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  • keeping plumbing from freezing?

    I have been asked to consider building a small cabin that would only be used on occasion,

    The design has a small bath room, shower and sink and toilet, and a kitchen sink,
    for short duration vacancies I think one could use a electric heater in the bath and keep it above freezing, (the kitchen would be against the wall of the bath, current designed),

    the main cabin would be heated by a pellet or corn stove, so the main room could and would in winter go below freezing,

    some of the thoughts I have been thinking of is to put the traps below grade so they would not freeze,
    Put a pit in (assessable either via trap door or via out side lid depending on location of the pit), and locate small hot water heater in the pit with drain back shut offs, to the water inside,

    (question would you put in electrical type conduit say 1.5" or 2" to be able to run the water lines in encase of freezing, (easier to pullout and replace), If problems happen,

    The thought crossed my mind to use out door freeze proof spigots out of the wall to the kitchen sink but I think that would look fairly tacky, since the kitchen area would be in the main cabin room, (one main room cabin), about 20' by 20' or 20' X24'.

    Does any one know of any faucets that will completely drain back or out, or would one need to blow out the lines with air to get the valves to empty out? so the heat could be compleatly shut off when not in use.


    The toilet would just need to be antifreezes, as far as I can see,

    Does any one have any thoughts that may be of value in this type of situation?

    the floor plan dimensions are not all correct in the picture, but the lay out would be similar, the out side would be similar to the barn type picture, and there would be a loft most likely as well,
    Attached Files
    Last edited by BHD; 06-21-2010, 02:59 PM.
    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
    attributed to Samuel Johnson
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

  • #2
    Re: keeping plumbing from freezing?

    You could build it in Arizona in August


    Sorry BHD I could not help that reply


    Cactus Man

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    • #3
      Re: keeping plumbing from freezing?

      will there be electricity to the cabin year round?
      Time flies like an arrow.

      Fruit flies like a banana.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: keeping plumbing from freezing?

        Colorado gets i little colder than Arkansas
        What i did in my hunting apartment was to keep all the water lines out of the outside walls and came up in the cabinets
        its 20x24 with 2/6 walls and no air leaks ..A 1500 watt elec heater can keep the whole place 50 deg on 20 deg nights ....But i heat it with a 1 burner lp infrared heater with a thermostat just in case i lose power..
        My 30 gal low boy sits under the kit cabinets ..

        I did a friends shop that is layed out like your bath and kit , but a lot bigger,, The kit water comes out of the bath room wall and into the sink base
        When it is cold he puts a light bulb under the kit sink and a piece of ply wood over the sink to hold in the heat..
        All is good as long as the power stays on..
        He has 4 - 5 burner infareds in the kit side of the shop but only runs them when hes out there

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        • #5
          Re: keeping plumbing from freezing?

          Where is the water heater and type of unit? Will there be a crawlspace?

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          • #6
            Re: keeping plumbing from freezing?

            how cold does it get in lower slobnia? why not just hook up a pump to a jig and pump antifreeze through it? i make so real good money every spring where people used air to winterize. breid....................

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            • #7
              Re: keeping plumbing from freezing?

              the hot water heater would most likely be electric and in a craw hole or pit out side next to the building,
              and yes normally electricity would be on 24/7 unless power was lost,

              the thought was if it would be used every week end then use an electric heater in the bath to keep it above freezing, but if it was not to be used for a few weeks at a time or a few months, then drain back the water and shut off,

              yes the thought of heating the kitchen (use bi fold doors) to shut off the kitchen from the main room, or heating under the cabinet to keep things warm.

              may be a air compressor to blow the lines out and then some type of pump to pump in some RV anti freeze, would be best, but even tho it is said to be safe I really do not like the idea of antifreeze in water lines,

              the coldest I have seen is about 30 below, and that is rare, but 10 to 20 below can happen, but not a normal, the normal is about 0 and up to 10 below on the normal cold snaps,

              I have considered the idea of a vent less infra red heater, but if a guest was using the cabin, I would not want a vent less heater being used when people were sleeping, and I could see people do that instead of feeding the pellet stove,

              yes the building would be insulated reasonable well.

              (thank you for your responses)
              Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
              attributed to Samuel Johnson
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: keeping plumbing from freezing?

                Originally posted by BHD View Post
                the hot water heater would most likely be electric and in a craw hole or pit out side next to the building,
                and yes normally electricity would be on 24/7 unless power was lost,

                the thought was if it would be used every week end then use an electric heater in the bath to keep it above freezing, but if it was not to be used for a few weeks at a time or a few months, then drain back the water and shut off,

                yes the thought of heating the kitchen (use bi fold doors) to shut off the kitchen from the main room, or heating under the cabinet to keep things warm.

                may be a air compressor to blow the lines out and then some type of pump to pump in some RV anti freeze, would be best, but even tho it is said to be safe I really do not like the idea of antifreeze in water lines,

                the coldest I have seen is about 30 below, and that is rare, but 10 to 20 below can happen, but not a normal, the normal is about 0 and up to 10 below on the normal cold snaps,

                I have considered the idea of a vent less infra red heater, but if a guest was using the cabin, I would not want a vent less heater being used when people were sleeping, and I could see people do that instead of feeding the pellet stove,

                yes the building would be insulated reasonable well.

                (thank you for your responses)
                I guess I would run the water lines in PEX. Probably Uponor as I've heard it is easier to use in freezing weather. If that's, in fact, true, then it may also mean it would expand more in freezing weather. If it expands, no burst pipe.

                I would run the pex from a manifold without fittings if at all possible to each fixture. Try to run it with no traps in the line, so when you want to drain it back it will do so easily.

                I would use quarter turn shutoffs at the wall so the opening is unobstructed for drain backs.

                Put a ball valve in the bottom of the water heater so it can drain quickly.

                Put ball valves to act as drains at the bottom of every trap you create in a water line. (I personally would use ips valves with a plug screwed in)

                It's going to freeze at some point so you may as well make it try to withstand the process. The easier it is to drain back/ drain down the more likely it is there won't be water in the piping when the freeze hits.

                Good luck.
                Time flies like an arrow.

                Fruit flies like a banana.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: keeping plumbing from freezing?

                  is heat tape an option?

                  of course as a safety, when out of town. shut off the water and drain it down. if you slope it, you probably won't need air.

                  i too would run pex inside of pvc conduit or pvc flex. this will allow for replacement if it needs it.

                  but what do i know about the cold, except i did run the a.c. today to cool off the truck

                  rick.
                  phoebe it is

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: keeping plumbing from freezing?

                    I have never seen uponor damaged from freezing

                    One run of PEX ran between 2 buildings, and was not insulated properly.

                    It froze 25 times (that I know of) that winter until I could dig it and fix it right.

                    Fixtures are the hardest hit in a freezeup. I typically blow them out and have reasonable success.

                    Toilet fill valves only seem to make it 60% or so of the time.

                    Antifreeze is a must for the toilet.

                    Self limiting heat trace on a timer, or maybe recirc DHW to hot and cold sides? I've never done it, you could end up with some rather yucky water I guess.

                    Maybe the electric radiant floor stuff in kitchen and bath would work.

                    p-traps should be as close to the fixture as possible, long runs to a trap can cause some stink from decaying residue in the pipe.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: keeping plumbing from freezing?

                      We have a ton of summer cottages on lake Mi. Never rely on the heat or electric. best set ups I've seen have had all water lines sloped. I love ball valves but not where it might freeze. They split. stick to gate valves. for a simple system I'd use the 2 types of pex that can expand when they freeze. crap the names escape me and that's all I use. no water in outside walls. everything sloped down to a low boiler drain in a pit unless there is a crawl space. shut well off open fixtures and boiler drain. anti freeze toilet and traps or just take a chance the heat will work but always have the water off and drained. All expensive toilet seat bidets have a drain plug on them don't forget to drain the bidet! I am a big fan of sleeving any pipe in the ground so go ahead. Just remember it will freeze sometime. they always do.

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                      • #12
                        Re: keeping plumbing from freezing?

                        As "Saysflushable" says, slope all pipes, and the Norwegian trick is to install a drain valve at the lowest possible point. Add the Danish way, and do everything in TIG Welded stainless, so even if rest water freezes, the pipes may look a bit weird, but won't burst or leak. I use this system at my cabin, in Tuddal, Telemark, at 480M, and winter temps, often under -30C. I guess that in all mountain areas, regardless of country, electricity in winter is not as stable or reliable, as one would believe! I certainly always have a parafin lamp & primus stove on standby!

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