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Old 11-17-2014, 07:40 PM   #1
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Freeze Question

A neighbor ask me a question which I did not know the answer to. His question was; How long can my RV withstand freezing temperatures before being damaged? I know that it depends upon how good the insulation is, how much water is in the lines, etc. But given all things equal, does anyone have an answer? If water is left in the lines, with a typical badly insulated RV, how long will it be until the lines have frozen and burst? Mind you, I don't intend to try this experiment. My answer to him was, Probably overnight. He seems to think it would have to get really cold for a lengthy period of time before damage would occur. Any input?
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:48 PM   #2
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As long as it takes for the water to freeze! If it is 30 degrees it may take quite a while. If it is -10 with strong NW wind it could be less than an hour.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chillbilly View Post
A neighbor ask me a question which I did not know the answer to. His question was; How long can my RV withstand freezing temperatures before being damaged? I know that it depends upon how good the insulation is, how much water is in the lines, etc. But given all things equal, does anyone have an answer? If water is left in the lines, with a typical badly insulated RV, how long will it be until the lines have frozen and burst? Mind you, I don't intend to try this experiment. My answer to him was, Probably overnight. He seems to think it would have to get really cold for a lengthy period of time before damage would occur. Any input?
This reminds me of questions we asked each other at work just for fun:
1. Did you bring your lunch or ride the bus? ... and more appropriately
2. Is it colder in the winter than it is in the mountains?

There are too many variables here for me to give any valuable input. If we had information on what is the lowest temperature and we knew something about the quality of insulation in a given trailer, we could make a guess on how long it would take pipes to freeze.

a. effectiveness of insulation
b. really cold
c. lengthy period

These are fairly open data points. All I know is - I had a commode valve freeze and burst sometime over a winter several years back and it "probably" didn't get below 14įF that winter.
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:26 PM   #4
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Remember despite what people may think Windchill only effects living breathing animals and humans. A wind can have a chilling effect forcing cool into a inanimate object but not the same value as a human.
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Old 11-18-2014, 07:39 PM   #5
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Is he living in it or in storage ? If in storage and properly winterized it will last till spring when he ready to use it
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Old 11-22-2014, 05:02 PM   #6
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Freeze Question

It's more about how long will the temp be below freezing. If your pipes are inside the camper or like mine built in a groove in the floor the it will take a bit more to freeze them. I think if your pipes are outside in the elements then you could have problems. If they are inside out of the elements then mid to upper 20s maybe lower 20s but this all depends on the length of time it remains at the coldest temp, and if it gets above freezing the next day. If you look at the weather report hour by hour temps you can tell or keep a outside temp gauge inside the camper so you know. Water will expand but pex plastic plumbing pipe will expand to 1 and half times its size. Water lines burst from pressure built up upstream of the ice between the faucet. If the faucets are open then chances are much better or they are left dripping. I think a simple thing to do is run a bypass line inside camper when temps get below freezing for those that use in winter or colder weather. I asked the same question do I have to freak out in the mid 20s well maybe... This gives you an idea. I like blowing my lines out, very simple and if you have weather fluctuations from freezing to above freezing then this is easier to change back and forth. So many post only talk about when you are storing a camper not if you are living in it. I am talking about of you are living in it.


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Old 12-12-2014, 12:04 AM   #7
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We've had our pipes freeze 3 times in our 3 years of full timing. Worst was when my low point drains froze solid. Fixed it right away with heat tape and extra insulation. No pipes broke and no leaks formed. Since then in the last two years have had no problems.

Now I'll attempt to answer your question- Pex will expand but it is only as good as the fittings used. Cheap fittings equal leaks after freezing with the right amount of pressure and length of time frozen. As for average temps before pipes freeze- my water lines on the trailer run below my floor and inside the insulation for the most part. The tee across the trailer for the kitchen sink is outside of the insulation along with the low point drains (QC issue with FR and this is what now has heat tape and insulation). Needless to say these froze first in upper 20 degree weather overnight since they weren't being used. The rest of the trailer will take single digits and lower for short periods of time as long as we keep it around 70 inside. The pipes get some heat from the floor.

I couldn't tell you how long if you're talking about the trailer just sitting with water in the lines disconnected from a water supply. Could go either way and mainly depends on whether you leave the lines open or not. Closed- overnight if it's below 25 would probably bust a pipe or fitting is my guess. Open- who knows but you'd have to look really close at all your fittings afterward to check for leaks.
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