insulating pipes in an exposed room under a house

Old 10-15-21, 05:08 PM
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insulating pipes in an exposed room under a house

Our main water shut off valve is located in a closed in area underneath our house, which is itself exposed. The house is an A-Frame that sits on piers. The walls that enclose the space in which the pipes leading into the house are situated are pretty thin and so they don't provide much in the way of protection. The house is in Northern Western Virginia and so it can get pretty cold in the winter (dropping into the teens on occasion, but usually into the upper 20s at night at the coldest, but 30s regularly). There is a floor heater mounted on the wall of the small room which will keep the space warm, but the heater gets pretty warm and I worry about it being a fire hazard, particularly with some of the exposed paper faced insulation. I am trying to figure out the best way to keep the pipes from freezing.
  • Would a cover on the heater work, so as to provide a barrier between it and potentially flammable elements around it?
  • Would it be better to use some sort of electric heat cables and wrap it around the pipe? If so, should I enclose that with some sort of fiberglass wrap, or just leave it as is?
  • Is there a better solution?
Thanks for any tips. Attaching photos of the space to help situate your thinking.


Old 10-15-21, 05:53 PM
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I would probably put plywood on all the walls and caulk all the corners then cover all those edges with 1x2 trim to keep the wind out.

Keep the pipes inside the plywood walls and let the heater run... hopefully it has a thermostat control.
Old 10-15-21, 05:58 PM
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Thanks, that is helpful. It does have a thermostat control, but I am not sure it is working well! Which means it might as well not have it. Good to check on though.
Old 10-16-21, 03:41 AM
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I would use pipe heat tape. Most come with a thermostat. Then insulate the snot out of the pipe. The tape I used on my wellhead uses 7 watts per foot so the energy consumption is minimal especially when compared to your wall heater that's probably 350-500 watts.

Last edited by Pilot Dane; 10-16-21 at 04:10 AM.
Old 10-16-21, 05:17 AM
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Id invest in a smoke detector for what ever option you choose!
Old 10-16-21, 06:39 AM
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Heat tape and insulation on the pipe is the best option.

A neighbor if mine in Maine had a similar situation in his vacation home. He thought a wall heater would solve the problem but it was mounted higher than the pipe coming from the ground and since heat rises, his pipe froze anyway.

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