Winnipeg city crews try out custom pipe-thawing machine
Winnipeg city crews are now using custom-made machines that use hot water to thaw frozen pipes, as more than 1,300 home and business owners wait for crews to fix their pipes.
A total of 1,349 properties were on the City of Winnipeg's waiting list for pipe-thawing on Tuesday afternoon, which is down 10 from Monday.
On Tuesday, the city's water and waste department used a modified pressure washer to thaw pipes inside a business at a Keenleyside Street strip mall.
"The better we get at it, and the more we can learn about what's making it better, obviously we would try to either do more attempts or maybe build more of the machines," said Tim Shanks, a water distribution engineer with the water and waste department.
The city workers were still thawing the strip mall's pipes as of late Tuesday afternoon and are expected to stay there until 9:30 p.m., according to staff at the business where the work is being done.
The city has previously been relying solely on three DBH electrical machines to thaw pipes on its side of the property line.
The modified pressure washer technology is similar to what a team of private contractors has successfully used in some homes in the past week.
Shanks said using hot water to thaw pipes is not a new idea, but the machine is unique because it has been modified.
"There's a lot of good ideas out there and a lot of contractors have approached us and said, 'Hey, we have something we want to try out. Give us an address, work with us,' and obviously we're totally open to that," Shanks said.
"I mean, the bigger picture here is that there's a lot of people with frozen services and we're just trying to get them thawed."
In addition to the DBH machines and the new modified pressure washer, the city also has four modified hot water pulse jetting machines in its arsenal.