Preventing Outside Water Line from Freezing
I own a small cottage in Maine. We just purchased it last year, so I am still getting used some things.
In the winter we leave the heat on at 55 degrees, and shut off the main water valve. I also have a freeze alarm that calls me if the heat goes off.
The one area that I am concerned about is the main pipe that enters the house connecting with the municipal water supply.
The house has no basement, it is bulit on piers.
The water line from the street runs underground, then emerges from the ground in the crawlspace under the kitchen. However, it emerges about three feet away from where the pipe actually enters the house. So it comes up about 6 inches, there is a 90 degree bend, and then three feet of horizontal pipe, then the pipe goes into the kitchen.
It is a copper pipe.
The pipe is insulated with foam, and there is heat tape on the pipe, which we always leave on in the winter. Since this line is before my house shut off, I can't shut the water to it myself.
The problem is, this week there was a power failure that lasted almost 48 hours, while we were away, so the heat tape was obviously not on.
The power is back, and a neighbor checked and everything seems fine, but the question is what can I do make this pipe less prone to freezing in case of a longer power failure?
I guess I could have a plumber attempt to reroute the pipe so that it enters the heated space closer to where it emerges, but I am not sure how practical or expensive that would be.
Does anyone make heat tape with some kind of battery back up? Does anyone have a preference for a brand of heat tape?
Should I have the copper replaced with pex? Is it more stable in cold weather?