Preventing Freezing Laundry Pipes


I'm looking for suggestions on how best to finish my laundry room so the water supply pipes for the washing machine won't freeze. Both the hot and cold supply lines run across the bottom of the joists and then down the basement wall. I believe there is only about an inch between the pipes and the cement.
Should I try and stuff insulation behind and in front of the pipes before putting up vapour barrier and drywall? Should I build a box around the pipes, leaving them exposed to the room and insulate/drywall the rest of the wall? I'm at a loss as the best way to protect the pipes while minimizing the amount of cold air coming off the cement into the room.
Thanks for the insights!
Lorraine
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On 30 Nov 2006 16:46:33 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@glomar-group.com wrote:

Pipes don't need to be touching an exterior wall to freeze up. The important point is the ambient temp of the space around the pipes and how low does that get. Specifically, does it go below 32F for an extended period time.
Insulation wrap around the pipe won't necessarily help either. It does preserve some of the latent heat from the water in the pipe itself, but again, if the water is standing still for long periods of time in a freezing location, the pipe will certainly freeze.
There are also electric heat tapes to help with this condition. The problem is that they use energy, may be a fire hazard under certain conditions, and you generally have no indication when they fail (other then the pipes freeze up again).
Best solution, keep pipes away from exterior walls and unheated spaces. Also, run the water a trickle when it gets super cold if you can't move the pipes.
Beachcomber
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wrote:

Don't forget to think about the drain too. Nothing worse then having your washer empty into a frozen drain pipe, now that's a mess!

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For maximum protection, the insulation in exterior walls should be between the outside wall and the pipes. You don't want insulation between the pipes and the interior wall, as that will block heat from inside the house from reaching the pipes.
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wrote:

Isn't a basement drain normally below the freeze line? How cold does it have to be outside for the drain to freeze?
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Another tangent: cf bocciabros.com waterproofing engineers
Not connected to them, just attended one of their seminars.
                 - = - Vasos Panagiotopoulos, Columbia'81+, Reagan, Mozart, Pindus, BioStrategist      http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/vjp2/vasos.htm ---{Nothing herein constitutes advice. Everything fully disclaimed.}--- [Homeland Security means private firearms not lazy obstructive guards] [Urb sprawl confounds terror] [Remorse begets zeal] [Windows is for Bimbos]
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Using a standard hot water recirculator can be very expensive due to the non-adjustable factory set high hot water temp. Consider the Redytemp hot water circulation system http://www.redytemp.com . It has easy tool-less adjustable temperature control from 50F to 115F if I'm not mistaken. Set it to it's lowest setting and the low flow / low power should prevent pipes from freezing.
On Fri, 01 Dec 2006 01:34:01 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@notreal.none (Beachcomber) wrote:

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On 30 Nov 2006 16:46:33 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@glomar-group.com wrote:

STart by wrapping the pipes in heat tape with a thermostat. If whatever you do to the walls and pipes after that is good enough, it won't run, but if it's not, the pipes won't freeze anyway, until the power goes out.
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On 30 Nov 2006 16:46:33 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@glomar-group.com wrote:

So do mine. But the basement is warm. When the furnace is running, it's about 68. Even if the furnace woudln't run, a basement is something like a cave, and it's the last part of your house that would get cold. I don't know a safe way you could check how cold it would get.

Mine also go down the basement wall, but it's an interior wall.
Where do you live?

Not in front. Are you trying to insulate the pipes from the heat of the room? That's what insulation in front would do.

My basement walls are still cinder block, but the previous owner hung fiberglass batts along all the walls. Then I put in shelves on part, and 4 armoirs that hold various things (not clothes), plus there is the water heater and furnace, and really none of my walls are visible anymore.

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I've heard plenty of stories of people who leave their country homes or who move (and leave the house to a realtor) and their pipes froze and burst.
This begs an interesting (pardon, tangential) question:
They build firewalls for skyscraper stairways.
In some skyscrapers, the bathrooms are with the stairs and the elevators, away from the offices.
So why not build the bathrooms, kitchens, laundry, furnace and utility rooms into like their own (structurally) isolated unit, so if the blow, they can't damage the rest?
I mean, in my house, the water heater is under one of the bedrooms, the bathrooms are over a basement storage area. The bathrooms & kitchens could at least have been built on top of the utility rooms.
It would even be less work for the builder.
                 - = - Vasos Panagiotopoulos, Columbia'81+, Reagan, Mozart, Pindus, BioStrategist      http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/vjp2/vasos.htm ---{Nothing herein constitutes advice. Everything fully disclaimed.}--- [Homeland Security means private firearms not lazy obstructive guards] [Urb sprawl confounds terror] [Remorse begets zeal] [Windows is for Bimbos]
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snipped-for-privacy@at.BioStrategist.dot.dot.com wrote:

How much do you think this would add to construction cost and how many people would be willing to pay for it? In 45 years, I've had one minor flood from a leaking pipe. My cost to fix it was $0 and the damage was close to $0 too, as the water was from a leaking toiledt supply line and the water just pooled on the basement floor.
To build homes as you suggest isn't simple and would add many thousands to the construction cost.

In most new construction, there already is a lot of overlap. It's typical to see bathrooms set up back to back, or one above the other on different floors. That reduces cost, where it's practical and possible to do. But what you are suggesting goes way beyond that, as now you have to leakproof the bathroom above from everything else adjacent and below. That means a lot of sealing to catch the water, then drains, etc.
It could be done, but if you presented home buyers with a house with your features, or an identical one at the same price that instead had features like upgraded appliances, or granite countertops, which house do you think 99% of folks would choose?

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On Sat, 2 Dec 2006 12:02:46 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@at.BioStrategist.dot.dot.com wrote:

That's something to consider when buying a house. I noticed before I bought my house that there was no easy way to store my bicycle and take it in and out. And I was right, and that has been the biggest problem with the layout of the house.
I had noticed that the apartment building I lived in in Brooklyn, NY, was carefully arranged. There were 8 apartments per floor, but no bedroom adjoined a noisy area of another apartment. In some lines (apartments 2B, 3B, 4B, etc. A line is a set of apartments that are on top of each other), there was my bedroom, my bathroom, and then the living room of the other apartment, so if they made noise, I had not only a wall, but my empty bathroom to keep the noise from me. (I think the walls between apartment were concrete**, but that's because it was built as an expensive building. That costs money, but arranging the rooms right doesn't, in this case.)
In the first apartment, I was next to the elevator shaft, but they arranged for my kitchen to be the part of the apartment next to it. Maybe the elevator doesn't make much noise anyhow. I never heard it even in the kitchen.
**I know when I moved to another apartment in the same building that the walls between me and my only neighbor were concrete. I think the wall between the maid's room (where I lived) and the stairwell was also concrete. I was also next to the garbage chute (in the garbage room), but in 10 years, I never heard the garbage door slam. Even when I was awake. There was no hydraulic damper on this door (like in some NY apartment buildings) but either no one slammed it, or the concrete walls kept me from hearing it.

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On Sat, 2 Dec 2006 12:02:46 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@at.BioStrategist.dot.dot.com wrote:

Me too, but are those the pipes in the basement or elsewhere. Like I said, I don't know how to safely check how cold he basement would get with no heat and even no insulation, but I know the rest of the house would get colder faster with no heat and lots of insulation.
What have you done to make sure that pipes not in the basement don't freeze and break? They are a bigger risk.
If one is going to leave a place with no heat, he has to drain the pipes and the toilet tanks and the toilet bowls, and the water heater, and I guess it is called the boiler tank if one has steam or hot water heat. I think with radiant heat there is anti-freeze in the water, but that too will freeze if it gets cold enough, below 20, below zero, below -10, I don't know.
If he intends to leave the heat on but the heat fails..... This is why I intend to connect my furnace to my burglar alarm. Instead of just using a second, dedicated thermostat to signal the burglar alarm when the house is too cold, I want to note when my oil furnace tries to fire and fails. That will give me, in Baltimore, an extra 12 or more hours, from the time the furnace fails until the temp inside drops more than 5 degrees what the thermostat is set for.
But I don't have the alarm yet, nor have I rewired the furnace. But I took apart the control unit for the furnace, and is very simple. In this 27 year old furnace, which still works fine, there are *two* relays. I had forgotten that. The one I had trouble with 10 years ago is not the reset relay. That is single throw, single pole, latching relay, that requires one to push the red button to reset, but I will remove it from the circuit board, or from the circuit, and replace it with a latching relay I took from a copier (that would be at least 30 years old by now, when everything was controlled by relays.) I can't mount the relay on the circuit board but I will connect it with wires, and then have a doorbell button (or some double pole push switch if that is required) that will reset it not by pressing physcially, but by providing the opposite current throouggh the (2nd?) coil, which is the way it is intended to be reset.
This will last until I get another furnace, and then I will pay whatever I have to to get that special control with the alarm output (that says the furnace didn't fire), the people here helpfullly told me aobut.
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