Frozen water lines....my fix

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sd0321
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:07 am
Location: South Dakota

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sd0321
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:07 am
Location: South Dakota

Don't know what happened to my text when I submitted that, somehow the text disappeared and only the picture went through...

I had said that last week I woke up to no hot water, had cold, but it was sputtering....

A friend came over and helped me look and see that the hot water heater had not died, and that the heat tape was still working. And it was below freezing, but not that cold, for South Dakota....anyway, my friend had to go back to work, and so I had to figure out what I was going to do to fix this latest problem....

Discovered a small access panel in the small bedroom that shares a wall with the hot water heater area, removed that and ran a small electric heater in front of that for about an hour, and then the bathtub, bathroom sink, and kitchen sink hot water started running again.

So I thought, if I could get some heat to that area, maybe it would not freeze again...drilled a bunch of holes in the access panel, put screen on the back of that (so any mice looking in and seeing the promised land couldn't start chewing their way through....) and then, since that small bedroom had no door, I removed my bedroom door and put it on that room, so I could leave it closed and keep it warm.

And I am leaving the kitchen sink running at a trickle. We are at 1 degree right now....and have been very cold for the last few days....so it seems to be working. But even though my furnace doesn't seem to be running any more often than it was, and I keep it set at 68 degrees....who knows what my next gas and electric bill will be. But I didn't know what else to do, I had to unfreeze the water, get to work, and didn't want to come home that night to the same problem again....should I have done something different? Sherry
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sd0321
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Location: South Dakota

Oh sorry, my local temperature is actually minus one degree. With another blizzard warning coming. Wind chills tonight forecasted to be -20.

But I have running water....Chyna Shepherd alive and untouched, ha ha.....she never owned a mobile home..... :-) Sherry in freezing South Dakota....
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Yanita
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Hi,

Go to the Articles link in the task menu, scroll down and on the left you will see an article "Do not mix mix dripping water and cold weather....

Yanita
The difference between success and failure is who gives up first!
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sd0321
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:07 am
Location: South Dakota

Read it.....here it is...

Don't mix cold weather and dripping faucets
by Mark Bower

You may have heard or been told that during the really cold temperatures, keep your faucet dripping so your waterlines don't freeze. The reasoning behind this theory is that with water constantly flowing through your waterlines, your lines shouldn't freeze. And to a point this is true, especially if your mobile home is prone to freeze-ups.

What you may not know is that a dripping faucet in cold weather could be your next big nightmare. Sure, it may be keeping your waterlines from freezing, but it could be causing an even bigger problem - freezing up your sewer lines!


A dripping faucet in cold weather could cause this sewer pipe to freeze underneath the home.
Underneath a typical mobile home is an exposed sewer line. Generally, one end of this pipe connects from underneath the toilet to the septic system in the ground. This line may be anywhere from 4 to 60 feet long and a home may have more than one line.

As you can imagine, when a trickle of water drops down into a cold sewer pipe, at some point that water may freeze. Obviously, the longer the sewer line, the better the chance the water will freeze. If the slow drip continues building up ice for an extended period of time, a frozen sewer pipe is inevitable. You'd be better off to do laundry or dishes during cold snaps, than to let the water trickle.

Don't delay in repairing dripping faucets & toilets

This would also be a good time to check all faucets against unintentional drips. If you find a dripping faucet, it should be immediately repaired or replaced. Replacing a 10 cent o-ring will be much less painful than paying a service man $200-$500 to unthaw your sewer pipes!


Using a nibco-type heater is one method of thawing frozen sewer pipes.
Another inconspicuous source of dripping water is your toilet. Pull the lid off the tank. Inside the tank you'll see an overflow tube. When the tank is full, the water must be below this tube. If water appears to come right up to the top edge of this tube, then chances are great that it's dripping down. If so, adjust the float so the water doesn't come up so high in the tank. If you occasionally hear your toilet running, then you may be losing water through the flush valve in the bottom of the tank. If that's the case, replace either the flapper or the whole flush valve. Both scenarios can cause dripping into the sewer pipes.

In most cases, a dripping faucet or leaking toilet should not freeze-up your sewer pipes in one day. But watch out for when you leave home for a few days! If your worried about dripping water, one solution would be to simply shut off the water to your home. Also, double-check that your exposed sewer pipes have a constant downward slope (no flat or level areas). When it comes to unfreezing, waterlines are much simpler to unthaw than sewer pipes.



But don't know what else to do....if I shut the kitchen faucet trickle off....maybe the water lines will freeze? Plus, previous owner told me that sewer pipes are parks responsibility? It is a quarter to eleven at night....I'm going to sleep before too long, should I leave that kitchen sink trickeling....or shut it off? Sherry
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Greg S
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Location: Kingston Ontario Canada

You have been misinformed about the park being responsible for sewer lines. The park is only responsible for underground sewer lines which are unlikely to ever freeze.

Your sewer lines will freeze above ground under your home and that will be your responsibility.
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Greg
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Sherry, you have the same problem as elocs. You need to check the underbelly, insulation & skirting. Greg
"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."
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sd0321
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Location: South Dakota

Okay, thank you all for your advice....and I know you people know what you are talking about, so I shut the kitchen faucet off this morning.

It's been off all day, and I think our high was 10 degrees, and I have water still.

I guess having water wouldn't matter at all if my sewer lines froze.

And then I'd be paying someone (plumber?) to fix that, now that I know it is my responsibility.

Anyway, thank you, because if not for the advice given, I WOULD have continued running that faucet at a trickle, and most likely would have created the frozen sewer line problem for myself. Sherry
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Yanita
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Hi Sherry,

When your weather forecast predicts really cold temps then open the cupboards under the sinks...this will allow more warm air to get in there...

Yanita
The difference between success and failure is who gives up first!
annie
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Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:17 pm

Hello,

I have worried about frozen lines when the temp goes way below 0 here. I do leave some faucets dripping but I place a big bucket (sink) or trash can (shower) under the drip. It takes a long time to fill up. This way I think I have at least tried to prevent any problems.
Just a suggestion.

Annie
Dean2

I would guess the longer runs of above ground exposed sewer pipe would be more likely to freeze because they would have less angle so less speed to the water. My home is almost 3' high at that end with a short(8' or so) run to the ground/sewer,I have left the water running in extreme cold for the last 3 years and no problems at all(knock wood).

Every shower taken,laundry washed in hot/warm,load of dishes,etc will help clear most ice build-up. Also the ground water temp is 45-50F so that will also melt ice,albeit slower than warm water.

Dean
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Yanita
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Hi,

Although this works for you, we tend to err on the side of caution on this site. Also, sometimes hot/warm water will/can freeze faster than cold...

Merry Christmas,
Yanita
The difference between success and failure is who gives up first!
Dean2

Understood. Every place is a "different animal".

One day,I was telling the park owner here about the nice job I did wrapping and heat-taping the main feed,He said "just let the water drip",lol,so I do.. Saves Me money since I don't have to flip the breaker for the heat-tape often. I think it also helps keep the wellhouse works flowing.
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sd0321
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:07 am
Location: South Dakota

We are at something like 8 below..... with the wind chill -32.....just got home from work....cold water, no hot water.

And why is it that hot water will freeze sooner than cold water? I've heard other people say that also. Seem's like it would be just the opposite, doesn't it? But, obviously, it is true....I have the cold water running just fine right now.

Maybe I should just crank the furnace up to 80 degrees.....

Did I read on here somewhere that you do not put heat tape on the actual pex lines? You only put it where the water comes from the ground up to the mobile home? And the water lines should stay warm enough because they are running next to the duct work for the furnace? I'm almost wishing I would have just left that water trickeling until we got a little warmer..... Sherry
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Yanita
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http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/mpemba.htm


Above is a link for you to see the theory of water freezing.

Heat tapes can be purchased with a thermostat, therefore you do not have to worry about turning it on and off with the breaker.

The intended purpose of this site is to give the proper instructions on how to do various things. We try to give the pro's and con's of the different applications.

As a homeowner is is always your choice to do whatever you choose. If you choose to leave your water dripping then that is fine. Although I think I would do as another poster mentioned, using a bucket to catch the water opposed to letting it drip into the sewer line. Again, the choice is yours.

You should have a short distance of pipe from the ground to under the belly of your home. Heat tape what you can and use pipe insulation to cover the rest. Anything else should be above the insulation running next to your heat ducts.

Yanita
The difference between success and failure is who gives up first!
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