Tag Archives: plumbing

frozen pipe problems

Early Sunday afternoon I discovered that the water supply line to our downstairs toilet appeared to have frozen. The toilet is on an outside wall and it was like 20 below outside, so I was annoyed but not surprised. That bathroom and the three-season porch next to it are not original to the house, so the underside is only accessible via a crawl space, which you have to climb into from the basement (after pulling out a bunch of insulation that was just haphazardly stuffed in). Next to the entrance hole is a smaller hole that the heat and water lines are run through. Wow, our basement is super jank, isn’t it? I took a peek in and realized that while the far wall of the crawl space is insulted, nothing else is. It perhaps had been at some point, but all that insulation is now just sort of laying around in there. The pipes themselves are bare. Neat. But the pipes leading to the sink are also exposed, so it seemed weird that those lines weren’t frozen. Weird but good!

Darren had to work, but he called his dad. Lee came out and climbed in the crawl space, which was unexpected. I was all set to get under there myself. He brought a pipe-warmer that would need to be plugged in, requiring a 25 foot extension cord which we do own but would basically never be able to be used for anything else ever again. I think we’re going to return that, because pipe insulators are inexpensive and don’t require electricity.

Anyway, he got back there and deduced that the pipe had broken, and it had iced over. He thought he would be able to fix it, but it would require a trip to the hardware store and a bunch of supplies and, at the end of the day, a non-professional solution to a problem that really should be handled by a pro. Darren left a message for his plumber buddy and Lee went home.

Darren called me at work this morning and asked “should the toilet tank be filling?” It appeared that things had defrosted enough to let water flow again, and perhaps the pipe was okay after all. Indeed, the plumber (not Darren’s friend, but his employee) came out and determined that the pipe had not actually burst! It turns out we just had a leaky toilet. The water from the leak froze, which lead to a smaller frozen section of pipe. Everything has been fixed, but the plumber said that the crawl space needs to be re-cemented and insulated. Darren and I will DIY that, and we’ll insulate the pipes as well.

I’ll leave you now with this picture of the treasure we found just inside the entrance to the crawl space.

garbage and dust

garbage and dust

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