Plumbing Help needed: Frozen Water Pipes

My hot water pipes froze last night, but only the ones on the north side of the house.

Which is my kitchen and Master bath.

The 2nd bath, in the middle of house still has hot water.

The Pipes have not bursted!! Yet. (saying my prayers)

Given that some pipes have already frozen, is there away to prevent the pipes from busting? Or is it a given?

No, it’s not a given that they’ll burst. Do you have a hair dryer? A space heater? You’ve got some work ahead of you.

Open the faucets on those lines and see if you can get things melted enough for water to begin flowing. And add some insulation to your water lines.

And you might want to wrap them in heat tape after you get them thawed.

I do not have a space heater.

The house has a crawl space (very inaccessible)

Would it help if I turned the heat up in my house. I generally keep the thermostat low (65 deg or lower). The duct work is all in the crawl space with most of the registers on the northside of the house (7 of the 12)

It will certainly help to turn up the heat - I did that in my place once when my pipes froze partially, and it definitely helped. Turn it up as high as you can stand (I turned mine up into the mid-80’s), leave the faucets turned on and in the middle position (so that both hot and cold water are flowing - you want somewhere for the water to go and as the water begins to flow it will help defreeze them more) and hope for the best! Heat tape on the pipe is a great idea if you can get to the pipes.


you will likely want access to the crawl space to inspect and maybe cure.

now (for a cure) or later (for a prevention) put thermostatically controlled heating tape on the supply pipes.

know where your whole house shut off valve is in case you need it.

Turn up the heat, yes.

If you CAN get in there with anything warm, that will help. I had a frozen pipe I unfroze with a pan of boiling water. (It was the only warm thing I could get near it, so I put a pan of boiling water under it (not touching, just steaming on it.)

Good luck.

If it’s practical, setting up a fan to blow warm air from the house down into the crawlspace can help (assuming that’s where the pipes are frozen).

I love it when a plan comes together!

I turned the heat up in the house

I had open the faucets, both hot and cold. I had called a friend and he was going to take me to his cousin who had a forced air propane heater to heat up crawl space. He has 4WD and I was basically snowed in as my street is one of the last to get plowed.

He left his house and I was tying my boots as all of sudden I hear my faucets “rev” up.

Apparently turning up the heat got enough heat into crawl space to thaw the pipes!!

Thanks for the help everyone.

Note to self: Come spring, check duct work for leaks!! Get heat tape for pipes!!

AND Leave faucet dripping during very cold water, both hot and cold.

One other thing is that some houses have crawl space vents that go to the outside that are intended to be opened during the warm months to keep moisture out (or something like that). If you’ve got those, make sure they’re closed. You should be able to see them from the outside if you walk around the house.

also, check the insulation level in the crawl space. Better insulation, to keep the heat that leaks out of the house in the crawl space will both help prevent pipes from freezing and reduce the overall heating bill.

My mom used to have a washer on her unheated back porch and was able to keep the lines from freezing by simply placing a lamp with a 100 watt light bulb pointed towards faucets.

Once you get the tape on the pipes, be sure the crawl space is closed with solid screening/grates/whatever - let air circulate (or you’ll get wood rot, assuming wood is used) but keep out rodents - they will love a spot not only out of the elements, but with heat as well.

crawl spaces should be ventilated in warm summer and closed to the outside in cold winter.

All of the towns around here have a directive out to all homes to keek a small pencil sized stream of water running 24/7 because of all the water line breaks and freeze ups.
I have seen many places where a portable welding machine is hooked up to the wrench installed on the water line shut off on the street and the main water valve in the building. Hard to feel right about running all that water down the drain when so many are short of water.
The street crew said the frost is 8ft deep this winter.