Economical way to prevent frozen pipes

Someone has a big old house and to 'economise' they are turning the heating practically off. But are now worried about the tank and pipes in the loft freezing up in the very cold weather.
Is there any *economical* way to keep this problem from happening without trying to heat the whole house? For instance some way of applying heat just to the loft water tank to keep it above freezing? Grateful for any advice.
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On 02/11/2013 08:31, r brooks wrote:

Just set the room thermostat to 5 degrees and leave the heating on to protect the house.
As for the pipes in loft I'd use ribbon heating tape and pipe lagging.
As for the tank, you can get aquarium heaters that are submerged in the water to stop the fish from getting cold.
If your boiler is old, I'd consider replacing it with condensing combi boiler as then you'd be able to do away with all the tanks and pipework in the loft completely.
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Unfortunately, ribbon heating tape only comes at silly prices.
I put in a plastic water main for a friend. I could only get it 500mm deep (the original lead was only 500mm at the road, and only 50mm deep by the time it entered the house). I did at least get it 500mm deep for the whole run. Then there was a long run through the subfloor (which I insulated). IIRC, it was about 15m long.
I was concerned about freezing, so I taped a length of 1mm T&E the whole length of the pipe, with all conductors shorted together at the far (street) end. The idea was that I could use resistive heating if there was a danger of freezing. After installation, I tried a few experiments. Using a 12V electronic lighting transformer, the power dissipated over the whole cable run could be set to around 60W or 90W, depending if I paralleled up the earth conductor with one of the other conductors or left it disconnected.

The tank normally has too much thermal inertia to freeze - it tends to be the pipes which do that, often the bits sticking out (like the ball valve body, stopcock handle, pipe corners, etc), and/or where the pipe insulation tends to come off, of where a pipe runs through a cold draft.

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On Saturday 02 November 2013 11:53 Andrew Gabriel wrote in uk.d-i-y:

Master of the elegant, once again!
SELV supply, robust and inexpensive, standard parts.
Probability of anything going wrong - not much other than a short that I can see - and Lighting PSUs tend to have short circuit protection.
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On Sat, 02 Nov 2013 09:02:52 +0000, Stephen wrote:

?? Are you serious? Throwing out an old boiler which may be pefectly sound in favour of some new piece of overly complex rubbish that will likely give no end of trouble? That's bonkers!
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So long as there's no water meter, leave selected taps dripping. Allows enough water through t preven freezing. Make sure drains can't freeze.
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On 02/11/2013 18:29, harryagain wrote:

If you do this, copy what my parents did in NE Engand in the 50s. Fill a small cloth bag with salt and hang it under the dripping tap. Thr salt solution running down the drain is less likely to freeze
Malcolm
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You can buy tapes for wrapping round the pipes which provide heat. But bear in mind that letting the house go cold is a recipe for mildew and damp in the unheated rooms.
Sell the hosue and buy a smaller one which is affordable to keep heated.
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On 02/11/2013 08:31, r brooks wrote:

Make sure they have lots of loft insulation going over the tank and pipes and none under them, then set the stats to frost and stop worrying. There may still be free deals but ensure they don't just blow insulation under the tanks and pipes.
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Big, old... 1/1.5 solid brick walls, high ceilings, vast rooms, a pig to he at.
2010 winter caught a lot of people out. UK is temperate - with exceptions and -23.5oC overnight & -13.5oC daytime w ere that exception resulting in a lot of burst pipes. I recall the -23.5oC temperature reaching out "into" the room despite empty cavity wall, 25mm ce lotex on inside (really not bad for UK), making it feel as though a window was open to it. Very peculiar.
If the place is being vacated, drain down & dehumidifier set to drain somew here.
If the place is "one room being lived in", drain down, dehumidifier set to drain somewhere and heat that key room properly to a MINIMUM of 19oC. Do no t live in a freezing cold damp house, mildew can affect some people quite b adly.
Keeping water moving is critical to prevent if freezing, remember if a floa t ices up even a little there is the risk the overflow can ice and the tank overflows which can really trash a house re black mould and fabric damage.
Colleague had one of these places, used to house 11 accountants it was that big. He fitted a Rinnai gas wall heater from a church (5.7kW or something like that, if anyone remembers them). It heated the whole place acceptably with a dehumidifier to manage the COLOSSAL amount of water in the fabric th at had built up over 1993/94 winter. The difficulty was insulating on the i nside, not the cost, the sheer size of it - it just swallowed 6ft stacks of full size celotex sheets like they were the size of a piece of kitchen rol l.
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