Frozen water main - suggestions?

seanrunnette

Brain Damaged Ray Romano
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#1
The Denville adventure continues. (Think Hindenburg.)
Turns out our main water line enters the basement at 16 inches, not the 36 inches that'd put us below the frost line. It got cold, the pipe froze... Somewhere between the street and the house. That's mebbe 120' of guessing.
We were quoted $750 to have a Hotshot Pipe Thawer clamped to either end of the pipe. Balked at the price. Thought "how hard can it be?" and tried to rent one. No luck. No luck finding welders or plumbers who want to do this kinda work. $750 is starting to sound reasonable.
Anyone had this happen before?
 

MadisonDan

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#2
$20 and fire not an option here?

Sorry to hear this continues..... So the clamps are 100+' apart? Holy hell...... Those units cost over $750, by the way
 

fidodie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#5
oy!
this seems like a @gtluke job to me. Unless you have a gate valve before the meter, don't try the hot water with small hose on aquarium pump.
once the water starts, there would be no way to stop it without the key at the street.

oh, and ditcher party this spring!

PS - the ground is frozen, so fire is necessary "somewhere"
 

UtahJoe

Team Workhorse
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#6
Cheap solution....You can try toughing it out until it thaws, which should be soon given the coming temps. Then leave a faucet on somewhere with a steady drip. My old house in sparta was a summer house built on a massive rock...the well line ran a few inches below the surface...This got me through usually.

That said...I would look into getting the pipe buried at the proper depth when you can.
 

seanrunnette

Brain Damaged Ray Romano
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#9
i think 750 was reasonable .
That was just to do the job. Not to buy the thing. We're heading out to Sussex to rent one, and the long cable runs, from a place that isn't United in Morristown, which is staffed by assholes. Fingers crossed. If that doesn't work, we'll just get smellier and smellier and eventually the Earth will move closer to the Sun and we'll be able to bath in the lake.
 

trailhead

JORBA: Wildcat/Splitrock
JORBA.ORG
#11
how different is this unit from a basic stick welder....which I have....then a series of jumper cables......a bit hillbilly but hey.....i live in Rockaway.

Once water is running again, maybe you can add temporary freeze protection with a string of hay bales over the line.
 
#13
I'd buy the pipe thawer.
Okay so actually i'd try passing welding current through the pipe first and get frustrated trying to tye 4 pair of car jumper cables together to get to the other end of the pipe and then eventually give up and buy the pipe thawer.
 
#14
how different is this unit from a basic stick welder....which I have....then a series of jumper cables......a bit hillbilly but hey.....i live in Rockaway.

Once water is running again, maybe you can add temporary freeze protection with a string of hay bales over the line.
Very similar. You can do it but there is a chance the welder will be angry at 10 minutes of full load. The annoying part will be getting the cables long enough.
 

trailhead

JORBA: Wildcat/Splitrock
JORBA.ORG
#15
amps is amps...oh and BTW... you will need a 220 outlet accessible for whichever unit you use....

my welder has a knob to adjust the current, and has a fan
 

jackx

Well-Known Member
#16
Looks like unseasonably warm temps and 100% rain on Friday, Saturday, so maybe that will help thaw it naturally. (Not mentioning the warmer temps for outside bathing).

If it happened once, it could happen again. I'd consider buying a Hot Shot...hot shot.
Or look into getting the water line lowered below frost line come the spring. How old is house, do you know any history...like why they didn't put pipe deep enough?
Anyway the Hot Shot looks to be as easy as jumping a car.
Seconded. Soundz better to spend the money on your own Hot Shot, than on a 1 time deal with the professional.
 
#18
amps is amps...oh and BTW... you will need a 220 outlet accessible for whichever unit you use....

my welder has a knob to adjust the current, and has a fan
Any chance the plug is the same as his drier plug which is probably in the same room?
I have a NEMA twist male to standard welder outlet adapter/extension cord available. I just don't have a stick welder.

Sean, take a picture of your drier outlet, if you don't have one down there but your electrical box is down there, take a picture of that. Adding a 220v outlet to a basement is easy if you have spare capacity.

You can get real yeeehaw and alligator clip it right to the mains too.
 

pooriggy

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#20
My guess is that you can power this on a 110 line, since they are renting it to homeowners. It probably has a Hi an Low amp switch. Just looked it up, the Hot Shot 320 runs on 110;)