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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Otsego,MN
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    51

    Default Thaw frozen pipes with arc welder?

    Hello, no issues here (that i know of) but i was wondering how to thaw frozen pipes (copper)with a arc welder? I have heard of it but thats about it, thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    7,731

    Default

    Kinda depends on the welder enjoying a dead short.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Salem ,Ohio
    Posts
    3,908

    Cool

    My dad did his barn and i used to watch. AC, ground at one end and rod holder at the other....Bob
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    16919 Pole Rd. Brethren, MI 49619
    Posts
    4,383

    Default

    There are some issues especially with situations like city water and multiple electrical services grouped. Is this on a well or city water? I do them on occasion but am always concerned about making an alternate current pathway on the electric system. Not so concerned with the welder, turn it low enough it doesn't overheat. What model machine? Usually copper isn't much of an issue, not as bad as steel that may have corroded high resistance joints.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Otsego,MN
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Thanks for the info guys, i personaly have well water, i have never had a issue here and im sure things will be ok now that its +5 degrees but last night it was about -29 and it got me thinking about this, like i say i have heard of it but thats about it, i have a TB302 and a Dynasty 200dx,

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks MO
    Posts
    3,558

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by walleye1 View Post
    Thanks for the info guys, i personaly have well water, i have never had a issue here and im sure things will be ok now that its +5 degrees but last night it was about -29 and it got me thinking about this, like i say i have heard of it but thats about it, i have a TB302 and a Dynasty 200dx,
    Well I certainly would NOT use either of those two machines to do it!!
    Go find some old Lincoln tombstone at a second hand store...they have a spot at the 75 amp setting that I was always told was indicating where you set it to thaw pipes...not sure how true that is tho.

    I have a little pipe thawing story tho....I had a guy talk me into doing that years ago with my Bobcat against my better judgement. I agreed to do it because he had it all figured out where to hook the leads. Well after several minutes we realized the house was burning!!!!
    The place had undergone a remodel years before and the pipes had been cut and they was arcing into the duct-work
    By the time the fire dept. got there we had it put out with lake water in buckets.
    I then figured out the correct place to hook the leads and thawed his pipes, got paid and never done that again
    For what it costs for shortening the life of a good welding machine it may even be cheaper to re-install the water lines correctly in some cases.

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    16919 Pole Rd. Brethren, MI 49619
    Posts
    4,383

    Default

    I have thawed piping with several machines. I usually set up on AC and use a meter to make sure things are going ok. The situation you describe is the main problem, with a well I might be tempted to disconnect the electric ground wire to keep current off this wire. Like the man said, this is a dead short, main thing is to keep currents in the ranges it doesn't over heat the machine. With a 302 I would keep things under 200A, Lincoln makes a DC amp meter for putting in line with DC machines just for thaws. The setting on the tombstone at 70A is for 100A duty cycle, slow but it works, gas engine drives with more power are substantially faster.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Milan Michigan
    Posts
    1,704

    Default

    I used to do it with my miller big 40 that I bought back in 1989, I did a city line on a about a 2" pipe.

    I also did a few houses that year.

    After doing so I notice that when welding with my 7018 rod I had to turn it up higher than what I used to to burn the same rod.

    My machine also developed a miss shortly there after.

    The only way I would thaw pipes again would be with an old machine.

    On the houses I always thawed from the key outside to the base of the meter in the house, never past that point due to hearing of the fires.

    Never run your machine past the duty cycle and warm up the engine before hooking up to the pipes, shut the machine down, hook it up and then restart.

    If you can run the machine on AC it will warm the pipe faster.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    N.E. SD
    Posts
    1,378

    Default

    I watched a guy thaw pipes in a trailer house back in the early '80s.
    Ran his machine for three hours and nothing..... There was a section of PVC in between where he was connected
    Jeff

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Milan Michigan
    Posts
    1,704

    Default

    Thats pretty funny J Hall

    You think he should have noticed that it diddnt lug the machine nor that it wouldnt have idled up.

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