Pump house pipes freeze protection


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Old 12-13-15, 08:48 PM
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Pump house pipes freeze protection

I would like to know, how to keep pipes in a well house from freezing. I have used 2 60 watt bulbs last year and they would burn all the time. I would like to conserve energy. Is there another way that I could do this? All of this is above ground in North Carolina.
 
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Old 12-13-15, 10:25 PM
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That's 120 watts of heat. That isn't very much. The only way to reduce the amount more is to better insulate your pump house.

You could also use a plug in thermostat to only run the bulbs when the pump house gets near freezing.
 
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Old 12-14-15, 04:39 AM
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As a Real Estate Broker, I've become familiar with several of these pump set-ups, especially those located at lake front properties where water has to be drawn from out in the lake.

The most interesting employ plug in thermostats like PJ mentioned; but often using multiples of them so that one may be set to activate one incandescent bulb at 36F, and a 2nd bulb to kick in if the temperature continued to drop inside the box down to 34F.

One guy had a little red in-line indicator bulb wired outside, so that he could see it from the house, and that red bulb would light up only if the 2nd bulb was activated; in which case he knew that either the 1st bulb had burned out . . . . or the temperature outside was so low that he had to increase the wattage of the bulbs being used. Hopefully, a source of these bulbs used for heat will continue to be available, even though they're being phased out.

We sometimes experience ambient temperatures that drop down to -48F and below for extended periods of time, so protecting water lines is a serious concern during the winter around here.

PS: Most thermometers stop at -40F because that's a convenient point for manufacturers to stop printing increments on the dial since Celsius and Fahrenheit are identical readings at -40 . . . . so it's difficult to tell how much further below -40 we've descended. My eyes are usually watering so much I can't see straight anyway !
 

Last edited by Vermont; 12-14-15 at 04:56 AM. Reason: Added PostScript
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Old 12-14-15, 05:28 AM
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Use heat tape not light bulbs.
Insulate the pump house better.
Seal any holes with expanding foam.
 
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Old 12-14-15, 07:40 AM
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IMO using light bulbs is just a temporary solution. Like Joe, I'd suggest using heat tape. It can be very effective and only comes on when the temp drops below 35 [?]
 
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Old 12-14-15, 09:38 AM
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We used a milk house heater for years. They're better suited than more typical heaters as far as size and output, smaller, less expensive on the front end, and less expensive to operate. Very effective all the way around, in my opinion.
 
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Old 12-14-15, 10:18 AM
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I'm sure Heat Tape has its place; but if the Pump House contains the Pump, Pressure Tank and the Pressure Switch, in addition to inlet and outlet pipes, it's hard to wrap everything in tape and still be able to service the components . . . . when necessary.

I always plan to perform my own work under balmy conditions; but that's seldom the case. Maybe the OP's setup is simple enough to address the issue with just Heat Tape ?
 
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Old 12-14-15, 10:43 AM
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I live in the mountains of east tenn so the climate should be similar to north carolina. I used to have a storage tank in my crawlspace [finally rusted out] which was never protected other than the heat tape on the pipes on each side. While protected from the wind my crawlspace is far from being airtight or insulated. The storage tank never froze. I am on city water and not a well.
 
 

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