Question on attic setup (pics)

Old 10-16-10, 03:20 PM
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Question on attic setup (pics)

I have done a bunch of work in the the upstairs.. whole bunch of insulation, new drywall, etc, but have one question Id like to get feedback on.

I have a cape (with kneewalls) and I insulated the floor of the upstairs attic and the knee-wall, rather than the actually roof----as you see in the pics below.

(as a bonus, I found a leak in a fitting which I repaired with a shark bite---that thing is great!!!! you can see the shark bite and the pan holding water...)

As a result, the copper pipes for heat to the upstairs bedroom is left in un-conditioned (aka freezing cold) air for the winter. As a precaution, I got some of the pipe heater which plug in and run on top of the pipes. Basically, there is a thermostat which turns on at 38 degrees and off at 45. I intend on asking the manufacturer of the pipe heaters this question as well, but...

Can I, should I, throw insulation on top of the pipes will the cable on it as extra precaution? In theory, I wont need it, but I have so much available, it would make me sleep better at night to have the pipe heaters plugged in and some R30 or so on top of it.

Needlless to say, my concern is that its a fire hazard. Pic below to get an idea of what Im dealing with. The pipes follow that chaseway down to the basement...


Old 10-16-10, 03:54 PM
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Most heat tape requires pipe insulation on top (check the directions), they also should be wired into a GFCI, the manufactor is the place to confirm.
Old 10-16-10, 04:05 PM
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I would prefer to not use the electric heat tracing but instead properly insulate the pipes. Best would be pre-formed rigid fiberglass, ideally two-inch thick wall but one-inch would be less expensive and probably just as good. After insulating the pipes bury it all in the loose fiberglass. Next to the rigid fiberglass would be to use a good rubber insulation like Rubatex or Armaflex. Even the foam pipe insulation you can get at the local mega-mart homecenter, if you get at least 1/2 inch wall would be better than just the loose fiberglass.

Understand that the proper insulation WILL be somewhat costly but far less cost than either frozen piping or a fire from a malfunctioning heat trace.

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