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Old 01-08-2010, 08:54 AM   #1
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Frozen Water lines

Hello to all,

I am looking for a solution to my problem. We are full-timers in a 1998 Travel Supreme 5th wheel. This is our 3rd winter in Missouri. Last night with the actual temperature around 0 and wind chill close to 20 below, the water froze up. We know that the water line from the source to the trailer is not froze (heat taped). We have a little heater in the basement and the furnace is running. We see no way of accessing the belly between the basement area and where the waterline comes in the trailer to get more heat into that area. Any suggestions on how to thaw out and/or prevent other freeze ups.

We do not use the fresh water tank, our home has not move for almost a year. We have debated on adding another water in-source where it would go from outside into the heated basement compartment and spliced into the main water line bypassing the holding tank and the inaccessible belly. Would anyone have a schematic of how the waterline run in this 5th wheel.

Any suggestion would be helpfull.

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Old 01-09-2010, 07:06 PM   #2
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Open all interior compartment doors and drawers to allow warm air to better heat behind them. Position a fan to circulate warmer air from the ceiling down to the floor.(ceiling fan blowing down is best) Find a method to block wind from blowing under your 5er. (hay bales?) Is there an outside compartment near the city water inlet? A trouble-light placed in that compartment may be just enough to thaw a frozen line. Sorry for your troubles, it's tough nearly everywhere right now.
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Old 01-09-2010, 07:38 PM   #3
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Camille- best to use the trailer's latitude adjustment system. Dial it down to the mid 20's if you can, very low 30's minimum. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

IIWYI'd fill the tank and run off that till the global warming returns. The tank should be interior to enough insulation (especially in a TS) and heat to keep the supply & pipes from freezing. Then when thinks warm up some, empty the tank by usage, and switch back to the hose/city-pressure.
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Old 01-09-2010, 07:56 PM   #4
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Hey Camile, I don't know how to solve your problem, but have had the same problem last night. I am south of you and it got down to 9 degrees and I woke up with frozen lines for the first time since fulltiming. I was lucky thought and found that one of my light bulbs in my tank dept had burned out and wasn't putting out the heat I needed to keep from freezing. New bulb, no problem. I hope your problem is as easy to solve. Mike may have the answer, because I run off of my tank due to waterpressure problems where I am and have not had any problems until my droplight went out. My tanks and lines do get some heat from the compartments and the heating systems, but are still exposed to the cold enough to have problems with out a little extra heat. Might go with the use of the tank and see if does work. It's kind of a pain, I have to fill mine every 4 or 5 days, but it's not that big of a deal....
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Old 01-09-2010, 08:31 PM   #5
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I always have a hair dryer in the RV just for this reason. If you can, run it in the compartment where the suspected frozen lines are. It probably close to where it enters the RV
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:23 PM   #6
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I have to agree with all the above, If I was in that situation I would have let a faucet drip until it warms up. And I would have chosen the hot water simply because hot water freezes quicker than cold.
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:26 AM   #7
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Some of my results are laughable.

We open all interior cabinets and took drawer out above water pump and put fan to push warm air into belly. Turn the furnace up to 75 from 68 (toasty). On the outside, we had a 'weak link' right where the water comes into the trailer. And the city water hatch is not big enough for a light bulb. Here is the duh that we did........(don't do this......lol) so we put a heat light on that area with the hatch door open .........we found out the hard way that this was too close to the heat tape thermostat, which turn off our heat tape. So over night our waterline froze.

To test the trailer (after about 18 hours), I replaced frozen water line with a regular drinking hose....trailer was unfroze.....

My husband decided to run the water in copper when we originally set up. His concerns was the kid operating the weed eater in the summer and heat taping a drinking hose. In the process of bring in this 35ft piece of copper into the 5th wheel to thaw, I kinked it...oops.

Found out how difficult it is to remove heat tape. In the process of removing it, discover we had a gap that did not have heat tape on. Will fix that also. While having the heat tape off, for piece of mind we tested heat tape.

In the long run (when it get warmer) we are still thinking about relocating city water to the middle of the trailer to go straight into heated basement. This would cut down our outside run to 10 to 15 feet. Besides the kitchen sink, all plumbing is in this area.

Sorry this was so long.
Hoping everyone is staying warm.
Thanks for everyone suggestions.
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