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    thawing machines and Pex ? (12 Posts)

  • Scott Scott @ 5:59 AM
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    Over the years , we gotten used to

    using pex in our systems. Some of the jobs where we ran Pex thru crawl spaces and under rooms have gotten freeze ups. We tried using the thawing machine, hoping that by connecting to the copper on either side it would transfer thru the water, but it dos'nt seem to work. Any thoughts on this ? It seems the current is only running thru the copper and not the ice/water. Strange I thought water was a good conductor. What am I missing. Scott To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
  • chuck shaw chuck shaw @ 6:22 AM
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    Scott,

    > using pex in our systems. Some of the jobs where
    > we ran Pex thru crawl spaces and under rooms have
    > gotten freeze ups.
    >
    > We tried using the
    > thawing machine, hoping that by connecting to the
    > copper on either side it would transfer thru the
    > water, but it dos'nt seem to work.
    >
    > Any
    > thoughts on this ?
    >
    > It seems the current is
    > only running thru the copper and not the
    > ice/water. Strange I thought water was a good
    > conductor. What am I missing.
    >
    > Scott
    >
    > _A
    > HREF="http://www.heatinghelp.com/getListed.cfm?id=
    > 237&Step=30"_To Learn More About This
    > Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in
    > "Find A Contractor"_/A_

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  • RELY RELY @ 6:31 AM
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    Same problem

    We have use pex for the last five years and have run into the same problem.Seems to me that the pex may absorb cold just as well as it releases heat.We have had one job freeze up this year sleepers over slab.The foundation looked tight and still after insulation pex was frozen by a draft that felt like a tornado through a 1/4" hole somewhere.What we have done is divert heat to the area and walked away ask the homeowner to call when it starts working again.We tried pipe thawing machine and nothing.My machine makes 6 volt a/c 300 amps maybe voltage could be raised to overcome the lack of resistance.
  • hr hr @ 8:47 AM
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    Wonder if PAP would conduct current?

    I no longer own a thaw machine, anyone care to fill a roll of PAP with water, freeze it and then connect a thaw machine to 'er :) Be a BIG selling feature for PAP water distribution piping!! I didn;t notice that feature in the current Wirsbo MultiCor push :) We built a small steamer for thawing plastic and no hub cast iron drain lines, that often would freeze in under ground parking areas below condos. It was messy, but always worked. We used 1/4" copper tubing as the catheter (sp) and would shove that up the frozen pipe. BE PREPARED when that last ice plug breaks loose. Nothing like a sewer shower in sub freezing weather! Best way for frozen drains is to drill a hole in the side and leave things connected :) Usually the best way is to pour some heat into the crawl space. Carefully use a Kerosene or LP salamander, and as Tim noted, be aware of CO. hot rod To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
  • Scott Scott @ 9:49 AM
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    PAP

    THATS what I was wondering, if the aluminum jacket would carry it. I am a little concerned about the thinness of the jacket and how many amps it would carry. Sort of like using 24 gauge wire for 110. HR, I would love to use a steamer on the pex tubing but it would be tough to get it thru the 1/2 pex. Maybe how 1/4 " soft copper connected to the Hot Water Heater ? We have had people use hot water to thaw frozen sewer mains but I would never use it, unless we had a good backflow device. Scott To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
  • John Felciano John Felciano @ 5:42 PM
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    Thawing

    I built a thawing macine years ago that pumps hot water through tine 1/4" copper ice maker line.It's nothing more than a tank of water on a propane burner and a transfer pump.We've used it for as small as 3/4 well line to 4" sewer lines.As long as you can get the 1/4" tubing down the line it thaws it out fast. As far as pex goes we use the same mathod of just getting heat into the frozen area.Heat guns work great if you can get to it. With this weather were having in the Northeast we've seen an awefull lot of frozen pipes,My pipe-in-hot has been in use almost every day. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
  • paul lessard paul lessard @ 9:55 AM
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    It works

    I froze some multicor and connected the clamps to an exposed section of aluminum,you need to wiggle it till it stops vaporizing the thin layer I figure you need to sacrifice an inch of pipe. I did not try it with fittings installed To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
  • scrook scrook @ 1:11 PM
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    never work...

    The thawing machine needs to push serious current through the copper (or brass/galvi/iron) to thaw. The water in the PEX/PVC/CPVC/PB/etc. has nowhere near low enough resistance to allow the required current, and the foil of barrier tube it too thin therefore too high resistance, let alone capable of surviving that kind of power density even if you were to cut through its covering. Sounds like torpedo heater or (if enough power's available at 240V -- call the electrician for a temp rewire of a dryer outlet -- unless you're lucky and it's a new, *w/ Ground* 4 wire 120/240 recepticle then an adaptor cord/plug & box to 3 wire grounded 240V only could be used) or to add a recepticle in the space maybe) electric salamander into the crawl and CO monitoring (for non electric heat) in spaces above and prior to entry to the crawl. So it goes. Where's Ken (the king of kopper) when you need him?
  • paul lessard paul lessard @ 2:25 PM
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    well tell ken I charged myself flate rate for the job

    I went back to the pipe just now and tried to get a meltdown . No water,30 ft 5/8 multicor,20 min later the ends got too hot to touch,I could peel the top layer off down about two inches The aluminum part looks perfect,the unpeeled section of pex hardened back up I guess you would need to be carefull if all you had was a baseboard drop to work with To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
  • Jack, CVMS Jack, CVMS @ 5:08 PM
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    Thawing PEX

    As you've found out, water, by itself, is not a conductor. It requires mineral impurities. And when thawing pipes with electricity, it is the pipe conducting high amperage that produces the heat that does the thawing. Basically, you create a short circuit that heats up. Too much heat has been known to start fires - usually where you can't see it. Afraid that using an electric thawer on PAP - if you could get a good connection - could damage the PAP. For heat, you have to have amperage, the voltage is only the driver, the amperage carries the load. Folks down there are experiencing, in this unusual cold spell, what we've been living with for decades. Just a little air leak, causing a tiny blockage in a pipe, can stop all the water flow. That's why we insulate, and run GOOD, HIGH QUALITY heat tapes wherever a pipe could freeze. But when the freeze-up has already happened, all you can do is apply heat - either to the outside of the pipe, or internally by way of a "catheter" as one poster phrased it. For that, we use 3/8" QEST polybutylene tubing. It's stiff enough to force through pipes (until you hit an elbow), but flexible enough to work with in a tight space. Oh yes, we DO try to keep the stuff we use for sewer lines separated from the roll we use in domestic water. :)
  • chuck shaw chuck shaw @ 6:22 AM
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    Scott,

    I remember a high school science experiment. We put two electrical leads in clean "tap" water. No conduction, then we added common table salt, and the light we used in the experiment was turned on. I guess what I am getting at, is that clean water may conduct electricty, but probally not as well as "dirty" water. This may be your problem. Im sure Ice does not contuct electricty as well as copper. Just a thought. Chuck
  • Mad Dog Mad Dog @ 7:16 AM
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    Munchkin has another really good man....................

    exactly right, Chuck. The degree of salinity in water is directly proportionate to its electrical conductivity. Yeah Scott, we've faced the same problem with this recent cold snap. If you can get a high btu output heater in to that crawl space foe several hours you might get it flowing. Mad Dog To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
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