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Old 24.03.2017, 10:26
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Pipe freeze spray

Has anyone seen pipe freezing spray in Switzerland?

The stuff you can use to temporarily freeze a section of pipe while doing minor plumbing?

http://www.screwfix.com/p/pipe-freezing-kit-220ml/13369

Hornbach doesn't seem to have it, and the only thing I can find on Google is professional gas suppliers selling major bits of kit, not a simple aerosol option.

Thanks in advance.

(the reason is that I need to move an underfloor heating thermostat to another part of the wall, and don't want to drain the whole system - it's low pressure, and if the weather keeps on as it is low criticality)
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Old 24.03.2017, 10:37
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

Never seen the small kits here, and it is the kind of thing that I notice.

My seat of the pants assessment is that if you do manage to find it, it will only be marginally less expensive than having a heating firm come and do the job.

Thought of an electronic thermostat head on the existing valve and place your remote sensor wherever you want, or is the problem that the existing head is in the way of placing some furniture?
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Old 24.03.2017, 10:55
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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Never seen the small kits here, and it is the kind of thing that I notice.

My seat of the pants assessment is that if you do manage to find it, it will only be marginally less expensive than having a heating firm come and do the job.

Thought of an electronic thermostat head on the existing valve and place your remote sensor wherever you want, or is the problem that the existing head is in the way of placing some furniture?
Yes that was what I was afraid of

I thought of the electronic option, but that's another level of faff and the control valve would still be behind a built-in cupboard; better to just move it completely.

Another option is a 10kg pack of dry ice - pretty sure that be more than enough to do the job and 60 CHF or so seems OK. The "plumbing in a future apocalypse" smoke effects would be an added bonus

Edit - yes it is in the way, but I could bash a hole in the wall and turn the valve sideways (without leaking water) so it doesn't stick out, making space for an electronic control head.
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Old 24.03.2017, 11:01
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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My seat of the pants assessment is that if you do manage to find it, it will only be marginally less expensive than having a heating firm come and do the job.
On that point - do you mean they would have the freeze kit?

I was thinking they would have to drain and refill, but if they just freeze and plumb in the thermostat extension I could imagine the cost being reasonable.
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Old 24.03.2017, 11:02
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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Yes that was what I was afraid of

I thought of the electronic option, but that's another level of faff and the control valve would still be behind a built-in cupboard; better to just move it completely.

Another option is a 10kg pack of dry ice - pretty sure that be more than enough to do the job and 60 CHF or so seems OK. The "plumbing in a future apocalypse" smoke effects would be an added bonus
You know you only need to lower the water level enough that the level is below the threads of the Tstat valve you're using, right?

You can isolate the manifolds from the pump with the valves, fit a tube to the bleeder on the upper manifold and raise the end of that tube to a cm or two below the height of the Tstat threads, open the bleeder, then crack one of the threads at the tstat.

Once the water stops coming out of the tube you know that the level is below the threads.

(If the above makes no sense to you, then you probably shouldn't be messing with it anyway.)
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Old 24.03.2017, 11:05
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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On that point - do you mean they would have the freeze kit?

I was thinking they would have to drain and refill, but if they just freeze and plumb in the thermostat extension I could imagine the cost being reasonable.
Their hourly rate is probably less expensive for them to partially drain then refill it than the cost of the gas for the freezing. They need to bleed the air out of the system once the tstat head is refitted anyway.
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Old 24.03.2017, 11:13
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

Hornbach Germany has Kältespray. Hornbach Schweiz seems not to have it.

You may call the Handwerk Center Josef Giger in Uznach and check if they have it http://www.handwerker-center.ch

Or order
http://www.heldner-ag.ch/ab-eu-lager...ml-e-coll.html
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Old 24.03.2017, 11:19
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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You know you only need to lower the water level enough that the level is below the threads of the Tstat valve you're using, right?

You can isolate the manifolds from the pump with the valves, fit a tube to the bleeder on the upper manifold and raise the end of that tube to a cm or two below the height of the Tstat threads, open the bleeder, then crack one of the threads at the tstat.

Once the water stops coming out of the tube you know that the level is below the threads.

(If the above makes no sense to you, then you probably shouldn't be messing with it anyway.)
It's original 1970s... so it's plumbed like old-fashioned radiators not a modern underfloor:

manifold --> big pipe that runs somewhere through the walls
bleeder --> apparently there isn't one upstairs, only on the expansion tank in the cellar

And the change in question is downstairs, so all of upstairs would drain before it's dry
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Old 24.03.2017, 11:21
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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Hornbach Germany has Kältespray. Hornbach Schweiz seems not to have it.
You're a braver man than I, Gunga-aSwissInTheUS. Kältespray is pretty good for checking if a brake cyl is sticking when it get too hot, or an electronic component is going overtemp, but with 400ml, I don't think you'd manage to get two 1/2" pipes frozen.
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Old 24.03.2017, 11:24
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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Yes that was what I was afraid of

I thought of the electronic option, but that's another level of faff and the control valve would still be behind a built-in cupboard; better to just move it completely.

Another option is a 10kg pack of dry ice - pretty sure that be more than enough to do the job and 60 CHF or so seems OK. The "plumbing in a future apocalypse" smoke effects would be an added bonus

Edit - yes it is in the way, but I could bash a hole in the wall and turn the valve sideways (without leaking water) so it doesn't stick out, making space for an electronic control head.
when in doubt: half-ass it!
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Old 24.03.2017, 11:26
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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when in doubt: half-ass it!
when in doubt and looking at paying Swiss prices... almost anything is worth a try
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Old 24.03.2017, 11:27
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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It's original 1970s... so it's plumbed like old-fashioned radiators not a modern underfloor:

manifold --> big pipe that runs somewhere through the walls
bleeder --> apparently there isn't one upstairs, only on the expansion tank in the cellar

And the change in question is downstairs, so all of upstairs would drain before it's dry
Multistory makes it more fun, but a bit easier.

Believe me, there is a bleeder at the top of at least one of the upper story radiators/pipes. If there weren't, then how do you think the air gets out when the system is filled?

On _really_ old systems you sometimes have a sort of tank device at the highest point of the system - this will usually be vented to atmospheric at the top. These were used until the bladder expansion devices were available.
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Old 24.03.2017, 11:36
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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Multistory makes it more fun, but a bit easier.

Believe me, there is a bleeder at the top of at least one of the upper story radiators/pipes. If there weren't, then how do you think the air gets out when the system is filled?

On _really_ old systems you sometimes have a sort of tank device at the highest point of the system - this will usually be vented to atmospheric at the top. These were used until the bladder expansion devices were available.
I would completely agree with you from logic and previous experience, if I hadn't checked every exposed bit of pipe.

But since I now have two people who think it should definitely be there (you and me) I will look again - either:

* I'm dumb and missed it - entirely possible since last time I was just auditing and maintaining the thermostats, not really looking for that.
* It's above the (solid) ceiling in the bathroom - the only bit of roof void we have. Which would be just about typical and depressingly unsurprising.
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Old 24.03.2017, 11:45
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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I would completely agree with you from logic and previous experience, if I hadn't checked every exposed bit of pipe.

But since I now have two people who think it should definitely be there (you and me) I will look again - either:

* I'm dumb and missed it - entirely possible since last time I was just auditing and maintaining the thermostats, not really looking for that.
* It's above the (solid) ceiling in the bathroom - the only bit of roof void we have. Which would be just about typical and depressingly unsurprising.
It would hardly be in the roof void, unless the roof void were insulated. On our (small) house it was on the upper heated floor, roughly 15x50x150 cm. I removed it when I redid the heating, as it was on a wall I was deleting (and I installed an expansion bladder tank down in the basement.

This meant that my only vents when refilling were the bleeders on the uppermost radiators, but that was preferable to the tank with no sight gauge to help see when the tank was half full, or more to the point - just about to start pouring out of the vent to atmospheric.
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Old 24.03.2017, 11:52
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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It would hardly be in the roof void, unless the roof void were insulated. On our (small) house it was on the upper heated floor, roughly 15x50x150 cm. I removed it when I redid the heating, as it was on a wall I was deleting (and I installed an expansion bladder tank down in the basement.

This meant that my only vents when refilling were the bleeders on the uppermost radiators, but that was preferable to the tank with no sight gauge to help see when the tank was half full, or more to the point - just about to start pouring out of the vent to atmospheric.
That void is insulated - our insulation layer is just below the tiles, we have full height rooms except the bathroom which has a "proper" ceiling.

Will report back when I've checked - hopefully there's a bleeder in one of the thermostat wall boxes and I just didn't notice. Or maybe under the bathroom sink and I didn't notice among the other pipes.
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Old 24.03.2017, 12:06
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

If I do decide to drain and refill it - what is "Fernox" in German?

I can't even think of a good name for it in English, Fernox seems to be the plumbing equivalent of "hoover".
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Old 24.03.2017, 12:14
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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If I do decide to drain and refill it - what is "Fernox" in German?

I can't even think of a good name for it in English, Fernox seems to be the plumbing equivalent of "hoover".
I never bothered. It's a closed system, and your heater probably has a sacrificial anode in the boiler itself.

Google "heizung rostschutz Flüssigkeit"
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Old 24.03.2017, 12:22
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

If you drain any liquid from your underfloor heating, you'll need to add back the correct ratio of propylene glycol (Glykol in German) to prevent burst pipes.
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Old 24.03.2017, 12:36
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

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If you drain any liquid from your underfloor heating, you'll need to add back the correct ratio of propylene glycol (Glykol in German) to prevent burst pipes.
Thanks good point, I'm still thinking in terms of UK radiators not Swiss underfloor.

Of course Hornbach only seems to sell ethylene glycol for closed radiators, which is too toxic for underfloor.

Can anyone recommend a plumber in the Rapperswil area?
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Old 26.03.2017, 12:20
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Re: Pipe freeze spray

I've checked every bit of exposed or exposable pipe again and there is definitely no upstairs bleed point accessible.

I can't really believe it's above a solid ceiling, or somewhere inaccessible - will check with our neighbour, but I can't think of any location I could have missed.

My conclusion is that there isn't a bleed point up there and it relies on water speed - since there is no large manifold, and the feed to the underfloor part is always downwards, I guess that is feasible.

Various online sites cover this - mainly they suggest running mains pressure through the system with the drain open to blow out the air, but my pump is so over-specified (top power makes the floors vibrate!) that would probably be enough to push the air round to the cellar expansion/bleed tank.
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