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Boiler problem with frozen pipes

Tom R.Tom R. Posts: 139Member
Get a heat trace wire (like the ones used to keep gutters from freezing) and tape it to the bottom of the piping in the area where it freezes. Then cover the pipe with insulation. The cable is self-regulating and will stay at about 80 deg, which means it won't draw current when the heat is on. And good luck with your job search.
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Comments

  • DebbieDebbie Posts: 2Member
    Boiler with frozen pipes

    Already this year I am having a problem with frozen heating pipes in my baseboard heating. After 16 years of this, I now know not to shut the boiler off but how to shut the zone down so that I have heat in the rest of the house.

    Ok, due to economics, (I lost my job this year), I am planning on trying to fix it myself. So here are some simple questions:

    What do I have to do to add water back to the boiler? I have to assume that there is a way to let the air out? How do I know when it is full?

    How can I add antifreeze to the boiler? How do I know how much? I have only had a problem with one zone freezing, will the antifreeze go to the other zones? What kind of antifreeze do I use?

    We re-insulated the overhang (this is a raised ranch and have not had a freezing problem for several years now, thought the problem was solved). Any other suggestions on what to do to help prevent a whole winter of this?

    Thanks
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  • WeezboWeezbo Posts: 6,230Member ✭✭✭
    Debbie....*~/:)

    how long has the baseboard been freezing?

    Perhaps if it isnt leaking you may be able to pump some water into the boiler and get it rolling again.

    if you have a pressure temp gage on your boiler and it is water boiler you could get a garden hose and pump the pressure up to around twentytwo pounds..... this should push some water around the system and help get the thing functioning again...one thing though ,..you want to also get a temp reading on that gage first.and turn the boiler off for a momment when you add the water. Game? if so you tell me what the temp is and the pressure first.then i will tell you how to go about it safely.

    what is THE coldest temp you ever remember it being outside in your area? do you have an oil or gas or coal fired boiler? is it made of iron kinda big? or is it like a pinner box about 16 X 30X35 ?

    does it have a manufacturers name plate on it ? some boilers have a Jacket yellow red green grey black and grey even that sorta helps to determine the boiler water content. that information and the lineal feet of baseboard emmitter in your home with the lowest temp you can remember all help to determine just how much Food Grade anti freeze you can put in your boiler.
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  • DebbieDebbie Posts: 2Member


    The problem has been occurring since I bought the house. The temperature went down the other night into negative numbers, so I guess that it froze then.

    It is a oil burner about 10 years old. It has a break in the pipe about 1 1/4 inches long, in a teeny tiny closet. For some reason there is more water in there this morning then there was last night. Last night the pipe was dry. This morning, it is dripping water.

    The overhang (raised ranch) Originally had r-12 insulation and a few years ago we upgraded to r-19 or 21. I actually spoke out about it this year, for the 1st time saying that I thought we had solved the problem and like a boomerang, it came back to hit me.

    Stopping at home depot tonight to get the stuff needed to fix the pipe (another new adventure in home ownership) and will also bring in the garden hose to start to refill the boiler.

    WIll add more info later.

    Thanks for the help so far.
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  • Jack P.Jack P. Posts: 38Member


    Okay, if I am understanding you correctly, you have a hot water boiler. (not steam) and the water in the feed line to the baseboard radiant is freezing and bursting open. If I am correct so far the answer is simple. The water is freezing because it not moving and standing still in one place too long where the cold can get to it. The solution is turning down the aquastat on the boiler so the water is circulated more and not standing in the pipe for long periods of time. No antifreeze, no doing anything else. It takes 2 minutes to turn down the aquastat. Simple! If you do not know how to turn it down write back and I will tell you how.
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  • Jack P.Jack P. Posts: 38Member
    Simple...

    Okay, if I am understanding you correctly, you have a hot water boiler. (not steam) and the water in the feed line to the baseboard radiant is freezing and bursting open. If I am correct so far the answer is simple. The water is freezing because it not moving and standing still in one place too long where the cold can get to it. The solution is turning down the aquastat on the boiler so the water is circulated more and not standing in the pipe for long periods of time. No antifreeze, no doing anything else. It takes 2 minutes to turn down the aquastat. Simple! If you do not know how to turn it down write back and I will tell you how.
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  • JoelJoel Posts: 166Member
    and

    Do not set back your theremostat on exteem cold nights! If you drop the temp back 5f with the theremostat the zone will turn off and freeze . the insulation probably only helped a little bit you need to keep the drafts out with calking or foam. on those overhangs many times where the over hang meets the house there is a solid block of wood and the baseboard pipe is drilled through it . open up your cieling in the basement where the pipes go out to the overhang and completly remove that piece of blocking . it will allow warmer basement air to sneak up in that bay and many times is enoug to keep it from freezing . Adding antifreeze would be my last choice.

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