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Crawl Space Heater

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Posted by ncartegna on October 4, 2005, 8:20 pm
I have a vacation home that I will need to keep on this winter. I am a
bit concerned about pipes in the crawl space freezing, (no heat at all
in crawl space). I have insulated them and will close off all exterior
vents once the cold weather approaches. I will keep the heat in the
house at 65 degrees minimum and will let the water slowly run during
hard freezes.

** The opening for the crawl space faces SOUTH and is 24" inches wide
and 14" tall. I was wondering if there is a way to build a passive
solar heating box to increase the temperature in the crawl space.

Incidentally, directly above the crawl space access opening is the
window for the main bathroom. Perhaps the cold air could be drawn from
the crawl, passively heated and returned to the bathroom?

Any ideas or suggestions are appreciated. I am very handy but just
about clueless with solar heating.

Posted by nicksanspam on October 5, 2005, 12:38 pm

The warmer ground might keep the crawl space from freezing,
if the perimeter is well-airsealed and possibly insulated.

Sounds small, compared to the crawlspace size. Can you glaze the whole
crawlspace wall and let warm air flow in through the opening?


Posted by Gary on October 5, 2005, 1:33 pm
 ncartegna@gmail.com wrote:

If you take a look at the picture on the right here:

It shows a temporary small lean-to sunspace that I put up last winter.
You could do something like that.  If you want a more permanent
arrangement, you could use the $ per sqft polycarbonate glazing that
lots of lumber yards sell -- its guaranteed for "life".
The sunspace in the picture had a duct that extended from the top of
the sunspace down to the crawl space and terminated in a fan that
blows air from the top of the sunspace into the crawl space.  I used a
small attic vent fan that comes with a switch that turns it on at the
temperature you set (between 85F to 130F).  In my case, I wanted to
see if heating the crawl space ceiling would heat the room above
(which it did very well).  I'm in the process of replacing it with
larger and permanent sunspace.

Another option would be to turn the crawl space into a conditioned
space by insulating the walls of the crawl space (rigid foam board
works well if the walls are concrete), putting down a good poly vapor
barrier on the crawl space floor (seal the seams and edges), and
closing the vents (as you have done already).  I think its likely that
this would protect your pipes.  If crawl space ceiling is insulated,
you could remove some of it to get more heat to leak down to the crawl
space.  The "Insulate and Weatherize" book by Bruce Harley (very good)
has a section on converting crawl spaces to conditioned spaces.

Another option would be to drain the plumbing.  Add a plumbing drain
valve at a low spot.  I think that if you open all the faucets, then
let as much as possible drain from the valve, and then use compressed
air to blow out some of the remaining water that you would be OK.



"Build It Yourself" Solar Projects

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