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Old 11-23-2003, 08:11 PM   #1
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The Pipes Froze...

Well last night the water froze. Partially. I had the heat on set to about 55. The furnace came on about every 10 or 15 minutes and ran for a couple minutes each cycle. I have a 100 lb propane tank outside. It was zero last night and this morning the cold water worked in the kitchen sink but no hot and nothing in the bathrom, hot or cold. I went out side and opened the rear access door and noticed frost on the inside of the door. I have a very small electric heater that blows warm air. I put it in the back there by the valves and fed the cord up into the bathroom and plugged it in the bathroom outlet, put some foam insulation on the door seal to help it out and closed the door. It thawed out in about an hour. Every thing is wornderful again. I am very worried though. It's only November. Honestly, am I wishful thinking? Should I winterize and find somewhere else to shower, or take a chill pill and deal with it? I left the heater in the back where it will remain tonight. I also put a fan on the bathroom floor, aimed at the toilet. It's currently 5 degrees outside. I don't use the black tank, it's empty and the valve is open. They fresh water tank is full, and the grey water tank valve is also open. Any advice or suggestions? Will skirting help? I want to skirt the thing but just don't know how to attach it. I'm very worried about this winter. I worry about the furnace quitting too. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Glad the site is back up!!!

Thanks,
Brian
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Old 11-23-2003, 08:15 PM   #2
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You could always get the electric heat tape and run it along your piles. They are designed to come on at approx 34 degrees and don't cost much to operate. This could be a simple solution to your problem.
Best of luck.
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Old 11-23-2003, 08:38 PM   #3
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I looked at heat tape today at HD. Comes in different lengths, 3,6,12,18,30 feet. It suggest that you cover it with fiberglass insulation after you put it on the pipe. I have no idea how I would get it under the tub? I'm not sure about the voltage either. I don't want to overload the electrical. I have the electric heater in the back that's 750 watts, a TV ? watts, the fridge (should be zero watts this time of year), and the univolt-I just have a 15 amp source from the house. But I would try it if I could get under the tub. I suspect that the cold water pipe froze under there last night, no cold water at the tub but cold water came out of the kitchen sink?
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Old 11-23-2003, 08:56 PM   #4
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Not to be an alarmist, but if that coach has copper pipes.....they tend not to freeze very well.....

Are you fulltiming?

Eric
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Old 11-23-2003, 10:52 PM   #5
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Yes I am full time in it. I'm crazy. I too thought that I would split a pipe but it must have frozen only slightly. It froze up between 10PM and 6AM this morning. The pump holds the pressure in the pipes just like normal so I assume I'm OK and they didn't break, thank god.

The tiny heater I have in the back is working out great. It's cool enought you can put your hand on the front of it. I think it will be fine back there. It's probably 75 or 80 degrees at least in that back compartment now. I just don't know if I can keep this up for another 5 months. I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.

Thanks again-
Brian

The shopping list so far, feel free to add anything-

New rubber seals for access doors, (inland rv?)
Hair dryer
Another small fan (I might have to purchase in Florida)
Skirting Plans
A 12 pack and a bottle of Jack...
???
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Old 11-24-2003, 03:56 AM   #6
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Brian,
I vote for the move to warmer climes Arizona down near Phoenix looks real good this time of year. if you can stand the crowds! Skirting is an excellent idea, and reccomended. I can think of a couple of ways of doing it, one I have seen people use hay bales, but you may be building rodent condos if you do that, another thought has been to pop rivet a "C" channel on the under side of the AS to the belly pan, I would use some type of vinyl, then use the blue styrofoam board, plow a small ditch around where the bottom of the board goes, slip the "blue board" in the channels and bury the bottom. You are on the right track with the heater in the rear storage compartment!, my AS owners manual reccomends in "extreme" winter conditions to install a 75 watt light bulb in that area, I have also used the heat tape with mixed results. Something that I plan to do in the future as an upgrade to my AS is to add tank heaters, they appear to run about $150 per tank, plus the pain of installation, something you might want to consider?

Aaron
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Old 11-24-2003, 05:03 AM   #7
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Thumbs up There was once

Brian
We had a couple on here last winter who lived in their Airstream full-time last winter in MO. You might try looking for the thread on their winter experience`..
Her name was Ruby or Rubyslipper, something like that~
I know this is Low Tech but, what about letting the water drip..?? Just enough to keep it from freezing..
I vote for the move to Arizona...lmao


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Old 11-24-2003, 05:45 AM   #8
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Drip Drip

Drip is great for fresh water pipes but how would you drip the waste tanks?

My experience has been with holding tanks and never a running water supply line.

Drain those tanks before it is too late and mind those P traps also.

As for heating the interior of the trailer, great for keeping the carpet warm but no good for the tanks.

The heater ducts typically heat the holding tanks, but a 100 LB LP tank will not hold up long with the furnace running around the clock.

Move south!
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Old 11-24-2003, 06:55 AM   #9
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Have you thought about using light bulbs?

I would think that a few of them strung along the pipe routes would be enough to keep the pipes from freezing, I have used that trick under kitchen sinks and in similar situations.

Replacing the seals on your compartment doors would help greatly as well.

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Old 11-24-2003, 08:00 AM   #10
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grey and black water tanks

Would suggest that if these tanks are open at the drain to close off and keep cold air from easy back entry to inside of your unit...

Maybe you could put insulation board under the unit and lay 6 to 12 inches of roll insulation on top of it and then raise it up against the bottom of the A/s to seal up breezes and insulate the floor more...would also instal and use pipe wraps and electric pipe warmers before hand.... lol...jem
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Old 11-24-2003, 08:24 AM   #11
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Brian,

Hang in there. It will get warmer. We tend to see two or three weeks a year where the tempature gets into single digits here in Loveland, but it's early this year. I would go with straw bales now because the blue form would be hard to install in this weather and frozen groung. If you use light bulbs, consider a string of 35 watt bulbs. It will distribute the heat, reduce hot spots, and be redundent if one fails. Be aware, we could see twenty below here on rare occasions.

Oh, you might put a cup of RV antifreeze in the tub drain after you use it.

Think warm,

Jim
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Old 11-24-2003, 01:39 PM   #12
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Thanks all, I like the idea of moving to Phoenix the best. Do you think I'm asking for trouble by using the water tanks? I have water in the fresh water. Water runs through the grey water on it's way out, will this freeze up eventually? The black tank is not being used at all. I think I may just winterize and use the Airstream like a fancy tent.

Thanks Again-
Brian
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Old 11-24-2003, 09:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by overlander76
Thanks all, I like the idea of moving to Phoenix the best. Do you think I'm asking for trouble by using the water tanks? I have water in the fresh water. Water runs through the grey water on it's way out, will this freeze up eventually? The black tank is not being used at all. I think I may just winterize and use the Airstream like a fancy tent.

Thanks Again-
Brian
Having lived for 18 years in the Loveland area, the last 9 at Carter Lake, I would winterize the unit. I know what sort of unpredictable weather that area can experience. A power outage resulting from an ice storm or high wind could put you in deep hurting status.
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Old 11-25-2003, 07:41 AM   #14
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I lived in Ft Collins for 4 years (CSU) and my memory is that a few days of cold and snow are usually followed by melting. Overall, a mild winter climate. I would think that with heat tape on the more exposed water pipes you will do okay through the winter.
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Old 11-25-2003, 08:02 AM   #15
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Originally posted by dmac
I lived in Ft Collins for 4 years (CSU) and my memory is that a few days of cold and snow are usually followed by melting. Overall, a mild winter climate. I would think that with heat tape on the more exposed water pipes you will do okay through the winter.
You didn't live there long enough to experience a bad winter. Most weeks at IBM Boulder, we would walk around the buildings in suit coats in January, but it isn't always that way.

I all to well remember over 3' of unexpected snow several times in one winter, power lines down, and siphoning gas from my Blazer to keep the generator running so that my hot water heat would not freeze up. Even the "weather guessers" can only give a day or two notice of that sort of event.
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Old 11-25-2003, 09:28 AM   #16
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Lightbulb

WHY NOT TRY OPENING THER INTERIOR DOORS TO THE STORAGE COMPARTMENTS AND EVER SO SLIGHTLY OPEN THE KITCHEN AND BATH CABINETS AND MAYBE THERE WILL BE ENOUGH HEAT TO PREVENT FREEZING THE PIPES?
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Old 11-25-2003, 12:06 PM   #17
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Wow Pahaska, I live only a couple miles from Carter lake. We don't have cold weather all the time but 20 below for a few nights is not uncommon. My 20 years experience with Colorado weather tells me that I should winterize the thing and call it good. I can't handle the stress anymore. I relate living in the Airstream to being in a space capsule in orbit or in a sub in the ocean. I'm very concerned that one of the systems will fail with disasterous concequences. Your're right, a power outage would be very bad. I could hook a running vehicle up to it to keep the battery charged, but that's more than I want to get involved with. I will winterize it this Thanksgiving weekend if the weather holds out. My house is undergoing a major remodel and this is why I'm living in the Airstream. I will figure out a way to wash up in the house. Does anyone know how long a man can go without showering before he really starts to stink?

Thanks for all your advice!
Brian
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Old 12-08-2003, 09:09 AM   #18
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One thing I did was get a roll of pink insulation from HD and some small quart-size Zip-Lock bags.
I stuffed the bags with the insulation and cramed them under the tub through the rear access door.
I also have 20 or so made up to put around the water pipes in the rear compartment.
I can always remove them when I go to "normal" climates.

I also got several cans of that expanding foam and sealed every nook and cranny I could find in the back.

This protects down to -20 if I leave the heat on low.

It is not really a hard project but it is worth it 'cause some of those copper pipes are a bear to get to in my rear-bath '72.
Good luck,
Mike
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Old 12-08-2003, 08:36 PM   #19
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Well all, it was too good to be true. I didn't think I suffered any damage from this little freeze thread I started, but while winterizing today I discovered a possibly costly leak. The toilet leaks when you hold down the flush. It drips antifreeze out the back. Up the back and towards the top. Ya know where all the expensive hard to find toilet parts are located. Way to go!

The Service book suggests using a round object to hold open the toilet valve during the winter while not in use. Another idea I guess. Does anyone do that? Anyone ever freeze up the toilet?


Brian
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