Effective Plumbing After Freezing the Flow of Water

The freezing of pipes is a quick and efficient way to do plumbing or repairs when it is impossible or impractical to shut off the water, or completely drain the plumbing system. To repair or replace water pipes in homes or facilities is common, as old valves do not work. In apartments or commercial buildings, shutting off the water or drain pipes can be an inconvenience for people in the building, and be challenging for finding the valves.

Freezing kits form a small plug of ice inside the pipe can withstand the water pressure for a sufficient amount of time, to allow installing a T valve. This method works on copper, plastic or metal, both small and large.

There are two types of freezing kits: Spray and Electrical. Both work on the same principle: a fluid evaporating volatile around the pipe. Evaporation occurs when gas molecules escape from the liquid, absorbing enough heat in the pipe to freeze water therein. Freezing kit uses an insulating cover that holds the liquid in a closed atmosphere around the pipe.

The electric machine keeps freezing fluid in a closed loop so that nothing is lost in the process. The engine drives a pump that compresses the gas and a heat exchanger, which cools it to bring it to a liquid, to circulate it in the freezing head. The freezing head fits with the pipe clamp, and the fluid flows through a small capillary tube.

Preparation for Freezing

Before plumbing work, you must stop all water flow in the pipe. Even a small leak from the tap is enough to prevent freezing. When working with a hot water pipe, make sure to turn off any circulation pump and allow the pipe to cool. If possible, freeze horizontal sections of the pipe rather than a vertical one. Natural convection of heat in a vertical pipe can cause movement, and reduce the duration of the ice cap.

The heating pipe may contain antifreeze and corrosion inhibitors. This can increase the time it takes to freeze the pipe. Seamless joints and compression couplings work well, especially if space is limited. You can use welded joints, but leave one or two inches between the coupler and the cover, so that freezing does not affect the welding ice plug.

Using Aerosol Spray Equipment

When using an aerosol spray kit, keep the workspace ventilated. Heat, flames and smoke near freezing fluid, or contact with the spray can cause noxious fumes. Wear gloves, face shields and eyewear when working with the spray, because skin will freeze on contact. Place the cover around the pipe freezing, a few inches from the work area, and firmly tie each end of the cover with tape or rope. Connect the extension pipe from the deck to the aerosol, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Before cutting the pipe, insert a small screw in the pipe section to be removed. If you made the plughole leak water, avoid sprinkling it. If the cap is not properly formed, it is easier to handle a small hole that is partially cut.