Electricity Wins From Jack Frost

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 2, 1904

Electricity Wins From Jack Frost

Thawing Water Connections by Electricity Just Now of Great Benefit.

The Method is Very Simple

Many Water Connections Frozen Now Being Thawed Out in This Way.

Electricity has gained another victory. This time it is over Jack Frost and is bound to be especially beneficial to plumbers and the city water works employes (sic) who have received many calls during the past two months to thaw out frozen water connections. The old method of digging thru several feet of ground to the water pipes has given away to a more modern method in which electricity is the main factor. Thirty minutes is about the average time necessary to thaw out water pipes in the new way, while by the old method it took from several days to a week.

Forcing a passage through the frozen pipes by the use of electricity, now that it has been tried is a simple matter. All that is necessary is to form a circuit with the water pipes as a part thru which water is carried from the main in the street into the building. The current is then turned on. The wire, the water plug and the water pipe leading from the plug to the service pipe forms the circuit, which becomes heated and readily thaws the ice.

The current is carried thru the metal pipes, while the water itself also helps in carrying it.

This method has been found of great benefit especially since the present winter has been much harder than the usual winter, particularly in freezing water pipes. It is also considered of value because it is no longer necessary to make an excavation to the house connection when the frost has penetrated into the ground much deeper than in many years. Its usefulness can be seen when it is known that in may (sic) instances where excavations have had to be made for the purpose of thawing out pipes a week has been required. By the new method about thirty minutes is required and there is practically no disturbance, the current being turned on and off and the pipes left open and in good condition.

(Editor’s note: I am no plumber, but this whole thing sounds like a public service announcement for “don’t try this at home.”)


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