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    Thread: Freezing pipes

    1. #1
      gutterpatwa is offline Junior Member
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      Freezing pipes

      I search the forum for frozen pipe but I didnt find. I did find pond freezing over and the remedy for that. I am mostly concern about abs or pvc drain in the ground and the two returns I plan to use.
      I guess since I didn't find any info on frozen pipes that mean its not a common event.

    2. #2
      Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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      It Is an issue that has cropped up now and then on the forum, maybe just mentioned in other topics. Generally it is the part above ground that is more susceptible, filters included. Maybe members in your area can advise how best to prevent the issue, i.e. what insulation is available and effective
      46000 liters with only wetland filtration

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      batman is offline Senior Member
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      Frozen pipes are common when improperly drained or running exposed. Sometimes no damage and other times they split or joints come apart and the pond drains. If shutting down best to drain pipes and block off pipes exposed to cold. If running and the pond is sufficiently deep and no power interruption to stop flow often no problems. The other issue is blockage and then freezing. Small ice granules form and start collecting untill a block occurs stopping flow. In very cold weather it only takes a very short power outage to freeze pipes.

      I've seen people run pumps through winter for years with no issues and then it happens. Drained pond and dead fish.
      Last edited by batman; 01-23-2022 at 10:11 PM.
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    4. #4
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      For small ponds with lower flow pumps and smaller filters, I've seen it freeze at the outflow a few times when the temperature just drops into the teens for a couple of days, making the filter overflow.

      But for larger ponds with bigger pumps, I have never had the pipes freeze up when the water was flowing, even the two times that it has gotten below -10 F here. The only freeze up was when a defective pump tripped the GFCI while I was on a trip. I came home from traveling to find everything frozen. [I use PVC underground and ABS for what little is above ground.] I have not had a pipe or hose or filter actually break. Since I do not put the pump intakes all the way down on the bottom, the pumps can't empty the pond.

      For you, it probably also matters where in NY state you are, as it has several temperature zones.

    5. #5
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      I'm in NYC. I am planning on building a above gnd pond. My first plan was to get a complete pressure system. Then I decided to go with retro bottom drain. Now im thinking about doing a bottom drain with aeration.
      I was thinking if the system is running during the winter then it shouldn't freeze. Once in a while the temp my drop to single digits but its not that common. I was also thinking about keeping the filter in a small insulated shed. I was also thinking about having two 100w incandescent light bulb on in the shed and/or 100w heater in the tank. I dont know if it would be affective. I just need a little heat for when the temp drop below freezing for couple days.
      My drain pipe would not be as deep and eventually it come up above ground. Even if you turn the system off and drain it, the drain pipe is still filled with water.

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      batman is offline Senior Member
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      The other issue running pond pumps through winter is over circulation that results in over cooling lower layer of pond water.
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    7. #7
      One Poet's Garden's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by gutterpatwa View Post
      I'm in NYC. I am planning on building a above gnd pond. My first plan was to get a complete pressure system. Then I decided to go with retro bottom drain. Now im thinking about doing a bottom drain with aeration.
      I was thinking if the system is running during the winter then it shouldn't freeze. Once in a while the temp my drop to single digits but its not that common. I was also thinking about keeping the filter in a small insulated shed. I was also thinking about having two 100w incandescent light bulb on in the shed and/or 100w heater in the tank. I dont know if it would be affective. I just need a little heat for when the temp drop below freezing for couple days.
      I went the retro bottom drain route in my partially raised pond. I do have a four inch pipe going through the liner about halfway up on the filter side. If something ever goes wrong - and I'm sure it will - I can get to it easily. The pipe goes into the first of three 55 gallon blue barrels. There are exposed 4" connector pipes between each barrel. A 4500 gallon per hour submersible pump in the third barrel returns water to the pond. The barrels, the pipes, and the drain pipes are all fully exposed to the weather. This is the pond's first winter, and it has gotten down to ten degrees out there, with and without snow cover.

      Batman's right on this subject. If I were to lose power while it's ten degrees out there, I'd lose the whole filter system, and I'd have to redo the pipes. It would be a huge hassle. The way I have it set up, the pond wouldn't drain, but still. It's all pretty risky, but at least it was inexpensive. I did think about covering those pipes with a couple feet of mulch, but never got around to it before winter closed in.

      100 watts of heat, whether from light bulbs or a heater, would do exactly nothing. It would be like a gnat trying to bite an elephant. One thing to think about: it's often best, in colder climates, to go bigger when building a pond. Also, the deeper you go into the ground, the more insulation you get, and the more you can take advantage of the ground's natural warmth. Don't know if that's possible in your situation.

      Good luck!

    8. #8
      gutterpatwa is offline Junior Member
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      Now that I'm researching freezing temps effects on pond. This year so far we had almost 2 wks of below freezing. My pond will be above ground with 1000 gal. I plan to use fiberglass to seal the concrete block. I am also thinking about putting foam board between and the fiberglass but I dont know yet if the fiberglass will bond to the foam board

    9. #9
      Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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      In the UK it is pretty routine to build ponds with blocks, line with insulation and waterproof with fiberglass, I think there is one particular brand that is advised as safe to apply the fiberglass onto, others have been known to melt. If you look up "Koi Soldier" on YouTube you can see examples of what to use and what not (he had to strip his little quarantine pond down and redo as used a different brand of panels
      46000 liters with only wetland filtration

    10. #10
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      Didn't find that youtuber. Polyester resin is more common for pond but I read epoxy resin is more safer for foam.

    11. #11
      icu2's Avatar
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      Other good thing about epoxy is it doesn't smell. But I used poly on a boat rebuild because 5 gallon buckets ran
      me about $150 each. For the same size of epoxy it is about $400.
      --Steve
      ..WWKC Treasurer


    12. #12
      gutterpatwa is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      Other good thing about epoxy is it doesn't smell. But I used poly on a boat rebuild because 5 gallon buckets ran
      me about $150 each. For the same size of epoxy it is about $400.
      a next option is to put the foam on the outside and cover with tiles

    13. #13
      icu2's Avatar
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      I'm just thinking out loud... but I used disposable latex gloves when I'd apply a layer of 'glass. Nitrile ones were
      better but more expensive and at the rate I went through them I just got the cheap ones.
      The latex ones didn't last forever but most were rock hard in the garbage can after the poly set up and the
      latex wasn't dissolved or anything. Come to think about it, I had pieces of cardboard that I used to protect
      the floor from getting resin all over it and those didn't seem to be effected either. You might just
      get a little resin and hardener and give some cheap things to cover the insulation with a try to see what might work.

      Lee Hadfield looks like he uses Koi Soldier on his YouTube account. This might be the video...

      https://youtu.be/uRxeuhoI1fY
      --Steve
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    14. #14
      Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by gutterpatwa View Post
      Didn't find that youtuber. Polyester resin is more common for pond but I read epoxy resin is more safer for foam.
      Here is a link to the video when the insulating n did not agree with the resin
      https://youtu.be/iHJ6Lu7sy-c
      And here is the redo with the proper stuff
      https://youtu.be/0L537qIoVQA
      https://youtu.be/HCsunzMqYRY
      46000 liters with only wetland filtration

    15. #15
      gutterpatwa is offline Junior Member
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      I watch the videos and it seems like putting fiberglass on foam is a challenge. His last attempt was 4 months ago so we don't know how it would hold up in a year.
      You would think by 2021 it would already be established which foam is safe to use on a particular resin or epoxy. I'm surprise that manufacturers of epoxy/resin does not specify if their products are safe for foam and which type of foam.

    16. #16
      Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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      Hi, the videos are only about his last build just because on his bigger pond he built time ago he used the proper stuff to start with, so nothing to report. As mentioned though in the UK the proper insulating panels (by kingspan?) have been used for many years and have had no issues even over 10 years+, it is a pretty routine way of building ponds "the other side of the pond", it is regarded as kind of the "gold standard" of pond building and waterproofing. There is a YouTube channel of a fiberglassing "one man company" that has really useful tips
      Last edited by Paul Sabucchi; 02-02-2022 at 12:08 PM.
      46000 liters with only wetland filtration

    17. #17
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      Barring power outage, moving water is difficult to freeze. Some examples have been given of problems that can occur. The BEST way to avoid is to drain your pipes and use either a deicer pump or a doughnut heater to keep liquid water on the surface. I used a 500gph deicer pump in a 70 gallon Rubbermaid to over winter goldfish in an aquaponics system. Only one time with multiple days less than 20 degrees did ice completely cover the rub(with the pump still pumping along underneath. I drilled some holes in the ice and the pump took over from there.

      We don't have really cold winters around here, so while I ultimately had 8" of ice on parts of my tub, I had liquid water on the surface the rest of the time due to plenty of days above freezing.

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      batman is offline Senior Member
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      Best to get a thermometer and see what circulation is doing to bottom temps. With circulation you can cool water below freezing temps OR drive the bottom temps below the 39F normal threshold. Anything below 39f is getting toward the danger zone. Being open doesn't always equal a healthy environment.

      Water is most dense at approx 39F and sinks to the bottom displacing warmer water that rises and cools. Koi can tolerate this.

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      Last edited by batman; 02-06-2022 at 04:07 PM.
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      Supercooling is only possible WITHOUT the presence of ice crystals OR pressure such that the liquid water is not actually at its freezing point for that environment. When supercooled water comes in contact with ice it flash freezes to ice annnd can actually increase in temperature to above freezing. I can't find the video explaining this phenomenon.

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      batman is offline Senior Member
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      Moving water in contact with the cold air goes below 32F. It then circulates cooling adjacent water and areas. It is very common with moving water.

      The point here is: You might be cooling your pond cooler than the 39F that fish can adapt to. Without measuring with a thermometer one doesn't know what's happening.
      Last edited by batman; 02-08-2022 at 01:59 PM.
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