What should do if your sewer line is frozen

What should do if your sewer line is frozen

What to do if the sewer line in a house is frozen or the heating and water supply are frozen? The professionals of the company Αποφράξεις Πειραιά offers excellent instructions on how to heat icy pipes and restore the condition of the cottage for those who do not have time to wait for heating or the arrival of help.

What makes the sewer line pipes freeze

Most of the time, the water in the sewers or water pipes freezes if:

  • The pipes are placed at the depth of freezing of the soil. In Ukraine, the typical freezing depth, depending on the region, ranges from 60-70 to 90 cm, so if your pipes are buried at a shallower depth, their freezing is a very real story in severe frosts.
  • Are the pipes not insulated or is the insulation layer on them broken ?
  • The drain pipe was placed on the ground in violation of the requirements for its inclination (calculated as 20 mm for each current meter of the pipe). In such pipes, any small debris can lead to blockage of the pipe and as a result – delay and freezing of drains.
  • The pipes are very small – for example, sewer pipes are less than 110 mm. In thinner tubes, liquids flow more slowly, which is why they freeze faster.
  • The pipes have leaks or cracks, due to which the gradual outflow and freezing of the water blocks or even tears the walls of the pipes.
  • Very little water drains into the sewer, which is why some of them can freeze in both the pipe and the septic tank.

Note to the owner

Most of the time, metal and plastic pipe parts freeze at their joints and in places where the pipes come to the surface.
The water in the pipes can be turned into ice in one or more parts and in the whole pipe. How to find out? If the pipe is not buried and accessible for inspection, do the following:

  1. Tap the tube – in places where there is ice, the sound will be dull and where it is not – sound.
  2. If possible, disassemble several joints and check for ice.
  3. Check how strong the wind is in those places where the pipes are on the surface: where it blows constantly, the chance of the pipes freezing increases.
  4. Are the pipes on the surface okay? This means that there is an ice plug in the part of the pipe that is on the ground.

How to heat the water supply and sewerage

There are several options for how to heat icy pipes – it all depends on the scale of the accident, the material of the pipes, their location and the time available to heat them.

Quick options

If the question is how to quickly melt ice in a sewer pipe, then you can try the following methods:

  •  Boiling water – good in cases where the freezing point of the pipe is small and easily accessible. The desired part of the pipe (the material of the pipe does not matter) is wrapped in a cloth and poured with boiling water. Once the process is complete and the desired result is achieved, this area is wrapped with insulation to prevent the problem from recurring.
  • Building hair dryer or heat gun – suitable as boiling water for individual spaces or for joints and turns of pipes, fittings, You can use any powerful device that produces a stream of hot air. It is also necessary to wrap a heated part with insulation. And be careful with plastic pipes – do not melt them!
  • A gas torch or blower is an extremely flammable method that is only suitable for metal pipes!
  • Ice cleaning with a hydrodynamic machine. This is a specific device used by professionals to clean pipes: it pumps liquid inside them at high pressure. It is not very good for plastic pipes – you can destroy them with pressure and you will not be able to get such a device quickly and the purchase is intentionally expensive.

Slow choices

Simpler, but also effective ways to heat the sewer system and water supply in a private home, especially if the frozen areas are deep or on the ground:

  • Pump hot water into an icy pipe using a pump: for this, a hose must be inserted into the pipe at maximum depth. But not an ordinary garden, but best of all – it is designed to provide oxygen or household gas from cylinders. If the center of ice formation is not far from the sink or toilet drain, you can pour hot water with salt in them (1 kg of salt per bucket of water).
  • At pipe bending points, you must plan to install a hose: you must attach a metal wire with a bent end to the hose. It will help push the ice through the tube.

The method is suitable for plastic and polypropylene pipes, but you can not call it fast and economical: to melt 10 cm of ice you need a bucket of water and it will take about an hour and a half to heat a meter of frozen pipe.

  • Light a fire for several hours above the place where the pipe is frozen on the ground, even if you have it at a decent depth (one meter or more). The burnt coals must then be covered for another 6 hours under a hut. Even if underfloor heating does not help, it will warm the earth and you can dig the pipe to visually determine its condition.

Electrical options

Electricity is sometimes used to heat icy pipes.

Note to the owner!

  1. Heating with welding transformer. The frozen (metal only!) Pipe is freed from insulation and paint and wrapped with copper wire. The ends of the wire are connected to the secondary winding of the welding transformer and are activated with minimal operating current: this combination allows you to melt the ice in the drain pipe in just a few hours.
  2. Bare wire heating for plastic covers. Suitable only for plastic pipes without metal fittings and other elements (including taps). In this case, use a two-core cable with 2.5 mm cross-section conductors (for example, installation supply cable), from which the external insulation is removed in a small section and the conductors are separated from each other. The cables require preliminary preparation and careful handling, otherwise the heating from the mains can end very unfortunately.

How to avoid freezing of pipes

It is easier to prevent a problem than to solve it. Therefore, it is best to do everything in advance so that one day your heating in a private home, sewage or water supply does not freeze.

  • Bury the pipes below the freezing point of the soil – at a depth of at least 1 meter.
  • Insulate the pipes: for this, you can use any common insulation: mineral wool, polystyrene foam, polystyrene foam and so on.
  • Install the entire length of the pipe protection in the basement or basement: it can simply be a larger diameter pipe, the rest of the space in which it can be expanded with polyurethane foam.
  • Use underfloor heating: a special cable is wound around the pipe, which is supplied with heating current when the ground temperature drops to a critical temperature.
  • Use larger diameter polyethylene pipes: they are elastic in cold weather and the ice does not break and a strong flow of water prevents them from freezing.
  • For sewage, use chemicals that prevent it from freezing – only consider when buying what sewer pipes are made of.

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