Frozen hot water pipes?

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katdarn79 | 19:22 Sun 05th Dec 2010 | Home & Garden
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I woke up this morn to no hot water and still have none now, i have tried all the taps and no hot water works the cold are fine, could i have frozen pipes? Many Thanks Kathryn


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If you have UK style cistern in the attic and gravity feed through a hot water cylinder to your taps then it is entirely possible that something is frozen somewhere (depends on ambient temperatures, insulation, etc. But if you have a foreign contraption (now finally legal in the UK) called a combi boiler then freezing is far less likely but stil just conceivable but rather unlikely. To identify (if you don't already know), the former leads to much lower pressure at the hot water tap than the cold - the latter has more or less equal pressure on hot and cold.
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Thanks for your reply! So if it is a frozen pipe is it just a waiting game or is there something i can do to speed it up? Thanks
If it is lightly frozen then once it thaws out the flow will again get under way. If it is severely frozen then there may have been a rupture of the conduit (pipe and/or fittings) in which case you will have a leak as soon as the thaw starts.- keep watching for it. To avoid freezing in future ensure everything is heavily insulated - this is not a difficult job but if you feel unsure of what to do then get in a worker (a plumber is not strictly necessary so long as the individual has good common sense).
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Thank's for that Karl, sorry to sound thick but do you think that the frozen pipe would be in the attic? Or how can i locate where the problem is? Thanks
Karl is right and the first place I would check would be your attic - to see if you have the appropriate insulation - there maybe pipe exposed. If not, follow his advice.

I know it is no comfort, but hot water pipes often freeze before cold water and this due to the thermal properties of water cooling (cant remember if its endo- or exothermic).
A demo though is to put ice trays in a freezer, one with boiling water in, the other with tap temperature - and which one freezes first, yes it is the one with boiling water and this is a tip if you ever need ice cubes in a hurry.

I had the freeze up in Paris one year (-16 outside and houses without that much loft insulation) but I had the advantage of working for Camping Gaz at the time and had loads of heat guns, gas solder guns etc etc - the trick is to very gently, and I mean very gently, play the heat of the flame up and down the exposed pipe..and also pull back 6 feet or so of the first pipe under the insulation wrapping....Too hard a heat will result in took me about an hour of this very gentle play and bingo, up and down, not resting on any spot......with the taps left open, the aqua duly emerged.

And for the future, do keep your hot water taps dripping, just gently, when it is freezing - this keeps up a wee flow in the line.
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Thanks for the info DTcrosswordfan that was very usefull!!

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