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hard freeze tonight - last minute consideration
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eagertomove
Mueller Community

Posts: 119
Joined on November 23rd, 2007
No Torches Please.
by eagertomove on February 3rd, 2011

Instead of dripping faucets, we have set the dishwasher and washer(we get things dirty daily) to come on at staggered times during the night. Our home is a Meritage shaped like a C with the water heater in a gagrage corner. The one weak point in winter protection is the water line running through the attic and back as it goes to the water heater. This line is insulated, but runs right at the point where the outside wall and roof form their angle. The first Meritage homes have ventilated soffits so there is going to be a flow of cold air flowinng over those pipes. This is an unusual situation for Texas as the traditional building plan was to bury all pipes under the slab. So far, our use of appliances pulling water from the water heater at night has prevented any frozen pipes.

There really is no reason to try torches or thawing of outside faucets at this time. There is such a thing as a "freezeless faucet" that we used when we contracted out previous homes. They are about 12-18 inches long and are installed in locations where you can run it into a wall. There may be some builders here that used those, but nonetheless, the typical faucets around here have been installed just the same as ours in places where it has been much colder this week and they will survive to supply water again.

 
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langhugh
Mueller Community

Posts: 1149
Joined on August 18th, 2007
No Torches Please.
by langhugh on February 3rd, 2011

If you're wondering what in the heck everyone is talking about, I've included a few pre-drywall pictures of my home. I needed to locate the plumbing run for one water line today, so I pulled out the deck of pictures we took for this purpose:

Picture 1: What is PEX? PEX is a flexible tubing that has replaced copper plumbing lines in our homes. Here is a picture of the closest thing I have to a PEX manifold in my home. It is in my attic where the main line of water comes into the manifold from the either the water heater (red tubes - hot water) or the regular water supply (blue tubes - cold water), and then out to the various faucets and showerheads. This manifold was eventually buried under inches of attic insulation, but more advance PEX systems have an accessible manifold where the user (you) can turn off water to individual lines (like your electric circuit panel).

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Picture 2: You can see how the PEX lines trail down an un-insulated wall without any insulation of their own. This is a showerhead.

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Picture 3: As the red PEX tubing is routed to an insulated exterior wall, you can see that it receives its own wrap of insulation

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Picture 4: At this vanity run on an exterior wall you can see the PEX, now wrapped in its own insulation, appears to be run on the exterior of the wall insulation sheet, and it just pokes through the insualtion where it enters the house. Part of me wonders if the lines were run on the interior wall side of the wall insulation sheet, then that might reduce the interior PEX-freezing problems.

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stew_sc
Mueller Community

Posts: 107
Joined on February 27th, 2008
No Torches Please.
by stew_sc on February 3rd, 2011

Again, thank you all for your concern.
 
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