Is this dumb?

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orfeus123

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Dealing with a renovation with a contractor that's a bit questionable... and a little concerned. I'm no expert on anything, plumbing included, so I would be profoundly grateful for some expert feedback I can bring back to my contractor.

We recently bought a house. My wife insisted on adding an outdoor shower. Problem is that the on demand heater is on the other side of the room where the pipes would go for the shower.

The only real options for running the pipe were up through the (uninsulated) space between ceiling and roof or ripping up the floor and running the pipes through holes/notches in the support joists.

So our contractor ran it over the ceiling and wrapped it in heat tape. Here's what it looks like on the shower side (obviously will be insulated around that.


We're up in the catskill mountains. Pipes freeze. Obviously we'd be shutting off water to that shower during the winter, but someone mentioned that there would still be some water in the pipes after that.

The main concern is that sealing heat tape in the walls is a dangerous move.

Is it? And if so, is there a better ideal anyone has (that ideally doesn't involve a massive expense... we're SOO over budget).

THANKS!
 

Diehard

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Since you will not be using it in the winter, why wasn't it piped to allow it to be drained? Even it it takes a couple of places to provide a drain valve and/or stop and waste valves.

Irrigation piping is a good example of this. i.e. - Typically drained and compressed air run through if there are low points that wouldn't drain by gravity. No heat tracing.

Not sure what type of heat tracing you have there but I thought it typically should not be crossing over itself.

Heat tape is typically self regulating and shouldn't be any different from running other electrical wiring throughout the house. Except, like I said, I don't think many of those heat tracing tapes want to be touching each other.

If you insist on using it, I would consult with the the specific heat tracing company, to make sure of what you have and any precautions that should be considered.

Do not go by other peoples opinions when you have the factory to ask.
 

frodo

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Trying to understand the placement of the piping
What I read was the piping for an outdoor shower runs from the heater up/ over/ then down to the shower
correct?
You also stated the water will be turned off in the winter months?

If it were my house..i would build a box in the attic. insulate the pipes, insulate the inside of the box.
run the piping inside the box. seal the box
in the ceiling below the box. install 2 [one one one end of the room. one on the other]
heating register grills. with the opening inside the box.
THIS will keep the sealed box at the same temp as your living space.

you need 2 valves inside the house for the outside shower, turn those valves off and open the shower valve
this will drain the water inside the wall
butt_paste.png
 

orfeus123

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Thanks guys.

Yes, up and over. And yes, drained for the winter months.

The two draining points and the compressed air make sense. The box also makes sense... just means opening the ceiling. If we make sure we can drain everything with the two valves/compressed air, is there any more issue with those pipes getting too cold, given they're empty? Do you think it would still need that box?
 

Diehard

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Personally I feel it's making a mountain out of a mole hill. But that's just my opinion.
A compressor would not necessarily be required if piped properly. But now it's after the fact and who knows?

What I do know is, I wouldn't hire that plumber again.
 

TomFOhio

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Doesn't look like a very good job of putting heat tape on. Not sure what kind you have but it is a no no to overlap heat tape
wires. The master plumber that I worked under years ago was a volunteer fireman and he told me that in the winter time
most of their calls were fires caused by heat tape not put on properly. I think the safest tape is called frostex and you just
run it with the pipe and not all around it. Just my opinion.
 

PlumbGate

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Just FYI I have never in my life seen heat tape that didn't fail. I haven't seen it last more than 2-3 seasons at best. Keep that in mind if it is your only freeze protection mechanism.
 

PlumbGate

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Was there a typical cause for the failures?
Not really it just stopped working. Had a townhouse with crawl space in Atlantic City that had the pipes replaced 3 times over 8 years due to heat tape failure. Also had a house in DE with a cold attic have lines break for broken heat tape. Never had any luck with it!
 
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