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Thread: Cryo-freezing a 14" water main pipe - video

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    Jon
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    Cryo-freezing a 14" water main pipe - video


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    Supporting Member Drew1966's Avatar
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    Interesting that they’re not installing a valve in the 14” pipe so future shut downs are a simpler process. I have five plumbers in my extended family and have helped freeze mains supply pipes many times, when the main valve is too worn to shut down the flow. So we would freeze the main then replace the valve. Voila, problem solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew1966 View Post
    Interesting that they’re not installing a valve in the 14” pipe so future shut downs are a simpler process. I have five plumbers in my extended family and have helped freeze mains supply pipes many times, when the main valve is too worn to shut down the flow. So we would freeze the main then replace the valve. Voila, problem solved.
    I'm just surprised they're able to do that — and not bust or split the pipes.
    Last edited by Scotsman Hosie; Apr 8, 2019 at 10:52 PM. Reason: grammer

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    Supporting Member Drew1966's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotsman Hosie View Post
    I'm just surprised they're able to do that — and not bust or split the pipes.
    The pipe would only burst if a significant length were frozen, giving the ice no room to expand.

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    The physics of frozen pipes breaking are very miss understood. Try this, get a 2 foot piece of common plumbing pipe, sweat a cap on one end and a female adapter on the other end. Fill it with water and thread a high pressure gauge into the adapter to seal the pipe. This is the dangerous part, drill a 3/4 inch hole in the side of your freezer, then slowly begin to slide the pipe into the freezer, say an inch an hour. Watch the gauge and take note bulge that begins to form on the end outside the freezer before the pipe bursts. (don't tell your wife you got this idea from ME!!!!!)

    I keep this old frost proof faucet around to show customers how important it is to remove the hose from the outside in the winter time. This shows evidence of the freeze process beginning on the outside end on the facet, as it got colder and colder, the ice formation migrated further inside the house, forcing the pipe to swell as the ice expanded. The whole pipe is tapered slightly, on the outside end the pipe is 0.732 as it nears the bulge it is 0.749 before it jumps up quickly. I discovered this near disaster while doing other work for this home owner. Typically what happens is the pipe breaks and what little water in leaks out after the thaw, no one notices. Then in the spring time, when the water is turned on, the house is flooded.

    Cryo-freezing a 14" water main pipe - video-freeze-damage.png
    Cryo-freezing a 14" water main pipe - video-freeze-bulge.png

    Often a pipe will begin to freeze, isolating the water source from the rest of the system, then as the freezing continues, a pipe bursts someplace that is isolated from the source, like in the photo that began this thread. Then it is not until the ice damn thaws, that the structure is flooded. This is how the old myth that "pipes don't break when they freeze, they break when then warm back up" comes from. The truth is, they break when they freeze, you just find out about it when they thaw! It is very common with fire protection systems in commercial buildings.

    John
    Last edited by hemmjo; Apr 9, 2019 at 06:36 AM. Reason: added humor

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew1966 View Post
    Interesting that they’re not installing a valve in the 14” pipe so future shut downs are a simpler process. I have five plumbers in my extended family and have helped freeze mains supply pipes many times, when the main valve is too worn to shut down the flow. So we would freeze the main then replace the valve. Voila, problem solved.
    So how is the pipe frozen?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tooler2 View Post
    So how is the pipe frozen?
    They use special refrigeration unit pumping refrigerant through a collar around the pipe. The collar is in effect the evaporator in the refrigerant system. You can see the braided steel lines running up to that device in the video. Or they may be using liquid nitrogen.



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