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Keeping pipes outside of a cottage flowing in winter: Option 2

Architect Brad Green came up with his own system for keeping the water and drain pipes flowing at his year-round Ontario cottage


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February 10, 2017 by Steve Payne

Last week, we posted a story from Steve Maxwell about new technology for heating outside water pipes in shallow soil conditions.  Click here to read that story.

Brad Green, an architect, sent us his own solutions for keeping his main drain and water pipes flowing during the Ontario winter…

I live in my cottage with wood stove for primary heat. My 4″ drain is suspended beneath in the cold crawlspace loosely wrapped with a roof defrost cable which is then wrapped with 1/2″ rock fibre pipe insulation set on a timer to activate for 1/2 hour at 3 am, 6:30 am, 1 pm, 7 pm, and 11 pm. Never freezes even at 30 below.

My water system consists of a submerged pump (lake) on a 1″ un-insulated pipe. The pressure tank is in the house and includes a check valve and an air bleeder valve to “drain back” to the pump. All of the internal water piping is pex 1/2″ and is above the floor on the warm side hidden behind the baseboards, cupboards etc. I had a 10 ft heat line at the lake but it burned out 1st winter. Now I have that section of pipe super insulated with 3 layers of foam pipe insulation inside a big O and a wound copper wire that brings free heat up from below. -Never freezes costs nothing to heat. (My hydro bill is $65 month) When I go away south I just pull the pex at the high end and blow hard to drain everything and lock the door. When I get back I flip the pump switch and we’re good to go! Beat that!


Steve Payne

Steve Payne

Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
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1 Comment » for Keeping pipes outside of a cottage flowing in winter: Option 2
  1. Aaron Seaton says:

    I would love to know the components of such a drain back system. Is it possible to find out?