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Idlewild294 03-29-2013 02:28 PM

Help with insulating expansion tank.
Hey everyone, new to the forum and I need some advice. I installed an expansion tank near the hot water heater in the attic last year, and I can't figure out a decent way to insulate the tank to prevent freezing. The tank is mounted horizontally and suspended by metal straps. All of the thin self adhesive foam pipe wraps seem to just be used for preventing sweating of pipes, and I've heard that fiberglass pipe wrap really doesn't do we'll at preventing freezing. I didn't have the tank wrapped this last winter and I just found a manufacture warning stating to replace the tank if it has been subject to below freezing temps. I routinely check the air pressure and the tank appears to have no damage, but I want to wrap it for this next winter. I live just north of Dallas TX and most winter night time lows are in low to mid 30s with the rare low 20s a couple of times a year. All of the other attic pipes are wrapped. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

mj12 03-29-2013 02:45 PM

that tank is cold blooded, insulation will not help.

joecaption 03-29-2013 03:01 PM

#1 Plumbing of any kind should not be in a attic if you live in an area that freezes.
I've seen whole two story houses get distroyed from one burst pipe in an attic.
Insulated or not is it's cold long enough and there's no ambiant heat the pipes will still freeze.
May want to consider using a heat tape and changing the piping to pex.
Even in VA it's againt code to run plumbing in an outside wall or an attic.

Sure hope that heater is at least sitting in a drain pan with a drain running to the outside.

Idlewild294 03-29-2013 03:11 PM

Many many homes have their pipes and hot water heaters in attics here in north Texas, and yes our water heaters are over a pan with two separate drains leading outside and a water alarm. I also have a pan under the expansion tank. We let one sink drip when the temps are 30 and below, and I've never had a pipe burst even in pier and beam homes with exposed lines in crawl spaces. Our winters here are very mild, and I just figured there has to be an effective insulation wrap to keep the tank insulated.

SeniorSitizen 03-29-2013 03:56 PM

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If your heating system is in the attic you need not be concerned unless the system is shut down for several days in uncommon winter conditions .

Consider a remote thermometer to monitor attic conditions and if necessary open the attic stair case to allow some warm air to rise .

Another method would be to allow a pencil lead size, or less, stream of water flow during the night when no other water is being used .

mj12 03-29-2013 05:17 PM

Just wait, seems every ten years there is a cold snap and all those set ups that never froze are now shooting water all over town.

SeniorSitizen 03-29-2013 07:23 PM

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AAA all the way . :laughing:

fetzer85 03-29-2013 08:00 PM

Ouch! They might be using those free tows..

Ghostmaker 03-29-2013 08:29 PM

An expansion tank is an air filled bladder that compresses as the water expands. If you get cold enough to freeze that to a point of bursting then I figure your in for many more broken pipes. Just for an experiment but insulation around a glass of water and stick it in your freezer. My money is that water will freeze. If you have no source of heat no amount of insulation will stop anything from freezing.

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