Heat Tape or Antifreeze?


Old 02-20-09, 06:20 PM
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Heat Tape or Antifreeze?

After adding a half bath on the first floor of my 1920's house, my plumber and I were talking about whether or not to add an antifreeze to the heating system and or water pipes. Here's the deal:

I'm in MA. The new pipes run into an unfinished crawlspace, which is ventilated. Were going to run the pipes in the joists and insulate the floor of the crawlspace anyway, so the pipes will be covered. My plumber thinks that the air flow in the crawlspace puts the pipes at more risk of freezing, so he suggested Glycol or some type of antifreeze just to be on the safe side. This is a $600 job with the draining of the boiler, parts etc. Now, I was thinking just to add heat tape to the pipes and run it between Nov and March, and shut it off during warm months.

Any thoughts about either technique? I was hoping not to do either as the PEX in the insulation should be OK. I've taken temps and they are in the low 40's overnight in Jan. Thanks for any help.
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Old 02-20-09, 07:30 PM
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Retrofit your crawlspace vents with newer automatic louvered vents. They contain a bimetallic coil that opens them in summer and closes them in winter, alleviating the cross wind cold air. Depending on the length of pipes, the heat tape would work. I would opt for draining the lines before I would consider antifreeze in supply lines. I would use RV antifreeze for drains, ptraps, commodes. Most heat tapes are self thermostatically controlled, but if not, you can use a thermo cube which comes on a little above freeezing and goes off about 40 degrees. I use them in my chicken house for their heat lamps.
Old 02-21-09, 01:45 PM
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Anti-freeze in pipes

Chris Mullin: The best that I can get out of your post the crawl space dosen't go below the 40's? if so you should be fine with the insulation. Luck.

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