Greenville, SC, US
With temperatures reaching 10 degrees here in South Carolina last week this is a very relevant topic. I've also lived in Vermont, so I know colder weather, but homes here aren't typically exposed to these temperatures.
One simple method to prevent frozen pipes is to leave a small amount of water running at the farthest tap from the house supply and/or the most exposed supply. Make sure that water is flowing in both the cold and hot water supply lines.
Many exterior hose bibs are not of the frost free variety (with the seat and washer located 6-12" inside the wall). Adding an insulated cover over these old style valves can reduce the likelihood of freezing and bursting.
I see many cases, especially remodeling projects, where water lines are run in the attic space, often in knee walls for an added upstairs bathroom. Keeping the supply lines on the inside of the insulation and creating an air barrier on the outside off the insulation greatly reduces the chance of frozen pipes. In some cases I've removed wall insulation between supply lines and the back side of bathroom drywall, and then added insulation and rigid foam board insulation boxes around the exterior side of the lines.
Heat cables should be a last resort as power failures, which often coincide with winter storms, will leave you with no protection. I prefer the Raychem self-regulating heat cables such as their Gardian products to the typical Frost King cables with a thermostat. The cables with a thermostat require that that the thermostat be left uninsulated and that the thermostat be located at the coldest point on the line. The Raychem type products on the other hand provide more heat the colder they get, so the coldest point anywhere along the length of the protected pipe will get the the most heating. The Gardian cables can also be used for roof and gutter deicing.
Here's a link to the Raychem cable: http://www.pentairthermal.com/products/heating-cables/self-regulating-heat-trace-cables/index.aspx
I purchased the Bosch GTS1031 a couple of years ago for my remodeling business primarily for the compact size that fits into one of the shelving units in my enclosed trailer. I've been very pleased with the performance and it's a breeze to pull out and setup with the GTA500 stand.
With a new Freud Diablo blade it provides clean cuts requiring minimal sanding. I do use infeed and outfeed rollers when ripping 12-16' stock, but have found it quite stable for most of my work. I like the new riving knife and guard system although I often work without the guard. Connecting the outlet to my shop vac collects 95% of the dust when I'm doing a lot of cutting or working at a location where I need to control the dust.
I've tried ripping down full sheets of plywood with it, but this isn't the tool for that task due to the small table size.
Overall I've been very pleased.
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