Methods for defrosting sewer pipes in a private house


The ques­tion of how to defrost a frozen sew­er pipe in your own home aris­es with the advent of cold weath­er. This prob­lem is com­mon, which indi­cates the inabil­i­ty or igno­rance of most peo­ple how to prop­er­ly lay the sewage sys­tem under­ground. When the prob­lem of stag­nant water arose, it is nec­es­sary to under­stand how to melt the accu­mu­lat­ed ice in the sew­er pipe.

Fight­ing ice jams

Causes of ice jams

Before talk­ing about ways to heat the sew­er in a pri­vate house, it is nec­es­sary to under­stand the rea­sons for its appear­ance. There may be sev­er­al of them:

  • One of the com­mon caus­es of freez­ing of the drainage sys­tem in win­ter is improp­er lay­ing of the pipeline above the freez­ing lev­el of the soil.
  • Lack of or poor-qual­i­ty ther­mal insu­la­tion leads to freez­ing of pipes.
  • An old, con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed sys­tem is prone to fre­quent block­ages, and as a result, freez­ing of water inside.
  • Incor­rect­ly cre­at­ed bias. When a sew­er sys­tem is cre­at­ed, it is nec­es­sary to lay the water sup­ply with a slope towards the sep­tic tank or cesspool. If the slope was not car­ried out or it is small, then the drains will drain slow­ly and stag­nate in the pipeline.

That is why it is worth approach­ing the lay­ing of the sewage sys­tem respon­si­bly, and doing every­thing exact­ly accord­ing to the indi­cat­ed schemes for lay­ing the sys­tem.

Insu­la­tion effi­cien­cy to avoid prob­lems

There are sev­er­al ways to defrost the pipes of the sewage sys­tem. The choice of heat­ing work depends on:

  • pipe mate­r­i­al (met­al or plas­tic);
  • loca­tion of the ice plug;
  • con­ges­tion size.

Based on these cri­te­ria, tools will be select­ed, fur­ther ways to fix the prob­lem at home will be decid­ed.

Removing ice plugs in a metal sewer


Now few peo­ple cre­ate a sewage sys­tem from met­al pipes, but for hous­es built 10–20 years ago this is very impor­tant. The met­al sys­tem is good in that the heat­ing of such sew­er pipes can be car­ried out with a con­ven­tion­al burn­er or a spe­cial appa­ra­tus for defrost­ing liq­uids.

Before start­ing work, it is nec­es­sary to deter­mine the loca­tion of the block­age. For this, a num­ber of activ­i­ties are car­ried out:

  • A thin met­al hose or wire is thread­ed through the inspec­tion win­dow and pushed into the sew­er route.
  • As soon as the wire rests against a sol­id object, this is an ice jam.
  • To ver­i­fy the accu­ra­cy of the place, sim­i­lar activ­i­ties are car­ried out from the side of the sep­tic tank.
  • The same object that was used to recon­noi­ter the place of stag­na­tion is used to plot the dis­tance along the line of the sew­er map. At the stop on the sur­face of the pipe, a mark is made of the place where the ice plug is locat­ed.

If there is a man­hole near the freez­ing area of ​​​​the met­al sew­er pipe, this will great­ly sim­pli­fy the work.

Get­ting to the pipe under­ground through the frozen soil is dif­fi­cult. You will have to free part of the sys­tem from the ground in the place where the ice plug is locat­ed. To do this, you need to dig a trench or pit to the pipe itself. After con­tact with the met­al sur­face has been estab­lished, you can begin to free the sys­tem from frozen water.

Simple remedies for dealing with ice jams

If the pipes are frozen inside and lie deep under­ground, this means that you will have to act both from the out­side and from the inside of the pipeline. The meth­ods may be as fol­lows.


The most effec­tive and eas­i­est way is to heat the sew­er with a blow­torch or gas burn­er. This is done sim­ply:

  • The burn­er is ignit­ed, cre­at­ing an open fire.
  • They send her to a frozen area.
You can only work with met­al pipes

Dur­ing defrost­ing work, it is nec­es­sary to open a tap with water so that the warmed liq­uid can safe­ly flow out through the pipeline. In this case, the gas boil­er or col­umn is turned off.

welding transformer


When water freezes in a sew­er pipe made of cast iron, you can use a weld­ing machine. The work is car­ried out in sev­er­al stages:

  • The loca­tion of the block­age is deter­mined.
  • The insu­la­tor is removed from the pipeline, the sur­face is cleaned and degreased.
  • Elec­tri­cal wires con­nect­ed to the sec­ondary wind­ing of the weld­ing machine are laid on the met­al sur­face.
  • The min­i­mum cur­rent lev­el is set on the device and con­nect­ed to the net­work.
  • After heat­ing, the thawed liq­uid will drain through the sys­tem.

This method has a side effect: the pipeline quick­ly rusts after such actions.

Using a weld­ing trans­former for heat­ing

Impor­tant! Con­nect and dis­con­nect cables only after the weld­ing machine has been switched off. Oth­er­wise, you risk elec­tri­cal burns to your hands and eyes.


Salt dis­solves water and pol­lu­tion well, so many res­i­dents of pri­vate homes often use con­cen­trat­ed brine to clear ice block­ages. Ordi­nary table salt is dilut­ed in warm water and poured into the sys­tem. The solu­tion will quick­ly cope with a small con­ges­tion, but with large areas of freez­ing of the liq­uid inside, you will have to wait. The freez­ing point of salt water is low­er than nor­mal water. There­fore, do not wor­ry that it will freeze and add more dif­fi­cul­ties to the pre­vi­ous prob­lem.

Plain rag

If the prob­lem of freez­ing the sew­er sys­tem lies inside the build­ing and the pipes are eas­i­ly acces­si­ble, you can try to defrost them with boil­ing water and rags. This will require a lot of old mate­r­i­al, it is desir­able that it absorbs water well. Rags are wrapped around a sec­tion of a frozen pipe, onto which hot water is poured. The mate­r­i­al will absorb boil­ing water and heat the ice plug in the pipe. It is also nec­es­sary to put a con­tain­er for water that will not be absorbed.

Drain­ing water after defrost­ing

Features of defrosting plastic pipes


Meth­ods that are suit­able for met­al sew­ers are not suit­able for plas­tic ones. You can not put cur­rent through poly­eth­yl­ene, or heat them with a burn­er. For plas­tic sew­er­age, the hot water method is excel­lent.

Every home has a water hose. You can also use a small­er met­al-plas­tic pipe, but its use is only advis­able in a small area. A reg­u­lar plas­tic hose will not work in this case either. It is nec­es­sary to take a rigid, but flex­i­ble enough hose that can be pushed along the entire length of the pipeline. Fur­ther, the pro­ce­dure will be as fol­lows:

  • Open shut-off valve.
  • One end of the hose is screwed to a hot water tap, the oth­er end is insert­ed into the waste sys­tem.
  • Warm water will flow out through the gaps left between the hose and the pipe, so you should take care of the place or con­tain­er into which it will flow.
  • Under the pres­sure of hot water, the ice quick­ly melts and breaks through the con­ges­tion.
  • After the com­plete elim­i­na­tion of the ice block­age, the shut-off valves are tight­ly closed to pre­vent the sys­tem from freez­ing again.
Hot water spill

This method is effec­tive for small plugs in a straight sec­tion of the pipeline.

To defrost plas­tic pipes, you can use anoth­er method — using a heat­ing ele­ment. The fol­low­ing actions are car­ried out:

  • The device is mount­ed on a rigid plat­form in such a way that its end pro­trudes above the front, and the rest is on the mount.
  • Accord­ing to the dimen­sions of the pipe and the length of the sew­er, we pre­pare an elec­tri­cal cable of the appro­pri­ate size.
  • The cable is con­nect­ed to the heat­ing ele­ment, and the ter­mi­nals are care­ful­ly insu­lat­ed.
  • In front of the assem­bled struc­ture, a small­er met­al pipe is installed than the waste pipe. She will play the role of a push­er.
  • The entire struc­ture is placed in a pipe, prefer­ably from the side of the sep­tic tank.
  • After installing the heat­ing sys­tem near the cork, the device is con­nect­ed to elec­tric­i­ty.
  • As the ice melts, the heat­ing ele­ment moves deep­er until the plug is com­plete­ly removed.
Instal­la­tion of the heat­ing sys­tem on the sur­face of the pipe


When mov­ing the heat­ing ele­ment must be dis­con­nect­ed from elec­tric­i­ty. If an ice block­age occurs near a suit­able toi­let sys­tem, you can try to heat the water inside the com­pact with a con­ven­tion­al boil­er.

Final­ly, you can use anoth­er method for a plas­tic waste sys­tem based on the sim­plest laws of physics. If there is a coil of twin-wire wire and skill­ful hands in the house. Then this method of melt­ing ice in a pipe is for you.

Water is a good elec­tri­cal con­duc­tor. If you apply a small cur­rent to it, it will heat up. To do this, you need to dis­con­nect the two elec­trodes. You can do this in the fol­low­ing way:

  • In a rigid two-core wire, use a knife to sep­a­rate the cores so that one is short­er than the oth­er.
  • Remove a few cen­time­ters of insu­la­tion from each of them.
  • Gen­tly bend and wrap it around the part that remains iso­lat­ed.
  • Wind the freed sec­tions in turn on the wire. The dis­tance between them should be small, but they should not touch.

After the wire is ready, one end is low­ered into the sew­er sys­tem. It should be not­ed that there is always a lit­tle water in front of the ice plug. The cleaned end of the wire gets into it, the oth­er is insert­ed into the out­let. In this way, cur­rent flows, heats up the water, which in turn melts the ice. By mov­ing the wire as the cork melts, you can com­plete­ly get rid of it.

Wiring dia­gram

You can check the oper­a­tion of the device using a reg­u­lar can of water. Dip one end into it, con­nect the oth­er to the out­let, small bub­bles will appear in the water, a slight char­ac­ter­is­tic buzz will be heard.

As the ice melts, water will accu­mu­late. It must be pumped out so that a new cork does not appear while you defrost the deep­er lay­ers of the con­ges­tion.

You should not take on this method of defrost­ing if you are poor­ly versed in elec­tric­i­ty.

How to avoid problems


As you can see, there are many ways to fix ice block prob­lems, but it is best to avoid such prob­lems. To do this, it is nec­es­sary to take a num­ber of pre­ven­tive mea­sures:

  • The pipeline of the sewage sys­tem is laid below the freez­ing lev­el of the soil.
  • If the soil freezes to a great depth, take care of the insu­la­tion of the pipes. To do this, you can use var­i­ous insu­lat­ing heaters, assem­ble the sew­er with pipes with fac­to­ry insu­la­tion, and lay the heat­ing cable in the gut­ter.
  • If the house is not intend­ed for per­ma­nent res­i­dence, before leav­ing for the win­ter, you should dump all the water from the sys­tem. Then prob­lems with stag­na­tion and freez­ing of water will not arise.
Using pro­fes­sion­al equip­ment if oth­er meth­ods don’t work


To avoid prob­lems with the freez­ing of the sew­er, it is nec­es­sary to cor­rect­ly equip the sys­tem. If such a prob­lem arose, use our tips for defrost­ing pipes, tak­ing into account their work­ing mate­r­i­al. These meth­ods will help you deal with the prob­lem your­self.


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