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Old 03-29-2014, 06:09 PM   #1
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Freeze proofing a new water supply line


OK, this is kinda' complex so I'll do my best not to confuse you. I think it's a bit of a physics problem. I am finishing a small apartment about 40 feet from my house that is attached to the back side of a three car garage.

I need to get water from the house to the apartment through the unheated garage. I only need a cold supply line.

I know I can use heat tape but I guess after many years, I don't trust it. I recently acquired a Laing recirculating pump and wondered if I could use this to simply keep the water moving in a loop during the coldest months.

Here's the plan, I would start the loop in the heated house and the other end would be in the heated apartment with the circulating pump somewhere in the loop. It would be two lines of pex in the middle with a single inlet and a T at the house end and a T and a single outlet on the apartment end.

Since the water on both sides of the circulating pump will be pressurized, would the pump actually move water in the loop?

Anyone understand this or have an opinion?

Thanks,
Jack

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Old 03-29-2014, 06:28 PM   #2
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Freeze proofing a new water supply line


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Anyone understand this or have an opinion?
Why wouldn't you just dig below the frost line and run the supply?

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Old 03-29-2014, 06:32 PM   #3
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Freeze proofing a new water supply line


Thanks, but the configuration is house, connected to three car garage, connected to apartment. The back side of the structure is too near the property line for digging and the front side has the driveway and the parking area in front of the three car garage.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:35 PM   #4
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Freeze proofing a new water supply line


If you can bury the line as suggested by Kwik, that is the simplest. If for some reason it is impossible to bury the line, you can certainly circulate the water using a pump. This is done in hotels all the time with hot water, so there is no lag when you jump in the shower, the water is always hot. Same idea when using a circulator to move hot water in a building with a boiler.

The water is of course pressurized to whatever ambient pressure is, in a house it might be 60 psi. The circulator adds a small amount or pressure, say 5 psi, which is enough to force the water to circulate. At the return point in your house, the pressure has dropped to ambient (60 psi in this case). You need to set up the loop correctly, and there is typically a one way valve to make sure the water circulates in the forward direction all the time.

You end up paying for the electricity to run the pump, and of course the cost for the pump and valves.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:40 PM   #5
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Freeze proofing a new water supply line


Thanks Daniel...I think that's what I need. The pump will add just enough pressure to get the movement started. I don't think it would actually matter which way the water moves, as long as it's moving since both sides will have equal pressure before the pump starts. The Laing pump I picked up at auction for $30 uses 14 watts, which I would guess is less that 40 feet of heat tape. This pump, in it's real life, is used for the instant hot water. I just have to cap the two outlets to the sink. If this is a big fail, I put it to its intended use. :-)
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:53 PM   #6
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Freeze proofing a new water supply line


You have not posted your location but in very cold climes even circulating water will freeze. Have you not seen a running stream freeze?
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:56 PM   #7
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Freeze proofing a new water supply line


With a circulating pump or heat cable all will be well until a power failure. I might consider incorporating a simple way of draining the supply lines in the plan.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:08 PM   #8
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Freeze proofing a new water supply line


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The back side of the structure is too near the property line for digging
Just curious...You have zero clearance? Digging doesn't necessarily mean a backhoe or any other powered equipment.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:48 PM   #9
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Freeze proofing a new water supply line


I never had a problem with heat tape. How far does pipe travel in garage? Just insulate and use heat tape. I think there is more chance of a circulating pump burning out running 24/7 than heat tape not working.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:59 PM   #10
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Freeze proofing a new water supply line


How is the sewer pipe getting there.
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:27 PM   #11
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Freeze proofing a new water supply line


Thanks everyone...to answer all the questions...

I live in Indiana and the 40 feet of garage gets cold but not extreme. At the worst this winter perhaps 15-20 degrees.

Correct the building is not on the property line but I would have to disrupt a bricked patio to dig on the backside and then it would be through 30 feet of small trees and bushes. It is too small for a trencher. I would need 36-42 inch depth and I'm too damned old to dig this by hand.

My experience with heat tape has not been good but this may be the best alternative. Maybe I'm trying to be too clever, but I have the pump and current draw will be really low.

The sewer already exists. This is a 100 year old property. I've had the sewer scoped and snaked but it was not practical to save the existing supply.
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:29 PM   #12
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With a circulating pump or heat cable all will be well until a power failure. I might consider incorporating a simple way of draining the supply lines in the plan.

Yes that's definitely in the plan.

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