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Preventing frozen pipes

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by serveprotect, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. serveprotect

    serveprotect New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2012
    Messages:
    84
    Can anyone recommend an inexpensive electric heater for the basement? Preferably one with a t stat just to keep pipes from freezing.

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  2. DMKNLD

    DMKNLD Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Monmouth, ME
    I was worried about freezing my water pipes as well without running the oil furnace in the basement. I tried an electric heater the first winter we lived here, but found my electricity bill increase negated the savings I get in burning pellets. Being a circa 1870's drafty New England farmhouse with a granite field stone foundation, it just wasn't very efficient to be able to keep the heat from just going out into the walls.

    I found replacing my single pane basement louvre windows with good insulated ones, double foam sheet insulating the bulkhead door, and filling the cracks and drafty areas between the foundation and the sill areas with Great Stuff spray foam insulation did the trick. Going to the basement on a windy day with a lit incense stick to find your drafty areas and seal them with the spray insulating foam will be your best 'bang for the buck' in minimizing heat loss / maximizing heat retention. I also insulated my exposed water pipes with split foam insulation, and foam boarded the parts of the foundation that were well above the outside ground level and thus more susceptible to heat loss.

    For a couple hundred dollar investment in insulating materials, this has more than paid me back in energy savings over the the 4 winters we've lived in our house, and I've yet to have my pipes freeze up. When it's windy and below zero temps my pellet stove can't keep up, so the oil furnace will kick in then, which helps keep the basement temps in the upper 30's even on the coldest nights. I bought a cheap wireless digital thermometer to put near our water softener system to remotely monitor the basement temps.

    Just my .02, FWIIW.
    kinsmanstoves likes this.
  3. TheMightyMoe

    TheMightyMoe Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Messages:
    544
    Loc:
    Fairbanks, Alaska.
    Insulation is your best option, my basement gets no HEAT, but the heat from the first floor keeps it a cool 45 degrees. (Its -30 here right now)

    I have the basement walls lined with R-38. I do have a thermostat down there wired to a zone valve, in case it drops to 35 degrees.
  4. Billybonfire

    Billybonfire Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    272
    Loc:
    Lancashire NW England.
    When I was a kid, my dad used to put an oil lamp in the garage to stop the diesel freezing in his truck, doesnt seem to happen nowadays because of additives in the fuel.
    Was like this -
    oil[1].jpg
  5. bbfarm

    bbfarm Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2012
    Messages:
    545
    Loc:
    wisconsin
    We also have an 1870's house with fieldstone basement. we did not have any problem with pipes freezing last year, no heat in basement.

    we do have heat tape on the pipes that go to the kitchen though because that is only a crawl space and they froze every winter even with the furnace in the basement going.

    we only plug them in when it gets below zero outside.
  6. bill3rail

    bill3rail Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    435
    Loc:
    LI, NY
    I need to look into basement insulation some time in the future.
    Last winter, second half burning pellets was mild.
    I should be monitoring the temp more closely this year.

    Bill

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