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Old 01-23-2009, 01:23 PM   #1
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Frozen Garage Floor Drain


I am located in SE Wisconsin. I have a garage with a center floor drain that prevents the puddling of water in the garage when snow & ice melts off the vehicles in the winter.

The problem I am experiencing is that this drain travels away from the garage a short distance and comes out into open air to let the water drain out. The drain pipe is a 3 inch PVC pipe. What is happening is that over time the water at the very end of the drain freezes and slowly the ice builds up until the drain is pluged and the water no longer flows down the drain.

To clear the ice plug in the past I have had to use a couple of halogen work lights and position them to shine on the end of the pipe as it exits the ground. If it is not too cold the lights create just enough radiant heat to warm the pipe to allow the ice to melt and water to flow. Once it starts flowing I pour hot water down to help clear everything up.

But doing that is getting old. I really don't want to have to be feeding the floor drain a bucket of hot water everyday to keep the thing open and clear. I was thinking I could use a de-icing cable like the ones used for gutters & downspouts.

Looking at some of the instalation diagrams for these cables I believe that I could insert a length of De-icing cable, with spacing clips, into this drain from the outside. Then when I notice that the ice is building up I can turn on the cable long enough to create a channel to allow the water to flow out of the drain. This situation, to my thinking, would be similar to what would be experienced when a gutter becomes frozen up with ice. The cable would only be run if the pipe plugs up and only until the water flows again.

I am thinking about using a product like this: http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Heat-ADKS.../dp/B000LNRGG2

I have attached a little sketch to this email for you to look at and understand what I am taliking about. The sketch is of course not to scale.

Do you think this is a posible solution?

Pros & cons as to the viability of this idea would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-23-2009, 01:36 PM   #2
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Frozen Garage Floor Drain


Quote:
Do you think this is a posible solution?
Ayuh,... Absolutely...

Salting the drain might also work....

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Old 01-23-2009, 05:08 PM   #3
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Frozen Garage Floor Drain


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Originally Posted by Dragon View Post
I am located in SE Wisconsin. I have a garage with a center floor drain that prevents the puddling of water in the garage when snow & ice melts off the vehicles in the winter.

The problem I am experiencing is that this drain travels away from the garage a short distance and comes out into open air to let the water drain out. The drain pipe is a 3 inch PVC pipe. What is happening is that over time the water at the very end of the drain freezes and slowly the ice builds up until the drain is pluged and the water no longer flows down the drain.

To clear the ice plug in the past I have had to use a couple of halogen work lights and position them to shine on the end of the pipe as it exits the ground. If it is not too cold the lights create just enough radiant heat to warm the pipe to allow the ice to melt and water to flow. Once it starts flowing I pour hot water down to help clear everything up.

But doing that is getting old. I really don't want to have to be feeding the floor drain a bucket of hot water everyday to keep the thing open and clear. I was thinking I could use a de-icing cable like the ones used for gutters & downspouts.

Looking at some of the instalation diagrams for these cables I believe that I could insert a length of De-icing cable, with spacing clips, into this drain from the outside. Then when I notice that the ice is building up I can turn on the cable long enough to create a channel to allow the water to flow out of the drain. This situation, to my thinking, would be similar to what would be experienced when a gutter becomes frozen up with ice. The cable would only be run if the pipe plugs up and only until the water flows again.

I am thinking about using a product like this: http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Heat-ADKS.../dp/B000LNRGG2

I have attached a little sketch to this email for you to look at and understand what I am taliking about. The sketch is of course not to scale.

Do you think this is a posible solution?

Pros & cons as to the viability of this idea would be greatly appreciated.
I use a heating cable in my eaves downspout, that was designed to be strapped to a water line! However, it works just as well, for this application! My cable has a built in thermostat that shuts the power off, at 34F. For a permanent installation, I would suggest that you would install a T in the pipe, just where it comes out from under the garage. Then, the cable could be plugged into the receptacle directly without the need of an extension cord! Today, I'm making plans to attend the Oshkosh air show! I'll wave as I pass by your place! LOL!
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Old 01-23-2009, 05:33 PM   #4
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Frozen Garage Floor Drain


orrrrrr......
a 45 and a piece of scrap should fix it so you don't need heat.....
it probably freezes from the drip, so don't allow it to start dripping!

DM
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Old 01-23-2009, 05:33 PM   #5
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Frozen Garage Floor Drain


Yes. That would work. Make sure you do a double run o the cable far enough to be inside the cold wall. Self Regulating cable would be better then Easy Heats' single temp ADKS. Self regulating gets to 12 watts per linear foot when covered with ice or snow and only 5 watts when not, so it saves energy.
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:46 AM   #6
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Frozen Garage Floor Drain


warmsmeallup,
Can you suggest any brands of self-regulating cable you have experience with?

Wildie,
My wife & I grew up in the Fox river Valley. We know the air show well. Wag your wings as you pass over.

DangerMouse,
Loved that cartoon... How does the 45 prevent & extension prevent freezing? The water is still going to drip at the end unless I run the extension right to the ground. Also, part of the problem is that since this water is just snow/ice melt coming off a car in an unheated garage it is very low flow and low temp so it does not take much to freeze up when it gets to the end of the pipe where it is exposed to the cold air temps.
Last night we were in the negative 0 temp range.

Thanks for all the feedback, it is appreciated.
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Old 01-24-2009, 12:32 PM   #7
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How does the 45 & extension prevent freezing?
2 ways, if i'm thinking correctly.

1: it'll create a 'warmer air' pocket at the end to help stop wind and freezing

2: the action of the water running the last foot or so will pull what's behind it, reducing any pooling. (which should not happen if angled enough)

sure seems to me worth the few bucks to find out and save all the other $$$ and hassles if i am! Po)

but what do i know? i'm just a cartoon mouse.

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Last edited by DangerMouse; 01-24-2009 at 12:37 PM. Reason: cranial resussitation
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Old 01-24-2009, 12:35 PM   #8
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Frozen Garage Floor Drain


We use Chromalox cable. The part number is TW6. It's available by the foot or by the box in kits of..I believe 50 and 100'. I'm sure you'll have a choice of sites that offer it. If you only need 20', then buy it by the foot. You will also need a power connection/termination kit. The cable is cut to size in the field. It can contact itself in the downspout without issue. Many can't come in contact with itself. It's recomended that you run it into a NEMA receptacle box (waterproof outside junction box) and then connect it to power in this box. The power kit comes with all you need to do this. Don't run the cable inside then connect it to power.
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Old 01-25-2009, 07:07 AM   #9
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Frozen Garage Floor Drain


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warmsmeallup,
Can you suggest any brands of self-regulating cable you have experience with?
In case you haven't found it yet, there is a site that sells precut and corded SR cable. It is easyheat.com. You can get whatever you need there for your application. I believe they are made from Chromalox cable. Check that first though.

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