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  • Frozen burried drain pipe

    I have an interesting problem with one of my toilet drain pipes. I believe it is frozen before it gets to the main line going to my septic tank. I also believe it was caused by my leaving the sink dripping so the lines would not freeze since these lines are in an outside wall in my barn. The tack room is heated (60 degrees) and I have a concrete floor. The water backed up into the tack room so I shut off the toilet and sucked out the water with a vacuum. I don't believe it has a plug since the line is not that old and is all abs. It has not been used recently either. Outside the line is about 12 inches deep and I have had to run over it to plow snow so I think I drove the frost down.
    My question is: Is there any way to thaw out this pipe without digging it up or should I just wait till spring and let it thaw on its own?

    Thanks,
    Reid

  • #2
    Re: Frozen burried drain pipe

    Most likely you have a belly in your pipe since it is only 12" deep and under your driveway that most likely heavy trucks have been over. I see 2 choices, first being you may be able to clean the ice out of the line with a jetter, I wouldnt use boiling water on ABS, (I think you are aksing for problems there) the second being dig the line up and give yourself AT LEAST 18" of cover to protect it from traffic.. If you cant get 18" with ABS use SDR-35 or Cast Iron, the ABS may have also OVALED out as well.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Frozen burried drain pipe

      Yes, it can be thawed w/o digging. A jetter will cut the ice. Waiting till spring might take a while; I had one where the initial call was in Febuary, they decided to wait it out, and I got called back in June to thaw it as it was still frozen.
      This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Frozen burried drain pipe

        Can you tell me what a jetter is? Is it something I can rent or should I get a plumber to do this? I talked to a drain cleaning guy here and he said his snake would cut the ice but would also cut the abs and maybe easier. I don't want to create more work if I don't have to.
        Is there any kind of fluid I could pour down the drain to melt the ice?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Frozen burried drain pipe

          A jetter is not a rental item, you can probably contact HAYCAD, he is a member that does work in your area and would be able to either jet the line for you or can direct you toward someone who could


          His website is :

          http://www.plumbinginclarkcounty.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Frozen burried drain pipe

            there is a possibility that your pipe was crushed either from the vehicle used to remove the snow or from the freezing of the ground.

            sewer pipes can become crushed when the ground freezes. it pushes or squeezes the pipe down from the top.

            it's also possible for the line to freeze due to the "dripping" faucet or a toilet flapper valve that is leaking.

            i have personally installed sewer pipe under a building in churchill, manitoba (the building had skirting all around). it was uninsulated and exposed to the outside air temperature (-40) without any problems.

            once you get the jetter guy to do your line, i would suggest a camera inspection. it will be a cheaper way of diagnosing the problem.

            if there are no dips, and the pipe isn't crushed/collapsed, then the dripping faucet might be the problem.

            if it is determined that the pipe is crushed and you can't relocate the pipe any deeper in the ground, consider encasing the pipe in a colvert (pipe chase) where there is vehicle traffic.

            hope that helps you out.

            Vince
            Attached Files
            Last edited by Vince the Plumber; 02-03-2009, 03:54 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Frozen burried drain pipe

              Thanks for the info about encasing in a culvert. I will probably do this after the ground thaws. It will be May before I can dig considering all the snow we had in December. I am located in Eastern Washington, north of Spokane about 25 miles so it is a way from Clark County, WA. We had a very cold spell which is when I think my problem happened. I had the faucet right next to the toilet dripping so the supply lines would not freeze and I think it just started freezing in the drain pipe and built up enough to plug it. I don't think I crushed the pipe but will not know this until I can dig it up.
              I was hoping I could pour something down the pipe to free it up but sounds like there is nothing available.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Frozen burried drain pipe

                Originally posted by reichner View Post
                Can you tell me what a jetter is? Is it something I can rent or should I get a plumber to do this? I talked to a drain cleaning guy here and he said his snake would cut the ice but would also cut the abs and maybe easier. I don't want to create more work if I don't have to.
                Is there any kind of fluid I could pour down the drain to melt the ice?

                Did he happen to mention what kind of head he could use to cut ice?
                I tried it once and the only result was dulling a fairly new head.
                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


                • #9
                  Re: Frozen burried drain pipe

                  Originally posted by wrench spinner View Post
                  A jetter is not a rental item, you can probably contact HAYCAD, he is a member that does work in your area and would be able to either jet the line for you or can direct you toward someone who could


                  His website is :

                  http://www.plumbinginclarkcounty.com/
                  Thats the second time in as many days HAYCAD has been referred work from the forum.
                  HAYCAD, I think it's time for some kick backs.
                  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


                  • #10
                    Re: Frozen burried drain pipe

                    Talk to a different drain cleaner; this one is no expert. You just plain will not cut any significant ice with a cable. You must jet ice.

                    A jetter is basically a pressure washer with a long hose and a specialized nozzle on the end. There is some skill and knowledge involved in making it work. You might or might not be able to rent one, might or might not be able to make it do what you need done if you can rent it. For a one-off occurance you'd be better off hiring someone with the right eqipment and knowledge.

                    As to root cause analysis; your dripping faucet and low usage are classic for causing a freeze. Comments from others about bellies in the line and cameraing the line make sense as well, though an experienced operator will be able to tell you a lot from how his jetter behaves.
                    This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Frozen burried drain pipe

                      Thanks for the info on the jetter. I did some research on them. You can purchase a conversion kit that turns a steam cleaner or pressure washer into a jetter. It don't look to difficult to operate but reading some of your posts, it might be. It looks like I can purchase the conversion kit and try it myself. Unfortunately, I don't see anyone here locally that advertises using a jetter. The guy I called about running a snake down the drain did not say what type of cutter he used. When he told me it could cut through the ABS as easy as the ice, I got scared and told him it was not worth finding out if it would work.

                      I am going to remove the toilet and make access easier. I like the idea of sending a camera down to see the problem too. The only thing about that is the high cost.

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