It may sound crazy to intentionally freeze a pipe, but an ice plug is a fast and easy way to make a repair.

Q: We had to deal with a lot of broken waterlines this past winter. It was a pain to our tenants and me when the water had to be shut off for the whole building each time we made a repair. Is there a better way?

A. Yes, you can use a pipe freeze system. I know it sounds crazy to intentionally freeze a pipe. After all, isn't that the way they break in the first place? 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 the building.

The system freezes all types of liquids in steel, copper, cast iron, aluminum and plastic pipes ranging from 1/8 to 2 inches. The freeze kit uses carbon dioxide (CO2) from a dip-tube tank available at all welding supply houses. The cold liquid CO2 is minus 110 degrees so it can freeze the water in just minutes. A 1/2-inch copper pipe freezes in just five minutes, or just three minutes in cast iron. The ice plug is so strong it can withstand up to 7,000 psi.

Related: Gen-Eye Hot-Spot Pipe Locator Offers Easy Locating

So there's no need to drain waterlines, sprinkler systems or hot-water systems before cutting pipe or tubing. You can keep your pressurized system operating while you make repairs.    

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