
once it's thawed out it would be a good idea to fill the system with anti-freeze so this doesn't happen again.

Customer :
how do you put it in the system

Rick the plumber :
antifreeze is pumped in under pressure
you will probably need a plumber to do it

Customer :
this why i came to this site so that i didnt have to call a plumber this is the first time useing this site that my problem was not solved

Rick the plumber :
All I can do is propose solutions. If you don't have the equipment or expertise to remedy the problem I can't help you from here.
There are limits on what i CAN DO FROM CYBERSPACE

Customer :
thank you any way

Rick the plumber :
Thanks for using JustAnswer

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