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Old 05-24-2011, 09:07 PM   #1
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plumber put hot/cold water feeds in unheated crawl space


I have an unheated crawlspace that now has new plumbing running underneath in Massachusetts with some force hot air trunks arms running under also. State code states no plumb feeds in unheated crawl space but plumber and general say ok and inspector has signed off on it. What to do? I thought the plumbing should be boxed in with ends grated to heated area but he refuses to do this at his expence.

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Old 05-24-2011, 09:11 PM   #2
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plumber put hot/cold water feeds in unheated crawl space


Wow yeah that has to be fixed. They will burst in winter. how hard would it be to seal up that crawlspace and heat it? I would do that if it's doable, if not, you'll want to put some kind of heat tape on the pipes and insulate them. Though there may be a better way. If they are in between the joists you could stick insulation as to make the pipes be on the "hot side".

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Old 05-24-2011, 10:16 PM   #3
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plumber put hot/cold water feeds in unheated crawl space


Call or visit your plumbing inspector. Explain your situation. Have him tell you why it is acceptable. It gets cold here too and its not uncommon for water lines to be strapped to the bottom of the joists. Its not the preferred method though.
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:40 PM   #4
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plumber put hot/cold water feeds in unheated crawl space


The plumbing inspector was the one that read me the code about not putting the lines in an unheated space but that was before he knew it was a property he signed off on. Putting heat in the crawl space would cause moisture problems in the space and mold is a serious concern on the cape. If anything i would like more venting to allow movement of air but have also heard that no vents and a sealed space is better for moisture and would also be better for pipes but I rent the prop out and cant expect tenants to do the right thing by way of pipes freezing. Plumber was very angry with me and told me the temp would not go below 50 but when i asked for a guarantee he stumbled over his words and could not back out fast enough!
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:41 PM   #5
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plumber put hot/cold water feeds in unheated crawl space


If the pipes were inside of joist and i could insulate under i would be ok with it but they run under (perpendicular) with joist in most areas.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:27 AM   #6
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plumber put hot/cold water feeds in unheated crawl space


My house is the same way (eastern WV). Over two winters since we built it there has not been a problem. We did insulate the walls with rigid foam; perhaps that is helping. But unless the temperature outside is continuously below freezing for days in a row, the pipes in an occupied house shouldn't freeze.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:07 PM   #7
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plumber put hot/cold water feeds in unheated crawl space


Insulate under the pipes but also remove the insulation between the pipes and the living space above.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:17 PM   #8
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plumber put hot/cold water feeds in unheated crawl space


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Insulate under the pipes but also remove the insulation between the pipes and the living space above.
When insulators do crawls here, they split the blanket so the pipes are in the middle.

I understand the concern about the unheated space, but how do you get pipes from one end of the house to the other? Surely not the attic in cold climates.. Crawlers are the only option and very few plumbers are paid enough to drill the joists so they suspend them under the joists.
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:43 PM   #9
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plumber put hot/cold water feeds in unheated crawl space


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If anything i would like more venting to allow movement of air but have also heard that no vents and a sealed space is better for moisture and would also be better for pipes
I've seen a lot of discussion around venting, I'm no expert, and don't want to sideline your thread, but just offering this fwiw. My unheated crawl (lakefront) was vented to the max - good air flow most of the time - rat slab on the floor, poly underneath, etc. Warm humid air hits the cool walls, floor and it's wet. More vents = more moisture (kinda counter intuitive but that's what I got). So I block off all the vents, seal the rim up tight - add a good crawlspace dehumidifier and going on 3 years now its still bone dry.
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:15 PM   #10
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plumber put hot/cold water feeds in unheated crawl space


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When insulators do crawls here, they split the blanket so the pipes are in the middle..
I really think that this is passe' in severe climates. The blanket should be all on the cold side. For a new installation, cut a V shaped channel in the blanket on the warm side where the width of the V at the back side of the wall or floor is as wide as the distance between the pipe and said surface.

The insulation on the cold side is of course needed to keep the pipe from losing heat but the pipe also needs to receive heat. The smaller the R value between the pipe and the warm side the better the pipe can receive heat.

Letting the water trickle also lets the pipe receive heat -- from new water coming through the pipe even at 37 degrees F if there is enough of it coming through.
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:02 PM   #11
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plumber put hot/cold water feeds in unheated crawl space


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I've seen a lot of discussion around venting, I'm no expert, and don't want to sideline your thread, but just offering this fwiw. My unheated crawl (lakefront) was vented to the max - good air flow most of the time - rat slab on the floor, poly underneath, etc. Warm humid air hits the cool walls, floor and it's wet. More vents = more moisture (kinda counter intuitive but that's what I got). So I block off all the vents, seal the rim up tight - add a good crawlspace dehumidifier and going on 3 years now its still bone dry.
This and allow indoor air circulation, treat it like a basement, not an attic. I've seen some pretty nasty crawlspaces, if they are cleaned up and properly setup to be treated as indoor space they make great storage area, and don't need to worry about issues like freezing pipes.
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Old 05-27-2011, 09:58 AM   #12
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This and allow indoor air circulation, treat it like a basement, not an attic. I've seen some pretty nasty crawlspaces, if they are cleaned up and properly setup to be treated as indoor space they make great storage area, and don't need to worry about issues like freezing pipes.
yes that's how I describe it to people - a mini-basement. good point about the air circulation. A "conditioned" crawl (to whatever extent you can do that) has so many benefits - well worth the effort if you can swing it.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:53 AM   #13
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plumber put hot/cold water feeds in unheated crawl space


I don't envy the person who gets this job, but it needs to be done to prevent your pipes from freezing, make your floors warmer, and control moisture in your entire home.

Block of any vents with rigid foam insulation and air seal them with Great Stuff or silicone caulk.

Roll the thickest plastic you can find on the floor in your crawlspace. 6mil minimum. Overlap and tape any seams to prevent moisture from coming through the ground and entering the crawlspace and your home. Make sure to run the plastic all the way to the wall and up the wall a bit.

Install 2" thick XPS rigid foam insulation around the exterior wall. Glue it with foam board adhesive or use Tapcons to secure the foam to the concrete block. Tape each seam with Tyvek Tape.

Use Great Stuff expanding foam insulation to fill in any gaps around electrical wires, plumbing pipes, etc. Try hard to make the area air tight.

This will keep out the moisture and cold air in the winter which will freeze your pipes. It will also make the floor over your crawlspace much warmer. In the summertime, you'll notice you home is much less humid inside without using the air conditioning.

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