Ask the Drain Brains: How To Repair a Pipe Without Shutting Down the Whole Building
Ask the Drain Brains
By Marty Silverman
General Pipe Cleaners
Q: We had a lot of calls for broken water lines this past winter. It was a pain to my customers when the water had to be shut off each time we made a repair. Is there a better way?
A: Yes, you can use a pipe freeze system. It may sound crazy to intentionally freeze a pipe. But, under controlled conditions, creating an ice plug is a fast and easy way to make a repair to the line without shutting off the water to your customer’s building or home.
It freezes all types of liquids in steel, copper, cast iron, aluminum, and plastic pipes ranging from 1/8″ to 2″. The freeze kit uses carbon dioxide (CO2) from a dip-tube tank available at most welding supply houses. The cold liquid CO2 is -110 degrees so it can freeze the water in just minutes. A 1/2″ copper pipe freezes in just 5 minutes, or just 3 minutes in cast iron. The ice plug is so strong it can withstand up to 7000 psi.
So, there’s no need to drain water lines, sprinkler systems, or hot water systems before cutting pipe or tubing. You can keep your pressurized system operating while you make repairs.