Thawing frozen water supply line?

Discussion in 'Building Construction' started by Mark, Jan 31, 2004.

  1. Mark

    Mark Guest

    My cousin just arrived at his family's vacation home in Maine,
    and discovered that there is no water. They leave the
    main supply valve shut off in the winter, and apparently
    the supply line has frozen somewhere outside the house.
    (It has been very cold in the northeast for some time.)

    Any tricks for getting it unfrozen? He would really like
    to take a hot shower and flush the toilet. :-o

    Thanks
    -Mark
    Mark, Jan 31, 2004
    #1
  2. Mark

    Dale Farmer Guest

    Mark wrote:

    > My cousin just arrived at his family's vacation home in Maine,
    > and discovered that there is no water. They leave the
    > main supply valve shut off in the winter, and apparently
    > the supply line has frozen somewhere outside the house.
    > (It has been very cold in the northeast for some time.)
    >
    > Any tricks for getting it unfrozen? He would really like
    > to take a hot shower and flush the toilet. :-o
    >
    > Thanks
    > -Mark


    Turn on the heat in the house. wrap some electrical pipe
    heating tape around the water line from where it emerges
    from the ground and well past the shutoff valve. Pray.
    This spring, get a contractor in to dig up the old pipe,
    and bury a new pipe, several feet deeper. If you can't
    afford that, build up the soil depth over the path that the
    pipe takes underground.

    --Dale
    Dale Farmer, Jan 31, 2004
    #2
  3. Mark

    Mark Guest

    "Dale Farmer" <> wrote:

    > Turn on the heat in the house. wrap some electrical pipe
    > heating tape around the water line from where it emerges
    > from the ground and well past the shutoff valve. Pray.


    Well, they got through to the Water Dept, and they're
    sending someone out for a late-night call. Hopefully
    they'll be able to take care of it.
    Mark, Jan 31, 2004
    #3
  4. Mark

    Richard Guest

    Mark wrote:

    > My cousin just arrived at his family's vacation home in Maine,
    > and discovered that there is no water. They leave the
    > main supply valve shut off in the winter, and apparently
    > the supply line has frozen somewhere outside the house.
    > (It has been very cold in the northeast for some time.)


    > Any tricks for getting it unfrozen? He would really like
    > to take a hot shower and flush the toilet. :-o


    > Thanks
    > -Mark


    There is a product called "liquid fire" which comes in a red bottle.
    It will take a few hours to "melt" the ice but it will do the job nicely.
    Since it is hydro sulfuric acid basically, you have to be careful where you
    put it in the line.
    The fumes will eat away any metal like that found in your bathtub drain line
    then you'll have to replace that as well.
    Since it is melting a rather large chunk of ice, the water needs somewhere
    to go so it comes back out where you started.

    You should be able to find it a good hardware store.
    Richard, Jan 31, 2004
    #4
  5. Mark

    Mark Guest

    "Richard" <anonymous@127.000> wrote:

    > There is a product called "liquid fire" which comes in a red bottle.
    > It will take a few hours to "melt" the ice but it will do the job nicely.
    > Since it is hydro sulfuric acid basically, you have to be careful where

    you
    > put it in the line.
    > The fumes will eat away any metal like that found in your bathtub drain

    line
    > then you'll have to replace that as well.


    Hmm. . .I'm not sure that sounds like the optimal solution.
    But thanks for the suggestion.

    I wonder whether one could snake a heated probe back down the line,
    and melt the ice?
    Mark, Jan 31, 2004
    #5
  6. Mark

    Chas Hurst Guest

    "Mark" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > "Richard" <anonymous@127.000> wrote:
    >
    > > There is a product called "liquid fire" which comes in a red bottle.
    > > It will take a few hours to "melt" the ice but it will do the job

    nicely.
    > > Since it is hydro sulfuric acid basically, you have to be careful where

    > you
    > > put it in the line.
    > > The fumes will eat away any metal like that found in your bathtub drain

    > line
    > > then you'll have to replace that as well.

    >
    > Hmm. . .I'm not sure that sounds like the optimal solution.
    > But thanks for the suggestion.
    >
    > I wonder whether one could snake a heated probe back down the line,
    > and melt the ice?
    >

    If the frozen pipe is steel, an arc welder can be used to heat it. Access to
    both ends of the pipe is required.

    Chas Hurst
    Chas Hurst, Jan 31, 2004
    #6
  7. Mark

    Noozer Guest

    > > > There is a product called "liquid fire" which comes in a red bottle.
    > > > It will take a few hours to "melt" the ice but it will do the job

    > nicely.
    > > > Since it is hydro sulfuric acid basically, you have to be careful

    where
    > > you
    > > > put it in the line.
    > > > The fumes will eat away any metal like that found in your bathtub

    drain
    > > line
    > > > then you'll have to replace that as well.

    > >
    > > Hmm. . .I'm not sure that sounds like the optimal solution.
    > > But thanks for the suggestion.
    > >
    > > I wonder whether one could snake a heated probe back down the line,
    > > and melt the ice?
    > >

    > If the frozen pipe is steel, an arc welder can be used to heat it. Access

    to
    > both ends of the pipe is required.


    Just wondering if there is a shutoff valve in the front lawn. If the line is
    all metal, couldn't this be used as one end of the line to heat
    electrically???
    Noozer, Jan 31, 2004
    #7
  8. - Chas Hurst -
    > If the frozen pipe is steel, an arc welder can be used to heat it.

    Access to
    > both ends of the pipe is required.


    - Nehmo -
    My pipes aren't frozen right now, but I'm curious how unthawing is done
    with a welder. If you just attach it directly, the circuit breaker on
    the welder would trip - at least on the welders I've used.

    --
    *********************
    * Nehmo Sergheyev *
    *********************
    Nehmo Sergheyev, Jan 31, 2004
    #8
  9. Mark

    Chas Hurst Guest

    "Nehmo Sergheyev" <> wrote in message
    news:BdVSb.8772$-kc.rr.com...
    > - Chas Hurst -
    > > If the frozen pipe is steel, an arc welder can be used to heat it.

    > Access to
    > > both ends of the pipe is required.

    >
    > - Nehmo -
    > My pipes aren't frozen right now, but I'm curious how unthawing is done
    > with a welder. If you just attach it directly, the circuit breaker on
    > the welder would trip - at least on the welders I've used.
    >


    I'm short on the details. But I have seen it done, and I've read it
    mentioned elsewhere.
    I would hook up at the lowest amp setting and increase until, well,
    something happened.
    I don't know why the breaker would trip. Your electrode is a steel rod 10"
    or so.
    Chas Hurst, Jan 31, 2004
    #9
  10. Mark

    Chas Hurst Guest

    "Noozer" <postmaster@127.0.0.1> wrote in message
    news:weUSb.351011$X%5.350946@pd7tw2no...
    >
    > > If the frozen pipe is steel, an arc welder can be used to heat it.

    Access
    > to
    > > both ends of the pipe is required.

    >
    > Just wondering if there is a shutoff valve in the front lawn. If the line

    is
    > all metal, couldn't this be used as one end of the line to heat
    > electrically???
    >

    I know that it has worked in other situations. I would certainly give it a
    try. Call an experienced plumber or welder, maybe they can help.
    Chas Hurst, Jan 31, 2004
    #10
  11. - Chas Hurst -
    > I'm short on the details. But I have seen it done, and I've read it
    > mentioned elsewhere.
    > I would hook up at the lowest amp setting and increase until, well,
    > something happened.
    > I don't know why the breaker would trip. Your electrode is a steel rod

    10"
    > or so.


    - Nehmo -
    I just discovered it's a pretty well discussed topic.
    NG Search for welder + thaw + pipes:
    http://snipurl.com/47e8


    *********************
    * Nehmo Sergheyev *
    *********************
    Nehmo Sergheyev, Jan 31, 2004
    #11
  12. - Mark -
    > I wonder whether one could snake a heated probe back down the line,
    > and melt the ice?


    - Nehmo -
    If you already have running water, preferably hot, then you could snake
    a small tube back up the frozen pipe, and as long as the path is
    straight enough, it should work. You probably could even use hot air
    with this method.

    I suppose you could also send up some kind of small waterproofed
    electric heater. I'm not sure what you'd use to make one. And again, the
    pipe would have to be relatively straight.


    --
    *********************
    * Nehmo Sergheyev *
    *********************
    Nehmo Sergheyev, Jan 31, 2004
    #12
  13. Mark

    Richard Guest

    Mark wrote:


    > "Richard" <anonymous@127.000> wrote:


    >> There is a product called "liquid fire" which comes in a red bottle.
    >> It will take a few hours to "melt" the ice but it will do the job
    >> nicely. Since it is hydro sulfuric acid basically, you have to be
    >>careful where

    > you
    >> put it in the line.
    >> The fumes will eat away any metal like that found in your bathtub drain

    > line
    >> then you'll have to replace that as well.


    > Hmm. . .I'm not sure that sounds like the optimal solution.
    > But thanks for the suggestion.


    > I wonder whether one could snake a heated probe back down the line,
    > and melt the ice?


    Possibly, but that method would take an extremely long time.

    One thing you might try is using a portable kerosene 30,000 btu heater [or
    better] on the line where it comes in to the house. The round style like
    they use at football games. Most rental places have them.
    I've had to do that twice on my mobile home pipes. The water was frozen at
    the point of exit from the ground so it took several hours to thaw out.
    Richard, Feb 1, 2004
    #13
  14. "Richard" <anonymous@127.000> wrote in
    news::

    > Mark wrote:
    >
    >
    > > "Richard" <anonymous@127.000> wrote:

    >
    > >> There is a product called "liquid fire" which comes in a red
    > >> bottle. It will take a few hours to "melt" the ice but it will do
    > >> the job nicely. Since it is hydro sulfuric acid basically, you have
    > >> to be
    > >>careful where

    > > you
    > >> put it in the line.
    > >> The fumes will eat away any metal like that found in your bathtub
    > >> drain

    > > line
    > >> then you'll have to replace that as well.

    >
    > > Hmm. . .I'm not sure that sounds like the optimal solution.
    > > But thanks for the suggestion.

    >
    > > I wonder whether one could snake a heated probe back down the line,
    > > and melt the ice?

    >
    > Possibly, but that method would take an extremely long time.
    >
    > One thing you might try is using a portable kerosene 30,000 btu heater
    > [or better] on the line where it comes in to the house. The round
    > style like they use at football games. Most rental places have them.
    > I've had to do that twice on my mobile home pipes. The water was
    > frozen at the point of exit from the ground so it took several hours
    > to thaw out.
    >
    >
    >


    Just curious...but, I understand that many factors play a part in getting
    a pipe frozen / unfrozen...also, I believe that the unique features built
    into a RedyTemp could / might have prevented this problem early on...a
    RedyTemp viewable at www.RedyTemp.com have prevented this from occuring.
    We've had customers who've utilized their RedyTemp to prevent their pipes
    from freezing. This is accomplished by turning the Adjustable
    Temperature Control dial to its most counter-clockwise position. If the
    climate is colder...simply turning the dial a fraction more clock wise
    until satisfied freeze protection is occuring. Prebuild measures inwhich
    the hot water line is intertwined with pipes where freezing is possible
    could enough preventative measures ever needed.
    Richard Nielsen, Apr 13, 2004
    #14
  15. Mark

    Richard Guest

    Richard Nielsen wrote:

    > "Richard" <anonymous@127.000> wrote in
    > news::


    >> Mark wrote:
    >>
    >>
    > >> "Richard" <anonymous@127.000> wrote:

    >>
    > >>> There is a product called "liquid fire" which comes in a red
    > >>> bottle. It will take a few hours to "melt" the ice but it will do
    > >>> the job nicely. Since it is hydro sulfuric acid basically, you have
    > >>> to be
    > >>>careful where
    > >> you
    > >>> put it in the line.
    > >>> The fumes will eat away any metal like that found in your bathtub
    > >>> drain
    > >> line
    > >>> then you'll have to replace that as well.

    >>
    > >> Hmm. . .I'm not sure that sounds like the optimal solution.
    > >> But thanks for the suggestion.

    >>
    > >> I wonder whether one could snake a heated probe back down the line,
    > >> and melt the ice?

    >>
    >> Possibly, but that method would take an extremely long time.
    >>
    >> One thing you might try is using a portable kerosene 30,000 btu heater
    >> [or better] on the line where it comes in to the house. The round
    >> style like they use at football games. Most rental places have them.
    >> I've had to do that twice on my mobile home pipes. The water was
    >> frozen at the point of exit from the ground so it took several hours
    >> to thaw out.
    >>
    >>
    >>


    > Just curious...but, I understand that many factors play a part in getting
    > a pipe frozen / unfrozen...also, I believe that the unique features built
    > into a RedyTemp could / might have prevented this problem early on...a
    > RedyTemp viewable at www.RedyTemp.com have prevented this from occuring.
    > We've had customers who've utilized their RedyTemp to prevent their pipes
    > from freezing. This is accomplished by turning the Adjustable
    > Temperature Control dial to its most counter-clockwise position. If the
    > climate is colder...simply turning the dial a fraction more clock wise
    > until satisfied freeze protection is occuring. Prebuild measures inwhich
    > the hot water line is intertwined with pipes where freezing is possible
    > could enough preventative measures ever needed.



    All fine and dandy for the sink lines.
    How about for the drain lines for the bath tub and commode?
    That's generally where my problem is because I'm gone during the week and
    don't use the lines enough, standing water or condensation in the pipes wind
    up becoming a headache.
    All it takes is one little ridge to form in the lines and the water can't
    run over it, it gets stopped, then that freezes. Soon you've got a
    completely blocked drain line.

    The problem with the "liquid fire" is, it eats through the metal in the
    drain plug rendering it useless which causes the pipes to seperate.

    I did not see on your website where it is usable for large drain pipes.
    Richard, Apr 13, 2004
    #15
  16. Richard <Anonymous@127.001> wrote:
    > Richard Nielsen wrote:
    >
    > > "Richard" <anonymous@127.000> wrote in
    > > news::

    >
    > >> Mark wrote:
    > >>
    > >>
    > > >> "Richard" <anonymous@127.000> wrote:


    BIG SNIP


    > All fine and dandy for the sink lines.
    > How about for the drain lines for the bath tub and commode?
    > That's generally where my problem is because I'm gone during the week
    > and don't use the lines enough, standing water or condensation in the
    > pipes wind up becoming a headache.


    1.because you live in a CAMPER
    2. Where is that you go? YOU DON"T HAVE A JOB! All you do is troll the ng's
    all day.


    > All it takes is one little ridge to form in the lines and the water
    > can't run over it, it gets stopped, then that freezes. Soon you've
    > got a completely blocked drain line.
    >
    > The problem with the "liquid fire" is, it eats through the metal in
    > the drain plug rendering it useless which causes the pipes to
    > seperate.
    >
    > I did not see on your website where it is usable for large drain
    > pipes.
    Trai' La Trash., Apr 14, 2004
    #16

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