What are my options to keep a small section of exposed water line from freezing?

JOE.G

JOE.G

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Hi, My Shop is fed from my home which is about a 100 FT Run of Black Plastic pipe I believe it's around 1 Inch ID, My issue is when I ran it I was not able to get it under ground easily from where it comes out of my home to where it goes under ground is 5 to 6 Feet, This part of the pipe is under my porch, Is there anything I can do to keep this from freezing? What I have been doing is shutting the water off and blowing the line out for the winter but I would like to have water out there year round., The ground is to rocky and to try and get it under ground would be very difficult. Thanks

P.S How forgiving is this pipe? I have had it freeze a couple times on me when i don't get it off in time.
 
holeycow

holeycow

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Heat tape and pipe insulation. Put two heat tapes so you have a spare already installed. Make sure the pipe is fully covered. No gaps in the wrap!
plastic pipe usually fails at the fittings. the pipe itself is somewhat forgiving, but can split from ice. Ice will jack up the pyramids.
 
tilenick

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We used a heat tape and insulation like that for 20+ years on my dad's trailer. From the ground up to where it ran inside. Never had an issue, and kept it plugged in all year long so it wouldn't get forgotten. I forget the brand. Make sure to take it below ground and all the way up till it goes into the heat envelope of the house.
 
JOE.G

JOE.G

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So I should dig down a little and put the tape under ground? itll be hard to get down to the frost line where it is at.
 
holeycow

holeycow

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Yes. And insulate on top of the ground with rigid insulation for the section that is above frost depth. Extend insulation an adequate amount each side of the line. Probably about 3 feet or so. As mentioned, you might want to leave the water trickling very slowly in extremely cold weather. You might also want to use a bigger plastic line as a sleeve for the heat-taped portion of the active line. The sleeve will go a long way to prevent freezing. Especially with the heat tape in there. Another reason to install two heat tapes, cause it will be a pain to redo it when the tape fails (but they do last many years)..
 
Marco

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A pressure tank in the shop would keep it moving some back and forth with use just in the house. Insulating would help. Heat tape can cause trouble.
 
Brufab

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install by the directions

View attachment 940545
I have used what holeycow has posted. They make them in different lengths. The key is to keep it tight to the pipe. I electrical taped and zip tied mine then enclosed it all in good pipe insulation and taped and tied that. One caveat is to always have water in the pipe while it's on per instructions. Good luck!
 
esshup

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I have a kitchen drain that is above ground under the back porch for about 5 feet. I had a problem with it freezing and even heat tape and insulation wouldn't keep it from freezing. What I ended up using was a gutter heater, wrapped around the pipe and attached to a 32°F t-stat. The gutter heater worked wonders and the only time it froze was when I was away on vacation and it got way colder than expected while I was gone. Luckily the pipe didn't break and the gutter heater thawed it.

and NO, I was not the idiot that routed the pipe that way. I am getting quotes to re-plumb both the cold/hot water pipes in the house and at the same time I am going to have them replace the drains. Most drains are made from galvanized pipe..... Last time I was in the crawl space and looked at the newspaper "insulation" that was on some of the water feed pipes the newspaper said 1952.....
 
holeycow

holeycow

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I have several livestock waterers sourced from a spring that require heat tapes, heat lamps, enclosures, and insulation to keep them operating in extended periods of up to -45C. Not to mention the house...
obviously I have had some issues over the years, everybody here does from time to time... frozen lines, frozen pumps, etc. It's a tough job sometimes to keep water thawed in cold weather.
 
holeycow

holeycow

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I have come to the conclusion that routing any waterlines or drains in exterior walls is idiocy, and common practice. I have moved all of my lines from within exterior walls to several inches inside. This simple thing solves all of the problems. These lines are all concealed within cabinetry, so you wouldn't even know.
 
Valpen

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Hi, My Shop is fed from my home which is about a 100 FT Run of Black Plastic pipe I believe it's around 1 Inch ID, My issue is when I ran it I was not able to get it under ground easily from where it comes out of my home to where it goes under ground is 5 to 6 Feet, This part of the pipe is under my porch, Is there anything I can do to keep this from freezing? What I have been doing is shutting the water off and blowing the line out for the winter but I would like to have water out there year round., The ground is to rocky and to try and get it under ground would be very difficult. Thanks

P.S How forgiving is this pipe? I have had it freeze a couple times on me when i don't get it off in time.
Running water won't freeze, so if you have unlimited water from the house and non-freezing drainage at your shed, you can always keep the pipe from freezing from having the water in the pipe moving. If you have a well/pump as a water source, or pay for water by volume, you might want to consider a heated solution. In Norway (often rather cold) they tend to put a round heating cable inside the pipe instead of trying to heat the pipe from the outside, and put tube shaped polyethylene insulation on the outside of the pipe (like a hollow swimming noodle). The heating cable is installed inside the pipe via this type of waterproof fitting. https://www.clasohlson.com/no/nVent-RAYCHEM,-Y-kobling-til-varmekabel-/p/36-5520
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I am not sure if this type of equipment is available for you where you are located, but it is not rocket science and works very well, and it is much more efficient as you are keeping the water warm, not the pipe. I would consider covering the polyethylene tubing with something to protect it from the UV sunlight.
Good luck.
 
holeycow

holeycow

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Running water will freeze cock stiff when it is really cold.

ingenius idea of heat tape within the pipe!
 
Valpen

Valpen

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Running water will freeze cock stiff when it is really cold.

ingenius idea of heat tape within the pipe!
I grew up in a house off-the-grid in the woods/mountains in upstate NY (2 hours south of Montreal Canada, so we got plenty of rather cold weather) and we had a gravity feed water supply with over a mile of 1" black plastic pipe running above ground up the hill behind the house being fed from small catchment dams in a brook. We could keep the pipe from freezing as long as we kept the water running.
We had over 50 psi in the upstairs bathrooms so when kept running, there was a good volume and pressure to keep the water in the pipe from freezing. We had a garden hose that we would keep running outside making impressive ice statues with the running water.
I don't recall ever making it through a whole winter without it freezing, as we would tend to turn off the garden hose to have max pressure when taking a shower, and if you took too long a shower, the garden hose would freeze..., and we would have to use the generator/pump/well solution for our water until the spring.
 
holeycow

holeycow

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When it's really cold, even fast flowing water in a small pipe (up to 4" or so) will slowly but surely ice the inside surface until finally there's no hole left. Really cold to me starts at 40 below. Sustained 40 below freezes stuff. We sometimes see more than 50C below. Yuck. It has even been 60 many years ago. Yuck!

we had the same garden hose experience at about 30-35 below. Frustrating.

Things change starting at about 40 below. Sustained 40 below or more is pretty tough sleddin' wrt water.
 
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