Letter | Published:

The Thawing of Frozen Water Pipes

Nature volume 88, page 484 (08 February 1912) | Download Citation



As the present frost is causing serious inconvenience in many houses, I should like to direct attention to a method of thawing ice in pipes which I have frequently put into practice and found effective. It is based on the principle that strong brine eats its way into the ice like an acid, and that the resulting diluted brine rises and makes room for the denser fluid. Close the main tap, and with a spanner unscrew the top of the valve of the frozen water-pipe and remove the small valve. Ball taps to cisterns may have to be unscrewed altogether. Insert a few feet of one-eighth inch rubber or lead tubing into the pipe, and pour concentrated brine into it through a small funnel. Replace the valve and cover, but leave the valve open; also open the main valve, and wait. If the ice plug in the pipe is only 1 or 2 feet long it will have been eaten through in about an hour's time; if longer, the above operation should be repeated several times. The brine is prepared by boiling an excess of salt in water, say half a pound per pint; it should, if possible, be used hot, and renewed frequently.

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  1. West Didsbury, February 5.



  1. Search for C. E. STROMEYER in:

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