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Old 02-01-2011, 06:24 PM   #1
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Unhappy frozen pipes

Hi folks,

waah! my pipes are frozen somewhere internally. i have an 07 20' safari. the bathroom sink, toilet water work. the shower and kitchen sink do not. I cannot locate the pipes for the shower, i think they are behind the shower wall and i cannot access them, i think. right now i have the propane cranked to 75 degrees, and a space heater running.

any other suggestions out there? the heat has been running all day with the faucets open and no luck.

thanks for your help everyone.
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:01 PM   #2
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oh don't stress if you are staying in it you may need to use other water other than the trailer all you can do is what you are doing open all your cabinet's put your space heater in bath pointed toward shower and wait may take a day like when it warms tomorrow on other thing you can use a hair dryer under the kit sink for about Min at a time then let cool for 20 and try again is your unit hooked up to the park water ?
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:08 PM   #3
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Don't leave your unit without turning off the pump or city water. There's nothing worse than coming back to a flooded trailer.
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:15 PM   #4
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First of all, that sucks. I also accidentally allowed some pipes to freeze in mine in the months after I bought it. I had juiced everything to test it and then concentrated on fixing things, not draining things. Not so lucky for me, a copper pipe burst under the shower pan. That sucked to repair...most of the shower had to come out. I had a similar situation last year (2nd year w/ my Airstream) when I had drained the system, but some water remained in some valves and the toilet sprayer. So, out came more copper and in went more PEX plus a new toilet sprayer head. This past Nov; I pumped antifreeze (RV type) through everything. It was 10 minutes and $5. The last two years I was too cheap to spend the time and money winterizing with antifreeze. It cost me hundreds in time and plumbing supplies for repairs. We will see what March this year brings.

Story over...what for you to do. I'm not familiar with the newer trailers. I assume by '07 that they were using PEX from the factory??? If you do have copper, you can try to lightly heat the pipes with a torch if there's nothing else nearby to catch on fire / melt. But, bottom line is that if the flow is already stopped and it is indeed due to frozen pipes...the damage is most likely done. I checked the weather for Golden, CO and it looks like you get a warm-up in a couple days. If your furnace / heater don't work to thaw things in the next few hours, then I'm sure mother nature will. I'm not guaranteeing disaster, but I'd be exposing the plumbing as much as possible and being ready with towels and a wring-out bucket when things finally get above freezing.

On the bright side, PEX is very resilient and even copper can expand once or twice before bursting. You could be fine once everything thaws. Let us know how things turnout.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:46 PM   #5
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AS has not used copper water lines in 25 years or so.
PEX is used today.
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Old 02-01-2011, 11:33 PM   #6
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No torch!!!

I wouldn't use a torch even if it is copper. Too much of a fire hazard. I would recommend a hair dryer. If you do have PEX and there are no hidden fittings, you may luck out. The pipe itself is pretty much indestructable, it's the fittings that give way.
If you can see where the pipes go behind the wall try the hair dryer. Is htere any access thru outside storage compartments where you might be able to put some heat?
Good Luck
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Old 02-02-2011, 03:05 AM   #7
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"any other suggestions out there?"

1. move to a warmer climate...
2. move into the neighbors heated barn...
3. Keep the Mother-in-law three States away...
4. Invite Pam Anderson over to stay the winter...

Sorry...I know it's now 'laughing' matter - frozen pipes are a real pain...hope the 'thaw' works out and everything's fine...
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:36 AM   #8
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ugghh...it gets worse. somehow, with the gry drain open, the water still was able to pool up in the gry tank and is now frozen solid all the way to the shower drain. there is ice in the shower. i have a space heater in the bathroom, but that's not going to get the gry tank defrosted. what about putting a space heater under the airstream? I don't have a skirt, so I don't think the heat will even concentrate itself. colorado has thursday and friday with temps 35 to 40 then back to snow. a frozen tank will not defrost in those temps. i will have to get this thing indoors somehow for defrosting. i don't know where i can go without spending tons of money and most rv places are always booked anyway.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:07 AM   #9
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Get some plastic and wrap the bottom of your rig to keep the wind and cold from under it. You can use masking tape (the kind that comes off clean - just use a lot of it). Bricks to hold down the bottom.

And keep doing what you are doing, except stop running water until the rig has thawed.

Good luck. Pat
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:32 AM   #10
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marklar guess what my pipes froze last night same area as yours my rear bath has elic heat in area for pipes our power went down and result is water in kit but from bath no water but i changed my vintage to pex so hair dryer and heat will fix for you never use a torch for gray tank use a heater under the trailer use some kind of cover one thing i used in WY few years ago in winter was that silver roll weather material from Lowe's and a bit of tape and a utility heater kept it on 24/7 110 cord to the power post not hooked in to the trailer this helps with amp it will take a bit but will work and keep heat in bath you may have pex lines and should thaw if you can get to area close to your lines like a compartment use hair dryer pointed in the area it will heat the area and start to thaw lines .
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:28 AM   #11
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If the grey tank is full, it will take a long time the get it thawed out. Hopefully nothing broke or split. Maybe you will be lucky and it's just the trap in the tub that is frozen.
With the grey tank valve opened; what might have happened is as the water drained out slowly it froze and kept building up higher and higher in the pipe, where eventually it completely blocked the pipe and started backing up into the tank. If that is the case you have one huge block of ice under there.
If your black water tank is not full but frozen you might be able to pour like 5 gallons of RV anti freeze into the tank. I won't melt the ice but it will mix with it as it thaws and maybe prevent it from freezing again until you can drain the tank.
You need to get the trailer skirted and get some heat going under there.
I would get 6" thick fiberglass batts of insulation either 16" or 24" wide (whichever fits best) with the paper on one side, tape it to the trailer with the paper side out. Then cover that with plastic.
It will take some significant heat. You might consider renting or buying one of those space heaters that burns kerosene or propane. It looks kind of like a small jet engine. If you do, just make sure it is not pointed at anything combustable under the trailer. With the belly pan there it will take a lot of heat to work it's way into the space between it and the floor.
The space heater I'm talking about does consume considerable amouts of fuel, so be prepared for that.
If you are living in it full time. I would recommend that if and when you get it thawed out, that you drain everything and winterize it. Make sure you drain the water heater and bypass it before you put RV antifreeze in the system.
Get a portable toilet and haul water in jugs. You can heat water on the cook stove and have a "spit bath" or go to a truck stop and pay to have a shower.. But don't put any water in the drains of the sinks or tub, otherwise you'll be right back where you are now.
Once you get it thawed out, if there is no damage and you have the trailer skirted you may be able to keep it from freezing with an electric space heater.
Then go back to using it as normal.
You should not leave the dump valves open on the grey or black tanks as they need to empty with some force to clean themselves out; especially the black water tank.
Good Luck!
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:52 AM   #12
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I am going to take your advice and hook up a temporary skirt, I'm not sure how frozen the gry tank is, although my heat tape did fail on the gry/blk outside line, which has since been replaced. possibly too late. I cannot turn the water off, i'm afraid the water heater will break, i cannot drain it and it needs the water to work. so for now, i am hoping the antifreeze i poured down the drains will eat away at some of the ice. that's all i can hope for right now. thanks everyone!
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:43 PM   #13
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Marklar,

I had a problem with a frozen shower drain. The drain protrudes below the belly pan and with our cold temps it froze up.

I had some large chunks of heavy cardboard (from a table saw I bought), so I cut and wedged them under my trailer about 8" inside of the "drip line" underneath. Inside that I put a small (1500 watt) "quartz heater" and let it run for an hour. When I came back it had thawed the trap out. I left the skirt in place and haven't had any trouble with it since. The heat from the inside seems just enough to keep it from freezing up again.

I have a '73 and there's no gray water holding tank in mine, it just runs down and underground to my septic.

I've had some other plumbing problems (cracked water heater tank), but fortunately nothing's frozen up so far other than that shower trap.

Best of luck with the skirt and heat.
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:59 PM   #14
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Turn up the heat ! By keeping the interior hot, with all cabinets open and a couple small fans circulating air to the bath I've had no problems down to 12 degrees.
My place is skirted and I use a flood lamp to warm the floor below ( outside ) the
bathroom. Of course a heat taped and insulated supply line keep things flowing to the trailer. Keep the water heater HOT and do not insulate the interior pipes. This lets the warm air circulate around them. Good luck and say yes to summer temps inside. Break out the shorts and sandels. It feels so good.
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