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Thread: Frozen Pipes

  1. #1
    skennerson is offline Junior Member
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    Frozen Pipes

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Colorado

    Before departing for Christmas vacation in December, 2009, we turned on the water to a contiuous flow and placed a space heater in the bathroom as we were directed by our landlord. While we were gone, the pipes (on an uninsulated wall with no heat tape or insulation wrap) burst and flooded our rental.

    We were without a place to stay for 10 days during the repair and, when we came back, even heating the cabin to 55 degrees, the pipes froze on two more occasions. Finallly, the landlord had her handyman install heat tape and insulation wrap on the pipes and, as long as we run BOTH the hot and cold water, there is no problem.

    In addition, the carpet was not cleaned and is horribly stained and reeks of mildew.

    Now she wants us to pay for the repair, citing that it was our fault for not heating the cabin. (She never instructed us to heat the entire place, she only asked that we run the water and the space heater and, as I mentioned, even heating the entire place didn't stop the pipes from freezing.)

    What is our recourse?

    Thanks!
  2. #2
    BL
    BL is offline Senior Member
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    Were they the same pipes ?

    What's the story , other than being 55 % s ?
  3. #3
    skennerson is offline Junior Member
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    Frozen Pipes

    Yes, they were the same pipes. Our LL had told us that, if we were to leave town to leave the cold water running in the kitchen and bathroom and place a space heater in the bathroom. Our primary heat is a woodburning stove and there is a propane space heater in the bedroom (a room away from the pipes that froze).

    We ran the water continuously after the initial episode and kept the cabin temp above 55 and the same pipes froze again - thankfully they didn't break.

    Now that the LL has wrapped the pipes with heat tape and foam insulation, we haven't had a problem but she feels that we are responsible for the initial breakage. My insurance co says no, that it was a structural/mechanical issue as the pipes were on an outside, uninsulated wall.
  4. #4
    Mrs. D is offline Member
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    If you were to leave the bedroom heater on, how warm would that keep the bathroom?
  5. #5
    skennerson is offline Junior Member
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    Frozen Pipes

    Doesn't do anything... heat doesn't turn corners very well and we had a space heater in there anyway running 24/7... in addition, when we kept the cabin at 55+ they still froze.
  6. #6
    BL
    BL is offline Senior Member
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    I'm with the Ins. Co.

    Kindly decline to pay because .

    1 ) It was a structural problem per your Ins. Co.

    2 ) It was not neglect on your part , but the part of the LL .

    3 ) The issue has been remedied by the LL as should have been in the first place .
  7. #7
    Mrs. D is offline Member
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    I agree w/BL and add...the LL gave you no way to keep the house at a warm enough temperature when away. Can't keep the woodburner going, and the propane heater doesn't pump out enough heat for the whole house. You did what you could with a space heater and running water, but it didn't work. The LL should have taken the steps she now has a long time ago, or provided central heating, or insulated better (most likely all of the above).
  8. #8
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    Do your self a favor learn from your city/county govt center if any state or local law has addressed insulation in rental housing , and what year it was written into law. That alone could be a huge thing in your favor. If a local or state law said the exterior walls , attic spaces , crawl spaces were supposed to have x amount of insulation installed by ( date ) including OLDER structures your LLs claim would look even worse for them if they decided to attempt to keep funds from your deposit unfairly at the time your rental relationship is ended.
  9. #9
    MIRAKALES is offline Senior Member
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    It is always good practice to shut-off the main water source (and drain the faucets) with an extended absence. There is no possibility of flooding without a continuous flow of water. There is no possibility of pipes freezing when no water is present in the pipes.
  10. #10
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    And how does your landlord know that you followed his or her instructions?
  11. #11
    skennerson is offline Junior Member
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    because the heater was still running in the 3" of water! Also... as I stated earlier, when we were HOME I kept it over 55 degrees and THEY STILL FROZE because they were on an outside, uninsulated wall at 10,600 feet in elevation. EVEN with running hot and cold water.
  12. #12
    Searchertwin is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIRAKALES View Post
    It is always good practice to shut-off the main water source (and drain the faucets) with an extended absence. There is no possibility of flooding without a continuous flow of water. There is no possibility of pipes freezing when no water is present in the pipes.
    But you have to add anti-freeze down the drains, and in the stool...
  13. #13
    Searchertwin is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by skennerson View Post
    because the heater was still running in the 3" of water! Also... as I stated earlier, when we were HOME I kept it over 55 degrees and THEY STILL FROZE because they were on an outside, uninsulated wall at 10,600 feet in elevation. EVEN with running hot and cold water.
    That didn't electrocute anyone? Or cause a fire? Knowing this I agree with Alaska LL..I was on your side till I read the 3 inches and heater was still running....
  14. #14
    skennerson is offline Junior Member
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    The bathroom is a step down from the rest of the house... thank goodness... and it is an older heater so the bottom third of the heater has no wiring in it. Thankfully I did not step in the water... I was able to reach across to the wall it was plugged in and pull it. Besides, what a weird thing to say... "I was on your side till I read the 3 inches and heater was still running...." THAT IS WHAT THE LL INSTRUCTED was to leave the heater running... we didn't foresee the 3" of water!
  15. #15
    skennerson is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIRAKALES View Post
    It is always good practice to shut-off the main water source (and drain the faucets) with an extended absence. There is no possibility of flooding without a continuous flow of water. There is no possibility of pipes freezing when no water is present in the pipes.
    The main water does not shut off completely - VERY OLD as this cabin was built in 1880

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