No hot water from taps - need some advice!

25 Jan 2007
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United Kingdom

Woke up this morning to find no hot water coming from the taps in my kitchen and bathroom. Cold taps work fine - plenty of pressure etc. Central heating working fine.

Investigating I found that the hot water tank is warm as are some pipes going in/out of it. A google search led me to believe that it was an airlock so I tried fixing the issue using the cold water pressure into the hot tap line. It seemed to work a little but no real improvement.

Investigated further - up into loft. Found that the header tank was half-full and icing up! The main feed (I'm guessing here - it's the one with the float-cock) seemed really cold. With the weather we've been having the loft was really cold so I've a work lamp and halogen heater warming it up now.

Water is starting to dribble through the hot tap a little more, but the cold tank is still not filling up.

What else could I do? I'm just trying to go through some simple steps before I call out a plumber - I really don't have the spare cash to pay for call out fees at the moment!

Appreciate any help!!!
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If the large plastic tank is empty then the cold water main to it is frozen , if there is water in the tank the pipe leaving the bottom of the plastic tank is frozen , direct your light / heat lamp on that pipe
The header tank is about half full, it had a thin film of ice on it.

The ballcock lever was slightly stiff to move but now moves freely. There was some icing around the outlet of the valve. I've been directing heat towards this pipe for a little while - I didn't want to rush it though and risk causing a pipe to rupture through rapid expansion.

Hopefully I can get it free'd up and working, then insulate it properly. It's obviously not protected well enough!
Pipe has now unfrozen and all is good!

I was surprised by how cold it got - the expansion tank had about 1/2" of ice! Guess I'll be spending the rest of the day researching the best way to insult everything!!
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Its usually recommended that insulation is draped over the top of the tank lids, leaving the bottoms clear for any residual heat rising from the ceilings below.
If you have real issues with temperature, one of those tube heaters will keep the frost at bay and they don't cost much to run - about the same as a light bulb.
Use the usual foam insulation on the pipe runs though, and don't forget the expansion pipe that curves over the top of the tank.
John :)

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