Plumbing inside and exterior wall in buffalo..yes or no


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Old 12-13-09, 11:50 PM
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Exclamation Plumbing inside and exterior wall in buffalo..yes or no

Im getting ready to install a stand up shower in a 2nd bath. I would like to install the piping to the shower on the exterior wall. I live in Buffalo NY so it does get cold but I just took out the old insulation R11 and added R15.

Is it ok to do something like this. Last thing i want is the piping to freeze. The piping to the toilet in this room before i took it out was inside the wall and there was no problem, home built in 1978

thanks guys
 
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Old 12-14-09, 07:38 AM
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I just don't like exterior wall plumbing. Too much chance of freezing. And in Bufflao???? I really just think you may be asking for trouble. I don't know your situation, but would it be possible to run the supply in a chase on the interior of the room in order to capture the room's heat to keep it from freezing? I am sure more of the guys in the northern climates will chime in with good advice, so stay tuned.
 
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Old 12-14-09, 08:09 AM
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I share Chandler's concerns. When running pipes in cold spaces, it is important to insulate between the pipe and the cold (obvious) but NOT between the pipe and the warm side. That becomes obvious as you consider how the pipe will remain warm enough not to freeze. I've seen pipes that were well within a building, but isolated from their heat source and they froze. Also pipes running through cold attic spaces that were insulated from the cold, yet had access to the heat below, and were fine. The latter works best when the heat source is below the pipes, as heat rises, or more importantly, doesn't like to flow down. Maybe your pipes could run over the top and down, with max insulation between the pipes and the cold and zero between the pipes and the warm.

Also, fiberglass allows a lot of air movement, so mineral wool, rigid foam (well sealed) or spray foam, might be better choices.

Hope this helps.
Bud
 
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Old 12-14-09, 02:43 PM
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Bump for more info
thx
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Old 12-15-09, 08:38 PM
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Are you looking for someone to justify your potential installation? We give advice. It is free and worth every penny of it. There may be others that have successfully installed supply lines in cold exterior walls in Siberia, but I doubt it.
 
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Old 12-15-09, 11:11 PM
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In my area the temperatures rarely drop much below freezing so plumbing in outside walls is fairly common. Yet, when I removed a shower and installed a whirlpool tub I deliberately moved the supply piping from the outside wall to the inside wall. If I lived in an area where below freezing temperatures were normal throughout the winter months I would NEVER even consider having the water (or drain, waste and vent) pipes in an outside wall.
 
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Old 12-17-09, 10:10 AM
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Well, some changes are being made in the design and we want to make the bathroom a little wider...about 4".

So what i was planning on doing was building a fake wall and put the plumbing in there.

Think the temps would be ok?

heres my plan
 
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Old 12-17-09, 05:23 PM
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Now, you're getting it away from the extreme cold of the outer wall!! Good move. Does the piping extend to a basement or crawl space? What are your contingencies for protecting them there?
 
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Old 12-17-09, 06:52 PM
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there is a crawl space under here so i have full access(which is great!

Do you think the inside of this wall will be cold at all? I could put pipe insulation on them. Also, right above where this wall would be, in the joist, is my baseboard heating piping going from one bedroom to the next. i could always take out that top 2x4 just in that spot and maybe the heat would travel down there...
 

Last edited by rugsr; 12-17-09 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 12-18-09, 05:29 AM
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Don't modify your heating system. Heat travels up anyway. I think what you have, plus the pipe wrap will handle the cold well. At least you have insulated it fully from the outer wall. My concern is the crawlspace and the possible exposed pipes there.
 
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Old 12-18-09, 08:42 AM
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GOT YA

I have put pipe insulation wrap on all piping in basement and crawl space. When I run the new piping I will do that too.
 
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Old 12-18-09, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rugsr View Post
GOT YA

I have put pipe insulation wrap on all piping in basement and crawl space. When I run the new piping I will do that too.
I'm not a plumber, but I've done my share of screwing around with crawlspaces, well pits, and water lines in western NY. I've had water lines freeze in my heated bathroom that lay on the floor against the wall, which has a crawlspace under it. And the floor is insulated. But I have since remedied that situation.

Simply insulating a water line in a crawlspace will not protect it from freezing. If no water is drawn for some time, and the crawl space is cold enough, the line will freeze anyway. You would have to wrap a heat tape on it THEN insulate it.

However, IMO, I would avoid putting any water lines in the crawlspace if at all possible. Heat tapes don't last forever, mice can be a problem, depending on the situation they can be a real pain to replace, and if the power goes out they won't work anyway.
 
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Old 12-19-09, 08:17 AM
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Thanks Bruce,

Yea, all the water lines to that bathroom are in the crawlspace with no other way around it...stinks

Is heat tape kind of like heat tracing a pipe? Where can I get something like that?

You say the pipe will freeze anyways if water isnt moving...i guess it depends on how cold it is but i wonder how long that would take?

We would be using the bathroom everyday.

Maybe I need to let the shower and sink drip? Kepping the water moving
 
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Old 12-19-09, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by rugsr View Post
Thanks Bruce,

Yea, all the water lines to that bathroom are in the crawlspace with no other way around it...stinks

Is heat tape kind of like heat tracing a pipe? Where can I get something like that?
Not sure what your question is, but heat tape is available at any hardware store or lumberyard.
You say the pipe will freeze anyways if water isnt moving...i guess it depends on how cold it is but i wonder how long that would take?
It's impossible to say; there are too many variables.

We would be using the bathroom everyday.

Maybe I need to let the shower and sink drip? Kepping the water moving
IMO, it's a band-aid approach. Whatever it takes, I would avoid having to depend on doing that, or depend on heat tapes. LOL, maybe I'm just old and tired of it all.

I thought I was going to outsmart Mother Nature one sub-zero night by leaving my kitchen faucet drip. It worked, but the drain froze because of the tiny amount of water entering it and freezing, where the normal gush of warm water just drains out normally. It never froze before nor since in 29 years.

My plumbing is all on the floor against the wall or in the corner of the wall and ceiling. Someday when I finish the house (haha) I will make some decorative covers for it but at least it doesn't freeze anymore.

Drains in the crawlspace have never been a problem except in the above mentioned incident with the kitchen sink. The trap in my shower drain is right under the floor and all the insulation is between it and the crawlspace. It has never frozen. I think it's probably a good idea to make any drains in a crawlspace with as much slope as is practical so they drain quickly and completely.
 
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Old 12-19-09, 09:53 AM
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There is a reason other then temperature not to put plumbing, at least for a bathtub, on an outside wall. You can't install an access panel for the tub faucet and drain. What if you need to change out a faucet or drain? Do you really want to smash a hole in your expensive Italian ceramic tile surround, tile that is no longer available to replace a faucet?
 
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Old 12-19-09, 10:35 AM
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THANKS GUYS

for access to the faucet it would either be removing siding etc then 2nd wall or bust up drywall in the theatre room...both would suck but drywall would be easier im sure.

Ray2047, did you happen to see the pic i post of the 2nd wall i would build?

what do u think
 
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Old 12-19-09, 11:12 AM
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or bust up drywall in the theatre room.
No busting Sheetrock, an access panel is built at time of construction. At least that is the way it is usually done here.Actually Ideally this should be in a closet. If not perhaps furniture arrangement can hide it or paint to match or a fancy decorative door.
did you happen to see the pic i post of the 2nd wall i would build?
I'd leave it on the outside wall and just move the plumbing. A double wall would make it harder to work on the bath faucet and drain if you need to.

My comments are based on personal preferences and others may have different opinions but I always build with the pessimistic attitude of how am I going to fix this when it breaks. I like to make fixing as easy as possible.
 
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Old 12-20-09, 07:50 AM
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what about the p-trap in this crawl space ? will it freeze?
 
 

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