Water line to fridge in unconditioned attic

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Lucky

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my utility room is on a slab and the rest of the house has a 3 ft crawlspace. the main wate line comes into the utility room and then is fed out from there. i cannot get into the crawlspace. but apparently the water lines are fed either at an angle into the crawlspace or perhaps thru the wall cavity and down into the crawl. regardless, it's a pain for anyone to work in the crawl as the access window is at the complete opposite end of the house from the utility room . the pipes dont freeze under the house because the boiler pipes keep them warm all winter. of course thats not the case in the attic

i need to run a new unconditioned water line to a fridge in the kitchen. i dont believe in drinking soft water. i can easily see my hot tub electrical line being fed up to the attic and the floor there is exposed as i never finished an insulation project. ran out of blown in insulation and never completed it. some of the attic floor is tongue and groove and ez to lift up. currently that cavity where the hot tub line runs has zero insulation so it would be ez to place new water pipe there. its it ok to dump blown insulation on electrical wires like that? would i need to create a 'box' of some sort to house the water line?

about 10 feet over from the utility room feed is a 'room'....there are walls up in the attic there where the roof slopes too much to walk under it, and you climb thru openings to get to the 'room' above my kitchen which has no floor but i blew in about 2 feet of insulation. (ie cannot see the joists) so whoever runs the line would have to walk on the joists and dig out all that insulation and drill down into the cabinet above the fridge. thats another 10 feet to the drop where the fridge is

i rarely lose power so i believe the heat from below would keep the pipe from freezing in normal times. today its 32 out. the temp inside of the roof is 23 and the wood where the hot tub line is, is 34. i should have measured when we had a 10 degree day but i just thought of this now. i dont care about the pipe running thru the cabinet above my fridge because i've only been in the cabinet like 5 times in 30 years. its useless space. i assume could be a shut off near where it comes down thru the ceiling to the flex line that would run to the fridge.

i had a guy in to do other work yesterday an asked him to ballpark running a line thru my crawlspace and he said 1100 which seemed a bit high even for all the work. i know i need to get other estimates but today it's hard to get anyone to come out even.

currently theres a soft water line running from under my sink to the fridge because someone before me needed that line but like i said i dont want to drink soft water. i did see there are ROI under the sink models but i feel its not smart to waste 3 gallons for 1 to get water to drink. though i guess in theory you could do a cost breakeven analysis for running the new line vs installing and maintaining ROI under the sink. but just seems cheaper to run the line.
 

Terry

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Pipes in crawl spaces almost never freeze. If they do, not much damage can occur.
Pipes in attics can freeze, and being above everything, when they do split, it causes problems below.

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When I have run water lines in the attic, I cover them with fiberglass bats of insulation. I leave it open between the pipes and ceiling. I don't put pipe insulation on the pipes, I want whatever warmth is escaping through the ceiling to reach the water lines to keep them warm.
 

LLigetfa

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I don't put pipe insulation on the pipes, I want whatever warmth is escaping through the ceiling to reach the water lines to keep them warm.
It is more about the ratio of insulation above versus below. In some situations, the pipes could sweat so I prefer to have a little bit of closed-cell foam insulation on the pipes to avoid the possibility of sweat dripping off pipes creating water damage.
 

Terry

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It is more about the ratio of insulation above versus below. In some situations, the pipes could sweat so I prefer to have a little bit of closed-cell foam insulation on the pipes to avoid the possibility of sweat dripping off pipes creating water damage.

How much does it take to fill a glass of water?
I've done my share of frozen pipe repairs over the years.
 

LLigetfa

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i dont believe in drinking soft water.
Everyone is entitled to their beliefs but it may be based on biased information. If the concern is sodium, the amount of sodium in the drinking water is proportional to how hard the water was prior to softening. There are other places to reduce sodium from your diet.

If you think it is essential to get mineral from drinking water, similar to sodium, you get much more of your daily intake from your diet. IMHO the benefits of mineral water is a marketing claim.

We have extremely hard water so we run our high sodium softened water for drinking and cooking through an R/O filter. As for water wasted down the drain, water is not really wasted, just returned to the environment and recycled just like the water used to regenerate your softener.
 

LLigetfa

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How much does it take to fill a glass of water?
I've done my share of frozen pipe repairs over the years.
Yes, in this case feeding a refrigerator, there is not enough volume for sweating to become an issue. I thought your comment was of a general nature which included other water uses.
 

Terry

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Yes, in this case feeding a refrigerator, there is not enough volume for sweating to become an issue. I thought your comment was of a general nature which included other water uses.

Well..........I've never insulated pipes in the walls before. I don't see anyone else doing that either.
I'm more concerned with allowing some warmth to get to them. And repairing freeze breaks is stressful. I don't know why either. Other contractors have noted the same thing. You get a major freeze, the plumbers go out for a few days, and then they all get sick and can't come into work.
If the pipes are run with PEX, they are somewhat self insulating as far as condensation goes.
 

LLigetfa

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Well..........I've never insulated pipes in the walls before.
Usually wall cavities are closed spaces so not much in air changes that would carry in moisture. However, if there is a problem of air infiltration, there can be as much as 5 gallons of water condense inside the wall cavity over a Winter, not on pipe per se but on the cold side of the wall. Cold air infiltration can be a source of pipe freezing and I've seen that happen in cases where there was extreme cold and no power failure. In cases of air infiltration, the insulation often looks dirty. I've more often found excess moisture in an attic than in a wall.

To put things into perspective, drywall has around a 0.5 R value. Foam pipe insulation has an R value of 2. Depending on region, an attic could have an R value of 40 so adding R2.5 between the pipe and the warmth would not make it prone to freeze.

EDIT: BTW the term infiltration is used for air entering or leaving, so in the case of moisture condensing in a wall cavity, it would more often be warm moist air leaving the living space.
 

John Gayewski

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My school of belief on this is the same as Terry's. Pipe on the warm side of insulation. No pipe insulation wanted in that case.
 

Lucky

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so does this mean in the "room" above my kitchen in my attic, where i put 2 feet of blown in insulation, id have to remove all that and put down the pink stuff instead . i assume the pipe itself gets attached to a joist and not the plaster ceiling. but i guess the pipe could be butt up against the joist and plaster ceiling of the kitchen. im also assuming it's ok to feed that tiny pipe thru a 2x12 or whatever size joists i have up there.

and the part of the attic that has the tongue and groove exposed i could easily put down the batts because it's totally open now. heck could stack them even higher and leave the t and g floor exposed since it's basically next to the outside wall and no one ever would need to walk on it
 

JohnCT

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so does this mean in the "room" above my kitchen in my attic, where i put 2 feet of blown in insulation, id have to remove all that and put down the pink stuff instead . i assume the pipe itself gets attached to a joist and not the plaster ceiling. but i guess the pipe could be butt up against the joist and plaster ceiling of the kitchen. im also assuming it's ok to feed that tiny pipe thru a 2x12 or whatever size joists i have up there.

and the part of the attic that has the tongue and groove exposed i could easily put down the batts because it's totally open now. heck could stack them even higher and leave the t and g floor exposed since it's basically next to the outside wall and no one ever would need to walk on it

It doesn't matter if it's pink or blown in, although the fiberglass is easier to work with. Terry is right: you want no insulation between the pipes and the ceiling below - no insulation below the pipes means heat from the interior rooms will get through the uninsulated ceiling and be trapped under the insulation blanket above. In effect, you want to raise the insulation barrier above the pipes, not have insulation around the pipes.

If you follow Terry's diagram, your attic pipes will be essentially inside the house as far as being protected from freezing. What you can do is place foam rafter spacers over your pipes, then blow insulation over the top.

John
 
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