Preventing water line freeze

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by oil pan 4, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    My water lines will start freezing as warm as +12°F if the water isn't left dripping.

    There is a few problems with this:
    1 They lied to us about global warming making cold snowy winters a thing of the past.
    2 there are multiple things that could trigger a cold period.
    (Vulcanism, Beaufort gyre, grand solar minimum)
    3 with off grid rain/well water it's really wasteful.
    4 I have lived in Maine, even water lines ran along the external wall usually don't freeze until below 0°F (that's against code)

    I have just gotten a glimpse of the current setup. It's all 1/2 and 3/4 pex and it's laying on the ground under the house.
    The guy that installed it was too lazy to hang the piping.
    So sitting on the ground sucks all the heat out of the lines, then heat rises so being on the ground instead of clinging to the floor joists keeps the lines cold and keeps them away from the heat.
    The way I thawed them out last time was I rolled the electric dryer outside and ran the hot air discharge under the house. It took 3 hours of dryer discharge heat to thaw the ice out of the lines.

    I have a hot water recirculation pump for the hot water line, so it won't freeze after that's installed. But the cold water lines still could.

    I think I at least need to get the pex pipes up off the cold ground and up where the heat can get to them.
    Install plastic line safe heat trace wire and put insulation around the pipes, especially around the hot water.

    What else should I look at?
    Seepalaces and sec_monkey like this.
  3. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Moving to a warmer area ;)

    Yes, get the pipes off the ground and should see a world of difference.
  4. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    If i go any further south everyone speaks mexican.
  5. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yep, and heat tape the drain lines to a foot or so below grade.
    Seepalaces and sec_monkey like this.
  6. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    BURY the LINES ALL ! , Im -5c and all mine are trenched in , water year round outside , with water hydrants .
    Seepalaces and sec_monkey like this.
  7. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    It's even worse than I thought. It' only around 20 out this morning and the line froze again.
    This is inconceivable stupidity and lazyness.
    And it's not like I went to bed at 8 and woke up the next morning and their froze, no I'm working nights now so I was up till around 2 or 3 am using the washing machine and taking a shower. It hasn't even been 5 hours since the water has been used.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
    sec_monkey likes this.
  8. SB21

    SB21 Monkey++

    Yes burying the lines 12 inches is usually well below the frost line in the southeast, and most parts of the southern part of the country. Not sure where your at. But if they have to lay on the ground you could wrap some of that foam pipe insulation around the pipes and that may help a good bit. I wrapped my exposed pvc lines with the foam insulation in my well house this year before I was able to get a light in there , and the temps dropped pretty good and it kept them from freezing. But now I do have the bulb in.
    sec_monkey likes this.
  9. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    No need at all to lay them on the ground.
    The guy that lived here last installed them, he was either too lazy to hang the water lines or didn't know.

    But I will heat tape the sewer lines, in case it gets real damn cold.
    sec_monkey likes this.
  10. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Pipe foam jackets are common and work just fine .
    For added insurance you can just run the heat tape strait down the pipe with the foam jacket covering it holding it in place .
    that's what we did.
  11. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Yeah plastic line approved heat tape and foam sounds like my kind of overkill.
    sec_monkey likes this.
  12. Loki

    Loki Monkey

    I'm responsible for a large resort in middle Tennessee. My findings have been that while the pipe insulation does work, you also need a source of heat for the insulation to hold in. Pentair has a great product the is cut to fit and is self regulating.

    Watermark Products
    John Heidbreder
  13. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yup, insulation only works if there is a temperature differential, and then only retards heat flow, does NOT stop it entirely.
  14. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    That's why we ran the heat tape inside the insulation .
    There are also thermostats available for maintaining the tapes temperature and shutting it off as necessary . some are built into the heat tape .
    ghrit likes this.
  15. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Get the water lines up off the dirt.
    Put some kind of plastic safe heat trace wire on them.
    Put insulation on them then wrap then the hot and cold water insulated pipes together.
    To conservative water I was going to install a hot water circulation pump and probably put it on a timer.
  16. Illini Warrior

    Illini Warrior Monkey++

    agree with some of the others - sacrifice the crap install the other guy did and start anew - don't put good $$$ after bad ....
  17. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    It's pex I would just have to cut back the lines to the header pipe to get the branch tubes up off the dirt.
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