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I have a driveway that is angled down slightly towards my house. About two feet before the garage there are two long drains that cover most of the drive way. Right now one is 100% frozen and the other is 1/2 frozen. I am getting so much water build up that it's going into my garage. Does any one have any idea on either:

  1. How I can remove the water from my driveway (I said wet vac it but I can't seem to find anyone with a wet vac in my area), or
  2. How to thaw the drains?

The drain that is fully frozen I think is also frozen under part of the driveway where it would travel to exit so I'm not sure how anyone would thaw that. Also any advice on how to get rid of 3 inch thick ice really fast would be very helpful as well.

  • Pump it away... – Steven Feb 21 '14 at 0:20
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    Rock salt is commonly used in my area to turn ice back into water. – Tester101 Feb 21 '14 at 11:07
  • @Tester101 - I wouldn't put salt on my driveway. Unless I wanted a new driveway. Neighbor and I got our driveways poured at the same time about 8 years ago. He salts instead of shovels and I have never touched mine with salt. His driveway is pitting and looks 30 years old. Mine looks virtually the same as day 1 after power washing. – DMoore Feb 21 '14 at 15:09
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    @DMoore I'm not saying the OP should salt the entire driveway, just the ice in the drain. Also, rock salt only causes problems with concrete driveways (as far as I'm aware), and not everybody has a concrete driveway. – Tester101 Feb 21 '14 at 15:24
  • I'd salt the drain. re: salt and driveway damage, as I understand it, any ice melt product increases the number of freeze-thaw cycles, which can accelerate the types of damage that freeze-thaw can create, such as cause cracks and potholes to grow, cause spalling of concrete, etc. Judicious use of salt or other ice melt won't destroy your driveway. Using only salt instead of any shoveling, thats's something else...I'd salt the drain. – mac Feb 21 '14 at 16:00
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You can pick up a cheap water pump that you can use to remove the water. If you have a Harbor Freight in your area, they have a good selection of cheap pumps. If your drain is metal, you can use a brush torch with a 15 pound propane tank to help remove the ice. Use it to help break up the ice. It will probably not be efficient to melt all of the ice. Warm water may help break up the frozen water in the drain pipe.

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    Note to future recipients of a Darwin Award: DO NOT use a brush torch to thaw drains in, or near flammable materials (e.g. inside your house). – Tester101 Feb 21 '14 at 15:30
  • Not in confined areas either. – Edwin Feb 21 '14 at 18:38
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Provided the water is no higher than a few inches, you could go to Lowes and buy 10 or 15 bags of sand and dam up the garage entrance. After the ice in the drains melts, stack the bags near the garage for future use. Tip: Back the car right up to where you want the sand to make unloading easier.

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Rock salt, or any ice melter, won't work if the ice is more than an inch deep. If the ice is thick, the salt will just melt through and the ice will freeze again; harder. I learned this because they were putting rock salt on the ski slopes at Sochi to make them harder and faster. I would actually use that propane blowtorch as the first pass. I clean the ice off my cement stairs with one. But, yes, you must be careful.

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If you can get to the open end of the drain you can use a cheap pump and a hose to force hot water up the drain line to thaw the ice. Hopefully you don't have 90's in the drain lines.

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I have a driveway exactly like yours. Only with a smaller drain. Submersible pumps and long garden hoses. Long, outdoor extension cords. Find a place/s to pump water where it will not make flood situation worse. I aim one in backyard away from house and the other in front yard away from house.

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I just solved this problem with a 6" drill bit. Just drill through the ice, making sure to aim the bit for the holes in the drain so the water can escape through the ice. Once it is clear of water you can use salt to remove remaining ice.

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