If you live in the northern part of the United States then you know how cold the winters can be.  It does not take much of an opening or lack of insulation on an exterior wall to get a draft on a water supply pipe and in turn a frozen pipe.

 I was at a Skokie home inspection recently and tried to inspect the powder room on the first floor of the home when I noticed the cold water supply would not turn on.  I checked the emergency stop or angle stop and it was open.  Luckily the basement was not finished  and the plumbing piping was exposed.  The foundation wall had frost on it near the ledger plate.  The cold supply pipe for the powder room was on the exterior wall with no insulation to protect it from the cold.  I inspected the pipe to make sure there were no bulges or cracks from frozen water.  That is a big plus when trying to thaw out this pipe.

The situation at the Skokie home inspection was pretty easy repair.  To do this repair you will need:

  1. Hair dryer
  2. 3/4″ piece of pipe insulation
  3. small piece of fiberglass insulation
  4. duct tape

Turn the water on on the side of the fixture that is frozen.  Take the hair dryer and heat the pipe back and forth along the pipe until you hear the water running in the fixture above.  Your repair may require that you open a wall or a ceiling.  The repair at the Skokie home inspection was  as easy as it can be.  The repair area was open with plenty of room to work .

The next step is to install the pipe insulation around the pipe that froze.  You may have to install electrical tape that will require more work if the area is prone to freezing and insulation wont remedy the freezing.  You can purchase electrical tape at any hardware store.

The final step is to add insulation on the exterior wall at any area that will allow air or may possibly touch the pipe.  Duct tape or staple the insulation on the wall to prevent it falling down.  This repair can save you hundreds if you can follow these directions.  You can see prices on other repairs at ~  http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/repair-replacement-costs.html.

If your pipe has a burst or is leaking water then I suggest turning the water supply off at the main.  Generally the main is in your basement in the front of the home.  I advise you to call a plumber next because portions of the piping will require replacement.  The home owners of the Skokie home inspection were elated that there was no water damage and my clients were still buying the home.

If you have an issue like this and need my help contact me at ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/about-jim-kolke.html.

Thanks for stopping by.  Jim Kolke

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