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 > Sticks and bricks house pipe freeze protection

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Guy Roan

Florida

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Posted: 10/07/20 09:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This year due to the virus, instead of snow birding and closing up the house, we will be staying through the winter.
We are in the high mountains of NC where many times the temp is between 0 and 30 degrees.
Our house is on the side of a mountain with the rear just a foot above grade, and the front 8 feet above grade, and our pipes run under the floor exposed to the elements.
I would like your thoughts on my plan to prevent the pipes from freezing. I don't want to use heat trace, since there are too many pipes

1. I have them all insulated with pipe wrap
2. When the temperature is below freezing I will keep the water running at a slow stream through the shower. Instead of running into the septic tank I will pipe it to the outside of the house, ( I have gravity water from a spring, so it will be clear water in and clear water out)
3 Here is where I would like your thoughts , since I don't know if the above will protect the pipes coming from the water heater - I would turn off the breaker for the water heater prior to a cold snap and allow the water coming from it to mix half and half with the cold at the shower head

Years ago, prior to snow birding I had a nice set up with all the pipes in a pipe chase with a electric heater/blower at one end and a thermostat at the other end that would turn the heater on and off at a set temperature, but ten years ago I pulled that all out since it was not needed any more and I had to do some work on the pipes. I don't want to rebuild it all again since as soon as we can we will be snow birding again

Guy

JRscooby

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Posted: 10/07/20 09:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If it was me I would put a ugly ceiling and insulation under pipes and floor. Not only to keep pipes from freeze it would make the house floor feel warmer, and likely cut heating bills.

Jebby14

Windsor Ontario

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Posted: 10/07/20 10:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

can you close it in and open a duct into the space?


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DrewE

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Posted: 10/07/20 11:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Running the water in only the shower will not protect pipes/risers to other fixtures.

In my opinion, the proper solution is to insulate and heat the exposed pipes, either with heat tape and pipe insulation, or by enclosing and insulating the whole crawl space. It would probably be helpful to insulate under the floor as well; I'm guessing there isn't much if any there, given that the structure seems to have been designed for three season use. (Ditto the attic, if you have one; if there's not much insulation there, the payback for adding some could be quite short, maybe even this single season.)





wa8yxm

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Posted: 10/07/20 03:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Insulated with pipe wrap and heat tape is my suggestion
Also some kind of heater you can shoot heat under the house in case of power loss.. No. Suggestion as the only ones I can think of I'd not want to use for other reasons.. or a portable generator big enough to power the tapes plus the furnace plus radio and electronics and fridge freezer.


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Guy Roan

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Posted: 10/08/20 02:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Jebby14 wrote:

can you close it in and open a duct into the space?


I was thinking of doing that with tarps and a small electric heater and still use the letting the water run through.
Someone above mentioned that letting the water run won't prevent the risers from freezing, but that is wrong. I did it for many years

Guy

down home

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Posted: 10/10/20 10:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Leaving the water running, does work as the water is usually warmer than freezing. But not for weeks and months that you are not there. That woudl be way more than enough water to flood septic systems.
Vents t the crawl space use to incorporate shutters to close them, so that cold wind would have less chance to freeze things up. Some vents may still incorporate the idea. I haven't looked at Home Depot or Lowes in the construction materials for them.
This is one item that needs addressing on a permanent basis. No more we dodged the bullet this time, or our pipes froze and burst. I would invest a little bit in having a Construction firm or a Home Builder look at your, the crawl space etc.
Or perhaps a better idea the City or County or other Home Construction/Building Inspector look at it.
Perhaps someone has a better idea, as your peace of mind s involved. The potential problem must not be a continuing source of concern.

* This post was edited 10/11/20 05:14am by down home *

aftermath

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Posted: 10/10/20 05:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a lot of questions.

What did you do with these pipes when you left for the winter in previous years?

Do you have neighbors? What do they do?

Was your house built to code? I live in a much colder climate and houses around me were built in the early 1900's. Some have basements but others do not.

My first reaction is to insulate the pipes. Add insulation between the floor joists in addition. Running the water, to me, is a last ditch emergency plan.


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Guy Roan

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Posted: 10/11/20 03:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

aftermath wrote:

I have a lot of questions.

What did you do with these pipes when you left for the winter in previous years?

Do you have neighbors? What do they do?

Was your house built to code? I live in a much colder climate and houses around me were built in the early 1900's. Some have basements but others do not.

My first reaction is to insulate the pipes. Add insulation between the floor joists in addition. Running the water, to me, is a last ditch emergency plan.


I have low point drains, and drained the whole house.

Yes it is built to code by me and was fully inspected

We are in the high mountains and no neighbors close by

Guy

JRscooby

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Posted: 10/11/20 05:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Guy Roan wrote:



I have low point drains, and drained the whole house.

Yes it is built to code by me and was fully inspected

We are in the high mountains and no neighbors close by

Guy


How often, and for how long of time do you expect the sub 20 temps? If you insulate pipes from the outside air, but let heat that radiates thru floor warm the pipes you should be good for all but coldest nights. When extra cold, fill jugs to use for a day, and drain the pipes. If cold snap lasts longer than jugs, turn on fill and drain again.
Like I said first, the ceiling of the crawl space does not need to be pretty, just block air and hold insulation up. (Sheet rock and tape, save the mud and sanding) For sure, you want to close off any openings to outside. Might put Styrofoam like what they sometimes use outside foundations to line the inside of walls

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