This is a little different. It's a backup solution for a buried well house. The
well house goes below the frost line, so the pipes should never freeze, but
occasionally it gets really cold and penetrates enough to freeze up. I could
just put a 60w lightbulb in there, but would like to have it on a thermostat so
it isn't running continuously. Probably just be easier to use heat tape.
Yeah, particularly since they're self-limiting whereas the bulb is a
constant drain the heat tape is cheaper in the long run. Plus, being in
contact it is more efficient preventing pipe freeze than trying to heat
the whole volume to maintain the air temperature.
re: The well house goes below the frost line, so the pipes should
never freeze, but occasionally it gets really cold and penetrates
enough to freeze up
Many of the web definitions, such as this one from the US Army Core of
Engineers, say something similar to this:
frost line - The limit of penetration of soil by frost.
Doesn't that mean, by definition, that the well house isn't *really*
below the frost line?
Perhaps the published frost line, either now or when the well house
was installed, is/was incorrect.
I think the problem is that the well house isn't undisturbed soil. About 75% of
the metal well house is exposed above grade, including an uninsulated manhole
cover. The floor of the house is below the frost line where the booster pump and
pipes are below.
That would certainly explain it.
BTW...I spent some time in Alaska, about 60 miles below the Artic
They speak in sort of opposite terms up there, referring to Perma
Frost lines and Thaw Lines, instead of Frost Lines.
Did you know that even though the roots of the tundra can be within
the Perma Frost layer, it's possible to build a bon fire hot enough to
heat up the roots to such as extent that small fires erupt from
underground hundreds of feet from the original bon fire?
Been there...done that. Lucky for me I was on radio watch the next day
while the rest of the station used pitch forks and shovels to overturn
the tundra in an effort to stop it from spreading.
How far away does the neighbor live? You could just get one of those remote
thermometers and put the sensor that you would normally put outside in your
living room and give the neighbor the inside unit. He could then check the
actual temp regularly.
Why involve the neighbors at all? Just get yourself a weather station, a
domain name, and a cheap hosting company and then let the weather
station upload to the Internet every couple of minutes. The weather
station is probably about $150 and the domain and hosting is only $35
per year. This way you can not only tell if your furnace stopped working
you can also tell if it stuck on for some unknown reason. Plus you can
find out how miserable it is back home.
Feel free to check mine out at http://www.crsales.com/weather.htm .
Its called a Winter Watchman made by Honeywell, about 18.00
because freeze thaw can do damage to furniture and espically plaster
homes arent designed to be frozen. they are likely the most expensive
thing anyone buys.
as such they need some level of care
I have a summer home in upstate NY near Albany. I close it down every
winter. I've had this house for 30 years. I have yet to see any
considerable damage inside due to freeze thaw.
Where is your house? What kind of damage have you gotten already from
I do the same, its stupid to rely on a heating system at cold temps to
protect an investment, in 5 minutes I can have pipes drained, I use
1/4 turn ball valves to drain, and open all faucets. One broken pipe
from a broken heating system can cost tens of thousands in damage.
I dont know where you live but here alot have summer lake homes and it
goes to -25f, shutting down is common sence, Plaster goes bad if you
have a roof or wall leak, freezing hurts nothing and kills termites,
my local music store has over 100 wood instruments kept unheated, Heat
and water kills wood furniture, and yes my lake house is unheated now,
its zero out today and furnished. Take a trip to Europe where 2-500
yrs old buildings dont get replastered every year, if they did plaster
would not be used.
On Wed, 09 Dec 2009 21:27:33 -0600, AZ Nomad wrote:
How cold does a house get with no heat, relative to the outside? Will it
eventually cool to match (with a bit of time-lag) the outside air, or will
it always keep a few degrees above whatever the outside air's doing?
Personally if I wanted some kind of warning setup, and the stakes were
high, I'd make sure I had two different systems in place - preferably with
one of them not relying on AC power. And make darn sure I test that they
actually work before going away, of course :-)
It would probably hold some heat from absorbing sunlight, but I
wouldn't count on it to keep the pipes from bursting. If it gets
below 20 degrees F, you need to either heat the house or drain the
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