With the onset of winter and low temperatures, many owners of private houses have to deal with the problem of freezing of water pipes and sewer systems on the site. And although the problem is more common among owners of houses outside the city, the townspeople are also faced with it.
The appearance of ice formations inside the pipes does not allow the operator to continue to comfortably operate the engineering product and as a result may damage it. In order to prevent freezing of the water supply system and sewer network and ensure their uninterrupted operation, it is important to take some preventive measures even before the onset of cold weather. If the first frosts have already come, then there will be only one way out - pipe defrosting. It can be carried out by several methods at once.
Why do pipes freeze?
The main reason for the freezing of pipes and the formation of ice inside them are gross violations during the design and installation of the system without preliminary calculation operations. To ensure proper functioning of the pipes and prevent them from freezing with the onset of cold weather, you can clearly follow the rules of SNiP, which describe in detail how to lay the pipeline into the soil. They say that:
- the depth of the pipeline should not be less than the freezing depth of the soil in the place of residence;
- if the pipes are used irregularly in the winter, then all water must be removed ;
- It is also important to take care of pipe insulation near the entrance to the house.
In addition to non-compliance with the installation rules, the sewage system can freeze from time to time due to the filling of the sewage pit or leakage of water from due to a malfunction of the water system. Regular obstructions, which appear due to improper selection of the pipe diameter, can also lead to the failure of the engineering installation.
Freezing of pipes under pressure can occur only when the temperature of the earth nearby is negative. In this case, it will not make sense to defrost the pipes without subsequent warming, because after some time they will freeze again.
To prevent the formation of ice in the installation and pipes under conditions of constant freezing of the soil, you can use the electric heating system. The principle of operation of such a system is to use a special self-control cable that fits along the entire length of the pipes or wraps around them.
Before you begin to deal with the cause of freezing of the system, it is important to defrost the sewer and water supply. It can be carried out by several methods.
Features of defrosting sewer pipes
When the pipe systems were not timely insulated, with a sharp drop in air temperature in the street, the water remaining inside them may freeze, and then turn into the ice. But even if this happened, you should not immediately panic: everything can still be fixed without even having to resort to the help of a wizard.
If pipes located at shallow depths are frozen and can be easily reached, then you should use a simple a hair dryer that helps warm the surface to the desired temperature. It is much more difficult to defrost water pipes that are underground. Freezing at the input site can be punched if only to warm the walls of the house, but quite often the freezing area is a few centimeters from it.
To defrost heating pipes, experts recommend using a device such as a building hair dryer (if it is not in the household, then you can use a simple homemade one), blowtorch, electric heat.
There are a large number of methods. According to the reviews of the owners of private houses that carried out a similar procedure, when defrosting steel water pipes, the whole process is quite easy. To do this, welding is connected from two opposite sides of the system, which leads to thawing of the liquid inside the water supply in just 3-4 hours. The duration of the defrost process will directly depend on the length of the pipe. Recently, however, plastic pipes have often been built into the water supply system, which can withstand pressure not exceeding 10 atmospheres.
Although such constructions are not damaged when freezing, but It is forbidden to defrost plastic pipes with a welding machine. Also, it is not recommended to use an iron rod for punching the cork, otherwise there is a high risk of simply spoiling the water supply.
This is another method that owners of private houses recommend in their reviews in case of freezing pipes. With the heating method, it will be necessary to break the frozen soil, which is considered the most important drawback. But for cases when the frozen section has a small area, this method can be quite effective.
After the pit is dug up, the type of material that the water supply consists of is determined. To work with polymer structures, it is best to use heating devices that are powered by electricity and produce temperatures from 100 to 1000 degrees Celsius. To reduce the heat loss rate of the heater and to warm up the sewage area in a short time, the place of work should be covered with a layer of thermal insulation.
When defrosting thawing pipes made of metal material the thawing process takes much less. This is because in this case it is allowed to use an open flame source: a gas burner, firewood, a soldering iron and any other devices that are strictly prohibited for plastic.
Defrosting heating pipes from the inside
To carry out heating the system from the inside, experts in their reviews advise homegrown craftsmen to take into account some features. To begin with, it is important to remember that such systems most often have a large diameter, which helps to warm up outside and inside much faster. However, the amount of ice accumulated in them will be much larger, because it will require a large heat consumption by the apparatus for defrosting pipes.
When defrosting plastic installations, you can use a fairly simple device. To do this, take a board with rounded edges and install a heater in the form of the letter U. Only the heater loop should protrude beyond the built-in board. All other parts should not touch the wall of the heating equipment in any way.
After determining the thickness of the accumulated ice and the distance to it, a wire of the required length is attached to the end of the heater, and the rest of the structure is fixed to a metal-plastic system. Next, we will push the device into the sewer.
To enter the finished structure into the pipe with a blockage of ice should be from the side of the receiver into which the thawed water will flow. To begin with, the heater moves to the end to the place of work, and then connects to the power system. Moving the wire along the pipe forward as the tube thaws, the equipment is turned off from time to time.
Device for steel pipes
The most effective and inexpensive method of removing ice from the pipe cavity, judging by the reviews, will be the use of an industrial device. However, to bring the result without damaging the property, it can only in the case of metal pipes. In order to defrost the plug, the terminals are fixed to the ends of the frozen pipe, through which current is subsequently supplied. As the pipe heats up, the ice begins to melt. One of such devices is the Dragon apparatus for defrosting pipes.
The defrost time will directly depend on the length and diameter of the installation. For example, for pipes with a cross section of up to 6 centimeters and a length of 23 meters, you will have to spend about an hour working the device. If the diameter of the pipeline is greater than the set value, the run-up between the terminals is reduced. This applies to segments with measuring devices, and to sections of cutting. It is mandatory to check the presence of pressure inside the water supply system.
Together with the generally accepted methods of defrosting the water supply system, some people use others that are less popular. All of them bring a good effect, but only on pipes with a small cross-section.
Pouring boiling water
A pipe defrosting boiler is not as easy as it might seem at first. To get the result, you will have to make some efforts. To supply hot water to the ice accumulation area, you need to use a special flexible hose or cable to defrost the pipes. For example, if ice stagnation formed on a straight section of the system with a diameter of 25 to 30 millimeters, then you can use a special thin metal-plastic tube with a cross section of 16 millimeters.
In the process of thawing an ice formation, it is slowly pushed deep into the system until it completely breaks the cork. It is important to remember that in winding sections of the water supply, you can only use a rigid hose, since the pipe will not fit.
Also, experts do not recommend using a watering hose for defrosting: it is distinguished by its softness. It is best to use gas or oxygen hoses in this case. They can be pushed up to fifteen meters inside the water supply, but this will require considerable effort because of their heavy weight.
Enema or Esmarch’s mug
Such a pipe defrosting device helps eliminate ice accumulation when the pipeline is frozen at a great distance from the home, as well as if it has many bends and turns. In this case, craftsmen in their reviews advise using a special strong steel wire, hydraulic level and a simple enema (Esmarch's mug). All the things described are worth little, and they can be easily bought.
To begin with, the hydraulic level is combined with wire using a simple electrical tape. The end of the wire is folded into a loop to make it stiffer. It is worth wrapping it in such a way that it does not stick out in different directions, and at the end the hydraulic level tube goes beyond the wire to a distance of one centimeter. The second end "connects" to Esmarch's cup. After that, the pipe with the wire is pushed into the water supply until it hits the ice section.
A device of this type is quite simple and quickly passes through all the bends of the pipe, reaching the desired section. After the hydraulic level reaches the desired place, heated water is fed into the tube from the enema over time. Under the outlet of the pipe, put a container for collecting water, into which it will drain. Over time, the ice blockage will thaw and the device can be further advanced.
It should be noted that this method is rather slow. The average work speed reaches 1 meter per hour, that is, for a whole day of work, it is possible to thaw only 5-7 meters of the pipe.
Use of electric current
Sometimes it happens that the thickness of the water supply does not exceed 20 millimeters, its length extends to 50 meters, and its depth is about 80 centimeters, which is very small, and in areas where excavation is prohibited (for example, on the highway). In this case, utilities advise you to wait until spring and the thaw - but in this situation this is not an option.
Preparing for defrosting
To defrost pipes made of plastic, you can use a home-made device. To design it, you need a plug for the outlet, a two-wire copper wire, a compressor and a hose for pumping liquid. For example, you can take a wire for defrosting pipes with a cross section of 2.5-3 mm, an automobile fuel 8 mm hose and a compressor for a car or a pump.
It should be noted that when working with electric current it is important to strictly follow the rules safety measures to prevent negative consequences and possible injuries. Only after that it will be possible to proceed to assembling the device for defrosting the water supply system.
How to carry out the procedure?
On a small piece of wire, the external insulation is removed, the cores are separated. First, one of the cores is cleaned from insulation, and the remaining insulated wire residue is carefully, being careful not to deform the sheath, bent to the other side along the wire. After almost at the bend, the wire is scrolled by 3-5 tight turns of bare wire. Stepping back from the place of 2-3 millimeters, they do the same actions with the second vein. At the same time, it is important to ensure that the ends of the two cores do not touch each other.
On the other side of the wire, the plug and the “bulb” are fixed. Such a device delivers an electric current directly to the water, which leads to a reaction with the release of a huge amount of heat. The main advantage of this process is that only heating of the liquid occurs, while the wires remain at the same temperature, which prevents accidental burning of polyethylene pipes.
Before turning on the finished device, you should test it. To do this, it is lowered into a container with a liquid and a current is supplied - everything functions correctly if air bubbles in the water are visible and a slight buzz is heard. It is important to pay attention to the fact that it is forbidden to touch the water while the device is in operation, otherwise you can earn an electric shock.
The wire is pushed deep into the pipes, making sure that it does not bend before it reaches the ice . After they turn on the device for several minutes and wait until the process of ice melting begins. After that, turn off the current and try to move the wire further. In this way, one meter of water supply is defrosted first.
Next, it is necessary to eliminate the thawed liquid from the pipe by means of a compressor, in order to reduce the volume of heated water and prevent the pipes from freezing again. If there is a special device, a special faucet can be welded to the pipe, which can be closed as soon as water goes through the pipe. This will help prevent flooding of the area with an ice plug and not pull the wire out of the pipe.