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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    1

    Question frozen water main

    I live in upstate NY - have been experiencing below 10 temps - we live in a double wide with slab construction
    we have a drilled well and now have a frozen (PVC) main (underground) coming from the well to the house
    pvc pipe from main to house has working heat wrap - our plumber is scratching his head as are many friends
    How do you defrost the line ? I don't think we can wait until spring thaw

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    3,123

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Montreal Canada
    Posts
    279

    Default Re: frozen water main

    In Canada when Plastic pipes were allowed for water service entrances(Mains) we ran into the same problem.when copper pipes were used we passed electric current through the pipes witch then heated the water inside and thawed out the line. But now that people are using plastic the pipe won't conduct electricity. What we came up with was that if you install a plastic water service pipe install next to it a large copper ground wire. But the best is to use type K copper for the entance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,794

    Default Re: frozen water main

    Houston, the frozen pipe is underground. Standard methods of thawing won't help.

    Might need to use something like this instead:

    http://www.groundspecialties.com/gro...aw_unit_3.html

    or this:

    http://www.crestonnewsadvertiser.com...avemachine.txt
    Last edited by Fencepost; 01-28-2014 at 02:19 AM.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,478

    Default Re: frozen water main

    I can't imagine living in a trailer in Upstate NY during the wintertime- the frost line up there is halfway to China and the snow-load is like having a locomotive parked on the roof! (OK, I'm exaggerating a bit but this is a worst-case scenario compared to anything we normally see). My old friend Don had to be 'iced' for 3 months after his funeral in Utica because in the winter, the ground is frozen so hard and so deep that only explosives can move it. A backhoe hardly dents it. IIRC, the frost line for foundations was a full 9 ft down (or so I was told). Glad I live in the South!

    I'm stumped for a fix, but when the summer thaw occurs you might consider redoing the line from the well to the house and encasing it inside of a larger pipe so that if needed, you can direct warm air through it to keep it from freezing or so that you can thaw it out when it does freeze. If you go this route, don't insulate the inner pipe so that the applied heat can reach it. Heat tape for the run might help, but it doesn't last forever so it alone isn't really a permanent solution because you'd have to dig the line up to repair it when it dies. If the set-up is new then you may have legal recourse if the pipe wasn't set to the required depth, but that is little solace when summer is months away and you're thirsty now....

    Phil

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    South*East
    Posts
    1,243

    Default Re: frozen water main

    There is a way to thaw the line but it takes time and can be a bit messy. Disconnect the line on one end. Then using a small line (3/8" pex will do) connect it to a utility pump with the other end in a bucket of warm water. Work the pex down into the frozen line with the pump running. The warm water will thaw the frozen line out as you work it down the line.
    John

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