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Urecon | Celebrating 40 Years | 1969-2009

Thawing Frozen Services

Should a line freeze for whatever reason, there are limited options available to thaw it out. In many cases, design engineers build in passive THERMOCABLE® electric tracing. In this case, the tracer is not normally energized and is switched on only in case of freezing to thaw the service line. Thermostatic control must be provided in case the operator forgets to turn off the tracer once the line is thawed. If passive tracing is installed, consideration should be given to a 13 Watt (4 w/ft) per meter capacity THERMOCABLE® to provide extra wattage to thaw out the service pipe.

If the service pipe is type K soft copper, a “welding machine” should NOT be used to thaw out the service pipe. This method poses a serious fire hazard to the building and those surrounding and is prohibited in most jurisdictions.

Another recommended method is the use of a pulse jet de-icer; this self-contained unit has a nylon probe that injects high pressure pulsating hot water down the copper or plastic service pipe. The combination of pulsating hot water and high pressure thaws most lines safely. Units are commercially available that can thaw up to 60 m (200 ft) of service line.