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Old 01-16-2015, 06:26 PM   #1
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Default Help with frozen pipes

Ran some underground 3/4" PVC for pole lights back in September. Did not pull in wire because I was worried about theft, did not have the time, and the pole lights were not on sight at the time. The shipment of the pole lights got delayed until late December and I just received them last week. We went to push a fish tape through some conduits and they are froze up, feels like at the 90's. We tried a heat gun but that dint seem to get down far enough.
We had an unusual thaw in December and I think some water seeped in the pipes and now froze.
Any suggestions? Can you pour some type of chemical in there without damaging the conduits?
I don't want to wait til spring!?


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Old 01-16-2015, 06:37 PM   #2
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In Oklahoma I had the same problem last week..Polar Vortex...I put rubbing alchol<sp> the next one was white vinegar. Those are pretty non toxic and shouldn't hurt the conductors or the conduit.
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Old 01-16-2015, 06:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dash Dingo
Ran some underground 3/4" PVC for pole lights back in September. Did not pull in wire because I was worried about theft, did not have the time, and the pole lights were not on sight at the time. The shipment of the pole lights got delayed until late December and I just received them last week. We went to push a fish tape through some conduits and they are froze up, feels like at the 90's. We tried a heat gun but that dint seem to get down far enough. We had an unusual thaw in December and I think some water seeped in the pipes and now froze. Any suggestions? Can you pour some type of chemical in there without damaging the conduits? I don't want to wait til spring!? Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Spring is coming.
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:12 PM   #4
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Gas-line antifreeze is 90% alcohol (HEET), rubbing alcohol is only 70%. but once frozen solid its gonna take some time or heat, hopefully the plug is near the ends.
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:54 PM   #5
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RV anti-freeze?
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:55 PM   #6
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I've been there. I used a bottle of methyl hydrate mixed with a HUGE amount of salt.....poured it down the pipe and let it sit over night. The salt melted the ice enough for the methyl to get down in there and start evaporating the water. Set up with compressed air at the other end (thankfully it was inside the building) and blasted the rest of the crap out the outside end. After that we swabbed the pipe by dragging rags through there a few times....lubed it up good and pulled the wires in before it froze again.
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:05 PM   #7
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I love california, never had that problem.
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:48 PM   #8
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Hopefully it didn't break the conduit. I had a 1 inch rigid 90 swell up like a bomb went off inside it once. Luckily it was out in the open.
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:50 PM   #9
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Depending on your latitude you may be waiting until May.
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:57 AM   #10
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My old boss where I took my apprenticeship at once duck taped a heat gun to a 2" pvc run that was for the building feeders. He left it on overnight, and all was good in the morning. Best part was that he returned it to princess auto the next morning! We laughed and he said "well we've put more wear on this thing in one night then it'll ever see in a lifetime"


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Old 01-17-2015, 11:13 AM   #11
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My old boss where I took my apprenticeship at once duck taped a heat gun to a 2" pvc run that was for the building feeders. He left it on overnight, and all was good in the morning. Best part was that he returned it to princess auto the next morning! We laughed and he said "well we've put more wear on this thing in one night then it'll ever see in a lifetime"


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Old 01-17-2015, 11:20 AM   #12
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I dislike people that cheat the world...

Yes, but the story was just too good. He runs a company of anywhere between 40-55 guys, and he actually took the time of day to return a 20$ heat gun!


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Old 01-17-2015, 01:02 PM   #13
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I have poured Prestone Antifreeze (undiluted) down frozen pipes with great success. Works slow but works every time. Ethylene glycol is also a component of PVC pipe as well as wire insulation, so it's pretty harmless to your work and it's residual in the pipe acts like pulling lube.

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Old 01-17-2015, 01:06 PM   #14
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If it is at the first 90, I'd pour in some boiling water, let it sit for a few minutes then vacuum it out and repeat. If you see some progress (like the water starting to drain slowly), put the vacuum on the other end and try to suck the hot water through (or use air to push it out).


But, I live in the desert so WTH do I know about ice? Give me a question about cacti and I will hook you up.
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Old 01-17-2015, 01:24 PM   #15
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If it is at the first 90, I'd pour in some boiling water, let it sit for a few minutes then vacuum it out and repeat. If you see some progress (like the water starting to drain slowly), put the vacuum on the other end and try to suck the hot water through (or use air to push it out).


But, I live in the desert so WTH do I know about ice? Give me a question about cacti and I will hook you up.
Ever see the YouTube videos of how fast boiling water freezes at a -30 windchill index? And you're spilling it while pouring it in the pipe, creating a nice skating rink where you're trying to work clearing a frozen conduit. Pour in your antifreeze and come back tomorrow.
Can I use a cactus as a clean-out mandrel?

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Old 01-17-2015, 03:08 PM   #16
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Ever see the YouTube videos of how fast boiling water freezes at a -30 windchill index? And you're spilling it while pouring it in the pipe, creating a nice skating rink where you're trying to work clearing a frozen conduit. Pour in your antifreeze and come back tomorrow.
Can I use a cactus as a clean-out mandrel?
I have seen the boiling water thrown into the air in extreme cold. Craziness.


I was thinking less extreme conditions and small amounts of water. If there was a small ice plug (a few inches of ice) 24" down in the first 90, a couple cups of boiling water would probably do some thawing.

And, yes, a cactus will work nicely for your mandrel. The Cholla is very user friendly
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:11 PM   #17
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I still think your boss using a heat gun on someones electric and taking it back for a refund is sad. It'll catch up to him.
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:40 PM   #18
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Couldn't you just drop a small air hose down to the ice level and blow compressed air (and a low pressure) down on the ice? I bet it would melt it enough where you could either blow it (ice) out or suck it up.

It might take a while.
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Old 01-17-2015, 06:48 PM   #19
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Could I use the exhaust from the van idling forced via a tube into the conduit end to melt it? I have this same problem right now in Philly.
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:03 PM   #20
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If you realy need to thaw it this method is messy but will work. Feed a 3/8 flexible hose into the conduit while pumping hot water at low volume through the 3/8 hose and advancing it as the ice melts you will clear it. Puting hot water or chemicals at the end doesn't do much. You need to transfer the heat to the ice and remove the cold water as the ice melts. Have a shop vac to clean up the waste water that will be forced out of the conduit as you add hot water. Good luck and post your success.
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