View Full Version : Keeping pipes from freezing

12-09-2012, 10:20 PM
We've got either two or three nights this coming week where the low is supposed to be at or slightly below freezing. I live in an early '90's mobile home, 3 bedroom & two baths. Up until this year the master bedroom & bathroom combo have been rented out as a small apartment or whatever you want to call it so I've never had to worry about the pipes going to that bathroom.

At times like this I always leave water run in the bathroom and kitchen and was wondering, should I make the effort to see that the water in that second bathroom also runs a little? It will mean going outside & around the south end of the trailer, because I told the landlord to just leave up the dividing wall, which I'm willing to do but don't want to waste my time.

The trailer is skirted almost completely around the bottom but I do know year before last when the landlord & his family lived here he did have one pipe freeze and burst, as did I in the trailer right to the south that I lived in at the time, it wasn't skirted though. When the pipes froze and burst it was during a period of more than 64 hours straight with the temp not getting above freezing. I'm trying to save myself and the landlord and his coworker some extra work here. What do you advise?

12-09-2012, 10:54 PM
sounds like you'd better start that trickle, whatever it takes. That's quicker and easier than setting up a heater beneath the trailer.

12-10-2012, 02:05 AM
Let the water trickle or put heat tape on the incoming pipes.

12-10-2012, 04:41 AM
I'll turn it on tomorrow just before dark. It's only getting into the 40's tonight so even though my heater in the bedroom is plugged in, turned on, & thermostat set for 65o, it's very doubtful it will come on at all during the night. Tomorrow's low has changed, again, to 28o this time so I'll let the water run a trickle in both bathrooms and the kitchen. No way am I putting a heater under this trailer, nor am I wrapping the pipes. The landlord/ maintenance man know what the weather is going to be and if he doesn't do things like that it's not my problem. Hate to be like that but I'm still waiting for him to replace the latch on the storm door that I've been complaining about for a good year almost. I'll close the storm door tomorrow to help keep the cold out but if I have to go anywhere it will be propped open again so I can get in without any trouble.

12-10-2012, 06:58 PM
Just came back from turning on the water in the south end of the trailer. I know it's early but I also knew that if I left it any longer I'd probably never do it. I'll turn on the water in my end before going to bed, or about 8:30pm or so. Tonight's predicted low is now to be 26o, very cold for south central Texas believe me. The cold front hit about 10:00pm last night bevause I heard the rain & wind. Rain didn't last but the wind is still here, beautiful and sunny but windy.

12-11-2012, 01:51 AM
In the prairies up here and in the more northern parts we usually "bank" the trailers with either straw or hay bales all the way around, shoveling snow on top of the bales helps too. And I second - heat tapes and leaving the water trickle.

In my house I run about and open the cupboard doors under the kitchen sink and laundry tub, and make sure the bathroom doors are open - the more heat than can get at the pipes the better.

I have one wall in the basement where the kitchen water pipes run - those pipes I've got wrapped in insulating foam tubes.

Tim Horton
12-11-2012, 08:31 PM
Be VERY careful of letting a faucet trickle to keep water pipes from freezing.

I you freeze up your sewer system you will have big problems getting it thawed and could be $ to get going again.

Take care

12-12-2012, 09:26 PM
My Mom had a trailer that had a skirt all around it . It was even insulated but her pipes still froze so I just got bails of straw and lined the bottom of the trailer with them , nary a problem after that.

12-13-2012, 12:50 AM
If you can't get mulch hay or straw, bagged leaves from fall cleanup is another good insulator

01-25-2013, 08:33 PM
Came across this thread late. What Wyobuckaroo said. Running water sometimes will form an icyle in your sewer pipe. Worse yet is if you have a front kitchen and drain pipe runs a long ways back between the floor to rear of home. If it freezes in between, good luck in trying to thaw that spot out. You gotta find the frozen section, then crawl under there and cutaway section of insulation and whatever to expose the frozen pipe. Sometimes it's easiest to cut that section of pipe out, take it indoors to thaw and then replace it with rubber connections, or pvc couplings.

Depending how your outside main sewer pipe is set up that can also be a problem with running water. Some I've seen run about 8' or more) from center of home to edge of home where sewer goes into ground. If that pipe freezes, hopefully it was put on with easy removal in mind. If you can remove that pipe (usually solid ice) you can take it down a (good) friends basement and unthaw it with hot water.
Also I've seen where people insulate pipes so good that the heat can't get too them, defeating the purpose.
If running water freezes in a sewer pipe it will back up into home, and in the middle of the night it might not be noticed right away.

01-25-2013, 08:47 PM
Whew, I'm out of breath, but one more little tidbit.
You can have all your water pipes taped and insulated and not worry about running water and your sewer pipes can still freeze.
The culprit here is a drippy faucet. Those drip,drip, drips, can form an icyle in sewer pipe, just like water dripping off a roof. (If anybody has a drip, catch it in a pan until faucet is fixed).

In TX, might not be a problem but when you're talkin minus - 20 degrees and thereabouts, you might have plumbing problems.

01-30-2013, 04:08 PM
I have heat tape but when it was 10 below zero for a few days even running a trickle of water didn't keep it from freezing up. Three days of hauling water made me VERY thankful when it warmed up enough for it to run again. Now we're headed into another cold snap and I'm going to go home and fill both bath tubs in addition to my stock of clean drinking water jugs. Fortunately, my water supply pipes are pex and not copper - they give quite a bit before they burst, unlike metal, so at least I haven't had burst pipes (yet.) :p

I've thought about putting a heater under there, but I'm worried about it causing a fire. They say not to insulate over heat tape because it needs to sense the air temp. There's GOT to be a better way to plumb a trailer than this!

01-30-2013, 07:15 PM
I understand not wanting to put a heater under the crawl space.

But if it is closed in nicely, so no drafts, you could put 2 or 3 metal reflectors like you'd use over baby chicks with a 125 watt heat lamp in each. Make sure there is nothing flammable directly under it since heat will be directed down. You will be amazed how much heat this can add under a trailer. Also by placing the reflectors near the water pipes, it should be warmer in that area which just might be enough to keep the pipes thawed out.

Reflector lamps properly placed would be much safer then a heater. Also a heater usually uses 1000 or even 1500 watts of power. You could position 4 reflectors around the crawl space under the trailer and with 125 watt heat lamps, you'd only be using 500 watts, much less then the heater, and spread out over a much bigger area.