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Old 09-03-2009, 12:18 PM   #1
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Heat a crawl space with plumbing?

My "contractor" states I don't need to heat the crawl space under my new kitchen even though I live in Minnesota where the temps easily get below 0 degrees and there is plumbing running through the entire space for my sink. My plumber states we should. Anyone have experience or suggestions around this? One HVAC guy I talke to states we must or we'll have problems and the cost would not be as much as burst pipes....


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Old 09-03-2009, 01:20 PM   #2
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Is the perimeter of the crawl space all enclosed & insulated?
Is the floor to the house insulated?
My last house had a crawl space & the perimter was insulated
I did put heat tape on the main feed from the front of the house to the back
My heating system was in the cral space so there was some heat "leakage" down there
I also wrapped all the pipes with insulation
Never had a problem in about 7 years
You need it to stay about 55 ideally down there
Which is the Temp the ground will normally stay about 4-5' down

How big is the crawl space?
Do you lose power very often, any backup power/heat source?


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Old 09-03-2009, 02:25 PM   #3
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Your contractor probably can't be bothered to do it. I would recommend a heat vent down there and insulate the perimeter walls with thick Sytrofoam Pink high R value foam board. I have seen flooded basements/burst pipes and it is a hell of a mess. Talk to your insurance agent. They may not cover you w/o some heat in there. PEX water pipe can handle 1 and ONLY 1 freezing incident and be okay to use (unlike copper), but I would not want to tempt fate.

Heat tapes have been known to get old and brittle and cause fires and are not sold in some parts of Canada anymore. Scare the heck out of me they do.

Last edited by yuri; 09-03-2009 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:24 AM   #4
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Better safe than sorry

Never thought about insurance.... Good point. The crawl space is 12 x 11 and is insulated, but we are going to add more. My "contractor" has made a number of expensive mistakes is in the verge of being fired. He wants to drill a whole in the duct work. I called a couple of licensed HVAC contractors and all three told me I am taking a big chance in Minnesota not heating the space. Since there is duct work for the room under there, they state it would not be difficult or very expensive to add a register we can open in the winter and close in the summer (so we are not cooling the space). I am getting bids next week. I was told by my plumber he thought it would cost me more to fix burst pipes then it would to get a licensed HVAC guy in to do it right. Thanks for your posts!
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Old 09-05-2009, 09:16 PM   #5
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if your piping is hanging and not touching any exterior foundation walls just black armaflex insulation lenghts will do the trick.think of the cycles of water usage during the night hot and cold even with zero outside.is the ground in the crawl space.....dirt,concrete,sand.11 x 12 crawl with piping running thru it isn't that bad the plumbers are over reacting and cutting a register into the supply duct to heat a dead space is a waste of time and is going to take from the upper occupied heating and not worh th trade off.double insulated the exposed lines in the crawl if you want...wrap the copper 1X then wrap the insulation with that diameter of the first tube...the residuale heat from the day and the ground along with the rest of the pipes not being in a crawl will be warmer..just cover everything and you will be good...might consider picking upa laser thermometer and shoot the crawl during a 0F night to see how low it goes.during the dinner time running of hot and cold thru the crawl for the kitcken work will actually heat the crawl...sheets of styrafoam boarding on the crawl space exterior walls will hold any heat pulled from the piping during the day.21 years in a house with a 4' crawl space with sand exposed hot/cold/basebaoard heating never busted a pipe...on the south shore of Long Island along with big time wind chills off the waters of the Atlantic 100' from my front door.you need to monitor the crawl space temperatures during the winter with a indoor/outdoor digital thermometer with a 6' wired out probe you can mount in the crawl and have the readout in the kitchen.i would bet you don't go below 32F even that is a long time from freezing a pipe....

Last edited by biggles; 09-06-2009 at 10:11 PM.
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