Worried about freezing pipes!

Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: medtech On: Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:59 pm

Now that I have my Harman Mark II hooked up and burning my oil furnace isn't needed to heat the house. It still runs to heat my water via an indirect water heater on a separate zone. The Harman easily keeps the house at 75. My problem is there are a few sections of the baseboard heater pipe that run thru closets on the second floor. These closets don't get heat from the stove and I'm worried when it starts getting real cold out the pipes might freeze.

I've heard people filling the heating system with anti-freeze. Is this as easy as getting a bunch of bottles of rv anti-freeze and a pump and filling up the furnace and pipes or is there more to it than that? Should i just call my local heating guy and have him do it? I've drained my system before so I know about bleeding the air out of the pipes. Anything else need to be done to do this properly?

Thanks!
medtech
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark II

Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: coalmeister On: Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:30 pm

If it were me and I wasn't using it I would drain it, but then, what do I know...
coalmeister
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska 140 Furnace -sold
Stove/Furnace Model: Harmon VF3000 -sold

Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:36 pm

The pipes are in a second floor closet in a house that is at 75*, I don't think you have a problem. Before you do anything, get a thermometer in the closet when it gets colder out, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea


Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: medtech On: Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:04 am

I can't drain the furnace since it's still used for dhw. I could add valves to the other zone but I like having it as a backup in case the coal ever has a problem. I'll check the closet temperature when it starts getting cold outside. The problem is the closet is in the worst place. The closet is over an enclosed unheated back porch. To get to the closet you have to go thru the master bedroom, into the master bathroom, and thru a small crawl thru access door. The bedroom door is closed so it doesn't get too hot. It's still at 70 degrees. The bathroom door is usually closed and the bathroom is a bit cooler than the bedroom, haven't measured it. There is no way for heat to get to the bathroom or the closet. This is what made me worry about the pipe running thru the closet. I guess I could always get some of that plug-in pipe heater tape if it gets too cold in there.
medtech
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark II

Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: Freddy On: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:28 am

You should be able to close some valves and drian just those pipes. Make sure to blow them out with compressed air, just draining might not empty them. If anti freezing, do not use RV antifreeze. They make boiler antifreeze for a reason. I wouldn't antifreeze unless I aboslutly needed to. It's a continual job to maintain it, checking it each yr, adding stuff to it, changing it every 5 years. Also it does not transfer heat as well. It wouldn't make a difference that you'd notice heating hot water, but if you went to use the baseboard it won't heat as quickly. It doesn't use more fuel, just makes things slower.
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: Pa Dealer On: Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:33 am

What about pipes in the walls :?: Drain it down but keep water in boiler for the dhw.
Pa Dealer
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520 DF
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM DF 520
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoker

Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: medtech On: Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:53 am

I am worried about draining them because I want the furnace useable. I have a wife and 1 year old son so the house can't get cold and I am away from the house for a couple days quite often. My wife doesn't want to have to deal with the coal stove so she needs to be able to use the regular heat while i'm gone. Plus it would be a pain any time I went on vacation and had to refill and bleed the pipes so the house doesn't freeze. I guess I'll just wait and see what the temp gets to in the closet.
medtech
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark II

Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: Pa Dealer On: Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:15 am

Keep the closet door open in cold weather.
Pa Dealer
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520 DF
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM DF 520
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoker

Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: coalkirk On: Tue Nov 04, 2008 3:10 pm

Well, you should have bought a boiler....but since you didn't, lets see. Your house is 75. Your closets, even on an outside wall shouldn't get below the 50's. Are there any pipes in unconditioned spaces like the attic? I know there shouldn't be but I see it all the time, particularly in older homes. If so then you might have a problem.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: e.alleg On: Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:30 pm

If it were me, I would put a simple thermostat (hooked to the DHW boiler) in the coldest closet and leave it set at 50 degrees. When the closet gets to 50 the circulator will kick on and heat up the pipes. That will keep your circulator pump from seizing up as well. All you need is the cheapo $12.00 heat only thermostat, it will work perfect.
e.alleg
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520

Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: sterling40man On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:53 am

Pa Dealer wrote:Keep the closet door open in cold weather.


This is what I would do. I live in northern Maine and my house is built out of 2x4's. On really cold windy nights, I open the cabinet doors underneath my kitchen sink. I'm not sure if it would get cold enough to freeze the pipes, but I don't take any chances.
Last edited by sterling40man on Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
sterling40man
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker K6
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: bear creek burnout On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:08 am

My problem is there are a few sections of the baseboard heater pipe that run thru closets on the second floor. These closets don't get heat from the stove and I'm worried when it starts getting real cold out the pipes might freeze.


I have an exact setup as you...closet above an unheated sunporch....even with the baseboard oil fired unit running we always keep that little door open to allow heat to flow into the closet. When I get my coal unit up and running I will do the same and keep an eye on the temp in the closet.
Good luck......you should be ok.
bear creek burnout
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503 Insert

Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: Dallas On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:11 am

After reading through all of the advice here, I'm thinking "K.I.S.S.".

The things, which come to my mind are "some heat tape, wrapped around the pipes and plugged in when required" or "a lamp with a 60 watt bulb in the closet", keeping it away from clothes, etc..

Oh, ... that means "Keep It Simple Stupid" ... nothing personal, it's just something I look at, when things seem to be getting out of control.
Dallas
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Modified Russo C-35
Other Heating: Oil Hot Air
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo
Stove/Furnace Model: Modified C-35

Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: rberq On: Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:20 am

medtech wrote:The closet is over an enclosed unheated back porch. To get to the closet you have to go thru the master bedroom, into the master bathroom, and thru a small crawl thru access door.


That's quite a lot to go through when you want to select a shirt for work each morning. :)

I have an indoor-outdoor thermometer -- an indoor unit with digital display, and an outdoor unit that transmits the temp to the display via radio waves or some such magic. I put the outdoor sender in my cellar, right beside the skinny little pipe that goes to the water pump pressure switch, because that's the first thing in my house that freezes. You could do the same with your remote closet, so you can easily monitor it and see whether you have a problem or not.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: Worried about freezing pipes!

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:01 am

There is a device available,, I think it is called a thermo-cube ?? it is a thermostat meant for turning on heat tape.. it makes the connection when the temp drops below 38-40*, and opens when above ~40*.. you plug it in to a 110v outlet or extension cord, and plug the heat tape into it.. It works automaticly and they are reasonably priced and reliable..

Greg L.
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland