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Old 11-28-2020, 07:14 PM   #1
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Anybody ever insulate their exposed waterlines for winter camping?

Last year while traveling back south and camping in North East Pennsylvania we got caught in a cold snap in early January. I woke up and my plumbing valves in the wet bay were frozen. I was very lucky I got them to defrost within a few minutes by putting my portable heater on them.

This winter weíre making the same trek up north for the holidays. Iím putting a small 250W heater in my wet bay with a T stat plug, (on at 37 off at 50). However, Iím thinking of also insulating my exposed pex plumbing under my rig with foam wrap insulation. I wanted to know if anybody has done this? And is this enough to prevent a cold snap from freezing my lines? Iíve also read you can spray foam the lines also.

Iím not talking about camping in sub freezing weather, I just want to protect myself in case I get caught in a cold dip again. Iím also thinking of running heater coil along the exposed pex and then wrapping them in foam insulation. Any thoughts or advice or experience with this would be helpful.
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Old 11-28-2020, 07:33 PM   #2
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Why not just run off your fresh water tank?

Fill it up the night before and then put your hose away.

The small heater in the wet bay should keep the frost out for a short over-night frost.

That's what we do if we get caught out in a dip in temp.
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Old 11-28-2020, 08:07 PM   #3
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Insulation on water lines will only slow down the heat loss. If you really need to protect a waterline, you will need a heat source. Maybe you should consider using heat tape on any line exposed to freezing temperatures.

We camp in temperatures down to zero when we take the coach with us on snow skiing trips. We have adapted everything to withstand freezing water. I use two 250 watt heaters with one at each end of a long wet bay, remote thermometers so I can see what the temperatures are, plus the propane furnaces send some hot air down there. Still get the occasional frozen line.

Word of caution. Don't point a electric heater right at anything plastic, like water lines or tanks. THe can melt.
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Old 11-28-2020, 08:27 PM   #4
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It sounds like you may have a trailer or fifth wheel. If that's true you may want to ask an Admin to move your post from the motorhome forum to the correct one as I think you'll get more pertinent answers.
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Old 11-28-2020, 08:33 PM   #5
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Just how much piping is exposed? If itís only the lines to the outside kitchen, maybe you could shut those lines off and drain them. If more, then heat tape may be required.
Also, donít forget your waste lines. The tanks may be inside and somewhat protected, but thatís no help if your exposed black/gray drain valves freeze shut!
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Old 11-28-2020, 09:26 PM   #6
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I have exposed water lines feeding my washing machine in my FWS. I attached heat tape and wrapped it with self stick insulation tape I bought at Depot. Iíve been in single digits for days and have had no problems.
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Old 11-29-2020, 12:34 AM   #7
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Uhmmm, on my 99 GS Class C, the only thing exposed is the TIPS of the LOW POINT DRAINS? Everything else in heated compartment
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Old 11-29-2020, 12:35 AM   #8
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Yes, I use the insulation foam wrap & a clamp on lamp with 100 watt bulb plugged into a thermo cube
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobGed View Post
It sounds like you may have a trailer or fifth wheel. If that's true you may want to ask an Admin to move your post from the motorhome forum to the correct one as I think you'll get more pertinent answers.
I have a 2019 JayCo Redhawk 25R class C.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:07 AM   #10
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Just how much piping is exposed? If itís only the lines to the outside kitchen, maybe you could shut those lines off and drain them. If more, then heat tape may be required.
Also, donít forget your waste lines. The tanks may be inside and somewhat protected, but thatís no help if your exposed black/gray drain valves freeze shut!
The line from my fresh water tank, (located just behind the drives entry door on my class C) to the wet bay compartment,(located at the very last compartment on drives side, about 20í) And the hot & cold lines from water heater ,(located on passenger side about 8í). Back to the wet bay compartment.

The fresh water line is somewhat accessible, hanging through the chassis, I could run heat tape and wrap it with lengths of foam. But the hot water lines are buttoned up tight to the frame and floor of my rig. Not so easy to wrap. Thatís why I would consider spray foaming them. But if I did, would it be okay to heat tape them and spray over it?
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:12 AM   #11
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Why not just run off your fresh water tank?

Fill it up the night before and then put your hose away.

The small heater in the wet bay should keep the frost out for a short over-night frost.

That's what we do if we get caught out in a dip in temp.
Are your lines exposed or internal. Our last rig had all of its lines and takes installed internally, it was a true winter rig.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:35 AM   #12
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Check to see if your furnace is ducted to the basement compartment, if it is this will help provided you run the furnace and don't rely on small space heaters for the living area.


I stayed in my coach during the month of April in northern Michigan. It got down into the teens and we had 2' of snow. I ran a small space heater in the basement plugged into to a thermostatic plug. I also put a remote temperature sensor in the basement wet bay compartment to keep a check on the temps where a bulk of my water lines ran.
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Old 11-29-2020, 03:59 PM   #13
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Old 11-30-2020, 06:52 AM   #14
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Check to see if your furnace is ducted to the basement compartment, if it is this will help provided you run the furnace and don't rely on small space heaters for the living area.


I stayed in my coach during the month of April in northern Michigan. It got down into the teens and we had 2' of snow. I ran a small space heater in the basement plugged into to a thermostatic plug. I also put a remote temperature sensor in the basement wet bay compartment to keep a check on the temps where a bulk of my water lines ran.
Yes my furnace ductwork goes through part of one compartment and runs under my shower where the bulk of my interior lines branch in/out from my wet bay. However, I have exterior waterlines attached to the exterior of my chassis. These are the ones Iím concerned about.
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