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Heating entire home with a pellet stove. Water pipes freezing?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Marster, Jan 18, 2008.

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  1. Marster

    Marster New Member

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    Bought a P23 Breckwell pellet stove. Not installed yet but I was wondering if anyone had any problems with their water pipes freezing using a pellet stove to heat their entire house? I understand if you have it installed in your basement, this wouldnt be a problem....however, I do not have a basement. Has anyone ran into this problem? Or is it non-issue?

    TIA
    Marster

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  2. smg64ct

    smg64ct Member

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    Hi,

    My last house was very old and wasn't insulated very well. I ran the pellet stove all the time and my pipes in the kitchen froze. My new house is newer and has an open plan. I just about heat the whole house and very seldom turn on the electric heat. Not sure how effective your unit would be located in the basement. Good luck.
  3. 56 chevtruck

    56 chevtruck New Member

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    use electric pipe wrap that they use on mobile home water lines. also try putting the black pipe insulation around as much of your water pipes as possible .most home improvement/hardware stores should have these 2 items.if you house has a crawl space instead of baasement they can be cold.
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Freestanding stoves should never be counted on as 100% of heat in a cold climate. They are "space heaters", meant for keeping areas around them warmer. If you like in California you might be OK, but one good burst and you will lose more $$ than you saved in years with the stove.

    Inspect your pipe runs - if they run in a basement and not close to the exterior walls, the chances are that they will never freeze. But if they run close to the exterior, or up an exterior wall, you have to have some concern. Best thing to do might be to get some cheap thermometers and monitor the temps in the basement near the pipes. A proper house design does not count on the furnace or boiler to keep the pipes from freezing.
  5. Marster

    Marster New Member

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    Wow, thanks everyone.

    I have a crawl space under my home. I have one pipe from the well and to the main supply that has a heat tape. Usually during the winter the only time I need to plug in the tape is if it goes down to 5 or 10 degrees.

    The plumbing for the rest of the home is in the floors nestled in R28 insulation with outer plastic sealing it off from the underneath When I go under the house in the winter for anything (storage area) it's usually warmer than the outside air temperture. I wasnt sure if the home furnace or duct work contributed to heating this or not.

    Thanks again
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, you are probably right that in come crawl spaces the ductwork may add to the heat.....as you probably know, the biggest problem in crawls is when there are vents or holes in the foundation and a "breeze" gets in near where the pipes are running. If you have one pipe you are probably in decent shape. It would not hurt to drip a faucet or two on the coldest nights of the year!
  7. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    When we used to burn wood in our old trailer, you had to let the faucets drip a little at the farthest points of entry into the house. Now we have the same thing with the pellet stove. Newer double wide, but still reall a trailer, no foundation. If you leave the water run at the farthestpoints of entry,(hot and cold) they wont freeze. Just check on them now and then, and if you have a lot of people in the hose, or kids, its tough because they are goon keep shutting the faucets off on you. You need a pretty good drip but not too much at least for the hot water as itll run up your electric bill a bit. But its still cheaper then busted pipes.
  8. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Please disregard my spelling errors. Im not much of a typist. Huh, thats probably wrong too.
  9. Marster

    Marster New Member

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    Did you ever have your water lines freeze before you started letting the spikets drip?

    I never had any problems with my water pipes using the home furnace . I had an older single wide that the pipes froze even with the home furnace running! Since I got this double wide, I havent had any problems.....but it sounds like I may if I use the pellet stove as my primary heat......... This double wide is fairly new as well.

    No problem with the spelling. I'm not the greatest speller either.

    Do you have a crawl space under your home too?
  10. Marster

    Marster New Member

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    I have skirting around the home. The skirting has small breathing holes every so many feet. I considered putting 2" insulation boards along the rear where it gets blasted with wind but was told they must come off in the summer so the home can breath properly. I was trying to warm the floor boards up alittle. While they are not freezing cold, the part that is not carpeted does get alittle chilly.

    If I run into an issue with my pipes freezing, I'll try this next year.

    Thanks!
  11. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Id guess you call it a crawl space, because thats about the only way I can do aanything under the house. The newer moblie homes are built better better insulsted then the older trailers, but still prone to freezing pipes when the weather turns bitter cold. With your furnace running the heating ducts are going to radiate some heat under the floor which could help keep the pipes somewhat warmer. Using the pelt stove, Id suspect not much warmth going under the floor. Id keep the faucets trickling a bit, and you shouldnt have any problems. Like I mentioned, you have to keep an eye on them now and them as I do because iIdont have town water I have a pump and when the pump isnt calling for water there is less pressure and thus, less water dripping. You experimennt and youll find a happy drip, without running your electric much.
    Keep it dripping and no water freeze ups. We have a spring for our water supply, and its just a little wooden box built into the side of the hill. As long as it continues to run its never froze. I dony understand it, but it works. Mystery to me but thankfull fot it.
  12. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    The insulation boards might be a good idea. Wish Id thought of it. Might keep some of the wind from blowing in on that end.
  13. Marster

    Marster New Member

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    I use well water. It has a Goulds pump with a pressure tank to bring my water into the home. Shallow well. I'll have to experiment alittle with the drip. I sorta thought the vents helped to heat the underneath. My pump and pressure tank are under the home as well. I built an igloo type house for these and the only time I had to turn the heat tape on is when it got down to 5 or 10 degree's. I think I'll put a thermometer under the home and in the Pump igloo so i can watch the tempetures.

    Thanks again!
  14. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    I have basically the same setup. GOulds with pressure tank. Only Im fortunate enough that its In the cellar of a storage building we have and pumped underground to the house. A thermometer would be a good idea to keep track of the temp. ID leavr the heat tape on all winter if I was you. Most of them only come on when the temp drops to a certain degree. Mine failed last winter. IT had been on for like 11 years, and Id negleted to leave the water trickle on a cold day. Had an awfull time getting things to unthaw, but thankfully no busted pipes.
    I cant imagine having that setup under the hose. Hard to believe theres room for it. Where in Pa are you? Doug
  15. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Marster, mobiles are designed to keep the pipes open by heating them with the excess from the furnace ducts that run nearby. That, combined with the insulation serves to keep them fine and dandy unless you aren't using the furnace at all. Then the trouble starts. It might just be your best bet to keep the water dripping a bit when its super cold out. It can't happen all that often in PA compared to here in Northern NY. It takes a bit of getting used to doing it like that but there isn't much heat tape wise you can do about problems inside that floor cavity. You are going to have to keep that water moving a bit or run the furnace some once in a while to heat that space when it very cold, period. You can try insulating the inside of your skirting if you can keep it high and dry meaning if its on a slab but it likely won;t do you all that much good for the most part. The floor is one place you would rather not deal with believe me. About the single biggest thing you can do for a mobile is make sure you have a catch pan under the hot water heater or you will become quite intimate with the floor characteristics of these creatures. Believe me you would rather not. Trailers are a rather imperfect breed and you have to learn to live with the consequences. Its not really hard but there are times when you just have to swallow hard.
  16. Marster

    Marster New Member

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    I live in Dillsburg. 20 miles from Harrisburg and York.

    I have app 2.5' where the pump and pressure tank is on one the one end. I had to replace my vertical pressure tank with a horizontal tank but besides that, I have plenty room. They put a tier slab in when they installed this place. So one end I have 2.5' and the other end I have around 3'.

    I had many failures with Snow Kings heat tapes to last me a lifetime in my singlewide. They are the kind that comes on when the temp reach a certain degree. Learned real fast to replace them every year rather they needed it or not. I now have the kind that stays on continuesley. I forget the brand. Came from the mobile home dealer.
  17. Marster

    Marster New Member

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    Thanks! I have to agree with you all all your points. I never had to replace floor boards in a singlewide I had but did replace almost all the plumbing with this grey plastic piping. After I did that, never had a problem.

    I think between letting the water drip and run the furnance on cold nights, I should be ok. Fingers crossed!! I might try using the 2"insulation board around the perimeter next year or at least on the end where the wind blast.

    Do you live in a trailer? If so, is this what you do? I just got this double wide 5 yrs ago but lived in a single wide for 22 yrs. It was an older trailer. Built well but they all come with their own issues. I wasnt sure if with the newer trailers and getting extra insulation installed in the floors when built if I would have as many problems. Sounds like their still the same in regards to keeping the pipes from freezing.
  18. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Nature of the beast. On the other hand your heat bill must be near nothing. The 1984 Titan that I now rent out has the original grey tubing it came with. I couldnt' tell you how many times its been frozen over the years but it not once sprung a leak in all these years. A good way to unthaw things under there is to open up the side one small panel opening . Put a salamander heater in there just on the edge blowing in the hole. It will heat the entire underside in no time and unthaw anything in short order. You just have to sit there and watch it constantly so you don't start a fire. I think you said you had oil right? Don't forget you really don't need kerosene in the winters in that region. I have seen -42 here with 50 /50 and it never stopped.
  19. Marster

    Marster New Member

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    My heat bill isnt as bad as it was in my single wide. I use around 375 gallons a season. But since I bought this pellet stove, I expect to cut that in half. Hopefully!

    I talked to the guy where I buy my fuel and he told me too that I dont need to use kerosene......but then I had my furnace guy come out this yr to service my home furnace and he said I do or at least need a 50/50 blend. He said all diesel gels.....so just to be on the safe side, I bought enough an additive called Power Service to treat my next delivery which is tomorrow. My furnance guy said that since I have an outside tank, I better use kerosene or a blend of that. He said the fuel lines and filter area gel first. I didnt want to get into a pissing contest with either one but I think too for this area, I really dont need kerosene......tonight will be a good test. It's suppose to go down to 12.

    Thanks for all your help!
  20. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Marster, Our daughter lives in Gettysburg, so weve been around your area before. Down to zero last night, and no water problems, thankfully. Had the P61 set to about 75, which keeps the farthest rooms in the house about 67 or so. So keep those faucets dripping.
  21. Marster

    Marster New Member

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    Is this the area where the main water comes into the home? Mine is right under the hot water heater. I also have another spot where there is a wood panel. I have no idea what these two areas are. I just know there are panels there.
  22. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Thats apx. what we were using in kero for our double wide before the pellet stove. I agree with others here on the forum, that some back up kero would be a plus seeing as I think eventually you will have issues with a pellet stove seeing as there are moving parts, computer board etc.So far weve gone through almost two tons of pellets, and have two left. I had our tank filled also, hoping that it should last a very long time while running only the pellet stove. And it will be there in case of stove breakdown, or frozen pipes. I think Ill replace my heat tape every couple years now. Tend to forget about them other then plugging them in in the winter and unplugging in spring.
  23. Marster

    Marster New Member

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    Where are you located at? I have 2 tons of pellets to see me through the rest of the season. Stove is suppose to be installed this week. I can hardly wait. Is a P61 a Breckwell? I was wondering how loud the blower is? I guess it will just take getting use to.

    Yes, I think it's a good idea to keep fuel on hand for breakdowns, frozen pipes and also to keep your fuel tank from sweating.

    I have a spetic system and to be honest, I dont like letting the water drip but I rather not have frozen pipes!

    Thanks for your help. I apprecate it very much. This site has been so helpful!! It's nice to talk with others who are experience an have similiar set ups.
  24. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    We are in Hallstead, about 50 miles north of Scranton Pa. Yes this is a great bunch here. The P61 is a Harman. The blower and uger takes a little getting used to, but whenever I hear it run ,I think of the money Im saving over kero, and nut being a slave to the oil companys and foreign countrys
  25. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    Right before my mom passed away....about 5 yrs ago she had a brand new modular home...very well built, 2x6 walls etc. Piping under neath was very well insulated etc....although she never used a stove. I installed a real heavy duty heat tape on her main line from ground to the feed inside....this particular heat tape I got for her was very nice and had a "light" on the cord installed above the floor that she could see if the cord was failing. It served her very well and made her at ease knowing the tape was working.
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