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Preventing Our Cistern from Freezing in Winter: Part Two

by Tyler

In the previous entry, I mentioned one of the main issues with our above-ground cistern: the short pipe between our house and the water supply freezing. I believe I have found a solution to the problem: heatline. It's like heat tape (electric wire wrapped around a pipe that generates heat to keep it from freezing), except it goes inside the plumbing.

It's quite expensive, but it uses less then half the wattage (~3 watts per foot) of typical heat tapes (~6-12 watts per foot). Given that we currently have to run our generator for a few hours every day in the winter to compensate for the lack of solar gain, it should pay for itself in a season or two.

Installing Low Wattage Electric Frost Protection Heat-Line In Pex Pipe Through Philmac Fitting

The second thing we're doing differently this year is insulating our cistern properly. This weekend, we demolished the original shed and started building a new one. Rather than slapping a temporary structure together, we're following comprehensive designs that Tara drafted.

Tyler by Cottage with Cistern Shed Framing Cistern Shed Framing Tyler Leveling Cistern Shed Base Tara Nailing Cistern Shed Base Tara Test-Fitting Rafter on Cistern Shed Cistern Shed in Progress Tara Marking Rafter Notches

Next weekend we're going to experiment with some insulation we've never used before: blown celluose for the walls, and a do-it-yourself spray foam kit for the roof!

Cistern Shed in Progress