Here in winter, most days it at least gets above freezing.
(Alabama/Georgia) The nights are supposed to be down in the low 20s
In my sister's house, the water heater is in a utility room
with no heat. The hot water pipe is in an outside wall so her hot
water freezes during these cold times. I have suggested she put a
100W bulb in the overhead light and leave it on to keep the pipes from
freezing. This has helped, but it still freezes if the temp stays
below freezing for more than a day.
She only needs enough heat in the small x small room to keep
the pipe from freezing. A 100W lamp is not enough and a room heater
is really too much. Can someone suggest something in between?
I'd just keep a hot water faucet open so just a trickle is running.
Probably more effective and not much money. A 100W bulb in the
middle of a room
isn't going to do much. You'd have to have more like 500W, one of
the little heaters from Walmart or similar to heat the room enough.
Must not be insulation in that wall either or it would take more to
On 1/9/2011 2:24 PM, email@example.com wrote:
A thermostatically controlled heat tape on however much of the pipe you
can get to. For the part buried in the outside wall, next time it breaks
and you have to open up the wall anyway, reroute it, or at least
insulate the heck out of it.
My house in Louisiana has the WH in the garage storage shed. Shares a
wall with the house, and enough heat leaks through to keep it from
freezing. I wouldn't build things that way, but when the budget only
covers existing houses, what're ya gonna do?
Heat tape would be a good idea if it wasn't me that would have to
install it (I don't mind doing it, but my health is not best). She
has a brother in law in the same state that does her plumbing. I live
one state away.
wrote Re Re: How much heat to keep pipes from freezing:
Be aware however that it is not unusual for the thermostat on heat
tape to fail and not turn on the tape heat when it is needed. I just
got finished fixing two failed heat tapes down at the barn here in
It's looking like the 2010-2011 winter will be the coldest we have had
in 30 years. We just got 8" of snow last night. That's the second
snow in the past month.
The cost of repairing the pipes is probably more that any method of
I'd use a small space heater on low, with a timer. Maybe run a half hour
every few hours.
You can also wrap the pipe (if exposed) in pipe heating tape. It will keep
it above freezing at minimal cost. Next is to leave the faucet running at a
tiny trickle. If there is a door to the utility room that opens to a heated
space, leave it open when cold.
A timer is a very good idea. I was trying to think of something that
would only come on when the temp gets to 32. A timer seems like the
next best thing.
The WH is in her laundry room. It is part of the garage and no
I know there are some that are designed to work at low temperatuers. I have
installed a few where I work in some small (about 6x6 feet buildings with
water pipes) . There were connected to some 240 volt heaters of around
1500 watts. I don't know what the brand is or where to get them as the
purchant department ordered them.
I don't know how low the common portable heaters will go. Probably not near
low enough to keep the power bill down. Howver one of those thermostats
could be put in series with the portable heater.
I still think the heat tape and some insulation would be the way to go if
You can buy strips of it with a thermostat already on it that will plug into
a 120 volt outlet.
Then some insulation and you do not have to heat the whole aea at a big
waste of power.
Google for "heat tape", used in severe cold climes to prevent pipes
from freezing. Buy as much or as little as you need. It's a "must"
where I live. Here's a start.
Pipes on an outside wall are even a bad idea in a heated room.
I had a similar situation where pipes in a heated room ran overhead an
unheated room, a small storage area, and I also put a light bulb there
to no avail and pipes froze and broke. Only good solution is to use
heating tapes on pipe but access is not always good. In my case, I had
pipes rerun through heated space.
I am not exactly sure of the story of how it happened but the entire
house is on a poured slab so nothing in the floor. It would have also
been a good idea to have the WH inside somewhere out of the way.
I could not believe it the first time she told me her hot water froze.
Actually more likely. "Pure" water has to super freeze and won't
crystalize until the mid 20's. The water heater adds a nuclei for the
water to freeze around.
I'd insulate the pipes and let the hot water drip inside somewhere.
Consider insulating the room. The water heater will add some heat,
probably more than that 100W bulb. 300 BTUs in an uninsulated room won't
be much. And consider the heat tape others have mentioned.
Inside takes valuable space. My WH is in the attic over the garage, where a
"bonus room" (FROG) would be. There aren't enough cold days to make it
worthwhile to devote expensive floor space for the WH. Your sister's freezes,
which is certainly a bad design, but it's generally a good bet to use
Hell, that was common in the NE. Idiots would route water (usually the
hydronic heat lines) in the cantilevered area of a "raised ranch".
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