04:45AM | 10/06/04
Member Since: 03/23/04
71 lifetime posts
I just bought my home in July this year. I live in Northwest Indiana, on Lake Michigan. We can have some fairly cold winters.

It has a crawl space with vents. The crawl is about 3 1/2 feet below ground. The furnace is installed in the living area, not the crawl. I have installed r-19 between the floor joists and have insulated the duct work (a foil faced insulation designed for duct work).

The plumbing is PEX and has a Vanguard "Manabloc manifold". The piping is exposed in the crawl.

Question: Since I have insulated the heat ducts (thereby reducing a source of heat) should I be concerned about the plumbing freezing in winter?

Is PEX more, or less susceptable to freezing than copper? Is there a simple way to insulate the piping?



09:16AM | 10/06/04
Wind getting to the pipe is the worse thing. Even with your floor and duct insulation I would not think your crawl space would get below 32degrees. But I'm in Kansas and we have just a few weeks below freezing.

We plumbers are not all in agreement about which freezes faster. Generally we think that the plastic will freeze faster but not be as apt to split which requires repair.

A good pipe insulation job helps but making sure there are no cracks between your foundation and sill is more important. There is a heat tape that is much better than what we used to have. However it must be wrapped tighthly to the pipe and then insulated around it.

Opening cabinet doors and running water helps a lot. Traps can also freeze which means you can't run water to protect your water pipes. Generally the only trap you have under the house is the tub trap but there are some washing machine traps underneaty also. Traps freezing is much less common. Last time for us was twenty years ago and it still took wind getting to the pipe.


01:47PM | 10/06/04
I like the site dedication to plumber Tom. Also when I take on legal cases I might not have time to keep up with the posts.
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