Water supply lines freeze up in the winter

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The lines are embedded in the cement floor near the outside wall and they freeze up on cold days . How do I remedy this?
  10 answers
  • Thenne1713 Thenne1713 on Sep 11, 2016
    If the slab is heated space, I more suspect the problem is outside lines are not buried deeply enough, so either dig up, and replace deeper, or add electric heat strip where/ near building entry, or add dirt/ landscape to bury deeper.
  • Phil a Phil a on Sep 11, 2016
    I assume these lines feed a bathroom or kitchen ? If so, there is a device used to provide almost instant hot water at a faucet in a faraway faucet. It's made by WATTS and is available at Lowe's or Home Depot and other locations. It consists of a an electric pump that sits on top of your water heater. A temperature sensitive valve placed between the hot and cold water lines under the sink allow hot water to be pumped through the hot line and sent back to the water heater through the cold line. When the valve senses hot water at its location, it shuts off. So, this would periodically allow hot water to circulate through the cold water line in question, keeping it from freezing. It's not cheap, $200 but is a lot less expensive than having your pipes break and needing major excavation repairs. This is the manufacturer's site: http://www.watts.com/pages/whatsnew/IHWRS.asp I have one of these to provide hot water at my furthest bathroom and hot water is almost instantaneous. Also, the cold water side is warm for a few seconds, so I know this should keep your pipes from freezing. One thing I did different than suggested, is I place the pump on the cold side pushing water INTO the water heater rather than the hot side pulling water OUT OF the water heater. The pumping effect is the same, but the pump is NOT exposed to hot water so it should last longer. If you're handy at all, it's a simple install. You shouldn't have to turn off house water supply, just the cold supply valve to the water heater. Just don't turn on any water anywhere else in the house. And check the condition of the water heater supply hoses and replace if questionable. Let us know what you do. Phil
  • William William on Sep 11, 2016
    Pipes do freeze in slabs. If yours did, hopefully the pipes did not burst. If you have access to the meter, see if its running with all the faucets off. Hard to determine if it is freezing in the slab. Is there any water coming up from the slab where the pies are located?! Its possible the freeze is where the lines enter and exit the slab and not in the slab. Locate the entry and exit points and use foam pipe insulation on the pipes.
  • Betty Tuffner Betty Tuffner on Sep 11, 2016
    Only thing I can think of here is to let the faucet drip, or if it's close to a toilet, flush every once in a while. If you are on "city water", let your water provider know you are doing this so you don't get charged for the water you aren't using.
  • Patty Patty on Sep 12, 2016
    This is something I did while I was saving money to make improvements....when freezing temps were predicted, I turned on the water in a small, not gushing, lukewarm stream, not hot, continuously during freezing times. It really helped!
  • Phil a Phil a on Sep 12, 2016
    That seems rather costly. Water in Southern California is worth more than Gold. That's why I suggested a low wattage recirc pump which just pumps hot water through the pipe back to the water heater. At the minimum, it keeps water circulating to prevent freezing but none of the water goes down the drain. If the pipes freeze as stated, then they were not insulated properly when installed in the slab or placed too close to an outside wall. Seems strange that they freeze, though since they haven't burst, yet, they don't evidently "hard freeze". As mentioned, the recirc pump is a simple external fix for a potentially high cost problem, can be done in an hour and gives the benefit of having hot water almost instantly at the faucet. Phil
  • Dar Dar on Sep 12, 2016
    If you have a brick home stuff plastic grocery bags in the weep holes in the brick. We had the same problem in our kitchen but this fix did the trick.
  • Sue Kiene Sue Kiene on Sep 12, 2016
    If these are water supply lines that are coming into the house, realistically the pipe is not deep enough and needs additional dirt, possibly a heat tape or possibly a bale of straw or the like covering the area where it enters the home giving it protection. If it is plumbing leading to the kitchen or bath or laundry, it sounds like you need to insulate the exterior of the foundation walls. Is it only happening when the wind comes from a specific direction or when the temperature gets so low or is it all the time once it gets cold. We need more specifics to give you the best answers.
  • Thenne1713 Thenne1713 on Sep 13, 2016
    I agree not deep enough outside under dirt, add dirt, heat tape, or 1) open wall to inspect / improve insulation; 2) inspect/ repair outside for any air leak openings; 3) if wood on outside, maybe easier to remove that to inspect/ repair?; 4) inspect/ seal/ trap/ poison any varmint openings in dirt?
  • Galen W. Yoder Galen W. Yoder on Sep 17, 2016
    If you can actually see the pipe entering the cement and or coming out of the ground, it has to be protected, a heat tape is ok , but what happens when the power goes out to during a very cold period-bummer!, I would take the time to goes as far as digging around the pipe and making a masonry perimeter on 3 sides connecting/or butting to the house concrete. Make it high enough so that when you build the small lean too structure over it,(3 sides & a small Sloped roof), the wood won't rot because of ground contact. Pressure treated wood would be best for longevity. insulate the interior of the structure with Ridgid type styrofoam