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Clogs and ice blockages in pipes

Clogs and ice blockages in pipes

Ice blockages of water pipes can be challenging work. Mainly because there are often occurred in pipes with smaller diameter and the distance for nozzle to travel, pulling the hose, could be great.

We therefore wanted to present this topic in our November Newsletter, considering we are, like it or not, entering the cold season with snow and ice in many countries. Below is some experience we would like to share that we have gathered through the years in the business.

To start with, it is important to use a cleaning hose with low friction on the outer layer, both when using hot and cold water to remove ice plugs. A good choice is Parker's 5-2605 (3/16”) and 5-2606 (¼").

The next thing to consider is what nozzle to use. Preferable for ice blockages is a nozzle that effectively open the ice and is properly balanced between the forward hydropower and the reverse thrusting power. The thrusting power needs be high to allow the nozzle to pull the hose up the line, especially when the distance to travel is long. To minimize the pressure drop in hose, it is more effective and resource saving, using a nozzle with less water consumption (LPM or GPM). The FIR® series is good alternative of a nozzle for ice blockages. The FIR® was developed in collaboration together with one of our customers, struggling with ice plugs and in need of a solution.

A small portable hose reel makes it is easy to store both the hose and nozzles. The design should be made to minimize the pressure drop when water is flowing through the reel. The reel is also easy for the operator to handle. All in one place.

If you use hot water for ice blockages, the water temperature should never exceed 35˚-40˚C (95˚- 105˚F). Water at higher temperatures freeze faster and once frozen the ice becomes harder.

When it comes to severe clogs in sewer pipes and stormwater pipes, most operators use the hose mounted onto the jetting truck, unless the pipe is very small, then a smaller hose normally is connected to feeder hose. The most common nozzle used for opening clogged pipes is a Chisel Nozzle.

Chisel nozzles are supplied with four front jets, meaning a high percentage of the used water flow rate are directed forward. The angles of the forward jets create a wide impact on the clog. This makes chisel pointed nozzles efficient on ice plugs and other clogs. The pyramid shape and length of the Chisel Nozzles may cause difficulties when needed to pass bends and joints in pipe. The usage of high volume of water directed forward also decrease the thrusting power of the nozzle. This prevents the nozzle to travel further in pipe. The GLOBAL™ ICEBEAR and MULTI-GLOBAL® series of nozzles are preferred working in pipes with bends, joints, and long distances. They pass efficiently through obstacles in pipe, due to their spherical shape. The balance between thrusting power and forward working force makes them travel farther in pipe. GLOBAL ™ ICEBEAR (Tier 1) series of nozzles are supplied with three front jets. MULTI-GLOBAL® (Tier 2), supplied with exchangeable jets, can be set up with up to four front jets. The front jets, on booth types of nozzles, have a design where the front jets have an intersection point ahead of the nozzle. This makes them extremely powerful also at breaking severe clogs. Booth the GLOBAL™ ICEBEAR and MULTI-GLOBAL® are made available in sizes from ¼” hose connection up to 1 ¼” hose connection

For severe clogs in larger pipe sizes (150-500mm/6”-20”), the FIR®POINTED and GLOBAL™ SP often are an effective choice. Booth these nozzles are Tier 2 nozzles.

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