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Old 11-15-2009, 06:56 PM   #1
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how to keep pipes from freezing


I am in the process of running baseboard heat for the first floor apartment of my house and my living room is an addition that had been done some time in the 1960's. I am about to run 3/4" copper in the crawl space beneath which is subject to freezing weather... I live in North NJ.

Even though the floor is well insulated my pipes will run underneath the joist. I want to be protected in case its 10 below one day and for what ever reason my boiler stops.

Which is a good way to insulate them? I know you can easily buy pipe inuslation but I wouldn't know if thats good enough.

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Old 11-15-2009, 08:08 PM   #2
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how to keep pipes from freezing


After reading some of the old post I see the foam pipe insulation is what many use... I think its PE. Its the one where you peel the tape off and it seals its self.

http://healthyhomesofrochester.com/p...insulation.jpg

What about around elbows? It doesn't look like you can neatly bend it around turns while still keeping it sealed properly.

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Old 11-15-2009, 08:31 PM   #3
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how to keep pipes from freezing


Quote:
Originally Posted by mynd66 View Post
After reading some of the old post I see the foam pipe insulation is what many use... I think its PE. Its the one where you peel the tape off and it seals its self.

http://healthyhomesofrochester.com/p...insulation.jpg

What about around elbows? It doesn't look like you can neatly bend it around turns while still keeping it sealed properly.
What's wrong with using good ol' fashioned Fiberglass insulation (around the bends and elbows) and sealing with Duct tape?!
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Old 11-15-2009, 09:14 PM   #4
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how to keep pipes from freezing


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What's wrong with using good ol' fashioned Fiberglass insulation (around the bends and elbows) and sealing with Duct tape?!


Hey I got plenty of that laying around I would be more than happy to use it.

I just don't know how long the pipe will last in freezing weather with that foam homedepot pipe insulation and fiberglass around the bends... an hour, 12, a day... two?

Its just that if something happend and my boiler stops I wanna get a timeframe as to how long I have before pipes start busting.
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Old 11-15-2009, 09:29 PM   #5
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how to keep pipes from freezing


Is the crawl space enclosed & is the outside wall insulated?
Is the floor covered with plastic.....dirt....cement ?
Have you ever had a temg gauge to see how cold it gets down there ?
How deep into the ground is the crawl space ?
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Old 11-15-2009, 09:34 PM   #6
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how to keep pipes from freezing


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Originally Posted by mynd66 View Post
Hey I got plenty of that laying around I would be more than happy to use it.

I just don't know how long the pipe will last in freezing weather with that foam homedepot pipe insulation and fiberglass around the bends... an hour, 12, a day... two?

Its just that if something happend and my boiler stops I wanna get a timeframe as to how long I have before pipes start busting.
I couldn't tell you a time frame. I didn't do any experiments in a (freezing) lab. What i DO know is the fact that I had a FREEZING problem in 1 out of 2 bathrooms, where both the HOT and COLD water pipes would freeze up starting from early December. I traced the problem to an open section of about 3Ft.x4Ft. underneath the window, where both pipes were exposed to the weather. I closed that part with Dry wall and inserted insulation. The problem disappeared. Never did the pipes freeze over again. (No matter what)Don't Drink and Drive, Ever!!!
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Old 11-15-2009, 09:41 PM   #7
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how to keep pipes from freezing


If those are just pipes for the heating then you could use Propylene glycol in the system.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:56 AM   #8
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how to keep pipes from freezing


Even though crawl spaces need some sort of venting keep it to a minimum.

And where your running your pipes make sure they are not anywhere near drafts where the wind hits them they will freeze much faster.

I would buy a cheap digital wireless thermometer $10 and place the sensor on the pipes and watch the readings from upstairs to get an idea what temperatures are down there.
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Old 11-16-2009, 01:23 PM   #9
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how to keep pipes from freezing


The foam pipe insulation, is not a good insulation for pipes that will have water temps above 140F. it dries out, and loses most of its ability to insulate.
Fiberglass pipe insulation is what is suppose to be used.

Crawlspaces don't need to be ventilated.
Seal it(including the ground for moisture), and insulate it.
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Old 11-16-2009, 02:55 PM   #10
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how to keep pipes from freezing


what about heat tape? that is as much a question for the masses as it as a suggestion for the OP. i have seen it used around here but never personally used it.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:11 PM   #11
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If you use the self regulating type.
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Old 11-16-2009, 09:50 PM   #12
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how to keep pipes from freezing


getting some good info here much appreciated.

Crawl space is ground level. The ground is covered in plastic and there are 3 vents. The walls are just block. Not sure if they are hollow or not but its holding up two floors which were added to the house some time ago.

I didn't know the foam is bad for heated pipes. As for the fiberglass insulaton I hear it works well as long as it isn't exposed to moisture. It seems more appropriate to use fiberglass.

...and why would the crawlspace be vented? I can't think of a reason why but the three access panels have vents in them. I guess I can seal it up and throw a piece of insulation on that as well.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:22 PM   #13
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how to keep pipes from freezing


Maybe throw a bit of heat in the crawlspace. Having it go below freezing is bad for the foundation. At least that's what I've been told by a few home inspectors. I have a "sub crawlspace" (accessed from my main crawlspace) under my garage and there is hardly no air circulation so it gets very cold. I was told to keep a heater in there to keep the temp above 0. The other crawlspace has a few furnace vents to keep the air going.

Next step is probably insulating between the joists, where they meet the walls.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:23 PM   #14
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how to keep pipes from freezing


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Originally Posted by mynd66 View Post
...and why would the crawlspace be vented? I can't think of a reason why but the three access panels have vents in them. I guess I can seal it up and throw a piece of insulation on that as well.
I never understood the outside venting thing either. It's equivalent to opening your basement windows all year round. Brrrrr. A crawlspace is still a basement, just smaller, and should be treated as living space to some degree.
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Old 11-17-2009, 06:27 AM   #15
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The foam pipe insulation, is not a good insulation for pipes that will have water temps above 140F. it dries out, and loses most of its ability to insulate.
Fiberglass pipe insulation is what is suppose to be used.

Crawlspaces don't need to be ventilated.
Seal it(including the ground for moisture), and insulate it.
Venting crawlspaces is code in several areas. Unconditioned crawlspace
needs cross ventilation to eliminate mold spore and rot which can cause structural damage.
On the other hand if I had a crawl space I would open the vents in the summer and close them in the winter. They were put there for a reason if they are not needed why are they installed on millions of homes?
Everything has it's reason but we all don't know why.


Last edited by SULTINI; 11-17-2009 at 06:31 AM. Reason: To change some wording and add a sentence
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