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Old 12-12-2012, 03:16 AM   #1
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water heater in unheated utility room


Hello all:
I recently purchased a home in Fredericksburg, VA. There is an unheated utility room adjoining the main house but accessible from the outside only. The water heater is uninsulated as are the pipes. The water treatment system (3 large tanks) is in there also.

When I had the house inspected (yes, by a professional) he told me not to worry about insulating it - just "leave a light on".

My common sense tells me to insulate the water heater AND the adjoining pipes.

As usual, I thank you in advance and look forward to your response.

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Old 12-12-2012, 05:00 AM   #2
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water heater in unheated utility room


The uninsulated water heater and hot water pipes are the source of heat to prevent freeze ups. If you insulate them, you will need to provide a heat source to protect the water softener from freezing.

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Old 12-12-2012, 08:17 AM   #3
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water heater in unheated utility room


BeenThere took the words right out of my mouth. If it aint broke, dont fix it.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:32 AM   #4
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water heater in unheated utility room


Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
The uninsulated water heater and hot water pipes are the source of heat to prevent freeze ups. If you insulate them, you will need to provide a heat source to protect the water softener from freezing.
So are you saying to leave it alone? I'm in the process of moving from my current home outside of Washington, DC to Fredericksburg so I'm not there to watch it but I'm concerned. The water heater temperature is turned off or very low since I'm not there. Do I need to turn it up to provide the "heat source" you mention?

Thanks again.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:41 AM   #5
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water heater in unheated utility room


I have zero faith in just leaving a light on.
Been in far to many pump houses and utility rooms with dozens of burned out light bulbs laying around.
I'd suggest a milk house heater with a thermostate.
http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&keyw...house%20heater
Just turn it all the way down and forget about it.

Make sure the building is insulated and no air leaks.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:48 AM   #6
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water heater in unheated utility room


If that heater draws combustion air from the space, some "leaks" will be necessary.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:56 AM   #7
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Good point, is it gas or electric.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:24 AM   #8
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water heater in unheated utility room


Off is not the same as very low. Off is no heat developed. Low is some heat developed. If you set it to the normal range you should be fine. Fredricksburg is further south than DC.

You never mentioned gas or electric, high efficiency, or low or anything. How about some info?

Short version: If its gas you need makeup air from somewhere. I would pipe it from the house if possible.

You can also just put a small electric heater with a thermostat in there if you are really worried about it, just keep it low.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:26 AM   #9
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Do not pipe makeup air from the house, that is not a good idea.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:35 AM   #10
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water heater in unheated utility room


And vey is dat Nineo??? Please enlighten a poor old man, and kudos to you if you do.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:38 AM   #11
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If your house goes into negative pressure then you are drawing air from a utility room that will draw air from a flue pipe. Thanks for the kudos.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:43 PM   #12
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Backdraft Damper? But Kudos for the answer
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiNe O
If your house goes into negative pressure then you are drawing air from a utility room that will draw air from a flue pipe. Thanks for the kudos.
As a professional NiNe O is very correct. It is code you need to have enough combustion air aka make up air in your utility room otherwise it will pull flue gasses back into your house and then you've got yourself Carbon Monoxide. Not Good
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:43 PM   #14
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water heater in unheated utility room


Quote:
Originally Posted by momof2labs View Post
So are you saying to leave it alone? I'm in the process of moving from my current home outside of Washington, DC to Fredericksburg so I'm not there to watch it but I'm concerned. The water heater temperature is turned off or very low since I'm not there. Do I need to turn it up to provide the "heat source" you mention?

Thanks again.
Up to normal temp.

Some people install a small electric heater, and set the stat to 40.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:13 AM   #15
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water heater in unheated utility room


Quote:
Originally Posted by jagans View Post
Off is not the same as very low. Off is no heat developed. Low is some heat developed. If you set it to the normal range you should be fine. Fredricksburg is further south than DC.

You never mentioned gas or electric, high efficiency, or low or anything. How about some info?

Short version: If its gas you need makeup air from somewhere. I would pipe it from the house if possible.

You can also just put a small electric heater with a thermostat in there if you are really worried about it, just keep it low.
The water heater is on heat pump. Regardless, it seems like I will need a small heater w/ thermostat - like you recommended.

Thanks!

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