We’ve got a little early snow here in Blodgett, Oregon. It started coming down a few hours after I finished winterizing the two water wells and the pump house. Whew!
Our climate is just cold enough that it’s best to use pipe heating cable in addition to pipe insulation, so that’s what I did.
Sadly, this particular industry is very inarticulate. The Frost King heat cable I used never mentioned the wattage of the cable, and while it seems to be a fully waterproof, outdoor-rated product, the packaging never says this anywhere. But they go to great lengths to assure me that the cable must be used with fiberglass pipe insulation. I hate fiberglass — it’s nasty stuff — and refuse to use it, so I always use foam or bubble insulation. I’ve done this for years and it has always worked perfectly, and I wish that the manufacturers would get their acts together and write directions that actually acknowledge successful ways to use the product. I’ve also used heater cable without pipe insulation, which they say doesn’t work, but it works fine in draft-free areas, down to 15 F, anyway, which is as cold as it ever gets around here.
I tried three different kinds of pipe insulation: the long foam noodles that you slip around the pipes, aluminized foam tape, and metalized bubble insulation. Of these, the metalized bubble insulation was the most flexible and trouble free. I bought mine at the local True Value hardware store. It looks sloppier than the other stuff but goes on fast and deals with things like pipe elbows easily. The pre-formed pipe noodles don’t really work on anything but straight lengths of pipe, and they’re undersized when it has to go over a heater cable as well as a pipe.
My next cold-weather task is to put the studded snow tires on the vehicles, and to put birdbath heaters in the chicken waterers. In my climate, the hundreds of feet of garden hose on the pasture usually thaw sometime during the day, so the main thing is keeping the waterers themselves from freezing.
And of course this is Thanksgiving Week, and today is the day Karen starts butchering turkeys for our customers. Wednesday is the last farmer’s market of the year, and given the weather, it’s just as well!