How do I Unthaw yard hydrant underground?

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I have a yard hydrant in my barn. It had heat tape on it, and the top part above the ground was not frozen (I took off the head and put a wire down). Its frozen under the ground. I know it's not to the bottom, because its down at least 5 feet into the ground. Its frozen below the surface. I have concrete around it, but there's a 1 inck gap around the pipe, and I did have the heat tape down a few inches, but I found that right below that tape the ground is frozen because I tried to drive a piece of steel rebar into the soil.
I put a propane torch on the pipe right above the concrete level and got water to boil out the top, but it's still not working and cant lift the plunger. Is there some sort of electrical rod that I could drive melt into the ground or anything made for that? I did dump some boiling water around it too. I capped the top so I can use the rest of the water on the property. and have an electric heater next to the pipe, (heat tape is off now, so I could use torch). This hydrant is in a small room, so that electric heater should heat the room but it's not going to get what is underground. Anyone have any ideas what to do?
Then, when I do get it unthawed, what can I do under the concrete level to keep it thawed? They say not to put that heat tape underground. I did have it down abiut 2 inches into the concrete, but not more. I sure cant think of any other way to do it.
IDEAS NEEDED????
Thanks
Jake
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snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.com wrote:

A former co worker would use a DC welder to thaw pipes. He'd clamp the probes on either side of the frozen section. It doesn't sound practical for your problem though.
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On Jan 23, 9:28 am, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.com wrote:

I can't physically see your problem, so this is just a guess. If the hydrant is 5 feet below ground, inside a room, it is highly unlikely it is frozen due to cold temps. I think you have bigger problems and should investigate the possibility of having to repair whatever the mechanical problem is.
Hank
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To make my statement above more clear........ If, in fact it is frozen, that tells you that the hole that lets the water drain out of the hyrant is not working correctly (plugged?). There for it will need repaired to whatever extent it takes to open the drain hole.
Hank
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snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.com wrote:

If if if, the line isn't plastic, if ya can make a circuit with the ice block in the circuit, if ya can get enough current to flow, if you don't electrocute some cows and chickens, this ought to work, http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t ‡19 In this copy of The Procedure Handbook of Arc Welding (12th ed. 1973) that I just bought there is a section on using an arc welder to thaw frozen pipes. Now I can't imagine that this is a practice that Lincoln would be wanting to promote today in these litigious times; in fact they must be freaking out that there are still these old copies of the handbook out there with a how-to on burning your house down with a Lincoln HD Tombstone
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On Jan 23, 10:04 am, Fat Dumb & Happy <"Fat Dumb &

There's just about zero risk of burning down the house, unless the welder drops a lit cigarette. There isn't any arcing or welding going on . What is going on is the welder is used to pass current through metal piping to gradually heat it enough to melt the ice inside. One cable gets securely clamped to each end of the pipe, where accessible. I've seen it done on 50 -75ft runs of pipe. Takes an hour or two.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I gotta ask, were you trading options at the time?
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On Mon, 24 Jan 2011 04:34:07 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Just curious. I'm trying to picture this. You take a welder and connect one cable to the metal hydrant pipe. That part is clear. But you have to connect the other cable to the other end of the pipe. Well, that end is under the ground. How the heck do you connect to that end without digging it up? (Which digging would be impossible in winter anyhow, without machinery, and if dug up, the hydrant may as well be replaced). Most underground piping is plastic these days too, so that eliminates connecting the welder to something like another hydrant, which would likely be a hundred feet away (or more), and think how long the welder cables would need to be. This just is not making sense to me.
I also doubt any animals would get electrocuted. Welders only operate at 24 volts or so. It's just lots of amps. I've gotten a tingle several times when welding on wet ground if my shoes are wet. It dont feel good, but wont kill anyone. The solution when that happened was to just stand on a piece of dry plywood. Changing to dry shoes also helps, but the plywood seemed to work best. (or both).
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snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

You connect it to metal somewhere else where the pipe surfaces. Obviously this won't work if part of the path is plastic.

One infrequent hazard I have seen a warning for is if you are using an electric welder to heat the water service pipe for a building - other end a fire hydrant, with a metal municipal water supply. Since electric services are connected to the water service pipe as a grounding electrode, a possible parallel path is "grounding electrode conductor" to service, to neutral through N-G bond, to another house through the service neutrals, to that house's water service pipe through the "grounding electrode conductor". You could have high currents in an adjacent house that has rarely caused a fire. Temporarily removing the system ground wire and water meter is probably a good idea (but could rarely be hazardous in in itself).
--
bud--



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On 1/23/2011 8:28 AM, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.com wrote:

Whenever I want to "unthaw" something, I put it in a freezer or spray it with liquid CO2. If I wish to "thaw" something, I apply heat to melt the ice. I've used the wide flame torch heads on small propane torches, a heat gun or a big torch that fits a 20lb propane tank.
http://www.harborfreight.com/propane-torch-91033.html
TDD
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snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.com wrote:

We once thawed the line from our well up into our camp (heat tape was unplugged) by pumping hot water down to the ice through a piece of rubber tubing. It was a small pump used for cleaning beer lines, powered by an electric drill.
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If you can get below the surface then coil some tubing around the underground pipe. thread your electrical tape through this. The tubing should protect the tape.
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snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.com wrote: ...

...
If it's a frost-free and the foot-valve is below frost line, the problem is the weep hole is plugged so it's not draining--there shouldn't be any water in the vertical standpipe to freeze so there's no need to keep it warm.
The real solution (as much as you're not going to like it) is to make enough of an access to dig it up and fix that problem.
In the short term, I'd try a long ship auger bit or similar and drill a hole (or two) alongside the pipe and drop the heat tape down it. It'll be ok for a temporary.
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dpb wrote: ...

If those are true so there's simply a plug, you might since you have the top open try either a piece of 3/8" or such rod w/ a pointy end and see if can break thru physically the ice layer. Or, assuming the 1-1/4" standpipe or similar, a half or 3/4" piece of pipe ought to work, too.
Iff'en it's not too thick of a block, that might well be enough w/ a few love taps...
--
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A url that was posted in another thread today, perhaps with a somewhat related name, said that the hole can get frozen by the continued use of small amounts of water. That is, maybe it needs no repair, just a change in habits. And it gave other reasons why it would freeze.
It also said that the way to solve this is to pour [boiling?] hot water down the the hole until the ice melts. I guess you shoudl have plenty avaible aso that the hotwater doesnt' get cold and freeze too.
The OP should find this thread -- I can't seem to -- and read the url. It gives a some details.
Here it is: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca /$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex641
Read the whole thing but
"A hydrant can freeze due to improper valve adjustment, a saturated drainage bed, a plugged drain hole, or improper use, such as incomplete shut off or the constant withdrawal of only small amounts of water.
Should a hydrant freeze, it should be thawed as soon as possible to avoid damage. Hydrants frozen above ground level can usually be thawed by heating with an electric heat tape, a torch or hot water. If the hydrant is frozen below ground level, the head will have to be removed and hot water poured down the inside of the riser pipe. This step is most easily accomplished by soldering a copper tube to a funnel and pouring the hot water through the funnel and tube to the point where the ice has formed. The tube is pushed down the riser pipe as the ice melts."
I woudl email this to the OP if he gave a real address.

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On Jan 23, 9:28 am, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.com wrote:

If you're not in a big hurry you might try dumping some RV antifreeze down there as you try to thaw it. RV antifreeze wont hurt any animals.
Hank
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snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.com wrote:

What about one of those dipstick oil heaters?
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snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.com wrote:

Three it's in the last two sentences. I don't understand the first two of them or the sentence they are in. What do the it'ses refer to? ...

A url that was posted in another thread today, perhaps with a somewhat related name, said that the hole can get frozen by the continued use of small amounts of water. That is, maybe it needs no repair, just a change in habits. And it gave other reasons why it would freeze.
It also said that the way to solve this is to pour [boiling?] hot water down the the hole until the ice melts. I guess you shoudl have plenty avaible aso that the hotwater doesnt' get cold and freeze too.
The OP should find this thread -- I can't seem to -- and read the url. It gives a some details.
Here it is: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca /$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex641
Read the whole thing but
"A hydrant can freeze due to improper valve adjustment, a saturated drainage bed, a plugged drain hole, or improper use, such as incomplete shut off or the constant withdrawal of only small amounts of water.
Should a hydrant freeze, it should be thawed as soon as possible to avoid damage. Hydrants frozen above ground level can usually be thawed by heating with an electric heat tape, a torch or hot water. If the hydrant is frozen below ground level, the head will have to be removed and hot water poured down the inside of the riser pipe. This step is most easily accomplished by soldering a copper tube to a funnel and pouring the hot water through the funnel and tube to the point where the ice has formed. The tube is pushed down the riser pipe as the ice melts."
I woudl email this to the OP if he gave a real address.

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There's a lot that isn't clear. Leading me to wonder if it's really frozen where he thinks it is, or somewhere completely different. If this thing is in a barn, ie reasonably protected, goes straight down 5ft, and has heat tape on it, one would tend to doubt that it froze there. Perhaps there is somewhere else the pipe is more exposed?
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote: ...

Except'n he's said the pull rod won't...that's pretty clear.
Now, there may be other points in the line froze first and it's just progressed this direction, but I'll venture OP's correct in that there's a frozen plug in the standpipe.
We've got half-dozen and have had since as long as I can remember (which is back towards 50 yrs or more now) and in all those times the only causes have been either the weep is plugged, the drain area saturated or they didn't shut off absolutely tight so filled the standpipe.
Only the last of those is fixable w/o access to the foot, unfortunately, and can either be the adjustment isn't quite tight enough or the rubber on the stop has worn or gotten a set so doesn't seal. Theoretically, a seat could go bad but I've never in all that time had to replace one; only way I would see that happening would be if someone were to do the silly of trying to use one as a control valve instead of off/on.
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