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Need Pipe Thawing welder

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  • Need Pipe Thawing welder

    For the first time in a long time I've been getting calls for Pipe Thawing, Sure wish I had a old 400 amp @ 100% duty cycle machine that I didn't like.

    I wont do it with the trail blazers or Pipe pro ( To Expensive to fix. )

  • #2
    Originally posted by Portable Welder View Post
    For the first time in a long time I've been getting calls for Pipe Thawing, Sure wish I had a old 400 amp @ 100% duty cycle machine that I didn't like.

    I wont do it with the trail blazers or Pipe pro ( To Expensive to fix. )
    At the very least, anything from Ranger 8 and up!!! It really doesn't take much!

    Griff
    Last edited by griff01; 02-10-2014, 05:57 PM. Reason: add on

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    • #3
      The old lincoln tombstone AC machines worked well for thawing piping. It had a circle around the 75 amp setting which was designated for thawing.

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      • #4
        Ok ok...maybe I'm a little young or undereducated on the subject.... But what or how do you thaw pipes with a welder???? Thanks

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        • #5
          The city where I live just asked me today if I would be willing to come do this. I don't think I want to dead short my trailblazer 302 for this. Also my insurance company said they wouldn't cover me at all for that type of work.

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          • #6
            You just hook up a ground on one end of the frozen pipe and I take some heavy coper wire and wrap it around the other end and hook my stinger on it. You have to make sure that there isn't any sections of PVC or any other place for the electricity to go other than between your ground and stinger or you may burn down a house or the neighbors depending on what your hooked to.

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            • #7
              I miss my miller Big 40! Thawed many pipes with that workhorse of a machine.

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              • #8
                Ok ok I see... kinda like a super duty heat tape! What amps do you run to do that? (I don't intend to do this, just wondering)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Portable Welder View Post
                  For the first time in a long time I've been getting calls for Pipe Thawing, Sure wish I had a old 400 amp @ 100% duty cycle machine that I didn't like.

                  I wont do it with the trail blazers or Pipe pro ( To Expensive to fix. )

                  Portable,
                  I used to do a lot of this type of work. Saved my bacon during slow winter months. You can hook up a couple of smaller machines in parallel. If you double the input amps, you get 4 times the heat into the pipe. I have put as many as 4 ranger size machines on larger lines. That way you can keep the welders within their duty cycle. Be very cautious doing this type of work. There is so much utility congestion, crap repairs, etc. in the ground these days, it's very easy to start a fire in structure a half block away. Make your customer sign a waiver of liability. Your insurance carrier will probably not cover you for this type of work. I put urban pipe thawing in the same category as base jumping or wing walking. Just remember that current follows the path of least resistance. Use an Ohmmeter to check your hookup before you power up. Should be very low ohms. If you hear any 60 cycle hum in your digital ohm meter, you are reading the power line grounds. A fire starter for sure! Pull off. Not worth the risk to continue. Ask me how I know. Good money for sure if your heart can take the stress.
                  Good Luck,
                  Lake

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                  • #10
                    Not sure if the stress/legality/ imminent danger/risk for fire/poss equipment damage outweighs the compensation... doesn't sound like a situation I'd want to be in...

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                    • #11
                      Hey there Lake, When ever I thawed pipes in the past, I have a water key put down out front at the road, I then went inside the house and hook to the pipe as it enters the house.

                      I totally agree don't hook onto the pipe just anywhere in the house because electricity might hop on a ground wire inside the house inside the wall, So I get that, That's a no brainer for me.

                      However, I never thought about the possibility of plastic being added, So now the electricity goes out to the pipe in the road, over to the neighbors, runs through the neighbors water pipe, takes the path of least resistance which turns out to be a wire ground in the wall goes outside up on the telephone pole down into the house you are trying to thaw water for in the first place, then catches a ground wire in that house and then down to the welding cable making it possible to burn down 2 houses.

                      I think that's what your trying to say.

                      I'm pretty sure that it would be pretty unusual but its nice to know what could happen, I will go back and read some more about checking the ohms, Thanks for every ones input.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Portable Welder View Post
                        Hey there Lake, When ever I thawed pipes in the past, I have a water key put down out front at the road, I then went inside the house and hook to the pipe as it enters the house.

                        I totally agree don't hook onto the pipe just anywhere in the house because electricity might hop on a ground wire inside the house inside the wall, So I get that, That's a no brainer for me.

                        However, I never thought about the possibility of plastic being added, So now the electricity goes out to the pipe in the road, over to the neighbors, runs through the neighbors water pipe, takes the path of least resistance which turns out to be a wire ground in the wall goes outside up on the telephone pole down into the house you are trying to thaw water for in the first place, then catches a ground wire in that house and then down to the welding cable making it possible to burn down 2 houses.


                        Portable,
                        Yes, if the line was ever repaired with anything that would break the continuity between your stinger and ground connections to the pipe, that high amperage goes through the electrical grounding system that is generally tied to the water system. 300 amps through a #12 or 14 wire can be spectacular!. In more rural areas, using a welder to thaw a line is pretty safe because there is less utility work going on to compromise the water service lines into a home. Unless you have x-ray vision, you cannot safely assume that the amps you put into a service line is going where you think it should. That's why I always use an Ohmmeter to check for continuity before the welder is energized. I could go on for hours with stories of flamed houses, burned up welders, whiney home owners, etc. Seems like every winter, every guy with a welding machine comes out to do pipe thawing work around here. And every winter I read of multiple fires or water damage caused by someone carelessness. Hope you have a safe go at it!
                        Lake



                        I think that's what your trying to say.

                        I'm pretty sure that it would be pretty unusual but its nice to know what could happen, I will go back and read some more about checking the ohms, Thanks for every ones input.
                        Yep, that's right.
                        Lake

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                        • #13
                          Even a hi resistance joint can cause a problem. If I can I isolate one end of the incoming pipe. I don't really like to do it,, did one Monday morn though, one I have done in the past. Yes,, your ins co will not like this idea one bit.
                          Attached Files

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                          • #14
                            I grabbed my meter the other day. I left the machine set to burn a 1/8 lo hi and at a dead short was 163A. The actual current maybe 25% more than the dial setting. Get a DC amp meter, Lincoln used to make one that hooked in line with the lead but I would and do use my machines to thaw, just don't cook it. On a 100% machine about 70% or so on the settings.

                            I was going to play with the fine and the meter but I was in a hurry and wanted a coffee.

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                            • #15
                              Hey,,, did you ever get pressure washer? That was a good idea.

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