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Old 01-11-2009, 11:01 PM   #1
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Plumbing a barn


I want to bring water in to my barn for a 2 wash sinks. I have 1" pex available to me about 12' from the barn. It is on a frost free hydrant. It is buried 8 feet down, so I am going to rent a mini-excavator and dig it up and attach a T and run some more 1" pex to the barn. My questions are:

1. What is the best way to insulat the pex as it comes to the surface, mostly the last 36" inches (frost line)?

2. What about after it comes out of the ground? One of the sinks is on the upstairs of the raise center (monitor) barn (upstairs is a work-shop area, it will be heated part-time (when I am in there) so I dont want to assume it will be heated all the time). The other is on ground level, a typical wash/utility tub from home depot.

Since there are two sinks, I would need a T, this would need to be accessible.

My thought was to box off pex and then spray in spray foam insulation. I would not spray the juntions, those would be boxed off and fiberglass insulated.

Will this withstand a SW Montana winter without bursting? We can get pretty good wind-chills here (-40 is the lowest in the last 4 years I have lived at this house).

Any insight is appreciated.

Thanks!

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Old 01-12-2009, 09:26 AM   #2
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Will this withstand a SW Montana winter without bursting?
Nope,... I Doubt it...

You can't run waterlines thru Unheated areas,+ expect them Not to freeze, if those areas go to -40...
Or even +30 for very long....

It's Water,... If it drops below +32,... It's going to Freeze...

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Old 01-12-2009, 10:22 AM   #3
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The only way I would consider plumbing into the first floor would be to run the pex supply up a piece of 10" water main from your branch. The earths' heat will keep this line from freezing...IF it's insulated and airtight. Since you have 2 services...I'd do two of these assemblies...one for each. The problem will be anything outside this area...unless it's kept warm...it will freeze. All the spray foam in the world will not keep the water from freezing IF the water is not moving and no new heat is being introduced into the space which is the function of the 10" PVC main...it will keep a source of thermal energy around the water pipe.

The sinks of which you speak...will they have traps? How will you handle the discharge?

BTW it's not the wind chill that puts the freeze on items...it's the actual temperatures. Wind chill is only useful to critters, i.e. humans, and it gives you a "feels like" temperture. But that doesn't help when the actual temperature does get to -5 or -10 below zero....
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:30 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by RippySkippy View Post
The only way I would consider plumbing into the first floor would be to run the pex supply up a piece of 10" water main from your branch. The earths' heat will keep this line from freezing...IF it's insulated and airtight. Since you have 2 services...I'd do two of these assemblies...one for each. The problem will be anything outside this area...unless it's kept warm...it will freeze. All the spray foam in the world will not keep the water from freezing IF the water is not moving and no new heat is being introduced into the space which is the function of the 10" PVC main...it will keep a source of thermal energy around the water pipe.
Interesting idea, using the geothermal heat to heat the inside of the 10" water main. I assume that all I would need to do is ensure the pex is inside the insulated water main all the way down at the function to ensure the heat is available. Since I want to have 2 runs, should I do the junction WAY down in the ground 8-10' or above ground. I assume above ground would cause me more problems then a good tightening job at the junction with the yard hydrant's water line... Your thoughts?

Side note, I am researching geothermal heat transfer options to heat my barn's upstairs and my house full time by way of radiant floor heat, but it is a couple years out still as I would dig the 50x50 8' deep whole myself over the non-winter months and that will take 2 years. It appears to be a ROCK solid way to heat and it doesnt matter where you are in the country really as long as your not living on an iceberg

Is water main line insulated when I purchase it or do I need to do something special to insulate it? Any links to water main products you are familiar with?

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Originally Posted by RippySkippy View Post
The sinks of which you speak...will they have traps? How will you handle the discharge?
The sinks will not have discharges but rather just drain into a 5 gallon bucket. The purpose is really only emergency water accessibility (light hand washing, rinse eyes, water for a wet saw, etc... things like that).

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Originally Posted by RippySkippy View Post
BTW it's not the wind chill that puts the freeze on items...it's the actual temperatures. Wind chill is only useful to critters, i.e. humans, and it gives you a "feels like" temperture. But that doesn't help when the actual temperature does get to -5 or -10 below zero....
Thanks!

Last edited by mntnvew; 01-12-2009 at 10:33 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:33 AM   #5
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Can you cut back to just one sink and use a frost proof hydrant to supply that sink? You won't be able to use a trap on the sink - just gravity drain to the exterior.

Otherwise you'll have to heat the barn all winter or wall off part of the barn and heat it all winter.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:40 AM   #6
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I don't know of any thing that comes insulated. If you kept the top of the pipe at floor level, you wouldn't need to the pipe...it's only the space above ground that would cause issues.

For this type "light use", why not install the same frost free hydrant inside the barn? Keep the shutoff below frost level and you'll be good...
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by jogr View Post
Can you cut back to just one sink and use a frost proof hydrant to supply that sink? You won't be able to use a trap on the sink - just gravity drain to the exterior.

Otherwise you'll have to heat the barn all winter or wall off part of the barn and heat it all winter.
I guess that would be an option, just run the hydrant up inside the barn and then run a garden hose to a custom made adapter that hooks it to the utility sink.

The hydrant that is outside the barn now is used to fill horse trough, this is done with a short 6 foot garden hose, and a electric line heater electrical taped to the above ground hydrant pipe. There are times that I try to drain the garden hose after use to prevent freezing and it will freeze before I can drain it all. With all this said, I dont want to try to run a hose to the upstairs from that hydrant, so if I install a new one in the barn it will be closer, but will I still ahve the same issues with having to connect/disconnect the hose every time I want to work in the upstairs & have water accessible?...

...thinking aloud is all...

This is the primary reason I wanted a source to faucet solution.

Thoughts anyone???
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:50 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by RippySkippy View Post
For this type "light use", why not install the same frost free hydrant inside the barn? Keep the shutoff below frost level and you'll be good...
I guess this really is my only viable option w/o heating the entire barn (or parts of it).

Quick side question... If I decide to heat the upstairs of the barn, what are my options for the section of PEX that will be in the wall of the ground floor?

If I do heat the upstairs, it will be via geothermal heat exchange so I guess those radiant lines have to go upstairs to the joists.

Last edited by mntnvew; 01-12-2009 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mntnvew View Post
... If I decide to heat the upstairs of the barn, what are my options for the section of PEX that will be in the wall of the ground floor?
build a well insulated chase, and the warmth of the geo pipes will keep it functional.
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Old 01-12-2009, 01:06 PM   #10
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Is there any supply lines that you can use with heat tape? I know mobile homes have a supply line that comes out of the ground and runs into the trailer and is exposed to freezing temps but they use a heat tape to keep it from freezing. Don't know if you can use it with pex, might melt it? The heat tape is left on in the winter, I know some of them have a thermostat and turn on and off as needed. I think this would be your best way to go, just have to find a supply line that you can use with it, i'm not sure what the mobile homes use for supply lines from the ground? Here is a link to some heat tape http://plumbing.hardwarestore.com/52-299-heat-tape.aspx

Last edited by ponch37300; 01-12-2009 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:56 PM   #11
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mobile homes use primarily copper.

I would put a 2 story hydrant on that flows RIGHT into the sink. when you shut it off it drains immediately back into the ground 5' under where the shut off is. all you need is a longer pipe like your hydrant has,,and a rod to lengthen inside shutoff. use "NO" hose on a hydant,that will freeze them quicker than any thing and ruin the whole set up. drain it straight out the bottom as said..for short bursts its about all you need. make sure the drain back place in ground has plenty of room to hold a few on and offs. Lots of water in say,,,18-20 foot of risor pipe. a hose has to be taken off immediately when hydrant is shut off otherwise it doent drain down right,,,and hung up straight up and down for next use,,,ie drained 100%
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Old 01-13-2009, 10:32 AM   #12
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mobile homes use primarily copper.

I would put a 2 story hydrant on that flows RIGHT into the sink. when you shut it off it drains immediately back into the ground 5' under where the shut off is. all you need is a longer pipe like your hydrant has,,and a rod to lengthen inside shutoff. use "NO" hose on a hydant,that will freeze them quicker than any thing and ruin the whole set up. drain it straight out the bottom as said..for short bursts its about all you need. make sure the drain back place in ground has plenty of room to hold a few on and offs. Lots of water in say,,,18-20 foot of risor pipe. a hose has to be taken off immediately when hydrant is shut off otherwise it doent drain down right,,,and hung up straight up and down for next use,,,ie drained 100%
I completely understand your thoughts on using the hydrants and WOW that is ingenious really. My only question is, can I really do it with simply extending the riser part of the hydrant for my upstairs water supply? Downstairs I can probably just get a 8 foot hydrant and put 4-5 feet in the ground and the other 4-3 feet above ground, whatever I need to put it right into a utility sink from local hardware store.

As for the hose + hydrant, I already know the h3ll that can be, as I have to use a 3' hose to get water from my existing hydrant to the horse trough, it freezes within minutes after I disconnect, so I have to strech it out and get it drained quickly.
I also noticed that once I disconnect I can really hear the suction from the draining of the hydrant riser. I assume that is a good thing.

PS - I learned my lesson 2 years ago, I left a hose attached to a yard hydrant that was used for my drip system and this specific hydrant gets covered with 5'+ drifts in the winter... So spring came around and I had a busted risor just above the ground. I ended up digging it all up and using that as the source for the 2 hydrants I put in this last spring that are just about 10' from the barn, one is for the drip system and the other is for the horse trough. So I know about ruining a set up. (Albeit renting the mini excavator and digging a trench is FUN FUN FUN for me )

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Old 01-13-2009, 10:36 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ponch37300 View Post
Is there any supply lines that you can use with heat tape? I know mobile homes have a supply line that comes out of the ground and runs into the trailer and is exposed to freezing temps but they use a heat tape to keep it from freezing. Don't know if you can use it with pex, might melt it? The heat tape is left on in the winter, I know some of them have a thermostat and turn on and off as needed. I think this would be your best way to go, just have to find a supply line that you can use with it, i'm not sure what the mobile homes use for supply lines from the ground? Here is a link to some heat tape http://plumbing.hardwarestore.com/52-299-heat-tape.aspx
Thanks, I infact use this product http://plumbing.hardwarestore.com/52...pe-601296.aspx on the area of one of my yard hydrants that is above ground, the part of the risor that is above ground is wrapped in this and then electrical taped; then I use a standard peice of foam pipe insulation and zip ties. I also buried about 3 inches of the foam insulation to ensure a tight coverage at the connecting area. It works well. I just didnt realize they made those warming wires in such lengths. Thanks again!
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:49 AM   #14
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as to that hose thing. try NOT to use a hose,,,maske up a short length of plastic pipe as a spout,,,sorta,,,big enough to slip over the end of hydrant end,stay in place,,somehow,preferably tied, and ends in horse trough. Then NO problem freezing or 'kids',,,of varying ages,some old, some young(wink) not getting it off in time, forgetting,,going to come right back. Saves alot of heartache,digging and fixing. next time you have a split risor,take a coulpe big hammers,pound it back shut and solder or braze it shut,right in place,no muss no fuss,no dig!! You can even wrap with innertube rubber and hose clamp till you get time to fix permanently!! Dont ask me how I know!!
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:56 AM   #15
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as to that hose thing. try NOT to use a hose,,,maske up a short length of plastic pipe as a spout,,,sorta,,,big enough to slip over the end of hydrant end,stay in place,,somehow,preferably tied, and ends in horse trough. Then NO problem freezing or 'kids',,,of varying ages,some old, some young(wink) not getting it off in time, forgetting,,going to come right back. Saves alot of heartache,digging and fixing. next time you have a split risor,take a coulpe big hammers,pound it back shut and solder or braze it shut,right in place,no muss no fuss,no dig!! You can even wrap with innertube rubber and hose clamp till you get time to fix permanently!! Dont ask me how I know!!
excellent, I will remember this, thanks!

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