Electric Pipe Tape Safety???


  #1  
Old 01-13-04, 08:53 PM
taramcg
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Electric Pipe Tape Safety???

I am a new home owner of an older home. The previous owner installed a new bathroom downstairs and neglected to insulate the pipe which is in the outside wall. We are in NJ and had some very cold weather recently and of course the pipe froze and the joints popped. We had no water b/c the only shut off is for the whole house.

We needed to fix it fast b/c we have a two week old baby and a toddler. So, we took out the shower unit, repaired the pipe, added insulation and then installed an electrical pipe warmer tape/strip that runs along the pipe inside of the exterior wall. This pipe goes up to the kitchen sink.

On the box it says that this tape should not be used in walls, ceilings, floors, etc. If that's the case, where else would one use it? I'm wondering if that is just legal CYA or should we be worried about the possibility of a fire. Any thoughts? If it is dangerous, what can we do to remedy this problem?

Thanks a million.

 
  #2  
Old 01-13-04, 09:46 PM
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taramcg:

Your instincts were correct in asking about going against the recommendations of the heat tape maker.

Yes, heat tape is very high on the hazard list.
They should in no way be covered and even some don't even permit an insulation overwrap.

I would encourage you to remove it immediately.

These heaters are very common around here, especially in mobile homes.
Fires that are caused by these are also common.
Heat tapes are only meant to be installed on pipes that are out in the open and according to the supplied instructions.

The solution to your freezing problem will likely involve somehow getting insulation between the pipe and outside wall and opening it up so that warm air can circulate or relocating it entirely.
 
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Old 01-13-04, 10:25 PM
taramcg
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Thanks for the quick and helpful reply. We just unplugged it. Do you think that the insulation alone will prevent the pipe from freezing again?
 
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Old 01-13-04, 10:31 PM
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Make sure there is a considerable amount between the exterior wall and the pipes. Even letting the wall exposed would help for the time being to allow room temperature to help prevent the piping from freezing again.
 
  #5  
Old 01-14-04, 06:33 AM
J
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Insulate only on the exterior wall side of the pipe. Leave the interior exposed. This will let heat from the house get to the pipe and keep it from freezing. If the pipe runs behind cabinets, leave the doors open so heat can get in. Running the water will also prevent pipes from freezing.
 
  #6  
Old 01-14-04, 07:49 AM
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Tara:

DUNBAR PLUMBER and joed have the right idea.

You need insulation behind the pipre and a heat source to keep it from freezing. The heat source being room air.
Insulation alone will not do it because insulation only slows down the heat transfer, it cannot stop it completely.

Letting the tap drip for now would be a good short term solution with relocating the pipe as your best option.
 
  #7  
Old 01-15-04, 08:14 PM
taramcg
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Thank you all for your words of wisdom.
 
 

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