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  • Crazy Pipe Thawing Question

    Ok let start by saying I'm a female. I am divorced and I some times need to figure things out myself or try and go the cheap route. You probably will also get quite a laugh out of this question. Also I know nothing about this not about amps or volts for that matter electric or grounding. Well here it goes. All my pipes for my heat are frozen. I didnt even hear about thawing machines till today. Can I use a battery charger to thaw my pipes. I have one that has diffrent amps or volt ratings. Like 6 volt 12 volt and start boost or something like that. Is this something that I can get to work to thaw my pipes? I have already spotted a burts on the upper level of my home. Have my pipes already done what there are going to do? Or does the bursting happen when it get frozen. Or is there something I should know to maybe save myself for more pipes bursting or from water damage. I have so far draind my broiler and my pump. I have a well. Oh ya and turned the braker off in control panel. I also have bleeders at each ends of my pipes. and if I cant use a battery charger do you have any cheap suggestions on how I go about this. PLEASE. you all can stop laughing at me now. Thank You, Glad I could make your day. Sherry

  • #2
    Well, I don't know much about boiler systems but it sounds like you did the right things to shut it down. As far as the batt charger, I don't think that would be a good idea. Somebody else might know of a MacGyver way of doin it but don't count on it. They do make what they call a heat tape that you wrap around the main line coming in to your home that plugs into a regular outlet. You said you have spotted a burst line so if you put a heat tape or figure out some way of deicing the line then you will need to fix or patch the line that is busted or it will leak everywhere...for a quick fix they make a patch that is basically two pcs of metal with rubber inside and you bolt on. Both the heat tape and strap patch should be available at hardware stores, assuming you are not stranded at home...Hopefully u have an alternate source of heat such as a fireplace or electric heater...Please don't try to heat with something that burns gas because of the carbon monoxide. I have heard of people in situations like this draggin the bbq grill inside,to heat a room not thinking about carbon monoxide poisoning....
    Hobart 140 Victor O/A 450series Milwaukee sawzall Drill press Chinese sandblaster
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    • #3
      Pipe thawing with electric current is only for pipes in ground to contain hazards. It takes more amps than what a battery charger can supply.

      The cheap way to thaw your pipes is wait for warm weather. Only other way is to heat your house. Consult local experts.

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      • #4
        Back in the early 90's my parents pipes froze and the plumber came with what looked like a small buzz box welder to thaw the pipes. It was designed for thawing pipes btw....Jim
        Lincoln 255 Mig
        Hobart Stickmate AC/DC
        Miller AEAD 200LE
        Cutmaster 81

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        • #5
          Couple of Questions:
          Where are you located (to determine if any warmer weather is likely)?

          Apparently the house sits un-used and un-heated, so do you need to get it "up and running" now, or just do some damage control until its placed back into service?

          (It won't help much to thaw the pipes now if the house is going to continue to sit unheated)

          You don't say how large a house it is (an old huge, three story?). That will make a difference for my suggestion to just heat the blazes out of it with electric space heaters (one in every room, all cabinet doors open win Kitchen and Bath)...all faucets open.

          Are your entry pipes from the well under a concrete slab (sorry about that if they are!!)....Tell us a little more...but HEAT IS YOUR FRIEND! Heat good...Cold bad! We'll keep our fingers crossed for you that any breaks are easily accessible.
          Did the toilet freeze? (Might have another 'surprise" there). I've also used heat lamps and heat guns to pretty good effect
          "Good Enough Never Is"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by sherrybsure View Post
            Ok let start by saying I'm a female. I am divorced and I some times need to figure things out myself or try and go the cheap route. You probably will also get quite a laugh out of this question. Also I know nothing about this not about amps or volts for that matter electric or grounding. Well here it goes. All my pipes for my heat are frozen. I didnt even hear about thawing machines till today. Can I use a battery charger to thaw my pipes. I have one that has diffrent amps or volt ratings. Like 6 volt 12 volt and start boost or something like that. Is this something that I can get to work to thaw my pipes? I have already spotted a burts on the upper level of my home. Have my pipes already done what there are going to do? Or does the bursting happen when it get frozen. Or is there something I should know to maybe save myself for more pipes bursting or from water damage. I have so far draind my broiler and my pump. I have a well. Oh ya and turned the braker off in control panel. I also have bleeders at each ends of my pipes. and if I cant use a battery charger do you have any cheap suggestions on how I go about this. PLEASE. you all can stop laughing at me now. Thank You, Glad I could make your day. Sherry
            hi sherry, no a battery charger wont work you will just short it out, make sure your boiler is switched off if it is drained or you could totally destroy it. ok back to the pipes you will probably only find out what the damage is when the pipes are starting to thaw out as ice expands it can force joints open etc, you might want to find your main water valve that turns the water off coming into your home in case of emergancy, (we have a valve in our kitchen) to thaw the pipes you could use a small electric fan heater if you have one available, not knowing what type of heating system you have it may also help to turn valves of on radiators to stop that water draining out if pipes are damaged, if you have a seperate header tank for your heating system in a loft area lift the ball valve and tie it up so it does not let any more water in to system, unfortunatly if you have no experiance with plumping you will need to call a plumber to repare the pipe work and to bleed the system through after repaires and ask him to add a anti freeze sollution to the system to stop it happening again, hope this is of little help and good luck
            Last edited by tinbasheruk; 01-31-2009, 05:32 PM. Reason: in the uk we use the term ball **** for ball valve

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            • #7
              Have my pipes already done what there are going to do? Or does the bursting happen when it get frozen. Or is there something I should know to maybe save myself for more pipes bursting or from water damage.
              Hopefully it's a light freeze and there are only frozen spots, plugs. The longer it stays frozen, the more the ice swells and the worse the bulging and or/splitting. Unfortunately you won't know how much of this has occurred untill it is thawed.

              Stop the extended freezing now by some sort of alternative heating in the house, even if it is only a few degrees increase. Eliminate any pressurization if possible. Once thawed, recharge the system slowly and start looking for damages. Be prepared to shut things down again quickly.

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              • #8
                At bottom side of banner for this web site there is a line of links starting with profile, and ending with Feedback/Help. In between is Search which you should click on then enter frozen pipes or thawing pipes. Leave show threads dot in circle and click on go or use your key board enter key. This should show all Hobart Weld Talk threads on this subject.

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                • #9
                  Crazy pipe thawing question

                  Ok I live in Minnesota, Rush City 50 miles north from the cities. Yes I do live there I was in the hospital and they didnt deliver my propane on time and I didnt know that. So everything froze. I dont think my outside pipes are froze they are plastic pipes going outside I called my Ex and he said no they have never froze before. Yes my toilets are frozen to. I got there in time to drain my broiler, and shut the power off on it. Also shut my pump off. I have a upstairs and main floor and basement. I cant even turn my faucets on there froze. Some one said start the broiler to get the water flowing but if I do that, I will have water every where. Those temperary things sounded like a good idea. If not expensive. So everything and I mean everything is frozen. Even my snow globe. Thanks for the luck I'm going to need it. So any suggestions of any sort will help
                  Thanks, Sherry

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                  • #10
                    Depending on the temperatures, go get a bag of salt and dump a bunch in the toilet bowls, and the traps of the sinks (drains). The salt will help melt the ice, and do it slowly, especially if it's not frozen solid.

                    Now, your propane, is it a setup where you have to call and order a delivery, or do they do it as scheduled to keep you from running out? Especially if the later, but even the former, I would call them, and tell them what happened, they may or may not be partly responsible depending on the terms of the delivery agreement. They will also know local plumbers that could come to help you out.

                    Regardless, you're going to have a mess....like said earlier, you need to get heat into the house somehow, get things thawed out, then it will be damage repair, to fix any damaged pipes (supply, drain, and your heat pipes for the boiler) fixtures, etc. It also wouldn't hurt to check all the pipes throughout, there could be bulges that are okay now, but will let go once the pressure is applied to them.

                    Wish we could give you better news, but that's about as good as it gets.

                    Anyone in the Rush City area on here that is good with plumbing and want to help out?

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                    • #11
                      This is what I would do, I would fix the pipes that are cracked before you thaw them out to minimize water damage. I also would call the propane company and talk to them about the problem because of their late delivery cause damage to your home their insurance might cover it, also I would call your home insurance carrier and see if theres coverage on your insurance policy.

                      Steve
                      Dont force it, use a BIGGER hammer.

                      Linde VI-252C and Linde wire feeder.
                      Hobart Cyberwave 300c.
                      HH 140.
                      Miller Big 40.
                      Lincoln SAE 200J.
                      Hobart GR-303.
                      Lincoln tombstone welder.

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                      • #12
                        Unfortunately in your location you will have to get temporary heat to the whole house to make repairs. Many pipes will be concealed in walls. Until constant heat is provided repairs are very difficult to make.

                        Fix the breaks that can be seen then pump air into piping to find more leaks,do not use more than 50 psi.

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                        • #13
                          O.K. Sherry, you've already done the first thing I was going to suggest-state your location. From what I've seen on this site everyone is very helpful, although some useful criticism can be thrown out. Maybe, just maybe, someone from this forum in your area can offer to lend a hand in this matter. Check my location, way down in S. GA. so I'm not familiar with these boiler thingys and frozen pipes, although sometimes in the summer I would gladly trade weather with you. I'm sure it's a rough going to get all of this mess straight but keep your wits about you and keep going. Good Luck. Thanks, David

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                          • #14
                            Sherry,
                            I really feel sorry for your predicament and wish I lived close enough to help.
                            But I think what you need most is a husband. Then you could tell him to get his sorry butt out there and fix the pipes.

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                            • #15
                              I worked on a 3 story house once that had all the pipes frozen.
                              EVERY horizontal pipe was split and EVERY vertical pipe was OK. Had to rip open the walls to replace the horizontal runs.
                              Gordie -- "I believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

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