Pipe Freezing Kit Provides Reliable Solution to Inoperable Shut-Off Valves

Wisconsin’s Kegonsa Plumbing uses General Pipe Cleaners’ Cold-Shot whenever its technicians run into shut-off valves that don’t work

Pipe Freezing Kit Provides Reliable Solution to Inoperable Shut-Off Valves

Lucas Elsing, owner of Kegonsa Plumbing

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When technicians at Kegonsa Plumbing run into shut-off valves that don’t work, they keep on working undeterred. Their solution is a Cold-Shot pipe freezing kit from General Pipe Cleaners.

“It’s great to have it as a backup when valves won’t turn off, which happens often enough,” says Lucas Elsing, owner of the Madison, Wisconsin-based company. “It’s very handy in emergencies where you have to get the water turned off.”

Elsing recalls one condominium remodeling job that required changing out a shower valve. It was a simple enough job — except that there were no shut-off valves for the hot- and cold-water lines.

“So we used the Cold-Shot to freeze the hot and cold lines, then cut out a section of pipe on each line to install the valves,” he says. “The alternative was to turn off the water to the building and drain the whole system, which would’ve taken hours, not to mention required a lot of coordination with upset residents. The Cold-Shot allowed us to work without being a nuisance to anyone else.” 

The unit essentially uses liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) to form dry ice that freezes water at a temperature of -110 degrees. That’s cold enough to form an ice plug that can withstand 7,000 psi, yet it won’t burst the pipe.

The Cold-Shot freezes liquids in steel, copper, cast-iron and aluminum pipes, ranging from 1/8 of an inch to 2 inches in diameter. It requires a commercially available cylinder of liquid CO2.

A 1/2-inch-diameter steel pipe takes 3 minutes to freeze, for example, while a copper pipe with the same diameter takes 5 minutes. For a 1-inch-diameter steel pipe, it takes 7 minutes; the same-diameter copper pipe takes 10 minutes. And for a 2-inch-diameter pipe, the freezing times for steel and copper are 29 and 40 minutes, respectively.

Using the Cold-Shot system is easy, Elsing says. Just clamp the unit’s freeze head to the pipe, then take a hose (included in the kit) and connect one end to the freeze head and the other end to the CO2 cylinder. (For some applications, contractors use two freeze heads, one on each side of the section of pipe under repair.) Then just open the cylinder valve to allow the liquid CO2 to flow.

“It cost about $600 and it pretty much paid for itself after a couple of jobs,” Elsing says. “People see it and they’re a little nervous when you explain to them how it works. Even our own guys were nervous about using it at first. But after they see it in action, they’re believers.”

Read more about Kegonsa Plumbing in the April 2021 issue of Plumber magazine.


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