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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    2

    Default Uninsulated water run in garage

    Hi,

    I have a raised ranch, circa 1969. I just had some air sealing/insulation work done to hopefully cut down on HVAC costs. Our bedrooms had been quite cold -- to cut down on that we had them blow in insulation between the garage and the bedrooms.

    The crew that came out raised a concern that there's some water pipe running in the garage. Indeed, cold water pipe comes down from the garage ceiling in a U-shape with a turn-off valve that controls inside and outside water faucets. If I close that turnoff valve I'm able to drain most of the pipe, but there's still about 6 inches of uninsulated water pipe run leading to that turn-off valve.

    What's the easiest/best way I can resolve this? Clearly in the past there has been enough warm air leakage from the rest of the house to keep that pipe length from freezing. I don't know how much of a difference adding the blown in insulation would make from a water temperature standpoint.

    Options I see are:

    - Wrap the pipe with foam insulation, tape it up, and keep the cold air off it.
    - Add some heat tape around the pipe. Seems a touch wasteful as I only strictly need to heat about a 6-8 inch run.
    - Bust open the ceiling, and rework the plumbing. I'm not sure what kind of valve would let me pop it through drywall as I'd need to allow control of the inside garage/outside house water faucets though. It seems if there were a good way to do this it would have already been plumbed this way...

    Appreciate any thoughts..thanks!

    - Joe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    3,158

    Default Re: Uninsulated water run in garage

    They make electrically powered heating wires, commonly referred to as heating tape in some areas, that can be wrapped around the pipes then plugged in. On the better ones, the wires so nothing over 40 degrees using no power. Below 40 degrees it turns itself on.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,002

    Default Re: Uninsulated water run in garage

    You don't say where you live so I don't know how cold it gets.
    My semi attached garage in Maryland seldom if ever gets below freezing when the door is not left open for long periods. If that's the case putting insulation on the pipe should be okay. Wrapping some insulation around the valve during the winter months would protect the valve.
    Or get some heat tape that is thermostatically controlled as mentioned.
    Another way is to install a frost proof hose bib type of valve. It has to be long enough to extend into a heated space in order to work.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    7,762

    Default Re: Uninsulated water run in garage

    "- Wrap the pipe with foam insulation, tape it up, and keep the cold air off it."

    It will work if you add some insulation to the foam.

    "- Add some heat tape around the pipe. Seems a touch wasteful as I only strictly need to heat about a 6-8 inch run."

    This will work.

    "- Bust open the ceiling, and rework the plumbing. I'm not sure what kind of valve would let me pop it through drywall as I'd need to allow control of the inside garage/outside house water faucets though. It seems if there were a good way to do this it would have already been plumbed this way..."

    This will work, it's more expensive than the other solutions. You can install a shut off valve inside the wall, frame around it, insulate around it and cover the whole thing with a removable piece of drywall or playwood.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Uninsulated water run in garage

    Thanks for the thoughts folks. Should have mentioned I'm in Massachusetts. So we do tend to have extended periods with it below freezing outside.

    So I think I'm tempted to give it a go with insulating/wrapping the pipe. I'll see if I can attach a battery powered thermometer sensor to the pipe & figure out if it actually gets down to ~45 degrees or so..if it does, sounds like heat tape is the best option. I'd just assume not put an access panel in that ceiling -- I'd like to keep it nice & tight & insulated. The blown in insulation has solved the cold spot in my house, so I'd hate to start undoing that work.

    Thanks again!

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