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Old 01-05-2014, 09:14 PM   #1
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Frozen Water Lines

Hey all hows everybody been doing?

Well here is the glorious situation we are currently dealing with today. We are full timers in North Dakota and we finally got a break from work (two weeks more or less). Well in a hurry to get home to family I forgot to blow out the water line or learn how to more or less . Been staying living in a camper for 3 years in 3 different campers and never blew the lines out and never had an issue.

Well this time things were a little different upon returning from break. Got back and walked in the camper assuming it would be a bit chilled since I turned the heat down but noooo it was 17 degrees INSIDE so everything was frozen of course . From what I could tell is that the furnace decided to just randomly shut off. Okay so the back story is out of the way and I have learned how to blow out my line for next time. It is plenty warm in the camper now and underneath the camper thanks to three milk house heaters.

The inline water filter broke, leaks on the outside shower and the washer connect leaks from what I could tell.

But my questions are as follows,
--How strong are these water lines? Do they crack and break easily? I know the ends have to be replaced on the mentioned leaks.
--How far can I full the stacked washer and dryer out without pulling and lines apart or something like that so I can replace those ends?
--How can I tell if a water line if a water line is cracked or broken?
--What about the hot water heater? What could be broken on that or how to tell if something is broken?

Sorry for the long read, but any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Not a whole lot will be done today seeing as it is oh... roughly -60 with the windchill outside.
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:19 PM   #2
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You wont have any problems with the pex pipe because it wont break from freezing....however I'm not sure about the fittings. I would be concerned about the water heater, water pump and the facets. This could be an expensive mistake because I think the 12 gallon hot water heaters are expensive. Your insurance might cover this though.

The water filter isn't that big of a deal and easy to by-pass. I'd warm up the trailer and cross my fingers with a stiff drink in my hand (human antifreeze).
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:33 PM   #3
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Well that alone makes me feel a lot better about the pex pipe not breaking from freezing because honestly that was my biggest concern, you see un-winterizing my camper and getting it to the dealership is a big chore in itself, then possible time off from work and a hotel out here in the Bakken is easily $150/night and the hotels out here aren't the best unfortunately.

As far as the water pump, I have had to replace one and that wasn't the hardest task. All I have to do there is check to see if water is leaking out it, correct?

The water heater however, if underneath the camper was warm and by underneath I mean the milk house heaters sitting on the ground would that help save it at all? To check if it is still working correctly do I just have to turn it on for awhile and flip that little lever on the outside of the camper and if hot water comes out I am in the clear there?

Then on the faucets just have to make sure there is no water coming out of....well any places there shouldn't be water coming out

Thank you for your input, greatly appreciated.

P.S What makes the pex pipe so sustainable to breaking during freezing.
Also what about that soft, water hose like piping that goes into the water filter and the water pump, can that break easily? The water filter actually cracked and broke open so that should have relieved pressure I would assume?
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:03 PM   #4
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About 7 years ago I was on the road (without the camper) and didn't get home in time to winterized my old camper. I had my wife turn the water heater to electric which kept it warm until I got home. The only damage was the water filter which cracked open. Hopefully you'll have the same luck.

I'm not sure how durable the white garden hose is when it comes to freezing. On the hot water heater, the tank is what I'd be afraid of breaking if it was full of water. I think I'd try putting it on electric so it would heat up slowly as apposed to the LP.
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:18 PM   #5
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I am hoping the tank is alright due to the heaters I have under the camper, but wont find out until I have all the water line ends fixed so there isn't any leaks. The waiting game is the hardest sometimes >.<
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:51 AM   #6
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Sorry to hear of your trouble, I had my old Cougar freeze up solid on me last year it was a newer one with the pex lines like our Redwood's. Knock on wood mine was perfectly fine with no issues or leaks, however I left my hot water heater on with electric. I had quite a time getting it thawed out due to temps below freezing. I would just watch for water dripping ANYWHERE and hope for the best. I think your water pump should be ok, but washer and water heater not so sure about. Do you have an ice maker or dishwasher? If you do I would watch them closely.
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:55 AM   #7
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I have a dish washer and an ice maker. Do I just mainly need to be looking for leaks in where the water hook up is, inside the door where you change the water filter to be more specific. and where the water lines come into the inside of the camper? There shouldn't be any 90 degree fittings or anything in the underbelly of the camper because of the pex pipe correct?
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Old 01-06-2014, 03:02 AM   #8
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Also, I have been searching but apparently not in the right places for my answer. Where exactly is the water heater tank? Is it right on the side of the camper where the door to the on/off switch for the heater is located? Or is it more into the underbelly of the camper? I ask because I am wondering if the three heaters under the camper helped keep it thawed out. Thanks again
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Old 01-06-2014, 06:21 AM   #9
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The hot water heater is on the drivers side of the rig. It has a vented cover. Inside you will find a switch for electric heat and the gas burner. The tank is not accessible under your unit.
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:17 PM   #10
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I would go ahead and pull your basement wall out if you haven't already, you then should be able to see your hot water heater. Warm it up and start using everything and see what happens. I would be concerned about the internals of your dishwasher and washer. I guess have to just put water to them and use them and see what happens but be ready to shut off the water at any moment. Same thing on the fridge but I wouldn't be surprised to find a waterfall in your freezer when you hook water to it. The internals on the icemaker are mostly plastic and can't take the water supply valve freezing.
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