washer/dryer in unheated area -longish, sorry!

OlychickMarch 20, 2011

I'm trying to relocate utility to my 2nd floor. I have outside stairs to a large porch/landing 10x8 or so and am toying with the idea of enclosing that space for the utility. It would also hold the freezer. When I posted in remodeling forum, they raised the worry of frozen pipes in a room with no enclosure below; however, I could enclose and insulate the area below; maybe even put a water tank there for w/d, as the other is at the opposite end of the house. I heat mostly with woodstove (heat would NOT reach the utility from the woodstove), with axillary electric baseboard in every room, so would install some kind of wall heater in the new space. But I am worried about power outages and the plumbing freezing. (I live in Pac NW, so not ultra frigid here, but most winters have a short spell of 5-20 degree cold. My current utility is in main part of house, but the plumbing is on outside wall and have had no problems, even with extended power outages. But I am here to build fires at least some part of each day.

My questions are: Could this kind of space be planned to minimize the chance of frozen pipes if the power was off? Could the ambient heat loss from the water tank be enough to prevent freezing for a while (usually the power is on again within a day or 2)? Are there any plumbing methods that could be self draining when off that would minimize water in the pipes to the washer? Could the system be designed so I could drain it before I left in the winter, just in case? Etc. Any other things I could consider?

thank you for anything you can suggest.

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Never mind...I found the answer I wanted on Terry Love. Should have done a more thorough search before I posted here.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 5:11PM
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Even if you drain the pipes, the residual water in the washer could burst the pump.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 9:05PM
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thanks, Randy, that's what I learned from the other site, too. Back to square one!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 1:35AM
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Traps in the waste lines also contain water to block sewer gas from entering the space.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 8:03AM
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If you keep all the water piping within the insulated space, I doubt you'll have freezing problems with them or standing water in the washer/traps.

I'm assuming insulation at R-19 levels. For your situation the floor/roof should be greater.

Wintertime here often has protracted temps in the teens and water does not freeze in an insulated but unheated shop. During a single digit spell a pan of water ( 'bout a gallon's worth) developed surface crystals only.

The water tank (presumably, water heater) idea isn't so bad, BUT:

If it is radiating, then you are normally wasting power. No doubt a seasonal strategy could be devised.

Unless it's a small tank, you're adding a substantial floor load, a concern from your other post.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:13AM
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Alphonse, THANK YOU!! You made me feel hopeful that this is possible!! I was now (because of all the discouraging info I was reading) imagining enclosing the first floor area underneath and the water heater down there, but I guess if the 2nd floor floor is well insulated, not much heat would be radiating up from the water heater anyway. I don't even have to install a water heater there at all. I have a circulating pump on my tank now and wash mostly in warm or cold water, so piping hot water isn't a priority. Thanks again for the helpful info.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 12:11PM
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