Alternative to heat tape

KeithNystKeithNyst Registered Users Posts: 8
Might something like this be an alterntive to using heat tape when you cannot bury deep enough due to ledge rock? Idea is to run small pex down the inside of the delivery pipe from the well and circulate warm water from the house with a small dc circulating pump? It wouldn't have to be from the hot water tank, just some form of heat transfer loop within the bountry of the house to pass heat back into the pipe t keep it above freeze point.


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Comments

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Alternative to heat tape

    Why not just install a simple drain back system? We draw water from under a frozen lake 7 months a year, the water line runs on the surface rom the lake shore to the house,, since we are on granite. I won't have time in the next few days to describe in detail as I am going to be on the road. (our ice is forcing us off the island due to extremely early and fast warming).


    If you do a search in this forum in the water pumping section you can read the description in detail. The sytem works perfectly at temps as plow as -40. We have only had one problem and that was this year, due to human error (mine) and the system is fully automatic and uses no extra energy.

    Tony
  • tmarchtmarch Solar Expert Posts: 143 ✭✭
    Re: Alternative to heat tape

    It may work, but your hot water heater will be running a LOT.
    The drain back is a easy fix and would use less power than heat tape or this.
    All it takes is a small hole in the delivery pipe below frost line, so there is no standing water in the pipes above the frost line.
    This is assuming (I know) that you line is where it can drain without making a mess, preferably draining back down the well.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Alternative to heat tape

    It is not quite the simple. In addition to the above stated drain hole (at the pump, in the well) you need an air vent to purge the air at each pump cycle, a floating Taco ball vent valve is cheap and works great. You also need to open the supply line to atmosphere to allow it to drain, take your finger off the straw so to speak. You can do this with a simple normally open solenoid valve. When the pump switch calls for water, this valve closes, the system fills, when the pump shuts off this valve opens, (taking the finger off the straw) the pressure drops and the water drains back into the well, or in my case the lake. (you also need a check valve at the P tank to keep the water tank from emptying itself back into the well.

    I do have semi conductor het tape on my water line, since if I go away for a while the lake water will freeze for a few feet. 20 minutes of genny time and it is running free. I also have my water line in 6" of Arctic foam, and the in 6" drain tile to protect it from the ice.

    One should also be aware that PEX tubing can take unlimited freeze/ thaw cycles with out damage, as long as any freeze is 6" or more from a fitting. The one thing PEX does not like is UV light, as it causesmit to break down, so protect qny outside line from sunlight. Also, Heatline makes a heat tape that goes inside a water pipe, far and away the most efficient way to use heat tape.

    Tony
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