V, you'll be proud -pipes
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V, you'll be proud -pipes (by NE [PA]) Jan 8, 2018 1:14 PM
       V, you'll be proud -pipes (by RB [MI]) Jan 8, 2018 2:43 PM
       V, you'll be proud -pipes (by S i d [MO]) Jan 8, 2018 2:47 PM
       V, you'll be proud -pipes (by NE [PA]) Jan 8, 2018 3:08 PM
       V, you'll be proud -pipes (by Skunk [KY]) Jan 8, 2018 3:19 PM
       V, you'll be proud -pipes (by Tom [FL]) Jan 8, 2018 5:16 PM
       V, you'll be proud -pipes (by Vee [OH]) Jan 8, 2018 6:24 PM
       V, you'll be proud -pipes (by Lynda [TX]) Jan 9, 2018 8:42 AM
       V, you'll be proud -pipes (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Jan 9, 2018 11:31 AM
       V, you'll be proud -pipes (by Jimbo [KY]) Jan 9, 2018 7:53 PM

V, you'll be proud -pipes (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Jan 8, 2018 1:14 PM

I have an area under a small crawl space that has about 6" of clearance. Totally inaccessible.

Yesterday, that was frozen pipe location #5 for this week.

The hot water baseboard and cold and hot lines run through a hole in the stone foundation about 10" in diameter, out under this efficiancy apartment. That's my only access to this area.

( I'd love to go back in time and smack whoever laid out THAT design!)

It is in the basement of my 6 unit near my boiler.

Tomorrow, I am installing maybe my best MacGyver solution to date!

There is no way to access this location for heat tape or pipe insulation, etc.

I am hooking together several lengths of 4" duct and sliding them out this hole. Above my boiler, I will be installing an inline duct fan with a temperature activated plug.

So, if this works, I am forever done thawing pipes in that location.

When my boiler kicks on in the fall, it will naturally throw off radiant heat from the exposed boiler piping and the exhaust pipe that is in that location. When the heat rises and gets up to temp, it will trigger that temp switch and kick on the fan and pump heat into that crawl space under the apartment. When the boiler cycles off and cools, the fan will turn off.

In the spring when the boiler shuts off for the season, so does my fan.

Yeah baby! That's the kind of stuff I like doing!

My mentor here locally said that after doing his maintenance for so many years, that he can fix anything with almost nothing at all.

I like that!

I also like taking advantage of the excess heat already thrown off from the boiler. --50.32.xxx.xxx

V, you'll be proud -pipes (by RB [MI]) Posted on: Jan 8, 2018 2:43 PM

Vee had one the other day,

where he mentioned Gun Powder ! --47.35.xx.xx

V, you'll be proud -pipes (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jan 8, 2018 2:47 PM

Clever solution, NE.

I've only had two places that ever had burst pipes, and no other frozen that I recall. In one of those places the crawl is so shallow that there is about 12 inches of space between the dirt and the bottom of the floor joists. NO room to get under and work. No way to wrap heat tape either, since the line for the kitchen sink runs about 6 feet down a wall away from the crawl access door and then does a 90 degree bend and goes back toward the bathroom/laundry area.

My thought is to take an existing ceiling heat vent register in a bathroom and "T" into it, running a 3 inch line down the wall and thru the floor and then have a vent out the side that heats the bathroom. Somehow deflect some of that heat downward into the crawl. Put up a piece of particle board painted gray to cover the 3 inch wall duct. Any thoughts if that would work? --173.19.xx.xxx

V, you'll be proud -pipes (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Jan 8, 2018 3:08 PM

Sid, you can buy inline duct heater fans also. That would add your draft and your heat in one. I'm pretty sure they have120v units which would also work with the thermostat plug. You could extend the duct right back to those pipes and put the fan on the opposite end and cook em.

You can get the stat plugs to turn on and off at desired temps. Programmable in a sense. --50.32.xxx.xxx

V, you'll be proud -pipes (by Skunk [KY]) Posted on: Jan 8, 2018 3:19 PM

That's *really* clever! Like the fact that it's mostly passive, too.

There is a special place in hell for plumbers that run lines that are impossible to reach. --74.139.xxx.xxx

V, you'll be proud -pipes (by Tom [FL]) Posted on: Jan 8, 2018 5:16 PM

Its a great temporary fix for now.

Maybe consider the next time the unit is vacant. Remove the flooring in the unit. No need to move the walls, only the flooring and sub-flooring exposing the floor joists. IF possible lay down heavy duty plastic over the dirt floor, I am assume there is dirt in this area. This will help keep reduce the moisture from creating problems. And you may want to have foam insulation company give you an estimate to foam insulation between the floor joists. You may have to install mesh between floor joists to help hold the foam in place.

While the heating water lines are exposed make repairs and insulate the pipes to prevent freezing in the future.

Yes it will cost you money to do the work however it will make a major difference for you during the extreme cold snap and potential freezing. Plus save on heating the unit. --99.56.xx.xx

V, you'll be proud -pipes (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Jan 8, 2018 6:24 PM

I think you should wrap a 8-12inch length of oversize pipe on the flue and use a old computer fan to drive the air down the pipe taken from there which will run from the gas valve power thru a basic diode to convert the 24 ac to about 16 dc, add a 2 amp fuse to protect the gas valve power if something goes crazy on this fan.. --76.188.xxx.xx

V, you'll be proud -pipes (by Lynda [TX]) Posted on: Jan 9, 2018 8:42 AM

One of the simplest 'McGiver' heat tricks I ever saw was my father keeping our car engine warm in the zero degree upstate NY weather every winter. We had an old farm house in the country that he was updating. when he pulled down the old attached 'carriage house' we then had no covered carport/garage and the car was exposed to the worst weather. He put a 100watt bulb fitted to an extension cord under the hood right on the engine. The heat from that one bulb kept the engine warm enough to start the car every morning.

When my husband was in the military and we were assigned to Germany we did the same thing and it worked fine. Same when stationed in NJ which has some pretty bad winters.

The trick also works to warm doghouses for outside dogs.


V, you'll be proud -pipes (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Posted on: Jan 9, 2018 11:31 AM

With commercial pex it is easy to run new piping away from the area that freezes. Either Rehau or Uponor. Insulating will eliminate some of the problems. With high efficiency gas boilers there is not much of heat loss. With a boiler system it is better to install a indirect hot water tank which has heat loss of less one degree per hour. If a building was super insulated there would be no need for a heating system. Commercial pex piping has many possibilities. Radiant floor heating, sprinklers systems along installing larger piping which insulation where freezing problems are permanently eliminated. Consider contacting a pex manufacturer. You tube has great videos on commercial A type pex installations. --168.244.xx.xx

V, you'll be proud -pipes (by Jimbo [KY]) Posted on: Jan 9, 2018 7:53 PM

Where do you get the stat plugs that you can set the on off point. All I see is present ones.


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