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Insulating Floor - Protecting Crawl Space Pipes


biking_brian's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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CAL

11-16-08, 09:03 PM   #1  
Insulating Floor - Protecting Crawl Space Pipes

I have a followup question to my original post about insulating the floor above my crawl space. The floor joists are 2x6, and the water pipes run parallel to them, but they are about 6" lower than the bottom of the joists - too low to put the floor insulation under the pipes. Could I make a "box" around the pipes by nailing plywood to the joists, then insulating around the box?

 
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Bud9051's Avatar
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ME

11-17-08, 05:49 AM   #2  
You must get some cool weather where you live in S. Cal., but it takes some pretty cold weather to freeze pipes, 32 degrees in a crawl space won't freeze them. Your options are box them in as you described, insulate them with pipe insulation, or do nothing.

What temps do you see during the winter?
Bud

 
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11-17-08, 06:48 AM   #3  
I grew up in New England, so I can definitely say not as cold as there. My place in question is cabin in the mountains of So. Cal. - typically low 20s, sometimes in the teens, single digits if record breaking. The main issue is when I'm not there and the thermostat is set at 50 degrees - with that, the crawl space stays pretty warm now, I'm not sure how much cooler it will get if I insulate the floor.

 
Bud9051's Avatar
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11-17-08, 07:36 AM   #4  
If you do insulate the floor and box in the pipes, be sure to not insulate above the pipes, so as not to isolate them from the heat. Just a guess, but I think it would be easier to insulate the pipes, especially if they are copper. If the pipes have access to any of that heat above, they would be hard to freeze.

They also make a neat heat wire, although I rarely see it used, probably because people don't understand it. It is not like the typical heat tape, which I would not recommend, but a two wire cable that looks like coax cable (cable TV). The two conductors are molded into a unique material with a positive heat coefficient so that as the wire heats up, the resistance of the material goes up. It is self regulating, so can never burn up. They rate it at 3 watts per foot. I just saw it at Home Depot, had a braid on the outside, but if they carry it, it does indicate people use it. Hook it up with a thermostat in the basement and cover the pipes with insulation and you'll never have to worry, unless the power goes out.

Now, the disclaimer. You could be an accountant, they aren't supposed to know how to do electrical wiring , so don't go doing something you are not sure about. But I'm sure someone in Cal can hook this up if you aren't comfortable doing so. Be careful and happy camping.
Bud

 
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