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Questns abt preventing frozen pipes + how to identify pipes

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Questns abt preventing frozen pipes + how to identify pipes

Postby VEFF on Sun Jan 16, 2005 11:37 pm

This is my first winter in the home I bought and temps are supposed to be 10 at night this week (some nights) and no warmer than 30 (all week).

I have some questions about preventing frozen (water) pipes:

1) I have some water supply pipes in the garage.
I leave the furnace (laundry) room) door partially open so that the garage doesn't get too cold (garage seems to stay around 50 degrees).
I don't want to open the furnace room door all the way, since there are a load of water pipes in the furnace room.

Is the foam heat insulation (Frost King found at Home Depot) for the garage water supply pipes enough? (I already insulated the garage pipes that way about a month ago).
Or should I install heating cable as well? I am in northern NJ as a pint of reference.
Like I said, the garage temperature is around 50.
I guess it may go down to 45 or 40 when it gets really cold out
...I haven't monitored/checked the garage temprature that closely/often.
The previous owner (or one before that) had heating cable wrapped around the pipes, although I think it wasn't working anymore. There was old insulation (not the new foam stuff, but rather the off-white attic-like insulation material with a white paper-like exterior finish) around the pipes, but it wasn't in good shape.

2) There is a thicker black metal pipe in the crawl space on ground level (bi-level house, no basement), but I assume it is NOT a water supply pipe? I assume it might be a drainage pipe of some sort.
Can anyone confirm this?

(I can take photos of this pipe and send them if necessary for verification).
This pipe was not wrapped in any way when I got here, and the previous owner was here for seven years, so it would appear to be okay.
If it is a water SUPPLY pipe, the previous owners may, however, have kept the door in the hallway leading into this decent size crawl space open to get the space heated.
All of the sides/walls/gaps of the crawl space connected to the outside are wrapped with insualtion (just like the type in the attic).
I don't mind wrapping this pipe, but it is long and there is no outlet, so heating cable would be a pain.
I could put insulation though.
However, I only want to consider either of these two options if it turns out to really be a water SUPPLY pipe (as opposed to simply a drainage pipe).

3) The house seems to have two water meters?
One is inside the garage - I have insulated all the water supply pipes serviced by this meter.
(I obviously didn't insulate the thick water drainage pipes in the garage).
BUT there is a second(?) square green metal water meter with two pipes coming out of it, right OUTSIDE the garage.
a) should this outdoor meter's THICK pipes be wrapped in any way?
b) what is the purpose of this meter?
Sorry for my ignorance on this...

4) What about turning the water MAIN off when I am not home for extended periods (i.e during work day) in winter?
I know it will be a hassle, but does that make sense?
Will it put excessive strain/wear on the knob, if it is opened and closed daily on cold winter days?

Will the water already in the pipes have a greater chance of freezing than if the main is not turned off? I doubt it, since I assume the pressure would be reduced; however I wanted to ask the experts here.
I guess, if nothing else, turning the main off will at least minimize damage if the pipes do freeze, especially since I don't have a basement and work during the day, and water leaking and/or running from the pipes all day could be catastrophic!!

5) I have a 2nd (half) bathroom that I don't use.
I have been flushing the toilet once a day and turning both the hot and cold water faucets on for 20 seconds or so a day.
With respect to pipe freezing: Is it better to do this during the (cold parts of) winter, or just leave them and bot use them at all?



GENERAL QUESTIONS:
If pipe freezing happens when pipes are exposed to freezing temperatures, why do they mention to have house temperature no lower than 55?
Is this so that the pipes near the outside walls get warmed up?
I mean if the pipes were subjected to temperatures of 50 degrees, for instance, would they be able to freeze?
(In any case, I like to play it safe. I actually don't let the house temperature go below 62. Until I get all the pipes properly insulated, I have set the thermostat to 67 when I am not home).
The answer to this will help to answer whether the garage pipes being wrapped with Frost King foam pipe insulation is enough.

Thanks a lot for any, and all, tips and suggestions, to those
who read through this lengthy post!

Hopefully this thread will help others as well.
Not all of us are fortunate enough to live in warm climate areas. :)
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Postby CowboySlim on Mon Jan 17, 2005 12:35 am

Let the faucets dribble all night if you are really worried.

If you shut off the main service, only recommended if you are going to be gone for a long time, you have to drain all the lines.

Ask your neighbors, or Wiz who lives up in the polar zone.

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Postby VEFF on Mon Jan 17, 2005 1:03 am

Thanks Slim!
The dribble is something I had read before and that someone else suggested.
I just wasn't sure if running only ONE faucet would be good enough to prevent all the pipes from potentially freezing.

I think I need to pick the one furthest from the main supply.
I'll read up on it.


Someone suggested that the black pipe may be the main gas supply pipe.

I think that person may have hit the nail on the head about it being a gas pipe!

The reason I say this is due to the combination of the following findings:
1) the pipe looks like a gas pipe in size
2) the green metal knob is not like a round water knob, but rather a straight line shape.
3) I just went to examine the outdoor meter and see if it was marked with anything that indicated a gas meter, as opposed to a water meter as I initially thought.
It said Rockwell, and a google search indicatdes that Rockwell makes gas meters.
I checked some photos on sites found by google (Rockwell gas meter), and they look similar.
4) The meter's needle was spinning rather fast, even though NO water was running, but the gas WAS being used (force air gas heat had just kicked in when I went outside), so that makes sense.

HOWEVER, the only, seemingly at least, *very* strange thing is that while the black pipe meets up with where the (gas) meter pipe enters the house, there seems to ALSO be a drainage pipe seemingly from the upstairs bathroom (i.e. much thicker in diameter) that also meets up with these other (gas) pipes at the point where the gas supply enters the garage.
That is the only thing that doesn't seem to fit in / make sense...
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Postby Ian on Mon Jan 17, 2005 1:12 am

I'm not sure how your garage water is setup, but I turn off the outside faucets in the winter and then drain all of the water out of them.
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Postby VEFF on Mon Jan 17, 2005 1:48 am

Ian wrote:I'm not sure how your garage water is setup, but I turn off the outside faucets in the winter and then drain all of the water out of them.


Thanks Ian.

I should have mentioned that I had done that; my parents mentioned this a few months ago.
I did turn off the two knobs for the two outdoor faucets and then let them run till no more water came out.


Update:
I have confirmed that the outdoor meter is a gas meter.
[b]The only strange thing, is that while this mystery black pipe (quite possibly a gas pipe) meets up with the piping coming into the garage
from (what has now been confirmed to be) the gas meter (Rockwell R275; exact model found on google), these two (gas) pipes ALSO meet up with what seems to be a (water) drainage pipe from the upstairs bathroom...
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Postby bill on Mon Jan 17, 2005 5:56 am

Hi Veff,

I would really like to see a some pics of where the gas pipe meets the bath piping if you don't mind. Check p.m. for my e-mail address.

I don't know exactly how the local building code is written in your area. Where I live the main gas regulator must be ventilated to a remote location if the regulator is close to a possible source of ignition, for example heat pumps, electric meters etc.. The intent is to have a redundant method to protect the gas appliances from excessive gas pressure if the regulator fails. If the regulator fails (very unlikely) the excess gas pressure bleeds off through the vent to the open air outside of the building. My assumption is that you are seeing the regulator vent connected to another vent that exits through the roof of the building. I have never seen a gas vent installed that way but I think you live in the city and the vent may pass through the house because of the proximity to your neighbors homes...

If I'm correct with my assumptions, the gas regulator vent pipe would come off of the main regulator and directly to the pipe that you think (are you certain?) originates from the bath. I would definitely be wrong if what I think is the regulator vent pipe connects to any other pipes or gas appliances.. make sense?

One other remote possibility is that the black pipe that you say connects to the bath piping is a "drip leg" for the gas piping. A drip leg is often installed to allow moisture and contaminates to collect in a section of pipe below the level of an appliance regulator to prevent damage to the regulator. But this pipe would be capped to prevent the gas from escaping except when a technician is servicing the appliance. Don't confuse the appliance regulator with the main regulator located on the outside of the building.

Just for general knowledge regarding iron pipes.
* Black iron pipe is used for gas lines and is identified by the color green. If it is painted another color for esthetics or for protection from surface corrosion it should have the word gas painted on the surface with green paint. Gas piping should always be identified in this manner. Keep in mind that building contractors and inspectors sometimes screw up and don't verify that the gas pipe is labeled as required by law. :evil:

* Potable water pipe should be galvanized iron (gray over all color) because water is corrosive. The identification color for potable water is blue. However, potable water piping is seldom color coded in residential applications.


If you feel at all uncertain, the local gas company should be willing to help you out at no charge.
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Postby VEFF on Mon Jan 17, 2005 1:16 pm

Thanks BigMonkey.

I took about five photos just now.
I am recharging the batteries now and will e-mail the photos to you this afternoon.
I may have to resize them, since they are going to be over 1 meg each,
unless your e-mail account can accomodate that much AND you don't mind?

Once the battery is charged, I will take the photos to Home Depot to ask if they might know why it appears that a gas(?) and (water drainage) pipe apparently meet up like that.
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Postby VEFF on Mon Jan 17, 2005 11:23 pm

I was about to buy electric pipe heating cable for the water supply pipe(s) in the garage, but decided not to bother for a bunch of reasons:

1) It said to use 1/2 inch of fiberglass insulation, but then said anything more than that is a fire hazard.
2) It said to use a GFCI outlet to prevent fire if cable is faulty or gets damaged (made me worry a bit too); I can convert the garage outlet to GFCI, but that is one more thing to do.
3) it said to use quality electrical tape (heat-rated etc.) to prevent fire from cable shifting which could cause it, once again, to catch fire.
4) fiberglass insulation is a cancer hazard (not a big deal if handled properly, but just one more thing to consider
5) I happened to notice in manual (someone had ripped open a pack) that cable doesn't start to heat till the insulated pipe temperature drops below 38... (then the cable heats the pipe up to 45); if the air temperature in the garage is in the mid 40s, and the pipes are wrapped in 3/8" pipe foam insulation (as they are now) will the cable get close to 38? If not the whole hassle of removing the foam and installing and then insulating the pipes is pointless.

I figured I can monitor the situation all week (an unusually cold week), by flushing the toilets, running hot and cold water faucets in bathrooms and kitchen, shower/bath faucet etc. once before going to work and once when getting home; maybe one more time right before bed).
If nothing freezes, it means the insulation alone (without heating cable) should be sufficient...

The whole point of the heating cable was to stop worrying about pipes freezing and ultimately bursting which is actually my real concern
HOWEVER, a fire hazard won't easy my concerns obviously...
The freezing alone can easily be taken care of by turning heat way up in house and opening furnace room door to garage and/or using a blow dryer on the garage pipes.

I assume they won't burst unless they are frozen for a certain amount of time? I don't know how long that is on average (I say averagesince it depends on a lot of factors).

Iwill try to get advice about cables and get them tomorrow after all, if I can get some more answers about:
a) how real the fire hazard is IF all precautions and instructions are followed to the letter
and
b) whether the garage water supply pipe's temperature will realistically even get to 38 if the foam insulation is already on them...

Thanks again for the feedback so far guys.
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Postby CowboySlim on Tue Jan 18, 2005 1:20 am

I figured I can monitor the situation all week (an unusually cold week), by flushing the toilets, running hot and cold water faucets in bathrooms and kitchen, shower/bath faucet etc. once before going to work and once when getting home; maybe one more time right before bed).

That's the ticket Veff, just do like your mother taught you, after you drink a lot of beer. That is, flush the toilet and wash your hands after you take a leak. Then have some more beer. Pipes will never freeze! :lol:

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Postby bill on Tue Jan 18, 2005 9:16 am

VEFF wrote: I happened to notice in manual (someone had ripped open a pack) that cable doesn't start to heat till the insulated pipe temperature drops below 38... (then the cable heats the pipe up to 45); if the air temperature in the garage is in the mid 40s, and the pipes are wrapped in 3/8" pipe foam insulation (as they are now) will the cable get close to 38? If not the whole hassle of removing the foam and installing and then insulating the pipes is pointless.



As you figured out, heat tape is designed to measure the pipe/water temperature, not the ambient air. So to answer your question, the heat tape won't heat unless the water temperature cools the pipe sufficiently to close the contacts on the thermostat. That's how it should work when properly installed. I would add, anyone who uses heat tape should read the instructions carefully. If the thermostat pillow is left outside of the pipe insulation it will measure the ambient air. Then when the air temps get near freezing the tape will continue to heat until it fails or starts a fire.

Farmers around here use heat tape to keep the water flowing to their livestock. Other than that, I wouldn't use it on a residence. I've seen heat tape fail and I don't like the risk/reward ratio with this product, jmho.

You might consider getting a high/low thermometer like this, http://www.control3.com/4120p.htm and place the probe under the pipe insulation. You can check the temps for a few days to find out how cold the pipes actually get over an extended period of time. If you still think there is a chance that the pipes might freeze during the cold nights then you could use a portable space heater with thermostatic control. In your area you're probably only at risk for two or three weeks out of the year. That would also give you the option to take the portable heater with you if you sell your home..

We just let a faucet drip at our house to keep the water main from freezing. We also have a small portable generator to keep the furnace running when there's a power failure.


Good luck

FYI- the pics didn't make it.
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Postby VEFF on Tue Jan 18, 2005 11:02 am

====
UPDATE:
A colleague mentioned that my garage isn't even a concern (I told him temp may get down to 48 ish; I guess parts of house and bedrooms being above it help keep it from being much colder) and he said as long as garage doesn't get below 30, even 25, it should (probably) be okay?
In that case the insulation is more than enough...
[b]What do you think lowest safe garage temp should be (approximately; I don't need a scientific or exact temp; ballpark is fine) since there are water supply pipes in the garage? (Going to buy a basic air thermometer today since the gimmick keychain one I put in there for time being is not something I would trust obviously).


I assume any pipes on outside walls could be the real concern?
I think having the house (especially rooms where those outside-wall pipes are) heated is hopefully enough?

At least I am getting a lot of information that is leading me to consider all aspects...
END OF UPDATE==========

I will send the pic again tonight (can't access e-mail from work...)
I will zip it in case the system is flagging it for some reason?

It is only 8 degrees F at the moment, so that is well below the 25 degrees outdoor temperature that I saw mention as the threshhold below which they see the most problems (probably pipe in between the siding and the interior of the house...

Thanks a lot for the advice and info about heating tape!
So I guess my heat tape concerns were not unfounded?
I should state that this type (made by Frost King) is NOT wrapped around the pipe in a spiral, but is heating cable that is laid out in a straight line along the pipe...
Not sure which one you were referring to, or if they are both equally risky?

Good thing you mentioned running the water, since I was about to ask two questions about that, to try to save a little money:


What outdoor temperatures does your area see when you decide to use this approach?

Two quick questions:

1) Can anyone clarify exactly what all the sites mean when they say
even a trickle of water from a faucet can help to prevent water pipes from freezing.

Is a trickle in THIS prevention scenario:
A) a pencil thin CONSTANT stream of water
OR can this specific meaning of trickle be
B) an INTERMITTENT water flow (such as when a drop falls every secon or two or three etc.?
edit: Got the answer (had gotten little info about nature or the trickle);
it should be a STEADY stream; this is only required when temps get very cold however...


2) I have seen one (or more sites) mention that a trickle of COLD water is enough because it is warmer than freezing.
HOWEVER, other sites mention using (mixing) both WARM and COLD water with this trickling water pipe freezing prevention technique.

Does anyone here have personal experience or know whether COLD water ALONE is enough, since this would obviously be a much cheaper solution?


Also a general question.
They say to keep the thermostat no lower than 55 * or 60 depending on the site.

KEY QUESTION: Is this 55 - 60 degrees for the interior pipes (under sinks etc) or for those near outside walls, so that ambient house heat somehow heats them slightly???

Sorry for all the questions, but since I don't have a basement, a burst pipe
can be a catastrophy.

PS:
EDIT/UPDATE(I think the noise was too loud to be a pipe bursting sound like something hitting something - a hammer /car hitting a wall etc. and the fact that the water was running fine [as mentioned below] less than an hour earlier)
I heard a loud bang this morning just when/after I turned the kitchen faucet (on or off) at one point), but hope it was something other than a pipe?
I checked the laundry room and garage and neither heard any water sounds nor saw any sign of pipe damage...
Although if the water was frozen, I wouldn't know till it thawed; however, all the faucets worked this morning (I didn't test the outdoors spiggots since those were turned off months ago at the source (i.e. source = knob just inside house on back and front of house)...

I should have maybe checked all the faucets and the two toilets (to see that water was flowing to them) one more time after the noise, but it seemed to come from the back or side of the house (thought might be a neighbor or something?) and I was running late for work.
Then again, I doubt the noise was a pipe bursting, because I had just checked all the fixtures (sinks, shower and toilets) maybe 40 minutes earlier...

* I think 55 is pushing it when air temps are below 25.
I personally set the house thermostat to 67 this morning before leaving the house (had it at 69 but felt it was maybe overkill).
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Postby bill on Tue Jan 18, 2005 6:45 pm

"What do you think lowest safe garage temp should be (approximately; I don't need a scientific or exact temp; ballpark is fine) since there are water supply pipes in the garage?"
* 32F for a couple of hours without water flow would be cause for concern. Air infiltration is different in every home. It would be best to use a thermometer and note how the outdoor temperature affects the indoor temps at the pipe locations.

"I assume any pipes on outside walls could be the real concern?
* Yes. I would add the water main if it enters the house through a crawl space.

"I think having the house (especially rooms where those outside-wall pipes are) heated is hopefully enough?"
* It should be ok.. .it all depends on the particular house. Open the faucets first thing in the morning. If the water isn't near freezing when its leaves the faucet I wouldn't be concerned. If the water temperature is relatively constant except for a brief period then there is a section of pipe that may be vulnerable to freezing.

RE: Frost King heat tape- "Not sure which one you were referring to, or if they are both equally risky?"
* Any type...I'm probably the wrong person to ask about heat tape because all resistance type heating devices worry me. Heck, we have a coffee pot with a two hour automatic shut off timer but I wont leave the house without turning the pot off :) I've seen to many instances where both the electric heating device and the safety features fail...sometimes causing a fire.

"Does anyone here have personal experience or know whether COLD water ALONE is enough, since this would obviously be a much cheaper solution?"
* Running cold water will only protect the water main and the pipe that serves that faucet. Running hot water will protect the water main and the pipe that serves that faucet. Identify which faucet is supplied by the vulnerable pipe and allow that faucet to trickle.

"Is this 55 - 60 degrees for the interior pipes (under sinks etc.) or for those near outside walls, so that ambient house heat somehow heats them slightly???"
* Primarily for those pipes in or on exterior walls. If you place a thermometer against an exterior wall and then in the middle of a room you might be shocked at the difference. The wall cavity can be much lower than the wall surface. Raise the heating thermostat when there is a lot of wind.

" I heard a loud bang this morning just when/after I turned the kitchen faucet (on or off) at one point), but hope it was something other than a pipe?"*
Probably water hammer. Basically, as the water flows it develops momentum and all of a sudden it is forced to abruptly stop when the valve is (quickly) closed. That causes an increase in pressure, then vibration and then the pinging sound. It can be very loud with metallic pipe because it doesn't flex easily. You said it happened when turning the faucet "off or on". There might be debris or a loose washer in the faucet's valve body causing an intermittent obstruction. The solution would be to repair the faucet and or install a water hammer arrestor. Water hammer is commonly noticed when clothes washers or dishwashers change cycles. Some still use quick closing solenoid valves that abruptly stop the water flow.



BTW... Do you have forced air heat or a hot water boiler system?
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Postby VEFF on Tue Jan 18, 2005 9:43 pm

Excellent advice. Thanks again!!! :)
Before I start, ALL faucets worked fine tonight, so did toilets; should check bath now just to be safe).
I had left the OUTDOOR spiggots closed after draining them a few months ago. I opened them today, just to relieve pressure IF they were to freeze, although the volume of water should be far less than in the interior pipes whose supplies are turned on obviously. Read the tip on two sites today.
I hadn't thought about them anymore since draining them.

To answer your question:
I have forced air heat (one year old, very powerful, albeit inefficient in terms of rating on yellow tag comparing it to other models).


The loud noise may have been from a neighbor and that the timing was just bad...
I did have that faucet dripping (not trickling) all night, so maybe that had something to do with it, IF the noise did come from my house.
I think your water hammer theory holds water (pun intended). Thanks for the education!

The faucet worked great tonight (it is brand new as I renovated the kitchen: new counter, sink, among other renovations/upgrades).

The ONLY water supply pipe (I insulated it with foam pipe insulation) in the main garage area comes DIRECTLY from the main out, so that pipe HAS to indirectly service EVERY faucet. toilet and the bath (furnace room is in the garage area, but is well insulated and one side is directly adjacent to the heated family room (going to open heating vents a bit more in family toom)).
Therefore turning on ANY faucet to a trickle will exercise the garage pipe's water flow.
Nevertheless, I still prefer to use the upstairs kitchen faucet for the trickling, since it is pretty much the furthest from the main AND since that is the only place where the pipe is near the outside wall.

The main comes vetically up from the concrete ground in the garage (about 1 1/2 to 2 feets from the wall), so that isn't a concern.

As long as they have the water main/line from the street to the garage below the frost line (can't really check that; maybe call water co. tomorrow just in case they do have that info on file) I will be good in that respect too.

Two points / questions I wouldn't mind feedback on:
1) So, if my garage realistically stays at 44 degrees (or say even 40 assuming it gets even colder or windier [drafts can cool garage down quickly when air temp is in the single digits like this]), I don't think I'll need heating cable (keeping in mind that the pipes in garage have been insulated with 3/8" pipe foam [aka polyethylene])?

2) My only real decision / dilemma is whether to run the faucet at a trickle using cold water to save on heating (water itself costs so little), since I read that cold water is warmer than freezing and will keep the pipes from freezing; my MAIN concern here is the garage pipes, which is just the cold pipe from the main (I am going on the assumption that the large majority of the piping is not by the exterior wall).
The rest of the piping (beginning of run from main) seems to run in the garage ceiling to the furnace room, where it starts to go to the two bathrooms and kitchen.
That sections should be warm enough, since the floors above it are heated and the area below (i.e. garage ceiling) is well spackled, with no apparent holes gaps.


The section of garage where the pipes from the main are meets up with the house where the crawl space is, that is why it was "only" (I think it isn't bad when it is 6 degrees outside and an unnheated garage) 44 degrees when I got home less than an hour ago, as opposed to the furnace room (door left open about 7 inches to heat garage slightly, without losing too much warmth from furnace room (uninsulated pipes).
Most of furnace room on days like this stays at or bove 50 I would think, since the furnace is coming on frequently (for the forced air heating).
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Postby bill on Wed Jan 19, 2005 9:11 am

You're welcome.

"Two points / questions I wouldn't mind feedback on:
1) So, if my garage realistically stays at 44 degrees (or say even 40 assuming it gets even colder or windier [drafts can cool garage down quickly when air temp is in the single digits like this]), I don't think I'll need heating cable (keeping in mind that the pipes in garage have been insulated with 3/8" pipe foam [aka polyethylene])?"

* Correct.
Btw, if temps get below freezing (at the pipe locations) pipe insulation alone will only delay freezing by a few hours if the water is stationary in the pipe. I mention that because many folks don't realize pipe insulation has a very low R-value. Its main benefit is to prevent the cold water pipes from sweating in unconditioned space during humid conditions. Or, for commercial applications where the hot water system uses a circulating pump to keep hot water nearer the faucets on long pipe runs. Sorry if I'm getting long winded, just trying to be thorough.

2)" My only real decision / dilemma is whether to run the faucet at a trickle using cold water to save on heating (water itself costs so little), since I read that cold water is warmer than freezing and will keep the pipes from freezing; my MAIN concern here is the garage pipes, which is just the cold pipe from the main (I am going on the assumption that the large majority of the piping is not by the exterior wall)."

* Go ahead and tinker with the furnace thermostat a little. You can continue to use the thermometer to verify if you are pushing the limits with the garage temps. If the garage is holding temps well above freezing ( I would prefer the forties) there is no need to run any water. If you think the garage temps may get near or below freezing then run the cold water as an added safety measure.

Not to be sarcastic, at some point there is a fine line between penny wise and dollar foolish. If the garage temperature limits are pushed to the extreme and there is a short term power outage when you are at work, a sleep etc you might wind up kicking yourself in the butt... Flowing water won't freeze solid at 32 degrees but at some point a trickle of water won't protect you either. Everything we talked about is a judgment call because of the variables. Heck, the building sewer could get a blockage and cause the sink to flood because you let the faucet trickle. Sometimes life is funny. :lol:

Based on everything you mentioned in this thread you're being very thorough. I wouldn't have any concerns at all or make any additional effort unless you want to buy a generator.
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Postby cfitz on Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:57 am

BigMonkey wrote:Heck, the building sewer could get a blockage and cause the sink to flood because you let the faucet trickle. Sometimes life is funny. :lol:

:lol:

BigMonkey, this has been probably the most helpful and patient series of posts in the Beer Garden I have ever seen, right up until that sentence. [-X Now VEFF won't ever be able to sleep or leave the house again. I can just see him lying in bed at night pondering what else can go wrong with his new house:

Image

Just kidding. I actually commend you on all the helpful advice you've given.

VEFF, heed BigMonkey's advice both about the pipes and about recognizing "good enough".

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Postby VEFF on Wed Jan 19, 2005 12:24 pm

Thanks a lot again!

The last time (before bed) I checked, the garage temp had gotten as low as 40 by the pipes (outdoor temp was about 3 degrees and wind chill I found out now was around - 5).
I kicked up the house thermostat 2 degrees (69) and made sure to leave the furnace room door slightly ajar (6 inches, measured from edge of door to door frame).
I also, to be extra safe, left the COLD water (steady/constant trickle stream), since that costs almost nothing anyway as far as I am concerned, and I wanted to ensure that the concealed [not sure if they are inside outer wall or are slightly further in than that and insulated by wood framing] behind pipes for the kitchen sink didn't freeze (they may not have been at risk with the house temp where it was and the cabinet doors open etc. but...
I also filled a slight gap at the top right side of the 2nd garage door to seal out that draft.

If the temps in garage do start to push freezing:
1) I will probably go the heating cable route, making sure to follow ALL the precautions carefully, since that will make it easy not to have to worry much.
2) I would then supplement this with the trickling trick, just to try to help the kitchen pipes behind the sink; that combined with the house heating being on same temp (67 - 69 depending on what I decide; currently 69) all day (even when not home and at night).

I do have a portable Pelonis 1500W ceramic heater, but I found this to be VERY inefficient. Even in the house (I once used it in the family room which is downstairs adjacent to garage) it is inefficient.
While it blew a lot of very hot air up to a few feet away, it surprisingly seemed to do literally NOTHING for the room temperature as a whole even when on for 20 minutes, forced air is MUCH better).

I had thought about the fact that if power to the furnace went out, it could be problematic, but such is life.
The heating cable wouldn't help in that case either...

And, about being pennywise and pound foolish I fully agree! :)
That is why me heat is on 69 even though I am not home; they mention 55 - 60...
That is also why I am making sure to cover all bases by asking questions and following MULTIPLE simultaneous prevention procedures, even if running the faucet is not absolutely required. The 2 degree low and wind chill made me decide to play it safe!

However, I did want to obviously do it as cheaply as possible, as long as I wasn't jeopardizing the anti-freezing procedures in the process.
For example running a steady stream of warm water 24 hrs a day for several days can add up of course.
I tehrefore didn't want to use a mix of cold AND HOT water if it wasn't necessary under MY circumstances (i.e. with MY location and type (COLD supply only) of pipes in garage area).

Thanks again for all the tips BigMonkey!

PS: I noticed the R-value on the package for the foam pipes.
In that regard, I thought to myself yesterday, that if I didn't want to go heating cable route (if potential fire cocerns continued to bother me) AND if the temps in garage dropped a bit below 40 for more than 30 minutes or so, that I could try the balc insulation, although I don't remember the
R-value number...

In any case, I will keep monitoring the forecast; hopefully next week will; be much better.
If we get another forecast for a WEEK like this, I may just get the heating cable and be VERY careful in its installation.
Then again, my current approach seems to be working nicely so far and
normal highs this time of year are.

The gas and electric bill for last month (and that is with WARMER than normal temps) was almost $210, hopefully it will only be another $35 or $40 this month...
It comes with home ownership unfortunately.
Going forward, I keep temps during the day colder; I had been worried about pipes in unheated garage and therefore kept heating on 67 even when not home!!!. I didn't realize till this educational experience (thanks BigMonkey and a few colleagues at work, and web sites) that the temps we had most of winter were 0 cause for concern in terms of pipe freezing.
In any case, it is MUCH better than a call to the plumber, and worst of all, damage to new carpeting, newly-refinished hardwood floors, newly-painted walls, newly redone bathrooms, electronics, the list goes on!!!
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Postby bill on Thu Jan 20, 2005 4:21 am

cfitz wrote: right up until that sentence. cfitz


:lol:

Cfitz,

Big grin... that's a good one! :D

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Postby bill on Thu Jan 20, 2005 4:24 am

Veff,

I did forget to ask, have you decided to relocate?

It was eight degrees here yesterday when I woke up. We then had an inch of snow during the day, just enough to look pretty. More snow is predicted for Friday through Sunday so it could be headed your way. :) My brother in Mt. Holly usually gets the precipitation about 36 hours after us in Virginia.

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Postby VEFF on Thu Jan 20, 2005 11:47 pm

cfitz wrote:
BigMonkey wrote:Heck, the building sewer could get a blockage and cause the sink to flood because you let the faucet trickle. Sometimes life is funny. :lol:

:lol:

BigMonkey, this has been probably the most helpful and patient series of posts in the Beer Garden I have ever seen, right up until that sentence. [-X Now VEFF won't ever be able to sleep or leave the house again. I can just see him lying in bed at night pondering what else can go wrong with his new house:

Image

Just kidding. I actually commend you on all the helpful advice you've given.

VEFF, heed BigMonkey's advice both about the pipes and about recognizing "good enough".

cfitz


LOL. :)
Actually I have been sleeping well; too well - don't feel like getting up early for work...
Not that I don't enjoy my job or work environment, just that I often go to bed late and am not thrilled about getting up in the morning, especially in winter. :)

BigMonkey's advice and in depth well written answers, along with reading several web sites, asking the two colleagues who sit right by me a few questions etc. have answered my questions and alleviated any concerns I had - they have given me a very good understanding of which temperatures to be concerned about, about the trickling, what the 55 - 60 degrees minimum (which I exceed anyway) was designed to protect and the potential for fire when using heating cables IF all instructions aren't followed carefully.

Speaking of the next thing that can go wrong - I know you were just kiddng - I don't foresee anything to be honest.

My next decision is whether to keep the house for a while longeror sell it soon and move further south with the state though.
If so I would probably buy a relatively recently built townhouse with garage, close to new work location, since I will be working in a new location starting in about 5 weeks.
This isn't a concern, since I can live here as long as necessary if I don't get what I am asking.
Maybe an ebay Buy It Now auction is in order j/k :)
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Postby VEFF on Fri Jan 21, 2005 12:09 am

BigMonkey wrote:Veff,

I did forget to ask, have you decided to relocate?

It was eight degrees here yesterday when I woke up. We then had an inch of snow during the day, just enough to look pretty. More snow is predicted for Friday through Sunday so it could be headed your way. :) My brother in Mt. Holly usually gets the precipitation about 36 hours after us in Virginia.

Bill


Hi Bill. First of all thanks again for all the helpful advice!
It is much appreciated!

Funny you should ask about relocating, since I just wrote about that in my reply to cfitz's post.
I haven't decided yet; if I do choose to relocate it will be about 40 miles further south or so.

I am happy with the way the house turned out and the location is GREAT
for a number of reasons.
Then again maybe a move down south to a townhouse would be good for a number of reasons.

More importantly, I also need to decide what to do about my
"relationship" with my ex girlfriend.
We have been seeing each other, as friends, a fair amount lately.
I won't go into too many details here since that wouldn't be right, but let's just say that I had a chance to try and live together with her for a few weeks, but had doubts; this after all the effort I initially put into trying to get together.
She was finally willing to try again (ironically she told me flat out that when she broke up in early August she had hoped that I would come after her; when it took 5 weeks to get in touch, she started to try to move on emotionally), but at the same time a few things happened and some thoughts about the past came to mind that made ME have second thoughts. That happened just before SHE suggested just under two weks ago possibly spending a few weeks living together (in the house). I feel like I am in the middle - one side of me wants to try since we love each other very much, care for each other deeply and DO enjoy a lot of the same things; the other side worries about some issues and what our future would be like.
I don't want to try only to break it off, since I know it could really hurt her emotionally.
It's a long story...
In any case, that isn't really playing into the house decision, but it is a big thing to think about, since I wonder if I will meet someone that unique and wonderful again.
BUT she and I both do realize that there are potential problems...


Regarding the weather:
We are slated to get either 3 - 6 inches Saturday (into Sunday) OR a foot.
It depends on the storm's track.
This will most likely be our FIRST big snowfall (more than 3 or 4 inches) this season!

EDIT: They are now predicting 12 - 15 inches of snow in the 24 hours from noon Saturday till noon Sunday!
It has been one of the quietest - in terms of storms - and warmest (till this week) winters so far; although we have 2/3 of it to go...
Today was the warmest day all week - it got to about 30 degrees. Wow!

Speaking of snow, I saw an article on cnn.com that North Carolina got ONE inch unexpectedly, which caused HUGE delays and numerous accidents, since they weren't prepared and the snow quickly turned to ice.

We get 2 -3 inches and think nothing of it here.
Last edited by VEFF on Fri Jan 21, 2005 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cfitz on Fri Jan 21, 2005 12:39 am

VEFF wrote:Actually I have been sleeping well; too well - don't feel like getting up early for work...

Well, I don't recommend missing work (at least not every day), but I'm glad you are enjoying the new place. I am concerned, however, that despite all your posts about maintaining the proper environmental conditions for your water pipes, you haven't said word one about maintaining proper environmental conditions for your CD-R and DVD-R collections. [-X

:wink:

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Postby VEFF on Fri Jan 21, 2005 5:48 pm

cfitz wrote:
VEFF wrote:Actually I have been sleeping well; too well - don't feel like getting up early for work...

Well, I don't recommend missing work (at least not every day), but I'm glad you are enjoying the new place. I am concerned, however, that despite all your posts about maintaining the proper environmental conditions for your water pipes, you haven't said word one about maintaining proper environmental conditions for your CD-R and DVD-R collections. [-X

:wink:

cfitz


First of all, just to clarify :) >>
When I said "...been sleeping well; don't feel like getting up for work" I meant I have been sleeping very well during the regular night hours and didn't FEEL like getting up for work; however, I didn't actually stay home from work...
After reading your conclusion, I read what i wrote again and thought I might want to clarify the meaning.
to people

LOL about the enironmental conditions of my CD-Rs DVD-Rs:
I am not too concerned about them; much more worried about potentially tens of thousands of dollars of potential damage to house and belongings :)

Well, it looks like I'll be spending most of the weekend home; 12 - 15 inches of snow expected between noon Saturday and noon Sunday...
Now I can worry about ice damming under the roof when the snows turns to ice and later melts and forms ice dams LOL. JUst kidding, I think ;)
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Postby cfitz on Fri Jan 21, 2005 6:31 pm

VEFF wrote:First of all, just to clarify :) >>
When I said "...been sleeping well; don't feel like getting up for work" I meant I have been sleeping very well during the regular night hours and didn't FEEL like getting up for work; however, I didn't actually stay home from work...

I know. I was just joking with you. 8)

VEFF wrote:Well, it looks like I'll be spending most of the weekend home; 12 - 15 inches of snow expected between noon Saturday and noon Sunday...
Now I can worry about ice damming under the roof when the snows turns to ice and later melts and forms ice dams LOL. JUst kidding, I think ;)

LOL... Poor VEFF. Too many worries. Although that is a real concern and it does sometimes happen and cause damage. However, please don't climb up on your snow-covered roof to brush off the snow in an effort to avert the problem. You are likely to end up with an even bigger problem when you land on your head. :wink:

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Postby bill on Sat Jan 22, 2005 9:46 am

VEFF wrote:She was finally willing to try again (ironically she told me flat out that when she broke up in early August she had hoped that I would come after her

EDIT: They are now predicting 12 - 15 inches of snow in the 24 hours from noon Saturday till noon Sunday!



Yeah, the ladies like to be chased. I guess for some its a ego boost and for others a confirmation of the relationship. Their all just a little crazy :wink:

We ( my wife & I ) have noticed that the happily married couples seem to have one thing in common. They are serious about each other but don't take each other too serious. Somehow they manage to keep laughing together as problems arise... I wish you luck whatever you both decide.

Just heard the weather update. Once again, you folks up north get the snow and us rebels get the ice. Time to go gas up the generator.
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Postby VEFF on Sat Jan 22, 2005 10:42 am

Thanks BigMonkey.

Great, concise advice about how to succeed at having a happy, lasting relationship.
I agree 100%.

Good luck; I hope the ice isn't too bad where you are.

I went to ShopRite (three minutes drive away) looking for snow/ice melting salt.
The store wasn't too bad YET in terms of volume of shoppers (wait till all the late risers get the update).
I had no trouble getting "special" (extra chemicals for high efficiency)
ice melting 'product' (DowChemical).
In a few hours there may not be much left, although it seemed most people already had ice melting salt, since the bags weren't flying off the shelves.
Saw on TV that Home Depot in NYC boroughs was another story. Although the reporter did say the store could get more rock salt type stuff today.
The only other things I bought wee an extra gallon of water and a loaf of bread (I actually just went shoppping a few days ago, but since I was there anyway...

I already have candles and two flashlights (recharging batteries now).

The biggest concern goes back to the pipes freezing IF the power goes off.
They ARE expecting some power outages
(who knows which towns will be hit).
I could then shut the water main and "drain" all faucets; the only problem with that aproach is I was planning to stay with my parents today (they have friends from Europe coming over and it would be nice to all hang out).
The other idea would be to shut the water main off and drain everything before leaving for my parents' place (~ 15 minutes away), although I don't know how cumbersome that would be or how long it would take.
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