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Situation as described in the question. We have a peer & beam foundation. I already went under the house to check for a possible leak. The bathtub pipes are impossible to get close to, but from about 6-8 feet away I couldn't see any signs of a leak, nor could I hear any water drip or squirt or anything. The hot water pressure on the bathroom sink, which is downstream from the tub, has always been weak but seems normal.

  1. Any ideas on what is likely to cause the lack of hot water for the bathtub?
  2. Should I keep running the hot water trickle, in the bathtub and the bathroom sink? Or should I rather shut off the main and try to drain all pipes?

Unfortunately, I can't access the 5 or so feet of pipes where the problem has to originate from.

Thanks for y'all's advice, Hannes

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  • One of the reasons it might have froze despite being the closest is that it might be the least used lines so the stagnant water was more likely to freeze – redlude97 Feb 16 at 16:49
  • With a house on piers, all water pipes should be well insulated . – blacksmith37 Feb 16 at 16:55
  • @blacksmith37: Most of them have some insulation, the problem is that the rest are hard to access. We live in Austin, TX, though, so addressing this hadn't been on the top of our priority list... – hannesario Feb 16 at 17:02
  • As an aside, if you do end up needing to inspect the 6-8 feet away pipes better than you can currently, I'd recommend getting a borescope -- they've become surprisingly affordable these days, and would be perfect for this. I have this one and it works well: amazon.com/DEPSTECH-Waterproof-Inspection-Megapixels-Smartphone/… – Nate S. Feb 16 at 17:42
  • @NateS. Thanks, it's great to know that's an option! – hannesario Feb 16 at 19:30
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If it's frozen the water will not trickle. It may be PARTIALLY frozen in which case running the water should eventually melt the ice and clear the line. Run it slowly so that you don't dislodge the ice and have it block elsewhere.

Any water that is running in your pipes will be > 32F (0C) and should melt any ice it runs past.

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  • Thanks! Yeah, I've been running it for so long now, and the trickle is so steaming hot, that I can't imagine it wouldn't have melted any potential ice by now. But then, what else could be causing the continuing lack of water coming through?? – hannesario Feb 16 at 16:58
  • Is this the only tap you have open, others are closed? Only a trickle out of one tap is one of three things, leak in pipe, blockage in pipe, or other pipes/taps are open and pressure has dropped to that tap. – crip659 Feb 16 at 17:44
  • @crip659 I've closed and opened the other taps open without noticing much difference, certainly not account for the issue. After four years without pressure issues in the bathtub pipe, now, over night (and a record cold snow storm night at that), there's only a tiny stream of hot water coming through. – hannesario Feb 16 at 19:26
  • Sounds like a leak. Insulation will dampen the sound of water, but check the shutoff valves. Is this only the hot water tap or is the cold water the same? – crip659 Feb 16 at 19:41
  • Sorry, meant to say "not enough to account for the issue." It's only the hot water tap, cold water is fine. – hannesario Feb 16 at 23:06

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