Mid Kansas Does anyone know how to keep indoors water pressure tank from freezing????????

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We have our water well pressure tank in side the old garage that was turned into a room. It stays very cold out there and we are worried about the pressure tank freezing up. The tank is inside a paneled enclosure and the room is always about 20 degrees colder than the rest of the house. We don't want to have to leave the door open to draw heat out there if we can keep from it.Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks bunches for the help.....Cari in Hutchinson, Kansas

-- Cari Ferguson (timncari@ourtownusa.net), December 19, 2001


Cari this is just what comes to mind as I won't pretend for a moment that I know anything about life in a cold climate!

Thoroughly insulate the enclosure then add just a little bit of heat, perhaps a single 60watt light in the enclosure.

-- john hill (john@cnd.co.nz), December 19, 2001.

using a ceramic heater that is sold at walmart for 25 bucks comes to mind. they use little electricty and if it is a room smaller than 12 by 12 it should do the trick

-- js (schlicker54@aol.com), December 19, 2001.

Grand pa has his in the well house with no insulation at all I think he has a light on during the winter though. You could always use a themastat to turn the light on and off so it dont run all the time. I read a article in Bee Culture about turning a old fridge into a heated locker for honey, and it shows how to hook up a thermastat to a light so it turns off before it gets to hot. I'll see if i can find the issue if your interested just email me

-- MikeinKS (mhonk@kscable.com), December 19, 2001.

Hi Cari. I'm in Central MN; we have a mobile home on frost piers, so our tank is under the house in a small enclosure. We have the box it's in lightly insulated (you have to have space for the heat to travel around the pipes and tank) and have a heat tape wrapped around the piping that is large enough to wrap it around. That alone won't do the trick on the coldest nights, so we have a heat lamp reflector with a utility light bulb in it (100 watt, clear) in there. We don't use the actual heat lamp bulb to avoid the possibility of a fire. Good luck.

-- Dawn (olsoncln@ecenet.com), December 19, 2001.

Oh, by the way, the heat reflector cost us $6 at our local hardware store, and the bulb was pretty cheap, too.

-- Dawn (olsoncln@ecenet.com), December 19, 2001.

We have a similar set up. Insulate walls with those foam insulation boards and just leave a plain 60 watt bulb on in there. Hang a thermometer and just monitor. That should do it. I myself don't use the heatlamp bulbs or electric heat tape...too expensive to run and can be a fire hazard. It gets 20 below here in New York and it works for us.

-- Kate henderson (Kate@sheepyvalley.com), December 19, 2001.

We found an old upright freezer that was destined for the landfill. We have our pressure tank and pump in a storage shed that is adjacent to our mobile. We cut holes in the sides of the freezer to run the water pipes through and mounted the pump on top of the pressure tank. We have our water pipes double insulated with the foam wrap. With lows around 10 several nights in the past week, we haven't had any problems with freezing. In the summer time we remove the freezer door and store it behind the unit.

-- Grannytoo (grannytoo@somewhere.com), December 19, 2001.

Heat tapes are available in many lengths and wattage's. I have one that is only 6 watts!--a little over 3+ feet long. A couple wraps around the tank [at the bottom] with some fiberglass insulation over that and your problem is solved........leave the thermostat of the tape outside the fiberglass.......

-- Jim-mi (hartalteng@voyager.net), December 19, 2001.

Grannytoo, what an ingeneous idea! I have heard of old chest freezers used for grain storage but not for this purpose. I guess what turned me off of electric heat tapes was when we moved here and found half a dozen burned up and melted down in the cellar. Geeesh, I couldn't sleep worrying about a fire.

-- Kate henderson (kate@sheepyvalley.com), December 19, 2001.

Kate, It sure sounds like your "burned up melted down" tapes were just plain improperly installed / used.....PERIOD!

It says on the container DO NOT over lap the tape.....That will [every time] cause them to melt down!!!

Heat tapes covered with fiberglass help my water system get thru -30 degree Michigan winters!

-- Jim-mi (hartalteng@voyager.net), December 19, 2001.

Thanks Kate. We try to recycle everthing possible and when we find we need something we look around to see if we can use something that will otherwise end up in the landfill before. We put a note on the bulletin board at the local market that we will haul away non working refrigerators and freezers. We have two large chest freezers buried in the ground. They make wonderful root cellars.

-- Grannytoo (grannytoo@somewhere.com), December 20, 2001.

John's idea about enclosing the tank, insulating it, and putting in a small heat source is good. You can easily control the heat by plugging it into a "heat cube", which is like an "octopus", or "splitter" (for plugging in several plugs into one outlet), only it turns on only when the temperature is below forty degrees. On the other hand, I've successfully been using the heat of the water in the storage tank to prevent not only the storage tank, but also the piping going from the storage tank into the ground from freezing. Only time I've ever had a problem was in one of my rentals when the renters left to buy their own place, and I used their absence as an excuse to spend about three weeks worth of repairs, etc. Since no one was using the water, the water in the tank was not refreshed with "warm" water (ground water here is 52 degrees). We had a near record cold spell for eight or ten days at the same time, and on the last, and coldest day of the cold spell, the tank had lost enough heat that one or more of the pipes froze. They didn't break, though, and about fifteen minutes running a tiny portable heater thawed things out.

This tank is in its own small (four ft by four ft by five feet high) little shelter, fairly well insulated (R11 all around), and is not attached to any other building.

By the way a "near record cold front" here in Orygun means it stayed down around ten degrees for the whole time. Maybe made it up into the 20's during the day.

My feelings won't get hurt if you Nordic types start laughing now!

-- joj (jump@off.c), December 20, 2001.

Gosh joj, how can you stan such cold weather?


-- Jim-mi (hartalteng@voyager.net), December 20, 2001.

It's not the cold here that gets to you; it's the clouds and rain. I tend to tour Latin America at least every year or two...

-- joj (jump@off.c), December 20, 2001.

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