Frozen Cascade of Problems - Help?
Full-timing in Cedar Creek Cottage in Western NC. Coldest winter in decades with several days of zero-to-single-digit temps. Had to go out of town for a few days so turned the water supply off, left the furnace on 64, came back to a mess of problems. Thought I'd share and seek some HELP!
Even though I left hte furnace on, I was still worried about freezing lines. As many here have noted, there are several AT RISK areas of these RVs - and we've learned a few of these lessons the hard way. Had the neighbors stop by to check on things while I was away and - sure enough - when reopening the lines to the trailer - no water.
When I got back the sleuthing began. First, shower head was on the floor on the shower with a few small drops of water on the shower floor. Close inspection of the shower head (that everyone here recommends) and hose found that the cheap plastic connectors were cracked. Hummm... how did pressure build up in the shower line in the WARM Cottage to the point of blowing the shower head off the hose - especially when the VALVES WERE CLOSED?!?!?! (We'll come back to this.)
Second, there was a bit of water behind the toilet. You all know what happened there. Pressure build up in the water line cracked the cheap plastic valve in the back of the Dometic Model 310. (Heck, they even show PICTURES of this "known issue" in their literature.) But, again, where is the source of the pressure?
Finally opened the outside panel - you know, the one with simple weatherstripping and no insulation right where your fragile water pump, hydraulic pump and all the water lines run - and found the water filter housing sitting on the floor of the closet - sheared off at the mounting ring.
So this cabinet got SO COLD that the water in the filter housing froze, pressurized the lines to the point where the toilet value froze and blew the shower hear off and cracked the shower line screw connections.
So, working backwards, unscrewed the destroyed water filter housing, had to special order another (2 days and $60 because it is a "special RV size", rather than one readily available at Lowes), installed new filter housing. Hoped that was the only issue.
Turned water on and discovered toilet valve damage.
Ordered 2 (cautious) that arrived Priority Mail in 2 days (still without water). Replaced the toilet valve (patience required working in cramped space, backward, left handed, with plastics, etc.). Turned water on. Toilet worked - no more leak there.
THEN turned my attention to the shower. Feeling hopeful, attached a METAL connector shower hose to the outlet and head. Turned on the shower. Water leaking our around shower base unit. Damn. Can only surmise that pressure was so great that the shower valves blew out too.
SO TO MY QUESTIONS... Help! I know nothing about this shower base unit. Normally I would just start taking things apart (did I mention that I HATE plumbing?) But I am imagining that the hot/cold handled base unit will/may also need replacing. Has anyone done this before? Can you advise me. I am still without water. IF "replacement" is needed can I use a standard residential system from Lowe's? Or is this just ONE MORE THING that I can only get special order? ANY HELP IS APPRECIATED!
Also, in the area of "PLANNING FUTURE PREVENTION" I am thinking about ways to better insulate and seal that cabinet. Perhaps my best solution is to wire in an outlet into the outside cabinet and put a 40 Watt light bulb or heat tape in there... Again, any other ideas? (besides moving to a warmer climate?