Frozen water pipes

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by HilltopDaisy, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Man I hate when this happens. It's -10 degrees here this morning. I've been under this trailer with a hair dryer with no luck so far. It seems to freeze right where the plastic meets the metal, as it goes in to the home. Yes, I have heat tape and skirting, but when it gets this cold it freezes, period. Just wanted to vent my frustration, I guess. I have plenty of stored water in here, and I can shower at my sister's on my way to work, if I have to. Just imagine back a hundred years or so, when every drop of water had to be hauled in, for drinking (for the animals, too!), cooking, washing dishes and laundry, and bathing. And they often had very large families! And no plastic jugs to haul with. Wow, huh?
     
  2. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No disposable diapers or paper plates, either :no: !! I sure feel like I'm spoiled.
     

  3. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Installing a dryer vent to the crawlspace helps a lot. I have always put outside / underside selectable dryer vents on my trailers and houses both. When it gets cold , I do laundry. This keeps some water flowing and the dryer heat venting into the crawlspace keeps the temp underside up and since laundry is a normal expenditure, no waste of water and electric.
     
  4. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    HD, do you open all your cabinet doors when it gets this cold in NY. When we lived in our Travel trailer (no skirting!!) while we built our house we had heat taped water also, but it was our holding tanks we had more problems with. Leaving all your cabinet doors open tended to help our pipes.

    We also have 24" of snow this morning, schools are closed which is unusual for this area, but it has taken 4 of us about 3 hours to clear the drive and make paths to the barn and feed etc. I'm hoping it has eventually stopped.

    Carol K - snowed in 50 miles south of Buffalo NY!!
     
  5. Rick

    Rick Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi Daisy

    You are describing our homestead. Our only source of water is currently rain, the creek and a hand pump well. Our home-site is located 3 tenths of a mile up our new switchback road from the well. We haven't moved from the city yet, and will need to work out some of the bugs.

    Regarding your pipes, can you leave a faucet dripping into a bucket?

    Also, FYI, we have used a backpacking, no-rinse shower soap, that is excellent. We used it for 8 days straight, and never felt dirty, nor did we stink once we made it to the sleeping bags.

    I like Shrek's idea! Leave to Shrek to come up with a passive approach to solve a problem!
     
  6. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If I'd thought about it, I would have left the water dripping. That's what I did last year. I never thought about leaving cabinet doors open. No dryer here, so I can't try that. Well, that's why they made blowdryers, I guess!
     
  7. Joy in Eastern WA

    Joy in Eastern WA Well-Known Member

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    HD, I feel your pain. Just over the last five days, with temps going -20, I have had to deal with frozen pipes three times so far. Fortunately, I've been able to get underneath the place and heat the two areas were I know this is a problem. And, sure enough, they open up in a few minutes.

    Yep, run the water. That helps a lot! But, I turned the water off yesterday morning for 30 minutes and the line froze in that time period. :no:

    Could you get a couple of light bulbs under the trailer to provide a little heat?

    Good luck to you!
     
  8. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Glad I don't have your problem.I'm waiting on my Hot Water to thaw somewhere within a 10 foot section in the house.All my pipes are running inside the house,but it gets a little cold over there.

    When we didn't have indoor water the stock got water out of the pond,caught Rain Water,drawed Water from the Well with a Bucket,100 foot.

    big rockpile
     
  9. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    The only precaution to take with dryer vent heating is to have adequate cross venting to remove the moisture after using it during the freeze risks. For me a crawlspace exhaust system that is used for summer cooling suffices to dehumidify after the freeze threat has passed.
     
  10. pat

    pat Guest

    How you ever saw extension cord looking pipe heaters ? Its just a cord that gets a bit warm and you wrap that around the pipes and plug it in and will heat your pipes just a bit. You can than wrap that with something to conserve the energy.
     
  11. SueD

    SueD Well-Known Member

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    A couple hints to help out...

    Is there any way you can put something along the lines of a bale of straw on each side (under the trailer and outside right at the connection point)?? It might take 2 on each side, depending on how the pipe runs.

    Also, to avoid freezing it solid and bursting the pipe, my mother used to leave the cabinet doors open (heat from the house on the inside pipes) and let the faucets all drip - not run, but just drip a little. Her's never froze... We are in Chicago, so we don't get TOO cold too often, but we can sometimes -

    Sue
     
  12. myark

    myark Active Member

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    We were told that venting the dryer under the house would cause rot.

    So far, (this is our first winter here) this is the only house we've lived in that the pipes didn't freeze. I know well all the ick that goes with it.

    We found that to prevent the problem, we had to turn up the heat and open all the cabinet doors in that area, and let the faucets drip. Our pipes came up and into our kitchen area, then ran along the top of the floor inside a wooden box against the outer wall. We also had to keep everything away from that wall when it got down cold. A light bulb in the immediate area of the problem may also help prevent freezing. If you have straw bales available, you can stack them around the side of the trailer that gets the brunt of the prevailing winds.

    Hope this helps!
     
  13. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Update--I spent a few more minutes underneath here with the blowdryer and it worked. I now have a lightbulb under the cabinet where the pipe comes into the house, and the bathroom water running just a bit. It's not supposed to get above freezing for several days. Good luck, everyone!
     
  14. myark

    myark Active Member

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    I started my post much earlier than I got it sent, as I had several lengthy interruptions, and didn't recheck the thread...sorry for the repeated advice!
     
  15. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    Friends of our live on a large farm outside of Bangor, Maine in a newer mobile home. When they first put the home on the land the pipes froze in one sub-artic spell. He fixed that for future by putting bales of straw/hay all around the skirting of the mobile home (and yes, his pipes were all wrapped too -- even when they froze.) They've never had any trouble since -- and it was a cheap fix. At the end of winter, they use the old bales in their compost pile and potato plantings. Hope this is of help.
    BW
     
  16. I am a visiting homesteader in the making---I really like this site. This is my first time responding. I would suggest that if you use hay bales for insulation either get a cat, or bulk up on mouse traps, because here in rural New Hampshire those little furry things love to live in the bales during the winter :eek:(.
     
  17. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    Glad you got it thawed Daisy. We have struggled with it for years....that being caught unaware. It is so much easier to prevent the freezing than to thaw them. :haha: The light bulb works wonders for us and we also have used Jay's method to thaw them once they freeze (the clothes dryer thing)

    Rick.......thanks but no thanks!!! I am getting far too old for that kind of living and do so love my water into the house. I did it for years on an old homestead when the children were toddlers. Look back on it now and simply can not imagine that I did that!!!
     
  18. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    If you can find come 6" drain line to put around the water line to give it dead air space to down below the frost then wrap that pipe with insulation it will keep warm naturally like animal waterers work.

    mikell
     
  19. Matt NY

    Matt NY Well-Known Member

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    Last winter my pump froze between the wash and rinse cycle while doing laundry.