Need help with exposed pipes with unusually cold temps


Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
1,228
Reaction score
1,484
Location
Dallas TEXAS
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
8a
I know you Yankees see these all the time but help a Johnny Reb out. We just don't see highs in the 20s and lows in the teens.

This is what our forcast looks like

1613015496808.png


I've got 1.5 inch pipes with one above ground pump and aqua 3000 filter in one section of the yard and the pipes pop out around the waterfall about 20 feet away. Is wrapping the pipes going to be enough for these temps or am I going to need to shut some down?

I do have 2 electric blankets I can put on them.

This pond is 7x10x4 and the 2 pumps are running at least 5000gph each

The pipes are wrapped but come off the ground 2-3 feet in some places
 
Last edited:
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jul 12, 2009
Messages
3,259
Reaction score
2,039
Location
Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania
Hardiness Zone
6a
Uhgg..you have a few nights there that are predicted to be quite low.

I would say with the water constantly moving, you might be OK, but I wouldn't want to chance it.

If you were to shut it all down, would there be a way to drain the water out of the pipes and bring the pumps inside?

When you say the pipes are wrapped, do you mean with some form of insulation? Your probably going to need more than that.

You could go to Home Depot, Lowe's, a hardware store or whatever home center you have near you and buy pre-made heat trace cable. It comes in various lengths and will plug into a 120 volt outlet. If you can, get the one(s) with the thermostat bulb on the end, so you won't waste electricity when it's not needed. Or just unplug it when you feel it will be warm enough.
You'll also need pipe insulation to completely cover everything and duct tape to secure the insulation. You can get the foam pipe insulation that comes with a split down it's length so you can install it easily. It's not expensive.

Here's how to install it:
Don't coil it around the pipe. That's not how it's done. Run it straight and flat against the bottom of the pipe all along the full length of the pipes. You want it on the bottom since heat rises.
Believe me, I'm a retired electrician and have run miles of this stuff. We would get it on reels and make it up ourselves.

Your supposed to use a glass (fiberglass) tape to hold it in place. If you can't get that, then just use a thin strip of duct tape around the pipe. Just use a little bit of tape here and there, just to hold the cable in place. Don't cover it in tape. It is best to use the glass tape if you can get it.

If you get the one with the thermostat bulb, make sure the bulb is securely pressed against the pipe so it gets a good reading.

Once your cable is all run, cover everything with the pipe insulation and seal all seams with duct tape. For the elbows, you can get creative by cutting the insulation to fit properly. Be careful, don't use the knife near the heat trace cable. You don't want to ruin it.

I don't know how long your pipe run is so you'll have to determine how long your heat trace cable needs to be. You may need to use more than one.

If the plug for the heat trace is nowhere near an outlet, you'll need to feed it with an extension cord.
Normally I would never reccomend using any extension cords outside for any length of time, but if you need to in this emergency situation, make sure it is at least 14 gauge, but I reccomend the heavier 12 gauge.
If you use an extension cord, try to protect the plug from the weather by tucking it underneath something. Don't wrap tape around the connection. Doing that can trap moisture and cause problems. If it ultimately has to be exposed, have the female portion facing up. This way water won't collect in there.

Hope this helps.

Next year, think about winterizing your system. Shut the pumps off and drain the pipes. If you can't drain them, blow them out with an air compressor. You might want to do that now and forget the heat trace cable project.

If you shut the pumps down, get an aerator with some air stones hanging close to the surface on strings.

I wish I were there to help you.

Any questions?
 
Joined
Nov 28, 2017
Messages
2,710
Reaction score
1,881
Location
North Oklahoma
Hardiness Zone
7a
Country
United States
I’ve used glass tape! The stuff we used had to be stretched to activate the adhesive, so kind of like how you pull electrical tape to get a nice smooth tight fit. Keep the tape in a warm pocket to help it stay pliable, or against your body, till you need to pull it out to use.
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
1,228
Reaction score
1,484
Location
Dallas TEXAS
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
8a
All the pipes are already wrapped with that kind of tape but those few days where it REALLY gets cold I didn't know if I needed extra protection.
 

TheFishGuy

( Insert something funny )
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
807
Reaction score
449
Location
Colorado
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
4b or 5a
Country
United States
I would really recommend the shutting it down and draining, was about to suggest RV antifreeze, dang its a pond not an RV aint it.....
 
Ad

Advertisements

addy1

water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins
Moderator
Donor
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
41,549
Reaction score
25,513
Location
Frederick, Maryland
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
United States
My best bet with running water you , most likely, will be ok. If your power goes out,that is when the issues will happen. I have kept , in Colorado, lines unfrozen with just a constant slow flow. A non expected very cold smack, house was de-winterized.
 
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
5,711
Reaction score
4,437
Location
Cincinnati, Ohio
Hardiness Zone
6 A
Country
United States
Is your Aqua 3000 filter pressurized ? We once had a pressurized filter crack open during a cold spell.
 
Joined
Jul 12, 2009
Messages
3,259
Reaction score
2,039
Location
Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania
Hardiness Zone
6a
About draining the pipes....
If you had enough pitch, you could add a wye or a tee with a valve at the lowest point and drain it from there.
If there's not enough pitch, perhaps you can add some pipe (vertically) on one end to create that pitch.

As I previously stated, you could also force the water out by blowing it out with a compressor or a shop vac in reverse. Using a compressor might require you to add in a valve stem somewhere. While a shop vac, which has a larger hose, might be easier to stick onto the open end of your pipe. That is, if you can get to an open end, if it's not all glued up solid. Can the pipe be easily removed from the pump? If so, that's where you can drain it or stick the shop vac to blow the water out.

I don't think you need to get all the water out. As long as there's space for any remaining water to expand if frozen.

Don't forget to take your pumps inside. If they are left not running and water freezes in them, it could be the end of them.

This cold spell has taken you by surprise. Obviously, it's not the norm for you down there. I would plan on winterizing next Fall, just so you can sleep at night.
Ha! So much for global warming....
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
6,994
Reaction score
5,061
Location
Ct
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
United States
pre-made heat trace cable
Very hard to find the further south you go i could never find any in Va or s.c
Don't coil it around the pipe. That's not how it's done. Run it straight and flat against the bottom of the pipe all along the full length of the pipes. You want it on the bottom since heat rises.
Two Thumbs up

A pile of hay /straw over the pipes can do wonders a good covering over the pipes will keep the cold out. I do have a lot of rv experience and one product i have found that works really well is to use foil bubble wrap for lack of the correct name that they do sell at the depot The problem with most pond water lines is the Pipe wraps are made for residential water line sizes at the box stores 1/2 3/4 and 1" pipes and if you do find 2" the price sky rockets you can stick two pieces of 3/4" wrap together to make it larger but that's a bit of a task. The bubble wrap comes in all different sizes 12" 18" 24"36" and 48" Cutting it to the size needed to wrap the pipe is quick and easy and with the heat tape as @poconojoe said taped to the bottom of the pipe and then wrapped with the foil bubble wrap but be cautious as that foil will conduct electricity so as was mentioned avoid using any damaged heat tape.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jul 12, 2009
Messages
3,259
Reaction score
2,039
Location
Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania
Hardiness Zone
6a
Concerning winterizing:
If you are worried about the absence of filtering for a few months, don't be concerned. You pond needs little, if any filtration during the cold months. Air stones will help.

You can always make an easy homemade submerged bucket filter if you like.
Put a small submersible pump (maybe 550 gph) in the bottom of a bucket. Compound buckets work well, they are strong.
Screw a piece of PVC into the pump's outlet. The PVC should be long enough to reach near the surface of the water.
Cover the pump with lava rock.
Tie the handle of the bucket up onto the PVC. This way you can lift the bucket with a pole or something similar by sticking through the handle. This is good for getting the bucket in place and for retrieving it later for service.

Now you have a filter that is also a fountain. The water will break the surface of the water and shoot up in the air 6-8 inches or more.

You can use this bucket filter/fountain as long as you want. All year or just for Winter.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2013
Messages
11,637
Reaction score
11,731
Location
Northern IL
Showcase(s):
1
Gee... looks like Spring in the midwest there @texmaster ;)

You got plenty of good advice - I just wanted to add a "don't worry too much" to what you've already heard. We often stay in the single digits for many many days on end. Our plumbing is buried, but it's not so deep that it's below the frost line. The water stays flowing, the pipes are fine. The exposed pipes should be protected, but even a little will be better than nothing - wrap with blankets or get some bales of hay. Above 20 degrees is practically balmy, so you only have a few days to worry about!
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
1,228
Reaction score
1,484
Location
Dallas TEXAS
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
8a
I appreciate all the great advice. I also forgot I've got an air bubble machine through my koi toilet that I usually dont have on because the kids complain they can't see the fish but it does a great job of disrupting the water so its on now full blast just to keep the top from freezing
 
Ad

Advertisements

Mmathis

TurtleMommy
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
Messages
12,344
Reaction score
6,770
Location
NW Louisiana -- zone 8b
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
You should be fine as far as the water goes. The most freezing ice-wise you will probably see is around the edges and some icesickles where water comes off the waterfall.
 
Joined
Mar 12, 2012
Messages
185
Reaction score
106
Location
Cincinnati
I’m in zone 6a. We’ve hand long runs of freezing temps and I’ve never run into issues with lots of exposed pipes without insulation.

My sand and gravel filter set up means I have about 23 feet of 2” pvc running above ground (between my cement slab and deck built right on top of it) ... then to the 55 gallon drum sand and gravel filter. It then spilled into which a 35 gallon shower filter and then has the same 23 feet of 3” pvc returning to the pond. Nothing is insulated. A few years back we had a run of sub zero nights and I had only handful of buildup of ice on the inside shower filter drum

There all sorts of thermo dynamics science stuff for moving water to freeze up. My filter is hugged up against my southern side of my home so that helps some i assume.
 

Attachments

  • BDD3F1D5-D4B9-40DB-85E7-40394B33ABB0.jpeg
    BDD3F1D5-D4B9-40DB-85E7-40394B33ABB0.jpeg
    268.1 KB · Views: 46
Joined
Jul 12, 2009
Messages
3,259
Reaction score
2,039
Location
Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania
Hardiness Zone
6a
I’m in zone 6a. We’ve hand long runs of freezing temps and I’ve never run into issues with lots of exposed pipes without insulation.

My sand and gravel filter set up means I have about 23 feet of 2” pvc running above ground (between my cement slab and deck built right on top of it) ... then to the 55 gallon drum sand and gravel filter. It then spilled into which a 35 gallon shower filter and then has the same 23 feet of 3” pvc returning to the pond. Nothing is insulated. A few years back we had a run of sub zero nights and I had only handful of buildup of ice on the inside shower filter drum

There all sorts of thermo dynamics science stuff for moving water to freeze up. My filter is hugged up against my southern side of my home so that helps some i assume.
That's encouraging for the OP.
Great input!
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
1,228
Reaction score
1,484
Location
Dallas TEXAS
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
8a
Apparently this is now going to be all my fault if it goes pear shaped according to the warden so no chances taken.

Electric blankets! 8 hour shifts :)

G0iuEe.jpg
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Similar Threads

Need help identifying illness 10
Need help building bog filter 10
IN NEED OF HELP PLEASE! 15
Desperate help needed 19
Pond help. Needed 18
Newbie Needs Help 7
Need help planning 11
Pump help needed 6

Top