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Hello! So, this is not really a washer repair question, but a question hoping to avoid the need for repair.

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Old 01-08-2015, 11:47 AM
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Question Ok to run washer without water?
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Hello! So, this is not really a washer repair question, but a question hoping to avoid the need for repair.

Our laundry room was added off the kitchen in the 1950's. For some reason, the hot water pipe runs through the cold crawl space under the kitchen. Every year, if we don't run the laundry tub tap enough, the hot water freezes. The stops hot water to the tub and the washer. Thankfully, knock on wood, the pipe has always eventually thawed are resumed normal duty.

Our household setup has changed and our old method of leaving the tub tap wide open, with the heaters going, etc., and listening out for the water to start again won't work as no one is home during the day anymore.

I had an idea I could set the washer to start a hot cycle and, if the water starts flowing again, the washer would fill and then stop when the washer was full! But without water flowing, the washer makes a kind of buzzing humming noise, like it is straining to find water.

Would leaving the "tap" on the washer open be ok? Or would that be damaging to the washer to sit for hours trying to get water?

Yes, I know we should avoid the freezing pipes in the first place, but that's for another day!

Hope this makes sense.

Thanks much.

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Old 01-08-2015, 05:35 PM
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Actually thanks for one of the more interesting questions. However having said that I have no idea of whether or not what you want to do will damage the machine. If you do this the timer is going to send current to the valve assembly to hold it open, so I think that over time this will cause a problem, but that is just an educated(?) guess.

I understand why you want the water to be on, so that the pipe will thaw faster but I think your best bet is just to let the heater thaw the pipe without the extra help from the washer.
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Old 01-09-2015, 05:17 AM
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Yes, it's that current keeping the valve ("tap" as I called it) open that I worried about. The hot line runs under the kitchen floor through a tiny crawl space-- not really accessible so, there is not much I can do to help it. No idea why they did it that way.

We're not going to get up into the 20's until late next week. In the past, that has been the thaw point for this line. I'm keeping the laundry tub tap wide open whenever we are home, and dripping the next nearest hot tap (in the kitchen). I just hope this extended freeze turns out as happily as the shorter times in the past! (Knock on wood, again, and again!)

Thanks.
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Old 01-09-2015, 06:14 AM
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Well good luck but as I am sure you know, you are playing a very risky game here because if the line does break you are going to have a massive repair cost.

I suggest you allow a trickle of hot water to run when the temperature gets to the level of freezing the pipes. Yes this will increase your energy bill but that cost will pale in comparison to the cost and disruption from a water line break. You may have more than one freeze point, and even after you fix one break there may be another later on. We have the same problem in the house we current inhabit, and have to leave a trickle flow on certain days to prevent disaster.

Hope it all turns out okay.
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Old 01-09-2015, 01:04 PM
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Yes, we normally start the dripping at the start of the season. I forgot, however, when the temps get below 10-ish, we need to set it to drip more. Fingers crossed and knock on wood, things thaw without incident.

Thanks.
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Old 01-11-2015, 09:34 AM
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One other thing to consider is that when the pipe thaws, that doesn't mean ALL the ice in the pipe has melted. All that means is that the ice contacting the pipe itself has thawed, and a chunk of ice is flowing down your pipe. Getting ice chunks in the fill valve of your machine could cause problems. I would address the freezing pipe issue first. Pipe insulation is cheap. You could even get pool noodles (I almost typed "poop"), slit them lengthwise and use them. Then you'll have pipe insulation in fashion colors! But seriously, that's an issue that should have your immediate attention.

If money is an issue, wadded up newspaper makes good insulation as well. It's not as safe as actual insulation, but it would work.
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:58 AM
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On Sunday evening I was repotting a plant in the kitchen sink. As I tapped the pot on the side of the sink, I heard a whoosh. The laundry room hot water started running full blast! It was probably coincidence, but if it ever happens again, I'll try pounding (gently) on the kitchen sink.

Now the laundry tap is set to a wasteful medium drip. I need to hire a skinny handyman to crawl into the narrow space under the kitchen and put some heater tape on the pipe.

Thank for your suggestions and sympathy!
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Old 01-15-2015, 01:19 PM
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Great, and good luck in finding your plumber.
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