Lattice siding over crawlspace

I have a 1923 bungalow with an elevated front porch, and the front half of the house has only wooden lattice panels (set into concrete framing) between the outside and the crawlspace. I was told that to keep "critters" out to and to protect an exposed water pipe that is just inches below the floor near the front of the house from the cold, I should attach plywood behind the lattice panels. Of course, I would also need to put vents in the panels as well so that they can "breathe". Does this seem logical? I seem to see lots of houses with only wooden lattice work covering the crawlspace, and wouldn't there be another way to protect the exposed water pipe like insulating it and using that "electric tape" I've heard about that can keep the water from freezing...? Thanks for any advice/ideas you may have... Kirsten
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On 21 Aug 2003, k conover wrote:

Nothing you've described in the way of changes would do much for the cold exposure for the pipes. Have you ever had problems with those pipes freezing? If not, the old saying applies: "if it ain't broke..."
Critters are likely already being kept out by the lattice, as long as it has no major holes or doesn't stop way too short of reaching the ground. If it -looks- like it's providing a good fence, then it likely is.
Adding plywood, venting it, and (uggg) maintaining it, would be a whole lot of bother for no substantial gain, IMHO.
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TP

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Might be worth asking the vendor, if you can, if they did/do anything special. Opening it and adding some insulation might be a good plan, as might the heat tape. Inspecting the crawlspace isn't a bad idea either.
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There are many sorts of critters, few of which are actually damaging to the house.
However, an inspection of the crawlspace may be a good idea.

Is the water pipe new? What sort is it?
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between
to
panels
A pier house, huh? (at least the original part). You down south, by any chance? What you describe is quite common down there, since it almost never freezes hard enough to overcome the heat leakage from the occupied space above. When a freeze is predicted, they crack the faucets a little. I wouldn't lose much sleep over it all, unless you see evidence of prior leaks and repairs. Maybe a themostat-controlled heat tape on the feed lines? Drain lines are seldom a problem, since they are seldom full. You could box in the plumbing lines with plywood lined with foil-face styrofoam, and add a lightbulb for heat, or tie them into the heated space.
But as others have said, yes, you do need to put on a jumpsuit, goggles, and gloves, and get under there with a good droplight, and see what is going on, and who is living there. I used to get that duty as a kid, and sometimes there are AMAZING things tucked away and forgotten down there. If there is old or new water damage, it should be readily apparent. Take a long sharp screwdriver with you to poke at any wood or metal that is a different color from that around it. If anything is rotten, it will be pretty obvious.
aem sends...
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