thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder
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  1. #1
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    Jan 2007
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    Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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    thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder

    In this copy of The Procedure Handbook of Arc Welding (12th ed. 1973) that I just bought there is a section on using an arc welder to thaw frozen pipes. Now I can't imagine that this is a practice that Lincoln would be wanting to promote today in these litigious times; in fact they must be freaking out that there are still these old copies of the handbook out there with a how-to on burning your house down with a Lincoln HD Tombstone.

    The thought of Joe Handyman frying a household full of electronics does bring a warm feeling to mind, though.
    A man who can't weld is as poorly educated as a woman who can't sew

  2. #2
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    Jan 2007
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    Re: thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder

    I have read about machines plumbers use that run high current through the length of a frozen section of pipe to generate heat. So I imagine a welder could accomplish the same thing. Seems like there would be some spark potential if not done right!

    Mike

  3. #3
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    Mar 2004
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    B.C. Canada
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    Re: thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder

    The guidelines have cautions. Resistance heating has been around a long time. I doubt it is as risky and heating your pipes with an open flame.
    From talking to old timers the standard comment is to not rush the process with exceedingly high amperages in a rush to thaw the pipe and constantly monitor the status of connections and the pipe itself.
    You can easily melt soldered connections if there is no water in the pipe. It will not start a fire but makes things exciting when the water starts to flow again.
    I can never understand the American system. In Canada you have to pay your own lawyer as well as your opponent's if you lose. Often you also have to pay for general court costs involved if the judge feels you were wasting his time. Before you start a lawsuit you need to have all your ducks in a row or you could be paying off legal fees for the rest of your life.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2006
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    27

    Re: thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder

    reminds me of those electric floor heaters which run large elements under concrete. they are awesome, but i cant imagine how much electricity they use.

  5. #5
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    Southern Montana
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    Re: thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder

    Quote Originally Posted by lotechman
    I can never understand the American system. In Canada you have to pay your own lawyer as well as your opponent's if you lose. Often you also have to pay for general court costs involved if the judge feels you were wasting his time. Before you start a lawsuit you need to have all your ducks in a row or you could be paying off legal fees for the rest of your life.
    This shows that American lawyers are smarter than those practicing in Canada. Here in America the more people paying lawyers' fees the better... for the lawyers.

  6. #6
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    May 2006
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    Northern California
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    Re: thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder

    Quote Originally Posted by Weldordie
    This shows that American lawyers are smarter than those practicing in Canada. Here in America the more people paying lawyers' fees the better... for the lawyers.

    Lawyers have families to provide for too.

    The British/Canadian rule will generally cause the losing party to pay the fees and costs of the prevailing party. In US, this is not the general rule, although Judges will often award attorney fees.

    Attorney fees are awarded if:

    1. There's a contract specifying which party will pay.
    2. There's a statute specfying which party will pay.
    3. By agreement after trial.
    4. As sanctions for unethical behaviour.

    America! What a Country!


    .
    Last edited by gnm109; 01-19-2007 at 12:13 PM.
    Miller Syncrowave 200
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  7. #7
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    Dec 2006
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    Twin Cities, MN
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    97

    Re: thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder

    The problem with Americas Civil Legal Process is that there is no preliminary function to control frivolous lawsuits from entering the system.

    The problem with Americas Criminal Legal Process is that criminals are ralely sentenced to the maximum punishment. For example a person was recently found guilty of child molestaion and was given community service. That is BU11$H!T. You touch my daughter and you'll be lucky to make it to trial. I dont mind going back to prison.

    I have never been to prision......but you get my point
    Last edited by GWallace; 01-19-2007 at 12:32 PM.
    Grant

  8. #8
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    Nov 2004
    Location
    Southern Montana
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    Re: thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder

    >>>>The problem with Americas Civil Legal Process is that there is no preliminary function to control frivolous lawsuits from entering the system.<<<<

    The more lawsuits filed (frivolous or not), the more lucrative it is for the lawyers.

    >>>>The problem with Americas Criminal Legal Process is that criminals are ralely sentenced to the maximum punishment. For example a person was recently found guilty of child molestaion and was given community service. That is BU11$H!T. You touch my daughter and you'll be lucky to make it to trial. I dont mind going back to prison. <<<<

    Right! Let 'em out to get them back on the street to molest, again. Then they can hire lawyers to argue for them, once more. Who gains the most benefit from this circular system? The lawyers. If there was a one-strike rule of law to put child molesters away for good, the lawyers would lose the ability of being able to repeatedly represent these creeps.

  9. #9
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    May 2006
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    Augusta, GA
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    Re: thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder

    Apparently Lincoln hasn't had any legal problems caused by this practice. I just received a new copy of The Procedure Handbook of Arc Welding, 14th edition, to replace the one I gave to my son. Section 13.8, Thawing Frozen Pipes, is still included. By the way, this hardback book is about 400 pages long and only costs $25 + S&H direct from Lincoln. Starts with history of welding, metallurgy, different types of welding and welding equipment, techniques, weld testing, welder qualification tests, and welding safety. Some of the welding design information may be overkill for new welders, but the answers to a lot of questions I see posted here are in this book.
    TeddCo
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  10. #10

    Re: thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder

    Lincoln actully made a welder in the early to mid 70s for this process. And the funny thing is it was called the linc thaw

  11. #11
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    Feb 2007
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    West By Golly Shelby NY
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    Re: thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder

    I have thawed many pipes with my old G7 welder. Its EA$Y money. Hook up the machine, set it on about 75% of rated capacity and wait. Collect your rate weather the pipe opens up or not. If after 5 or 6 hours, it doesn't run, the pipe must be broken. Nice winter work. One end to the fire hydrent or the water shut off going to the house. and the other to near the meter. I sometimes unhook the water meter so electricity can't go where it shouldn't. This was great money when I was in college. I think my new Ranger 250 sez don't thaw pipes with it.

    David

  12. #12
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    Re: thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder

    I'm from Las Vegas, so have never done this. (What's a frozen pipe?)

    But I've got a friend here from the northern US and he made a good business thawing dozens of home's pipes everyday. As said, you get paid whether it flows again or just proves that the pipe is broken.

    But, ONCE, the homeowner forgot to tell him that he'd had a break a few years before and a section was replaced with plastic. They found out when the NEIGHBOR'S electrical meter melted, because of the path that the electricity was forced to find, especially since it was common practice to disconnect the water meter.

    Galvanized steel pipes worked the best, they generate a lot of resistance because of the mottling in the galvanizing. Cast iron was good, too. Copper pipes were the worst. A 400A machine took a while to warm a 3/4 copper pipe; it's just too good a conductor.

    The biggest pipe he ever did was a 10" cast iron pipe. They paralleled three machines and had 1200A running through it for a half-hour. The neighborhood paid handsomely and was much relieved to find the pipe didn't break.

  13. #13
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    Feb 2007
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    West By Golly Shelby NY
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    Re: thawing frozen water pipes with arc welder

    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702
    I'm from Las Vegas, so have never done this. (What's a frozen pipe?)

    But, ONCE, the homeowner forgot to tell him that he'd had a break a few years before and a section was replaced with plastic. They found out when the NEIGHBOR'S electrical meter melted, because of the path that the electricity was forced to find, especially since it was common practice to disconnect the water meter.
    I always carried one of those cheap inductive amp meters you hold up to the wire with me to show the customer the electricity was flowing out of my welder, through the pipe and back in. If the pipe was broken, they would say my machine didn't work. This way I got paid.

    David

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