Baffling plumbing nightmare, may come true

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Old 11-18-13, 05:45 PM
J
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Baffling plumbing nightmare, may come true

We purchased house built in 1960 couple of years ago. While the smartypant house inspector gave me a bucket list of things to fix, he skipped on several things. Plumbing is perhaps one of the major concern.
We have copper plumbing that runs through the crawl space which is exposed to open air. We live in NJ and it can get fairly cold. I checked the plumbing and I could not see any sign of crack/leakage but I think it just may be matter of time when things will freeze up and crack. However, my second thought is, if that did not happen in last 50+ years, chances are it will not happen.
So, should I think of insulating the crawlspace plumbing or just re-plumbing the whole house? Comments/suggestions?
 
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Old 11-18-13, 06:19 PM
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Whoa! Take a deep breath. Perhaps the inspector did not mention the plumbing because it is not a issue.

You're thought that if it's worked for 50 years is mostly correct so there is no need to panic. Even though the crawl space is unheated and may "feel" cold when you go in there it can be far from freezing. A certain amount of ventilation is needed to get rid of moisture but the warm living space above and ground below does a very good job of keeping it warmer than the freezing temps outside the house.

Would insulating the pipes help? Probably. Still, insulating does not heat the pipes. It just keeps them from cooling as fast so insulating can help for short periods but it doesn't help much when you go away for a few days. Also consider that you are in New Jersey which has a relatively mild climate. If you think it gets cold ask someone from Edmonton or Fairbanks.

If you are looking for an excuse to re-plumb have at it. I love PEX and will pick it every time over copper. It's highly tolerant of freezing but unless it's an expense you need to incur I'd spend the money on a vacation and enjoy life.
 
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Old 11-18-13, 06:26 PM
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Close the vents in the crawl. Stuff them with insulation...

You have boiler? If so those pipes keep it warm in crawl....


Im in NJ too. House 1950 same as yours.. Never am issue...
 
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Old 11-18-13, 08:26 PM
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Thanks guys! I can now get rid of one problem off my head.
 
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Old 11-19-13, 05:30 AM
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Thanks for the reminder Lawrosa. I've forgotten to close my foundation vents for the season. I keep mine open for the 9 warmer months and only close them for the couple months where we have freezing temps.
 
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Old 01-09-14, 02:34 PM
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My nightmare come true. Actually, it is the baseboard heating plumbing that got frozen in the cold snap. Now, I have to scrawl under the house to figure out if there is any crack. Not happy, not happy this year, so far.
 
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Old 01-09-14, 02:44 PM
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So what happened? Freeze up? Did you close the vents?
 
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