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Gas Furnace or Boiler


My hot water tank is frozen. all of the pressure was out of the system but it feels like it is pretty full. How much damage can occur in a frozen tank ?
Do you think I will have to replace the elements ? It is at my vacation house in upstate NY, I just discovered it over the weekend I left the valve at the bottom open with a hose attached to direct the water as it thaws.


Dear Jonny:

A couple of thoughts here.

First, when water freezes, it expands and exerts a tremendous amount of force. The risk with your frozen hot water tank will be that the tank itself may have splits at its seams, or you could have leaks at pipe connections, split in the pipes coming into or out of your tank, or damaged pipe valves around the unit. You will find this out when you turn your system back on, and should be ready to shut off your main water supply valve immediately if you have a problem. In other words, you will want to know where this main shutoff valve is, and be sure there is nothing blocking it if you have to get at it quickly.

The second thought is that if your hot water tank has frozen, then I'm wondering if there are other parts of your plumbing system which may have also frozen, and have pipes which have burst and will flood your home when the water comes back on. You will want to be very careful turning your water back on, and especially watch the areas which are most prone to pipes freezing, such as where water pipes travel through exterior walls (such as behind sinks). And as mentioned above, you will want to be ready to shut off your water supply quickly, if you have a problem.

If you suspect that you have frozen pipes, then you can read about how to thaw them in our online Maintenance Library on the plumbing page at:

Hope this is helpful.

Gas Furnace or Boiler