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  #1  
Old 12/04/04, 10:49 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
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What temps do pipes start to freeze?

At what temperature do water pipes start freezing?

We own an old 1890's house in Central Indiana, which we use as an office. In order to save money, we have kept the furnace off. As we get into December, the temps at night are falling into the high 20's.

When do I need to kick the furnace on? House has a furnace basement and crawl.

Thank you in advance!!!!
clove

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  #2  
Old 12/04/04, 11:21 PM
 
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I would turn it on its lowes setting now. You could drain the pipes, hot water heater toilets etc if you are not going to use all winter. Where do you live?

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  #3  
Old 12/05/04, 02:22 AM
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Location: Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
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32 F

If the water sits long enough and the temperature gets to 32 F for long enough, it will freeze.

Keep the room temp above at least 35 F, pipes still could freeze, if no flow in water pipe, and the pipe is in an outside wall with either no insulation, or insulation on the wrong side, i.e.; between the warmer room and the pipe.

Best to rig up a draining system that is "foul-proof", if you leave the space unheated for long time. If it is warm in the day and only cold at night, and there are no pipes in the outside wall or the insulation is not between the pipe and room as described above, then you might get lucky with temps lower than 35 F, because of the residual building heat from the day time.

Best to drain. And put RV type anti freeze into each sewer trap, and the toilet and the back tank. Also, run some anti freeze thru the clothes and dish washers, if you have them, this will protect the washer pump and the associated sewer trap. btw If you have a water softener, disconnect and drain - it will freeze, if cold enough, even with salt in it - do not let it freeze - it could damage the resin beads.

Good luck, fixing burst pipes is not fun and is more difficult when it's cold outside.

Alex

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Last edited by Alex; 12/05/04 at 02:30 AM.
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  #4  
Old 12/05/04, 04:52 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Oklahoma
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A dripping faucet will help to keep pipes from freezing.

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  #5  
Old 12/05/04, 08:33 AM
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If nothing else, make darn sure that you turn the electricity to the pump off before you leave!

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  #6  
Old 12/05/04, 10:51 AM
 
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It depends on the house, the location of the pipes, etc.

My pipes freeze when it's down in the teens. This is the house I live in and we keep it at about 70. The particular problem pipe runs up against the wall and never fails to freeze unless we use a heat tape.

I'd turn the furnace on, but you still need to keep an eye on things as the house may have problem areas.

Jena

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  #7  
Old 12/05/04, 12:58 PM
 
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Thanks for the responses!

We live in central Indiana.

FWIW, we have city water, so no pumps or wells to worry about.

I am using the house as an office during the day. Temps have been in the mid to low forties during the day, and in the low thirties/high twenties at night. I basically have not had the heat on at all this year, just trying to save some cash, which is a little tight right now.

We lived in the house for ten years before buying another home. Decided to keep the other house as a place of business. The biggest and most costly expense we have is the gas bills, which, at its worst, was $280 one very cold December a few years ago.

I still need running water and commode during the day. Is it possible to set up a water system that I can drain each night?

The only frozen pipe issue I have ever had was a pipe that runs against an outside wall, but only when the temps got as low as 4 or 5 degrees. I am going to disconnect that line and cap it in the next week.

Still hoping to save from not turning the heat on, but not have frozen pipes.
clove

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  #8  
Old 12/05/04, 01:00 PM
 
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Also, I shut the hot water heater off a few months ago....do I need to drain it?

I don't mean to sound stupid, just trying to learn.
clove

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  #9  
Old 12/05/04, 03:14 PM
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Here are some steps to winterize your house (this is for you too pwerks):
1. Turn of elec to pump. If on city water, turn the water valve off that is near the water meter.

2. Open all valves in the house, hot and cold, including the outdoor water spigots.

3. Open the drain on the water heater.

4. Flush all toliets until no more water runs. Then, sponge out all of the remaining water in the toliet tanks and bowls until dry.

5. Pour a cup or two of RV antifreeze in all sink drains, all floor drains, and all toliet bowls.

6. If you have well water and use a suction pump or jet pump, you'll need to drain that as well. Every pump has a different set up. Usually there are some brass plugs that you screw out to allow the pump to drain.

7. The pressure tank should drain through the pump....some set-ups have a spigot that drains the pressure tank.

8. I'm not sure how you drain a water softener, if it is in a basement. Maybe someone else knows this.

Please add whatever I forgot.

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  #10  
Old 12/05/04, 11:50 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
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It is _possible_ the stuff sitting on the basement floor will not freeze - earth stays warmer down low. Your climate is a lot more forgiving that Cabin's or mine. Just how cold does it get? If you are working in here, at some point are you planning on putting the heat on, or will you be working in your office when it is 10 degrees inside?

Water always freezes at 32 degrees. That doesn't change much.

You are about as far as I would like to pucsh things right now as far as any pipes in walls & any fixtures or appliances on the upper levels.

The basement you likely have a little more time to play with, but warm air will always rise, so a basement here in Minnesota will always freeze up too. This will, at times, cause them to crack the foundation & that is a big bummer.

In your climate, how cold is the coldest lows, and how warm are the coldest days?

I don't know that it would be practical to try to freeze-proof things every night, & start up the water again the next day. That sounds either expensive, or an accident waiting to happen.

Assuming you will keep the building at 45 degrees or so when you are working in it, just keep it that temp all the time, couldn't use all that much heat to do so in your climate. But, on really bone-charing cold nights, bump it up a little. i find if I keep my spare house below 50,when the temp goes to -20 or so the cold soaks in & will freeze pipes. Need to keep the huse at 55 on the coldest days.

--->Paul

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  #11  
Old 12/06/04, 05:56 AM
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Location: SE Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabin Fever
Here are some steps to winterize your house (this is for you too pwerks):
1. Turn of elec to pump. If on city water, turn the water valve off that is near the water meter.

2. Open all valves in the house, hot and cold, including the outdoor water spigots.

3. Open the drain on the water heater.

4. Flush all toliets until no more water runs. Then, sponge out all of the remaining water in the toliet tanks and bowls until dry.

5. Pour a cup or two of RV antifreeze in all sink drains, all floor drains, and all toliet bowls.

6. If you have well water and use a suction pump or jet pump, you'll need to drain that as well. Every pump has a different set up. Usually there are some brass plugs that you screw out to allow the pump to drain.

7. The pressure tank should drain through the pump....some set-ups have a spigot that drains the pressure tank.

8. I'm not sure how you drain a water softener, if it is in a basement. Maybe someone else knows this.

Please add whatever I forgot.
This is great information Cabin Fever...thanks! But would you recommend
shutting the furnace off when leaving a home for two-three months? I'm
still debating about this point. Thanks again for everyones input.
James in Houston, Tx (soon to be Houston, MN
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  #12  
Old 12/06/04, 11:23 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I would use some of that electricl heat tape and then just turn it on/off when you need too. This might be difficult to do if the pipes are in the wall!... I will add that my sister had a problem with her pipes freezing in there bathroom @ night and then thawing during the day. Solution was to cut some holes in the bathroom to allow the heat in the house to get into the wall to keep the pipes warm enough.

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  #13  
Old 12/06/04, 11:31 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankTheTank
I would use some of that electricl heat tape and then just turn it on/off when you need too. This might be difficult to do if the pipes are in the wall!... I will add that my sister had a problem with her pipes freezing in there bathroom @ night and then thawing during the day. Solution was to cut some holes in the bathroom to allow the heat in the house to get into the wall to keep the pipes warm enough.
Couple problems:

The electricity used on the heat tapes will often cost more than just running a gas furnace to keep the house 45 degrees or so. There are heat tapes with the thermostat, so they only come on at 35 degrees or so on their own if one wants to go this way. There could be code & insurance issues with using these in a dwelling.

Boring the holes in the interior walls dumps the heat out into the wall space - keeps the pipes thawed, but it lets a lot of heat escape the house now. Could be spending a lot of heating dollars over the long haul for that 'fix'.


--->Paul
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  #14  
Old 12/06/04, 03:17 PM
BCR BCR is offline
 
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Location: WV
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Why not set the thermostat at 45 degrees and leave it there. Pipes can also freeze on a very windy day as it whistles in the cracks and crevices, even if it isn't as cold on the gauge.

Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. Consider setting the thermostat low as a precaution. Heat tapes have been the cause of some fires due to improper use, etc. I personally wouldn't use one unless I was home to monitor it.

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