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  • Pipe Thawing

    I have been getting alot of thaw calls lately. I just bought a slightly used Ridgid KT-200 unit. Anybody have experience with these? Am I better off just getting a large welder? Or do these units work well for smaller jobs? I have'nt really used it yet and was just wondering if anyone has any tips or advice concerning the unit and if it's worth messing with. Not alot of info on these guys. Thanks.

  • #2
    I spend a lot of time in Alaska but it is mostly out hunting or fishing on the Tundra. We rarely have freeze problems in Southern California but I would be interested in hearing what problems you have there.

    I have been in the Fairbanks area at forty below and wondered how you would cope with those temperatures.

    Mark
    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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    • #3
      How we cope with 40 below? It's called insulated arctic Carharrts, thermal undies, wool caps and as many layers of clothing you can stand to have on and still be able to move. Oh, and don't forget about that Tyvex for those crawl spaces and underneath trailers.

      I've been working in such conditions so long now I've just become numb to it lol. You have to pay attention to your body. If you feel pain in extremeties, or feel the slightest signs of beginning frostbite you get back in the van and warm up. Just don't shut the motor down.

      Problems with freeze-ups usually involve lines run along outside walls, plumbed that way for God knows what reasons (I really don't believe there was such a thing as code back in the old days here) and of course trailers with piping underneath where the skirting may not be well sealed. Oh, did I mention I simply just LOVE trailers? I'm also the King of England too.

      Generally with frozen lines around here it's a heat loop off a boiler feeding fin tube somewhere, and 9 times out of ten not only do you have to thaw the line so flow returns but they also are burst and you have to make a repair coupling, if not a dozen all down the line. All the while you're working your butt off because the boiler is down and there's no heat. It's real fun.

      Alot of guys around here use large welders on the back of pick-up trucks with long sections of #2 cable. I don't want to go that route, I don't want to get into full-time heavy duty thawing, rather leave that to others. I just wanted something that will thaw short sections, say about 50' or so. Anything over that I don't want to mess with. And of course thawing in trailers can get real hairy due to fire hazards, and tricky because alot of them have galvanized or stuff like Qest tube adapted over to copper. So the KT-200 looked perfect for shorter runs.

      I'll be using this machine quite soon so I'll post here how it does.

      Hope ya can make it back up here sometime. Preferably in summer!

      Thanks for your reply!

      Comment


      • #4
        az go to weld talk, hit welding process. it's being dissuced at length right now. s. berry is the master

        i'm also a certified welder
        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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        • #5
          Thanks AZplumber.
          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

          Comment


          • #6
            there is some interisting info on weld talk. disconect the ground to panel, for one. the chance of creating a fire in a neighbors home or the one you're working on is mentioned. it seems very risky on the liability issue and apparently ins. cos. wont cover this.when you restore heat and water to a family you're doing the work of the lord. bless you tool
            I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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            • #7
              Thank you Tool.

              Comment


              • #8
                Finally found the forum you referred to, Weld Talk.

                Good forum, and info, thank you.

                The caution stressed in the thread is indeed warranted, however thawing pipes with large welders can certainly be done safely is common sense is used. I know a gentleman here who has been doing it for 30 years with a welder on a trailer hitched to a pickup. He gets so busy in the winter that he's never even home. Also does some continuity, or weld checking, on new sewer or water main pipes before they're laid for integrity. I can't recall any major disaster he ever caused. But that said, that's why I don't want to get into heavy duty thawing anyway, the KT-200 looks more than I'll ever need and definitely want.

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                • #9
                  i would do it also,if i lived in cold country. that site gives one a good heads up. years ago,my mentor welder
                  around 1955 or so was just starting out. he had payments and a brand new hobart gas welder. cooked
                  it on a pipe thaw. machine gone ,payments still there.

                  welders have duty cycles! he survived and became wealthy. go for it and good luck
                  I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have often thought about that Tool, how a welder could be wrecked in that fashion. I've never seen it done, but like you said it's more than possible. I have wondered if it's also possible with the KT-200, though it's not a welder with duty cycles, but there's nothing in Ridgid's literature on it that warns of such possible failure of machine, so it seems it's a rather safe unit. I'm no electrician by any means.

                    Great info and looks like some really sharp guys on Weld Talk, thanks for the heads up again and your kind words.

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                    • #11
                      I've just always used a milwaukee heat gun. Is there anything wrong with that?

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                      • #12
                        on some homes back east service is shallow because of hard ledge stone. thats why welding machines are needed. pipe is frozen under ground before house
                        3 ft deep which too shallow in some cases
                        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          So Theron, you're going to rip drywall or whatever to expose a froze pipe that is frozen along an entire wall or inside a ceiling or even under a slab with your little heat gun?

                          OK buddy, good luck.

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