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Thread: Cabin crawl-space....Electric Heat pads,....methods keep cabin plumbing from freezing

  1. #1

    Default Cabin crawl-space....Electric Heat pads,....methods keep cabin plumbing from freezing

    Am building a NEW cabin, and have consolidated all of the utilities into a small (4' X 8') space under the cabin. We suffer many power outages, ranging from 10 hours to 10 days, and when I deploy my generator for the basics (Refrigerator, freezer, lights,etc.) I would like to be able to use the excess power generated (and not used) to heat this crawlspace area. Not just the pipes but the entire area. I see they have "electric pads" and also electric "in-floor" heating.

    So my thinking is: Install electric pads on TOP of a 4' by 8' by 2" blue/pink board insulation, set sand & small rocks on top, to create a heat tank under the liquid utilities. Note: the crawl-space is fully enclosed, and insulated with 2" thick Polystyrene (Dow'board).

    Does anyone have experience with these (in-ground/concrete) heat-pads, good or bad........?

  2. #2


    The only ones I have seen (heat pads) are designed for continuous operation. They have a low amperage draw and will not heat something up quickly. They put off about as much heat as a heat tape. The best bang for your buck is to use a EcoTherm Heater, for what you hope to do. It is safe enough and efficient for your purpose. They are also the best thing since sliced bread for heating a room that always seems chilly.
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  3. #3
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Missing Palmer AK in Phonix AZ.


    I have a hot tub that I worry about like that. I incased it in 2” blue board and have a coil of PEX pipe from my boiler wrapped between the foam and tub to heat the air gap. If power goes out I set this up so the water can be heated with the generator exhaust heat. I have a 1-1/2” black pipe that slips over the exhaust pipe with copper pipe coiled around that a insolated stove pipe over that to heat the water. I tie it into the main boiler lines so I have ability to heat any zones I want. If you do a single circuit only for blackouts fill it with antifreeze, an expansion tank, and don’t forget the pop off valve. You could also use a heat recovery ventilator type setup to catch exhaust heat to heat the air in there directly without water. At my house in Showlow Arizona I had a well shack that loved to freeze up and I just plumed exhaust directly into it but I wouldn’t do it under a living space due to the carbon monoxide danger.
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