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Thawing Pipes??

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  • Paul Seaman
    replied
    Thank You ANDY, I needed a good laugh!!!

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  • Sberry
    replied
    It can be done,,, but,, ther should be a through understanding of electrical and grounding systems. Ins companies put the kibosh to it as far as liabilities go after a few incidents. I am sure the incident with the cows came from a shorted electric system which occured after it melted some system wiring. We do it all the time,, but,, I dont send an amateur on pipe thaws. On rolled copper water systems its fairly safe especially at realatively low currents. I usually carry an ampprobe with me to make sure the machine is acting properly.

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  • ASKANDY
    replied
    We have taken a similar stand on thawing. We used to have a pamphlet on the proceedure but after a few safety issues came up we don't promote it anymore.

    The funniest story I heard was a guy thawing pipe at a farm but unknown to him, that same pipe broke the winter before and was spliced with a plastic coupler. The guy started to thaw but the current didn't go through the frozen section, it went to the barn and layed out 4 cows that were drinking at the time.

    The same guy fried all the wire from a barn to the house. There are more stories from this guy that left us about to die from laughter. (he was my boss for 4 1/2 years)

    Needless to say he gave it up.


    Andy

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  • H80N
    replied
    Guys
    it looks like at best this idea should be approached with much caution AND from the best that I can determine Lincoln may have discontinued their LINK-THAW unit... and pretty much expunged the word Thaw from all of their literature (searched their website)... and from internet searches all I can find are cautions against this practice.. with plenty of examples of fires starting in inaccessable areas..etc..etc...there is one line of commercial pipe thawing units out there.. and if my math is correct they output approx 3volts at 320 and 400amps... here is a link...

    http://www.drainbrain.com/specialties/spechsframe.html

    I think this is a practice that I personally will avoid... the risks and liabilities just seem to be too great........
    Thanks for all of the very interesting and informative responses...
    Heiti

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  • Sberry
    replied
    When you were using small buzz boxes to thaw piping in residential settings the dangers were minimized due to the low currents involved. With large machines, and as piping gets older, especially screwed steel pipe there is inherient risk of developing a high resistance joint, and where city wated hooks together along with several electric services on the same transformer electric currents may be carried via electric to water bond connections. Its easy to overheat a number 6 ground wire in the neighbors home somewhere with a 300A machine. I disconnect the bond wire at the plumbing and if possible due to having valves often just break the plumbing connection to insure there are not multiple current paths. In rural settings where there was often only one service to a transformer and water wells this want much of a problem,, although it could be with subfed electric panels bonded to the same water system.

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  • fun4now
    replied
    plastic pipes

    new houses now are using plastic (flexible pvc)pipes they are rated to 300- 500 degrese not shoure exactly (i was carpenter not plumer)but without knowing whats behind the drywall you could have a problem. i know some of the electric guys didnt like them as they couldnt use the pluming as a ground.just something to think about b4 you thaw.my place is old so i will definetly like to se the how to guide as mine froze 3 times last winter wish i had known the welder trick i would have bought 1 then 4 shouer.

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  • Paul Seaman
    replied
    Welder99:
    Bingo, Last week we had a storm come through my tree took out 3 sets of power lines, one house's wheather head skinned the wires and shorted to ground- through the water lines of the house {improperly grounded circuit panel}. This short burned through the water supply line and we had a small geiser in the street and nearly electricuted a city waterworks employee. This is amazing how A+B=big danger!!!!

    Thanks welder99,

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  • Welder99
    replied
    Just to add my 2 cents...I have thawed water pipes yrs ago,but wont try it today.On my own stuff yes,but for others (nope).what you need to know is that thawing with a welder is a direct short on the welder and for your protection you need to potect the welder...Lincoln is the only manufacture that i know that makes a LINC THAW unit that hooks in line with your welder with a Fuse..Remember Electricity takes the least path of resistance to go to ground..So If your hooked to one end of the copper pipe and to the other end that might have a plastic fitting going off in another direction the plastic will get hot and possible fire..If by chance your thawing inside a city,it might bleed back into the main water line and get the neighbors house.Lincoln has info on proper thawing and the protective unit if you would care to give it a try...but be very careful before attempting....

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  • Paul Seaman
    replied
    Hawk:
    WOW that is impressive, was that in comercial accounts or going door to door.

    WOW that is impressive,

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  • timw
    replied
    Here's a picture of the Buzz Box, I bought it in 1965 from Sears for $88.00 with the hood and leads. I worked all summer for the money. I have built quit a lot of things with it including about 20 trailers and 2 Off Road Dune Buggies. Now I have a MM 210 and a Dialarc 250 AC/DC so it dosen't get much use. From the "I never throw anything away department" I found the instructions that came with it on how to thaw pipes. Now if I can get them from my scanner to computer I will post them.
    Attached Files

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  • HAWK
    replied
    The ULITMATE Thawing Machine

    When I was at the Miller Expo in Atlanta they had a fantastic display and demo of all their engine drives from the Bluestar 140 to the Big Blue Air Pak. One of the Miller representatives was telling me a guy in Wisconsin bought a Big Blue Air Pak for the purpose of thawing and blowing out the frozen pipes. That is a 20,000 machine with all the frills. I guess you could get it around 17,000 for real. Anyway, the guy who bought it paid for it in less than one winter of pipe thawing. He was not even a real welder other than a bit of rod burning. Food for thought!

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  • Harold
    replied
    picture

    correct orientation
    Attached Files

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  • Harold
    replied
    forgot picture

    here is the picture
    Attached Files

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  • Harold
    replied
    H80N

    I too have a Sears 180 amp buz box, 1965 vintage (Colormatic welder) Bought it new on Long Island for exacly that reason. Neighbor told me he had just sold his welder or he could help me thaw the frozen pipes in my garage. Well needless to say 30 minuits later I was the proud owner of a new welder. Oh yes It worked just fine.

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  • moe1942
    replied
    Heiti,

    Don't get frozen pipes, but wonder if it would work on my crawfish cooker. Be quicker than propane I bet!!!


    moe1942

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