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Pipes freezing after remodel

richplumber Member Posts: 4
I have a house which is balloon framed the pipes feeding second floor are in an outside wall .They have not froze for twenty years, they are insulated .After a remodel the outside walls were insulated, but I found out after, the contractor pushed the pipes against the outside wall when he insulated. I was not home when this was done or I would have made sure the copper type l coil with insulation would have been pulled forward and insulated behind. The last two winters they froze. any idea what can be done at this point ? Opening the wall at this time is not an option,cabinets,tile etc.


  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    What kind of insulation was installed?
  • Tom_133
    Tom_133 Member Posts: 864
    In a similar situation I installed a three way zone valve that allowed that zone to always circulate. It's better than glycol in my opinion.
    Montpelier Vt
    Bob Bona_4
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,428
    I have house with balloon framed walls and when I worked on the kitchen I spaced the pipes 1" away from the outside wall with a few wooden blocks and insulated behind them as you said.

    Since you don't want to open up that wall perhaps you can open up the bottom of that cavity so air from the cavity can move, you could even put a small fan that would blow air up into that cavity in cold weather. If you want to get a little fancy you could put a thermostat in series with the fan so it would only work when it's cold out.

    The only other way I can see is to add insulation on the outside of the wall but that would only work if you were going to reside the house.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,454
    Open the wall. Get it fixed properly, and see if you can go after the idiot who pushed them against an outside wall.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    SWEIBob Bona_4RobG
  • richplumber
    richplumber Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for the input I am going to remove the vinyl siding in that area . Cut the clapboard on the two studs where the water lines are and push them back towards the Sheetrock since its l-type coil it should be able to bend then use a combination of styrofoam insulation and regular insulation, seal all areas to stop any draft . Then install plywood in place of clapboard,tyveck,and re-install siding. I think that should do it . What say ye.
    Bob Bona_4
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,898
    If the wall is open I would remove the added insulation from the inside side of the wall. Allow the indoor heat to get to the pipe insulation on the pipes as if they were on the inside surface of that wall. Then get the highest R-value on the cold side of the pipes............and still go after the insulation contractor as Steamhead suggests. At least get some materials out of them.

    Insulating people might not understand that no amount of insulation will keep pipes from freezing. It might delay the event but heat has to be added to the pipe cavity somehow.