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Old 01-07-2014, 06:25 PM   #1
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Default Frozen pipes solution - water recirculation / valve question

Hello everyone, I am new to home ownership and plumbing.

I recently had my hot and cold water pipes in my upstairs bathroom freeze up a few days ago after a cold night. The home is heated and the basement is relatively warm. The pipes run along an outside wall and are not accessible unless I tear open the dry wall so I believe that this is where they are freezing up. I want to avoid using heat tape and get a long-term solution.

I noticed that there are hot water recirculation products on the market that involve a pump and a valve that connects the hot and cold water lines at the sink. This helps to reduce frozen pipes since it keeps the hot and cold water moving. Here is my question: if I only install the valve, see link below for example, will this prevent the pipes from freezing? Will it allow the water to circulate and move? I don't care about instant hot water, I just want to prevent any freeze ups.

If this won't work, what would you recommend? Note that this is a rental property so I'd rather not install something under the sink that needs to be plugged in during the winter since the tenant might forget to turn it on etc..

Thank you and I appreciate any information!!

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Old 01-08-2014, 12:01 AM   #2
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I have in the past cut a high and low hole in the wall where the water lines are and covered the holes with A/C return grills becaused the owner didn't want to rip the walls out. The holes allows heated air to circulate through the wall. Just a ideas.

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Old 01-22-2014, 02:50 PM   #3
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Thanks IFIX, that would probably work, but I think it would have a negative impact on my winter heating bill. Does anyone know if just installing the valve, or the valve and the recirculator will work?
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Old 01-23-2014, 03:50 PM   #4
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That is called a in line recirculating system. You need to put a pump on the water heater to make that work.

That said, that is only for delivery of hot water taking too long. Not for cold water. Yes I'd does plumb into the cold
But not enough to keep
It from freezing when the pump is on.

This setup will not help you.

Make sure you pipes are
Fully insulated and if you have to run a tracer wire heating setup as a final solution.
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:03 PM   #5
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If you decide to recirculate the hot water, be sure to insulate the pipes very well or you'll be heating your house with hot water.

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