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.
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.