Frozen well pump - help!

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I understand perfectly well how they work. You, apparently, did not understand what I wrote. Perhaps you should re-read it. My point was that it doesn't matter whether the hydrant is shut off before, or after, the pump -- as long as it is shut off.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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why?
--
Steve Barker



"Barney" < snipped-for-privacy@ll.mam> wrote in message
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On Sun, 04 Feb 2007 15:40:27 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Which is precisely why you heat the upper part, boil out some water and remove the head. Then you pour table salt in the pipe and it will melt thru the ice below the ground. I have done it, it works and works well !!!
Actually, if someone is handy they should be able to use compressed air or even something like a turkey baster to inject the salt into the spigot opening without removing the head. Of course the upper water needs to be boiled out first, which and decent torch can do, but it has to be a powerful one. Use the electric heater first to get things thawed.
Sure, it can sit till spring, but animals need water and the harder the freeze, the more likely the hydrant will crack. I can prove this point just by putting water in a plastic pitcher. When I water our pet rabbits I carry a plastic pitcher of water to the shed. On a partial freeze, the pitcher remains it's normal shape with ice in it. On a full freeze, the bottom of the pitcher bulges. This hydrant should be thawed as soon as possible.
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The OP just posted that she's in central Indiana. So am I, and have been for the last 34 years. So trust me on a couple of things:
1) She definitely will not have to wait for spring to get a thaw. Two weeks, at most, before the ambient temp is high enough to thaw it. Extended periods of below-freezing weather here are very rare.
2) It's as cold tonight as it's likely to get. Any damage has already been done, and will not be made worse by waiting.

That's the difference between freezing only around the edges, and freezing solid.

Doesn't matter -- it's only an inch or so thick, and at the temps the OP is experiencing, it froze solid all the way through on the first night. The damage (if any) is already done.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Feb 4, 6:55 am, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

<snip>
AT last. I kept reading wondering when someone would call it right. They are called "Frost Free Hydrants" out here. I don't know what the true technical name is. Asking for one by either of those names will get what he needs.
Harry K
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Sure you do: it's "Frost Free" (or "Freeze Proof") Hydrant. <g>

Yep.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Sun, 4 Feb 2007 13:25:11 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

OK, now we're getting some where. The pump is way down in the well, and will not freeze. The thing you are talking about is a riser spigot, or I call them a hydrant. I have dealt with these things freezing several times. Here's the easy method, but only if this hydrant is outdoors and is not near any flammable materials. In other words, if it outdoors and there is no building, trees, or other flammables near it for at least 10 feet. OK, dig away any snow around the hydrant and take some cardboard boxes, paper, and some small twigs and or wood and build a pile around the hydrant. Set this pile on fire. Your hydrant should begin to flow after a few minutes (have the pump on). Yeah, this might sound dangerous to some people, but remember, you can ONLY do this if there are no flammables nearby. The hydrant itself is metal and wont burn. I have done this a few times and it works great.
If the hydrant is indoors or near flammables, buy several propane torches. Get the ones called TURBO TORCH. They are hotter. Put one in each hand, get a friend with one or two also. Each torch does 1/3 or 1/4th of the stand pipe.
If you are really handy, start by shutting off the pump. Then take off the handle, then you can put the torch where the head (top part of the hydrant where the handle goes - usually painted). Right below that painted head are threads. With two pipe wrenches you can remove the head, but be sure not to turn the pipe where it enters the ground. Remove the head. There will be a metal rod in the center. Start pouring table salt into that pipe around the rod. Then heat the top of that pipe till the water boils and keep adding more salt. The water will boil out of the top of the pipe a little at a time. Once you get down a few inches, the boiling water will react with the salt and melt downward quite quickly. Just keep applying the torch or torches further down the pipe. You will likely hear the water evel drop when the salt melts thru, or just turn on the pump for a few seconds, but stay away.
This salt method works well, but you need to know how to disassemble the head.
The fire around the hydrant is the easiest method.
Once fixed, always be sure to remove the hose immediately when you are finished and turn off the hydrant. I think you know that by now,,,,
Good Luck Let us know what works.
NOTE: You may likely have a cracked head. That cast iron is the first thing to break. You can get replacements for most models.
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wrote:

You apparently have a submersible pump with a ground level antifreeze spigot, Which drains when you put the handle down, which you forgotand therefor it froze. You need to just thraw the pipes out in however manner you can. An electric heater wire made for just such , might do the trick. But just thaw it out and then remember to drain that spigot each time you use it, DO YOU HEAR???? Jack
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If I *EVER* forget to put that handle down again someone should just take me out and shoot me because my brain has obviously seen better days and has turned completely to mush.
Here's the latest: I schlepped into town (30 miles round trip) and got two heat lamps. I set up the tent, plugged them in and one didn't work. (I must have broken a mirror recently or something...) I could tell pretty quick that this set-up wasn't going to do much -- especially with one lamp -- so when I schlepped back to town, I bought heat tape. I put that on -- six foot of it, spiral around the pipe but not touching itself -- and covered it with two huge pieces of R30 insulation. I taped it the best I could (the tape is freezing and not sticking) and then I jammed a plastic garbage can down over the whole set up. I figure I will leave it until tomorrow without undoing it.
Thanks to everyone who is replying and trying to suggest ways to help. Strength-wise, I don't have what it takes to remove spigots/piping or other heavy-duty stuff. Until this thaws out, I'll be running out with buckets of water every hour.
Thanks everyone.
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On Sun, 4 Feb 2007 16:48:31 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

Be prepared to blast a torch at the soil at the base of the hydrant after the top thaws. (Remove heat tape first). Its likely frozen under the soil, If you can, take a turkey baster and make a thick paste of table salt and water. See if you can inject that into the part where the hose connects.
By the way, what state are you in? This midwest cold spell is horrid.
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wrote:

Central Indiana, and, yes, doesn't it figure that THIS is the first time I made this mistake??
I'll try the saline injection tomorrow if the heat tape/insulation/garbage can-shed didn't work.
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On Mon, 5 Feb 2007 00:13:30 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

Didn't you make the mistake precisely because the pipe was frozen and there was no water coming out? If there had been water coming out, you would have turned it off.
This is a variation on those where there is a water main break and they turn their faucet on and when no water comes out, they don't close it again. Then when the water is repaired, the water comes out full blast, and overflows the sink etc.
I think most people** do this until they have some bad experience, although often that is a very small one.
**Any mistake one has made, he is likely to attribute to "most people".

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Oh, btw, my draft horse thinks it is REALLY COOL that I'm running out there with 5 gallon buckets of water for him every couple of hours. Apparently he figures it is his duty to drink it all upon delivery.
If I didn't love him to death, I'd shoot him. :)
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I forgot to mention. When you thaw it with torches, always start at the top so the water can boil out. Then work down.
On Sun, 4 Feb 2007 11:33:35 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

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Read the whole litany of replies to your troubles. I like your idea of using a tarp over a few saw horses, but a different heat source. How about a torpedo heater blowing its warmth into the tent. These things put out tons of heat. And, you could probably rent one at a rental place (I know, 30 miles away) if you don't have one or can't borrow one. I just used one in a garage where we were repairing the door opener. It was about 30 degrees outside .... not as cold at it is today in the mid west. But, after about an hour or so, we had to turn off the heater and remove our jackets. BTW, it was a 50K BTU unit.
FragileWarrior wrote:

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On Sun, 4 Feb 2007 11:33:35 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

See a diagram of a yard hydrant here:
http://www.simmonsmfg.com/media/catalog/cat_images100/Dlx-Hyd-Parts-Dwgtext2.jpg
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