Buildng Technique Question

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by molo, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. molo

    molo New Member

    Messages:
    840
    Location:
    cold new york
    I live in upstate NY where the freezes can go easily 4 ft down, and sometimes deeper if there is traffic from a driveway driving the frost down.

    Is there a way to biuld a year-round home on posts without a foundation, and still keep your water lines coming into the home from freezing?

    There is a nice looking home on posts/piers nearby that has no foundation. I'm wondering how he gets his water line in there.

    Any ideas? Anyone?

    Thanks, Molo in the cold woods
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2006
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    There must be an area where utilities / water come in that is protected from cold. When you say "without a foundation" do you mean you can look across the house under it?
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2006
  3. molo

    molo New Member

    Messages:
    840
    Location:
    cold new york
    Yes Cass,
    There is no foundation! I agree there must be a place where the utilities are coming in. But how does he keep the water from freezing? I really want to figure this out because building on piers could be much more affordable than building on slab, poured walls, or block walls.

    Thanks, Molo
  4. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I read recently, here or on another forum, that for every foot or so thickness of foam insulation, the frostline decreases by a couple feet. But you'll have to research this, since I don't remember the exact numbers.
  5. molo

    molo New Member

    Messages:
    840
    Location:
    cold new york
    Still need to figure out how to get the water line from the ground into the house, this could be as much as a 3' distance through open air. Any ideas?

    Thanks, Molo
  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Have you walked around the house and looked closely. I'm sure you will see how it was done.

    Walk up and knock on the door and ask. I bet the owner will be glad to show you how it was done.
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Being from cold Northern San Diego ( winter temp sometimes dips into the 40's) I don't know how they do it. Logic would tell me you would have to build a chase from the ground up to the floor level, which would have to be heated.

    Let us know what the real answer is.
  8. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    That would be the easiest part, since there would be no digging. You could wrap it with heating tape and cover it in insulation.
  9. molo

    molo New Member

    Messages:
    840
    Location:
    cold new york
    Cast Iron Pitcher Pump!

    Well........I talked to the homeowner today. He has a hand-operated pitcher pump inside his house! He has a way that the water drains out of the water pipe below ground, therefore, there is never water just sitting above ground in the pipe between the ground and the bottom of the house. (about a 3'air space because the home is built on posts). He also told me that he live in the home for 8.5 yrs without electricty. For showers he heats water on a stove and then puts it into a 5-gallon bucket attached to his shower head! This is very interesting. He also has a composting toilet because it costs about 10k to build a septic system here.
    I wonder how his water pressure is on the shower?

    Molo
  10. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I like simplicity, but that's a little too much, even for me.:)
  11. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    If you want to build the same type of home you will want to build an insulated chase that all the utilities came in through and it could be built in such a way that it used ground heat to keep the water lines from freezing. I have seen water pump out "buildings" that were about 4' x 4' x 4' high that were heated with a light bulb and never froze.

    It doesn't take a lot of heat to prevent water from freezing. Just stay 1-2 degrees above 32F.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,315
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    ground

    How much "ground heat" is there when the ground is frozen, unless you use a geothermal well?
  13. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    I have installed automatic horse watering systems that run a 1/2" water line in a 6" insulated PVC chase that gos down into the ground 5' and above ground about 3-4'. The ground heat rises and gets trapped and is enough to prevent freezing.

    It does have a small heater, only to keep the dish the horse drinks out of from freezing, it keeps the dish water at about 40 degrees or so, if memory serves me right.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2006
  14. PEW

    PEW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    487
    We have a home on the Chesapeake Bay where new homes along the water are often now up on piers due to building codes. Heat tape and insulation are used around here.

    Paul
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