Re: 1/2" water lines in uninsulated exterior wall (Terry)
Posted by Terry Love on March 13, 1999 at 14:44:40:
In response to Re: 1/2" water lines in uninsulated exterior wall (Terry)
: My questions are:
: (1) Will the pipes freeze in Seattle?

Pipes in an outside uninsulated wall in Seattle can and do freeze. Not guaranteed to freeze, but do freeze often. I have fixed plenty.

: (2) Does the building code allow this?

I would say yes, in that the outside wall is considered a part of the heated space. Heat will pass through the plaster wall and heat the pipe somewhat. Even in unheated spaces, 1/2" pipe insulation is sufficient for passing code. (no matter how may freeze breaks you get) Type L copper pipe would be a help here.

Building code in new construction requires insulating exterior walls, however, it does not force insulating of older homes being repaired.

I recommend, if the pipes are in the outside wall, to leave the pipes unwrapped and install fiberglass insulation between the pipes and the cold side of the wall. This allows the warmth of the home to heat the pipes, with the fiberglass insulation trapping the heat. This is effective in attics where I recommend laying batt insulation over unwrapped pipes, allowing the heat from the home to be trapped by the insulation and thus keeping the pipes warm.

Better yet, would be to run pipes in an inside wall, where sections can be soldered together and fished through the wall from top to bottom, reducing the number of holes in the wall.

: (3) How much will I be bothered by the coldness of the water from those lines, even if it does not freeze?

I have that situation in my home, it is cold for a bit. The hot water is surprisingly cold at first.


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