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Old 12-19-2008, 10:07 PM   #1
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'72 Tradewind. copper pipe freeze....

My trailer is located where it never freezes....Until two nights ago and
it got down to 16F.
Upon my arrival,...I had not known how cold it had gotten and I turned on the water to the trailer as I always do,...keeping it off when away.

Upon entry to the trailer....water and ice flowing onto floor and under stove, sink area.

After securing water, electrical and cleanup,....found water line under
bunk had separated at the straight coupling and shot tubular ice and water everywhere.

Cleanup done... mostly all dried out but now have to reattach coupling.
It was hard to believe that the pipe could flex far enough for the coupling to separate from the pipe but it apparently did...

Difficult angle for the butane torch but will attempt to re-solder after
removing as much of the old solder with a wire brush, as possible.
I'm hoping this was the only damage to the system.

What other damage could the freeze have caused, other than loosening couplings or joints?

Thanks
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Old 12-19-2008, 10:13 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yochanan View Post
My trailer is located where it never freezes....Until two nights ago and
it got down to 16F.
Upon my arrival,...I had not known how cold it had gotten and I turned on the water to the trailer as I always do,...keeping it off when away.

Upon entry to the trailer....water and ice flowing onto floor and under stove, sink area.

After securing water, electrical and cleanup,....found water line under
bunk had separated at the straight coupling and shot tubular ice and water everywhere.

Cleanup done... mostly all dried out but now have to reattach coupling.
It was hard to believe that the pipe could flex far enough for the coupling to separate from the pipe but it apparently did...

Difficult angle for the butane torch but will attempt to re-solder after
removing as much of the old solder with a wire brush, as possible.
I'm hoping this was the only damage to the system.

What other damage could the freeze have caused, other than loosening couplings or joints?

Thanks
A copper pipe freeze up in an Airstream, depend on how long it was frozen.

Usually, the soldered fittings fail, or will fail at a later date.

To get an idea how severe the freeze may be in your trailer, measure the size of the copper tubing.

You should measure 3/8 and 1/2 inch.

If you get goofy dimensions greater than those, then that tells you how bad the freeze up is with the copper tubing.

You may have to replace "all" the tubing.

Andy
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Old 12-19-2008, 10:30 PM   #3
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Andy is correct on this.
Other things that could happen in a frozen trailer would be: Longitudinal splits in the copper tubing. Damaged valves in the sinks and shower. Broken traps under the sinks and shower if they had water in them. Busted up water pump. The water control valve for flushing on the toilet. Split holding tanks, gray and black. Split or badly deformed water heater tank.
Needless to say you have a little more checking of systems to do. Hope nothing else but your fitting happened, but there is a lot of things that can happen when your trailer is not winterized.
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:20 PM   #4
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copper pipe freeze

Thanks to both of you.
Great information.

It was just a one night freeze with residual heat in the trailer so I'm hoping
there are no more surprises.
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:19 PM   #5
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Copper Pipe Freeze Update: Need Advice

Need plumber advice.

Re: The Freeze.....I think I lucked out so far.

I only located one one other leak, under pressure after repairing the first.

No swelling of pipe is apparent at any point.

2nd leak was pinhole in solder at coupling at opposite end (of length of tubing) of first leak.

Now one leak remains but this leak was prior to freeze and must be fixed. Located at gang-valve assembly underneath sink.
One of the brass valves has seepage where 1/2 inch copper pipe is soldered into one side, which the way its mounted, ..is on the top end of the brass valve.
Seep is about 1 drop per second under pressure.

I've cleared away all peripheral hoses, wiring and anything in the way of the valve.
I've removed the guts of the valve so they won't be affected by the torch.

Now then..
Would you recommend the local RV shop do the repair or a good, local plumber. I'm not attempting this one myself.
I got the impression that the RV shop doesn't work with copper pipe very much.

I'm thinking that a plumber may want to unsweat the couplings and remove the whole assembly to do it in the shop and then re-sweat the two elbows for a re-connect.

Any ideas?


Thanks.
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Old 12-24-2008, 04:49 AM   #6
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I have heard of others using 'pex' pipe, but from what I gather, it is a real pain to install...Can anyone tell me of their experiences with this?? Should I just replace my old copper tubing or go with pex?
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Old 12-24-2008, 05:00 AM   #7
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Pex is the way to go. I had to replace ALL the copper lines in my 20 year old house because of other issues. Used Pex and kept the price down. In a trailer, I would use red and blue for hot and cold. It routes easily and the couplings are crimped. Home Depot will rent you all the crimping tools. You can even connect Pex to copper at keep places, like faucets, WH, etc.
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Old 12-24-2008, 05:20 AM   #8
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I am not a plumber and I stressed about plumbing my trailer. I don't think I could have done it without the help of this forum, but I did it. You might want to replumb the trailer, but if you have a split in the copper you might want to cut out the split and use a shark bite fitting to put it back together. Shark bites work great.

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Old 12-24-2008, 07:04 AM   #9
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Shark bites do work great,if the pipe has not expanded,and the smallest size I have seen is 1/2 " I.D. 5/8 O.D. which isn`t used that much piping in my trailer.Dave
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:53 AM   #10
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I have some patches made from rubber or plastic hose that have been in place for years. Attach them with doubled radiator type clamps on each end.
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Old 12-24-2008, 10:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imeynstein View Post
I have heard of others using 'pex' pipe, but from what I gather, it is a real pain to install...Can anyone tell me of their experiences with this?? Should I just replace my old copper tubing or go with pex?
If you are going to replace...go with PEX. I am hard headed and was going to completely re-plumb with copper. FWIW I have the skill set to do a complete copper job, but after thinking about it; PEX has a myriad of advantages over the copper. It flexes, it will take a light freeze and is fairly easy to form around corners. However I will strongly reccomend that you use the crimped fittings vs the compression style. Sharkbites work, but the end must be square and free of burrs or you will have issues.

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Old 12-24-2008, 12:50 PM   #12
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Someone HiJacked my post..

No I'm not replacing any plumbing......
Someone else elbowed in and asked for advice on that...

I don't have any split pipe....

I only need to resolder a copper pipe with a brass valve......

That's my only task at hand right now but I appreciate all of the other comments....
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