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Old 01-09-2013, 06:18 PM   #1
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Insulating water pipes outside home?


Not sure if this is right forum or should be under plumbing...

Should these water pipes be insulated? I know the pipe under/along the roof overhang is bad design, but let's ignore that for now. I did insulate the hot water pipe along the roof overhand as seen in the photos and I did that to better keep the hot water hot/warm in the pipes. Now just concerned whether I should insulate the (cold) water lines from possible freezing. Though in northern California, the temperature seldom goes below mid 30's Farenheit.

The pipes were like this for what I believe to be at least several years, I just insulated the hot water pipes several months back. I haven't observed any visible problems regarding the water pipes outside and inside the house.

P.S. had the bird spikes to keep away stubborn pidgeons in the area.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:39 PM   #2
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Insulating water pipes outside home?


Sure is a differant world out there, none of that would have ever passed any inspections or held up for more then a couple of days.

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Old 01-09-2013, 08:13 PM   #3
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Sure is a differant world out there, none of that would have ever passed any inspections or held up for more then a couple of days.
Somehow that got through, or more likely was unpermitted work.

But the home does have a rear addition that was permitted. But I find that interesting too as the work done there was "good enough" to be structurally adequate from what I can tell, no major issue brought up by home inspector there. But it did have some design issues in the attic of that addition like wiring, laundry room fan (not dryer) exhaust vent (on ceiling/attic) not actually connected outside, a bit of crappy plumbing for the laundry room in the addition. Guess the city permit inspectors don't inspect in detail, just give a general look. Or perhaps that they were more lenient during the times of the housing boom (for more permitting business?)

Joe, what do you mean help up for more than a couple of days? You mean the piping would have fallen apart over time? If so, guess the home was lucky.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:30 PM   #4
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Insulating water pipes outside home?


It would have frozen and burst.
PVC even if it's not far enough under ground would freeze and it's degrades when exposted to UV.
Wrapping with the foam only helps to protect it from the moving air which will freeze water faster. Once it's below 32 deg. long enough even with the foam it will freeze.

I guess it all depends on where you live what you can get away with when running pipes.

I've seen water heaters and copper pipes ran in attic around here. When it all froze up it took out everything from the attic down to basement in a three story house.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:19 AM   #5
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Insulating water pipes outside home?


Wrap them like you have or button up that whole area and better yet, bring it into the thermal envelope.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:20 AM   #6
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Insulating water pipes outside home?


Plus you have a steel tee in contact with what looks like a bronze nipple, and a globe valve that may or may not shut off if you every need to.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:30 PM   #7
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Wrap them like you have or button up that whole area and better yet, bring it into the thermal envelope.
What do you mean button up the whole area? Cover up / enclose that area?

As for bringing into thermal envelope, that would require repiping portion of house and moving the water heater from the back of the house in storage shed back into garage and redo/reconnect exhaust vent appropriately. Too much work to do for the time being. Something better left to do when I remodel the home later.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:31 PM   #8
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Plus you have a steel tee in contact with what looks like a bronze nipple, and a globe valve that may or may not shut off if you every need to.
I guess that's why there's a secondary globe valve after the primary one, as the primary doesn't fully close. Well, maybe I can fix all that when and if I repipe the house...still works fine for now.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:58 PM   #9
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Insulating water pipes outside home?


Your in San Jose California? When is the last time you saw the temperature in your area drop below 32 deg F?

I bet you never have.....the average low in your area is 42 deg. Oh, wait, it actually set a record low in 1990...20 deg F.

About the only way you are going to get frozen pipes is if you have freezing weather for more than a day or so....
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:11 AM   #10
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Insulating water pipes outside home?


Well there's a freeze advisory in my area for this Friday 2am-8am or so, where it's going to be in the low 30s. But I suppose it's not low or long enough to really cause a freeze of the pipes though?

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