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Old 02-18-2009, 01:04 PM   #1
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Preventing frozen pipes in a warehouse


Hello all,

At work we rent an old warehouse, mainly for storage and some maintenance. The building is old and poorly sealed so any heat from the heater quickly escapes. We run up a $300 per month bill just to keep this warehouse at 40 degrees and it is only to prevent freezing of the plumbing.

This building has a small bathroom with a sink, toilet and small water heater. The bathroom is not a well insulated room either, just framing and paneling and it is along an exterior wall.

I'm thinking there has to be a more efficient way to keep this plumbing from freezing in the winter than heating the entire building.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

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Old 02-18-2009, 01:13 PM   #2
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Preventing frozen pipes in a warehouse


thermostatic heating tape might be an option, but you might still want to keep it above freezing, depending upon what you store there.
and some greatstuff foam to fill big gaps works wonders too...... Po)
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:54 PM   #3
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Preventing frozen pipes in a warehouse


depending on how cold it gets where you are you could keep a small trickle of water running 24/7. Im on Long island and a lot of the house boat people at my marina do this.

Its a waste of water but were not in a drought location
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Old 02-18-2009, 03:59 PM   #4
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Preventing frozen pipes in a warehouse


There is nothing stored there that needs to be heated.

I have heard about the trickle of water before but that doesn't help with the toilet.

About a month ago when it was below zero here, the pilot went out on the heater and I didn't catch it until a few days later because I only go there once or twice a week. The toilet water had frozen on the top.

I thought that maybe there was some type of safe space heater that could be run in that area to keep the pipes safe. It seems like such as waste to heat 3500 square feet of building to save the pipes in a 25 square foot bathroom.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:57 PM   #5
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Preventing frozen pipes in a warehouse


Fish tank heaters in the toilet tank would keep it from freezing! Plumbers anti-freeze in the bowl and a heating cable on the water supply should do the trick!
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:05 PM   #6
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Preventing frozen pipes in a warehouse


I have a an unheated garage I have the heat tape wrapped around my water line. The main pit sits behind the door and even with two layers of insulation, plastic, towels and boxes cover it, the pipes freeze if I don't use the tape. It has helped a lot.

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Old 02-18-2009, 05:29 PM   #7
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Preventing frozen pipes in a warehouse


Quote:
This building has a small bathroom with a sink, toilet and small water heater. The bathroom is not a well insulated room either, just framing and paneling and it is along an exterior wall.
Ayuh,..

I would think that if you heat taped,+ insulated the water line feeding the bathroom,..
From the entrance to the bathroom enclosure,...

You could get by with something like an automatic 1500w Milkhouse Heater...
Maybe something alittle bigger in the bitter cold times...
Or,..
You mention the pilot light,...
A small gas heater, just for the bathroom...
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:36 PM   #8
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Preventing frozen pipes in a warehouse


Quote:
I have heard about the trickle of water before but that doesn't help with the toilet.
adjust the float
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Old 02-18-2009, 11:34 PM   #9
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Preventing frozen pipes in a warehouse


$300. per month to heat the whole warehouse or just the bathroom? Can you weatherstrip the bathroom better and put the space heater inside?

Is the building unoccupied for long stretches? You might be able to drain the plumbing and water heater and put antifreeze in the toile bowl on some occasions.
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:52 AM   #10
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Preventing frozen pipes in a warehouse


A huge help would be if you could insulate and weatherstrip the bathroom. Since you only need heat in that particular area and not the entire warehouse that would be the place to start. Heat tape and insulation are not bad ideas either. Something else that would help would be an infrared heater with thermostat. At $300/month for heat I believe you'd see a return on your investment sooner rather than later. Infrared heaters are safe unlike traditional space heaters. You could just use the infrared heater without insulating the bathroom, but the heat generated is going to escape and it will take longer for you to get the return on your investment.

Good luck and stay warm
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Old 02-19-2009, 08:26 AM   #11
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Preventing frozen pipes in a warehouse


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Originally Posted by JDC View Post
infrared heater with thermostat.
excellent idea JDC.... in a room that small, the lowest setting would be fine, using what? 500w max? but still seal the heck out of the room.

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Old 02-19-2009, 11:00 PM   #12
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Preventing frozen pipes in a warehouse


Hey, thanks for all the suggestions.

The heater in the warehouse is a 100,000 BTU warehouse heater, big enough to heat the entire building. The bathroom sits just below the heater. The bathroom is used on weekends when workers come to pick up their equipment, and I spend a couple hours there per week so the toilet does get regular use throughout the winter.

I will have to look into better insulating that bathroom and perhaps an IR heater in combination with heat tape would suffice. Being that winter is nearly over (I hope) I will work on this sometime this summer and fall.

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