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 11-26-2004, 11:00 Post: 101082
DeTwang



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 Insulating material

I want to build small vertical insulating shafts (probably4"x4" or 6"x6"Wink yeah right around plumbing lines where they come out of the ground and enter into the bottom of my pump house, and also where they come into the bottom of the house I'm about to build.

The idea is to fill them with some sort of granular insulating material so that no part of the plumbing system is exposed to freezing temps.

I'm thinking along the lines of something like the popcorn they use for shipping stuff, only something heavier and smaller in particle size.

Any ideas what sort of material would be good for this?






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 11-26-2004, 12:13 Post: 101089
shortmagnum

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 Insulating material

You can buy small granular styrofoam in large bags. They use it to fill the cells in block walls.
Dave






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 11-26-2004, 12:42 Post: 101091
Murf



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 Insulating material

If you are installing new lines, or are up for a challenge on existing lines, they sell insulated water pipe for use in geothermal systems and the like.

They also make electrically heated water lines, we use them at our place at the lake to keep the water line coming from the lake flowing.

I would caution you though, insulation wont do much unless the water is running, or the temp. only drops for a short period. Prolonged low temps will still allow standing water to freeze.

In that case you will have an even bigger problem. Once the water freezes it MUCH harder to thaw it out since the insulation keeps the cold in as well as out.

Best of luck.






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 11-26-2004, 13:05 Post: 101092
DeTwang



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 Insulating material

well, styrofoam was not really what I had in mind. I wanted something a little more dense and small. Something that would have much of the characteristics of dirt, but not wick moisture or become a conduit for mold or spores or insects.

If it comes down to it, I guess I could make it about 18"x18" and fill it with sand or sawdust. Maybe I could treat the sawdust with something so that it doesn't wick water, becomes more desne and doesn't become attractive to any kind of insects.

Maybe clean sweep would work.

So far, lines that are underground or in a bed of sawdust have never frozen, even when left unattended for a time. But exposed lines (even those with the foam liners) have frozen.

I'm also planning to install a small recirc pump line in the ditch along with the supply line that will allow me to set the water heater to vacation mode and run water through the whole system if I leave home for extended periods.

Heat tped lines are way to expensive to install and run. But the little recirc pump only uses 35 watts and has a built in thermostat. By piping everyhing in series (except for risers) in the house and installing a ball valve between the hot and cold water riser at the farthest outlets, I could just open it when I plan to be away during the winter and set the WH to vacation.

But I was mostly concerned about insulation the copper lines where they exited the earth and entered the house as this will be about 4-5' I wanted to do something that was relativcely worry free and acted as if the pipe was buried in earth.






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 11-26-2004, 14:19 Post: 101102
Murf



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 Insulating material

I don't know about availability in your area, but we commonly use something up here called 'pipe wrap', it looks very much like an extension cord, but is made of a special polymer which can carry electricity, but the resistance of it changes with temperature. As the temperature drops below 40 F. it slowly starts to convert into a very low wattage continous strip heater. The colder it gets past 40 the warmer it gets. It uses very little power since you put it directly against the copper pipe, then insulation around both together. It is available in a wide range of lengths.

As for insulation, a common trick is to use a short length of small diameter plastic culvert, then fill it with expanded mica insulation. It will not absorb water and is not bug-friendly either.

Best of luck.






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 11-26-2004, 14:39 Post: 101104
DeTwang



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quote
Really want to try everything else before I start adding more things that use power. Want to reduce my reliance on the grid as much as possible. So the heat tape will be a last resort .

__________
As for insulation, a common trick is to use a short length of small diameter plastic culvert, then fill it with expanded mica insulation. It will not absorb water and is not bug-friendly either.
___________

Now that's the kind of stuff I want to hear. Any links or placews you can point me to find out more about this 'expanded mica' stuff?






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 11-27-2004, 00:51 Post: 101135
DeTwang



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 Insulating material

shortmagnum:

I've looked on the web fro granular styrofaom insulation to find out more about it but come up empty. Any brand names or more info that might help me find the stuff?

Murf:

The expanded mica appears to be the same as vermiculite, which I've heard of and come into contact with here and there. But I would think that that stuff absobs water. Don't they use the stuff to saok up spills and such? Anyways, I'm trying to find out more about it's characteristics for my particular use, and not having much luck. They seem to use it for all kinds of stuff though, from insulation to water filtration and everything in between.






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 11-27-2004, 08:15 Post: 101140
8NFord



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 Insulating material

I'd recommend Armaflex foam insulation. If you want more, just put a bigger size on top of the "fitting" size and double up. This would give you close to 2" of foam and should be plenty. Reliable, easy.
JD






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