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arichard21 12-17-2007 10:38 AM

Water pipe heater delema
Our laundry room is build over a crawlspace, but the rest of the house is on a full basement. there is an opening about 1' x 3' into the crawl space. The pipes go to the washer from there. The space is unheated, all it gets is what makes its way through the 1x3 opening. the rest of the basement stays about 40-45 degrees.

we have had a problem once with the cold water pipe freezing over the past few years, but we put a electric pipe heater on it just in case it happened again. the problem is where it is wrapped around itin the crawlspace, the plug wont reach the nearest outlet. even if it did, the pipe heater has a built in thermostat that would need to be touching the pipe to turn itself on and off.

can i use an extention cord? i dont plan to leave it plugges in all the time, just in case i need it. would there be any way to bypass the tstat on it?

redline 12-17-2007 11:01 AM

Are you able to put pipe insulation on these pipes?

arichard21 12-17-2007 11:08 AM

we have insulation on them, and we had it on the time they froze...

J. V. 12-17-2007 11:32 AM

Extension cords are not allowed as permanent power source, unless you can readily access the cord. If the cord is accessable and you can unplug either end without removing any obstruction, you should be okay. Ext cords are not allowed in walls or where they are subject to physical damage. You cannot penetrate a ceiling either. They cannot be stapled to anything. They are portable devices.
I would not use an extension cord. I would either get a longer heat tape, or mount a receptacle near the corded heat strip/tape male plug.
Extension cords are responsible for many fire related incidents. While they are widely used, limit their use as much as possible.
Check and see if your heat tape will accept a UL approved connector. Many brands of heat strips allow for expansion. Check it out. You might just be able to extend the strip.

redline 12-17-2007 11:37 AM

Do you have just the foam pipe insulation?

I would buy the regular fiber glass insulation and wrap that around it. Use an R-19 or higher.

I do not find the heat tape to be that reliable.

goose134 12-17-2007 07:56 PM

I will tell you this: I was on a crew that ran 15 miles of heat trace at Soldier Field. Heat trace simply won't work within a fraction of its potential unless the pipe is insulated. Use the fiberglass insulation. Foam just makes you feel better. The advice about the extension cord, get a closer power source and be done with it. Winter will keep coming. Good luck!

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