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Chance of water pipes bursting in next three days?


AftApeth
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Hello. I left my boat on a winter mooring in Thrupp on 1 Nov, just before Lockdown 2. I thought I'd be back before winter but for various reasons have been stuck up north and won't be able to get back to the boat and winterise it properly until Weds. 

When I left it the water tank was mostly full and although I'd turned the tank valve to closed, I didn't drain all of the taps and leave them open. 

What do people think the chances are of the pipes being OK until Weds 30 when I can get back to the boat? So far I think the temp has only dropped to -1° once or twice overnight, and fairly briefly. 

It's a trad narrowboat with fairly standard fit out. Don't know if pipes are lagged. 

Edited by AftApeth
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4 minutes ago, AftApeth said:

Hello. I left my boat on a winter mooring in Thrupp on 1 Nov, just before Lockdown 2. I thought I'd be back before winter but for various reasons have been stuck up north and won't be able to get back to the boat and winterise it properly until Weds. 

When I left it the water tank was mostly full and although I'd turned the tank valve to closed, I didn't drain all of the taps and leave them open. 

What do people think the chances are of the pipes being OK until Weds 30 when I can get back to the boat? So far I think the temp has only dropped to -1° once or twice overnight, and fairly briefly. 

It's a trad narrowboat with fairly standard fit out. Don't know if pipes are lagged. 

The BBC weather site for Oxford airport shows -1c for the next three and they usually show 1 degree below what transpires so I expect you will be OK. specially as if we get any sun during the day the boat will heat up a bit.

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It will almost certainly be fine. The water outside will be well above freezing and keep the interior safe under most conditions. I usually only winterise if the forecast is for below freezing for an extended period. Instantaneous gas heaters may suffer however as the heat exchanger will be vulnerable.

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Thanks all for the speedy answers. Helps put my mind at ease. I'll get down there on Weds and winterise properly. 

7 minutes ago, mrsmelly said:

Its not been cold enough for long enough so far to do any damage. If you are realy concerned pm me and I can nip down and sort it for you.

That's incredibly kind. Thank you. I'll hang on till Weds. 

  • Greenie 1
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I think you'll probably be ok too, but for future reference at a bare minimum you should switch off the pump, isolate the tank and open a couple of taps (one hot and one cold) to relieve the pressure in the system.

 

You say that you isolated the tank but did you also switch off the pump or isolate the 12v system? A freshwater pump with a pressure switch that kicks in won't switch itself off if there's no water supply.

Edited by blackrose
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32 minutes ago, blackrose said:

I think you'll probably be ok too, but for future reference at a bare minimum you should switch off the pump, isolate the tank and open a couple of taps (one hot and one cold) to relieve the pressure in the system.

Yes, exactly. This is why I need to go back to the boat. I've been a liveaboard on the boat for five years and don't normally need to winterise as I'm on it. I thought I'd need to drain the whole water tank to empty the pipes properly and didn't fancy doing that when I left it as I expected to be back and need water. I've read since that I can just drain the tank a bit and isolate it before opening all the taps. 

32 minutes ago, blackrose said:

You say that you isolated the tank but did you also switch off the pump or isolate the 12v system? A freshwater pump with a pressure switch that kicks in won't switch itself off if there's no water supply.

Yes, always switch absolutely everything off apart from the bilge pump. 

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2 hours ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Plastic body water pumps hate being frozen, they leak afterwards. 

 

Pipes down on the floor should be fine, the water under the ice is at 4 degrees C. Its stuff higher up like calorifier, gas water heater, shower valve, basin and sink pipes &  radiators  if they have no antifreeze in the water.

As do shower mixers, again normally high on an external wall, as for gas water heaters

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25 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

I missed that then cause I read the first line and jumped in with both feet.

Splosh.

 

 

  I think that the shower valves with plastic innards stand no chance in a freeze, I seem to have replaced lots over the years.  The Grohe ones seem to survive best. No plastic parts.

 

 

Edited by Tracy D'arth
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Any thermostatic valve, like showers and blending valves are prone to burst if frozen because they have non return valves in both hot and cold supplies. This prevents the water moving back into the pipes when it expands to freezing point.

It is important to note that you will not always empty the cold side of the valve by simply draining off at the outlet, you need to open up the cold feed connection.

 

Leaving as many taps as possible open reduced the risks, but you need to get as much water out of pipes as possible as well.

 

Gas water heaters freeze very quickly due to being higher up away from the relatively warmer bilge and the open flue on the roof allows freezing air directly into the heat exchanger.

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