Frozen water pipe


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Old 02-21-06, 11:21 AM
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Frozen water pipe

We have an internal heat trace in our water line from the lake to the house. We did not have a problem until last weekend when the water stopped running. We think we have a stretch of heat trace that has been damaged, thus a section of the pipe is frozen.

Last year we had the same problem so we had a plumber attach a pipe to our water system that can be opened and liquids poured down the pipe. Last year there was this supposedly great product called Fire Ice that was used to thaw frozen pipes. Needless to say it did not. But we still have the connection.

Question - can we pour either hot water or antifreeze down the pipe to see if that will thaw out that section of pipe? Will the antifreeze damage our system? We don't use the water to drink just for dishes, showers, etc. Or any other ideas to get this working again. We have at least 2 months before thaw and I sure hate hauling in buckets of water. Also the pipe is not accessible to install another heat trace. We will have to wait for the ice to leave and then replace the heat trace.

thanks.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 11:49 AM
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I would not advise pouring any chemical down the pipe. Even for dishes, a chemical may do damage to any surface it contacts. The problem with frozen pipes is that they expand when thawed. This can cause the line to split. What is the material the pipe is made of? A heavy brine mixture MAY thaw it. About a pound of salt in a gallon of water. Make sure to dissolve the salt before pouring it into the line. Good luck.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 11:52 AM
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Welcome, Fly Boy. Sorry to hear that you are getting extra exercise.


Can we pour either hot water or antifreeze down the pipe to see if that will thaw out that section of pipe?
Hot water is useless.
Antifreeze isn't very powerful. How about methanol?

Without circulation and the ability to drain the water, there is not a lot you can do.
If you could pump out the liquid water and replace it with something else (glycol or methanol), that would work.


> Will the antifreeze damage our system?
No, but it might leave an odor. Don't use automotive antifreeze, of course.


> We have at least 2 months before thaw
How do you know that the pipe did not burst?
 
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Old 02-21-06, 12:07 PM
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Never thought about Methanol or the salt mixture.

We walked the line to see if we could see or hear anything in the line. Nothing coming up out of the snow and no gurgling noises. Now the section might just be in the water but I think we would still get some kind of noise or action when the pump is turned on. The line is the heavy black PVC, I believe it is the 2 inch size.

Forgot to mention that the pump is in the lake and a pressure tank in the house. We did a quick check of the electrical but nothing different was noted.

So before thinking the worst we will try the other liquid methods first. When and if it starts running we will have no problem in clearing out the line. Unfortunately everything goes into a holding tank but it just got emptied so we have lots of room to clear out the line.

Cross my fingers and toes.
 
 

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