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Frozen drain pipe

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  • Frozen drain pipe

    We have been having un-normal sub zero temaparture here. I have 2 building in my apartment complex where bathtub drain pipes have frozen. These apartments are on both ends of the building. These building are 3 floors high and I am having problems with the 2nd floor drains. My last options is to tear into the walls and find the ice. Anyone have any suggestions? I will be thankful for any knowledge and or help shared.

  • #2
    Re: Frozen drain pipe

    I have found an infrared thermometer to be the best tool to find frozen pipes.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Frozen drain pipe

      Originally posted by Bogart View Post
      I have found an infrared thermometer to be the best tool to find frozen pipes.

      I've been thinking about trying oneof those.
      Have you found different types of material (copper, PVC, cast, etc) register a different temp when they are frozen, or is pretty much any pipe under 32F is frozen?

      I guess what I'm asking is, you point it at any type pipe, it reads a temp of 34F, you know it's NOT frozen?

      You point it at any type pipe and it reads 32F or below it's frozen?

      Probably a stupid question as I suspect the obvious, but I have never used one.
      INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
      Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

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      • #4
        Re: Frozen drain pipe

        Mine is ancient technology, from a shutdown oil burner power plant, but works great. It is point and shoot. Very easy to work. Different metals don't matter. They are pretty cheap now.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Frozen drain pipe

          It's about time I get one.

          You think your using ancient technology?
          I currently use the ol' :This spot feels cold, this spot feels cold, and this spot feels wicked cold, yep it must be frozen right here and not there technology!
          INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
          Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Frozen drain pipe

            i think ripping the wall apart won't fix the problem.

            it sounds like you have a draft that is allowing cold (outside) air to enter the structure.

            you mentioned that the problem areas are at the end of the second floor.

            i would check the outside of the building where the frozen drains are located and see if there is a hole close to them. if you find a hole, plug it up.

            also, a dripping faucet can cause a freeze-up.

            in the mean time, use a thaw tube to thaw the frozen drain until you are able to pinpoint the cause of the cold air infiltration.

            hope that helps you out.

            keep us posted.

            Vince

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Frozen drain pipe

              Since it is the drain pipe and not a water pipe it would have to be right at the trap where there is standing water. If you have fan light exhaust fans I would check in the first floor bath first since it must be the lateral and not the stack. The ceiling is probably dropped and you might be able to look around and see what is going on.
              Somewhere between the first and second floor there is air infiltration.
              An old time plumber trick that I used before to unfreeze a frozen line is to boil a quart of vinegar and with a couple tablespoons of baking soda pour it down the tub drain. You will probably have to do this more than once. I don't know why this works but is has on frozen sink line before.
              Check at the trap ...

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Frozen drain pipe

                Originally posted by Gene Bickford View Post
                It's about time I get one.

                You think your using ancient technology?
                I currently use the ol' :This spot feels cold, this spot feels cold, and this spot feels wicked cold, yep it must be frozen right here and not there technology!
                If you're gonna get one, it might as well be RIDGID

                http://www.ridgid.com/Tools/MicroRay...eter/index.htm
                ---------------
                Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                ---------------
                “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                ---------
                "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
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                sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

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                • #9
                  Re: Frozen drain pipe

                  Agree with previous comments that if in fact the tub drains are frozen

                  1) it's probably due to a draft of some sort, and you should look in that direction for prevention. I'd check for disconnected flexible ducts for fart fans in the bathrooms below the affected ones.

                  2) they are probably frozen at the traps

                  If they are frozen at the traps, it is pretty easy to open them up. You can get almost any sort of small flexible tubing and find a way to attach it to hot water, then push it in to the trap and run hot water through it as you work it into the ice.

                  Or, vac out as much of the water fom the tub as you can, then pour a gallon of window washer fluid in (winter blend) then go do something else for an hour or two and check back. That will probably clear it.
                  This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Frozen drain pipe

                    Gene,
                    the nice thing about the infrareds is that I can check all the pipes in an extremely short amount of time, as opposed to having to get close enough to actually touch them.

                    Comment

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