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Old 10-30-2019, 03:48 PM   #1
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Water lines froze up in thunderbolt 375AMPS

Hello RV'ers,
Yes, I know, it is not a four season trailer. I have a toyhauler thunderbolt 375 AMPS. I am up in Montana hunting and visiting brother. The RV was doing great and have had a great time. But as all know the weather has changed over night. It has droppe down to 8 degress a couple of days. RV was great until under 20 degress. At first the sink hot water line froze but mid day cleared. Then the temp dropped and has been between 8 in the morning and high of 17. Mean while all of the lines have frozen in the trailer. We are on the fresh water tank and the tank heaters are on. I have been keeping the trailer above 76 degress also. Today it is getting up to 31 degress. But is suppose to stay cold through next week. Planning on pulling out and heading back to Texas. Does anyone have any idea on how to unfreeze the lines from the low point drain lines? That is where I think my problems have started from. I checked in the cargo compartment and it is 40 to 50 degress in their. The pump still runs but it is as though NO water is getting to the pump. The lines in the cargo compartment area are not cold.
Thanks for any help
Terry
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Old 10-31-2019, 10:07 AM   #2
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You could try heating the low point drains with a hair dryer and see if that un-freezes them with the sinks and such leave the cabinet doors open so that the heat from the interior of the rig gets to the lines. Make sure you are running your furnace and not using space heater to heat the rig (the could be used in addition) good luck
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Old 10-31-2019, 03:33 PM   #3
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The feed line to the pump is a popular place to freeze, as well.
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Old 10-31-2019, 03:46 PM   #4
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I just recently did some searching on Amazon for ways to hat small, confined spaces, in order to freeze proof lines that would be hard to add heat tape to. Also heat a Lithium Battery compartment for less than a $200+ heat blanket from the manufacturer.

Here's what I found that looks promising for anyone looking to experiment:

Thermostat (Pkg of 2) for $8

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CH7W3XP...v_ov_lig_dp_it

12 V 100 watt heater w/fan for $15.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CH7W3XP...v_ov_lig_dp_it

Both are 12 V so they can run both on or off grid.

T-Stat can be set for desired on-off heat ranges and low output units are perfect for a small compartment. At 100 watts it provides just over 300 BTU's which will keep most confined spaces above freezing without drawing a million amps from the battery.

Estimated BTU's required to heat a confined, somewhat insulated space, from 0 degrees to 40 degrees , that is 2' X 2' X 5' foot (like a storage compartment size) is only 80 BTU's.

Here's a calculator one can use for their situation:

https://www.simplex.ca/en-ca/btu-calculator


A heater/Thermostat combo like these could be great for adding heat to a covered under-belly when it's super cold. Something that can be called upon when needed.

About the same current draw as tank heaters but able to heat water lines passing through this space and any heat added here will tend to migrate upward through the floor so not all would be wasted.
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Old 11-01-2019, 02:09 PM   #5
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Compartment heat

Yes to TitanMike's plan. Works well for me. 1st Winter season, the water filter froze solid and busted. So next season, I installed a separate thermostat in storage compartment containing the water filter and water pump. Then added power relay to control 115vac. Added a small 300W personal heater to heat the compartment.


I have set the heat turn-on to about 38* F in order to economize and still keep compartment above freezing. Working good so far.


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Old 11-01-2019, 02:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TitanMike View Post
I just recently did some searching on Amazon for ways to hat small, confined spaces, in order to freeze proof lines that would be hard to add heat tape to. Also heat a Lithium Battery compartment for less than a $200+ heat blanket from the manufacturer.

Here's what I found that looks promising for anyone looking to experiment:

Thermostat (Pkg of 2) for $8

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CH7W3XP...v_ov_lig_dp_it

12 V 100 watt heater w/fan for $15.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CH7W3XP...v_ov_lig_dp_it

Both are 12 V so they can run both on or off grid.

T-Stat can be set for desired on-off heat ranges and low output units are perfect for a small compartment. At 100 watts it provides just over 300 BTU's which will keep most confined spaces above freezing without drawing a million amps from the battery.

Estimated BTU's required to heat a confined, somewhat insulated space, from 0 degrees to 40 degrees , that is 2' X 2' X 5' foot (like a storage compartment size) is only 80 BTU's.

Here's a calculator one can use for their situation:

https://www.simplex.ca/en-ca/btu-calculator


A heater/Thermostat combo like these could be great for adding heat to a covered under-belly when it's super cold. Something that can be called upon when needed.

About the same current draw as tank heaters but able to heat water lines passing through this space and any heat added here will tend to migrate upward through the floor so not all would be wasted.
Mike... both your links go to the same thermostat... no heater.
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Old 11-01-2019, 02:51 PM   #7
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This one requires 120 VAC but it has a High (250 watts) and Low (unspecified) setting, a Honeywell Heat Bud: https://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-HCE...2637494&sr=8-1

I used it for the first time last night in my wet bay. On Low it kept the wet bay in the high 50's when it was 35 outside. The temperature was measured with a remote temp sensor on the bottom of the compartment at the opposite end, about 30" away from the heater.

Tonight I'm running it through this Thermocube, on at 35 and off at 45: https://www.amazon.com/Farm-Innovato.../dp/B0006U2HD2

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Old 11-01-2019, 03:30 PM   #8
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Hitch up and head southIt'll thaw out after a couple hunert miles.

That said I am flying up to Billings Mt. the middle of November to see my brother. This Arizona feller might freeze up.
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Old 11-01-2019, 04:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5picker View Post
Mike... both your links go to the same thermostat... no heater.
Here's the heater:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B26KKH7...v_ov_lig_dp_it

Sorry for the "Senior Moment".
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Old 11-01-2019, 07:50 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TitanMike View Post
Here's the heater:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B26KKH7...v_ov_lig_dp_it

Sorry for the "Senior Moment".
Thanks!
That's some interesting equipment.
Definitely looking into some of this for a totally different project.
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Old 11-01-2019, 08:16 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Teaman View Post
Yes to TitanMike's plan. Works well for me. 1st Winter season, the water filter froze solid and busted. So next season, I installed a separate thermostat in storage compartment containing the water filter and water pump. Then added power relay to control 115vac. Added a small 300W personal heater to heat the compartment.


I have set the heat turn-on to about 38* F in order to economize and still keep compartment above freezing. Working good so far.


Teaman
You can also use a 100 watt light bulb to heat that area
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Old 11-01-2019, 09:26 PM   #12
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I've wondered about that before and why no manufacturers had such an option, at least while on shore power. A couple of small ceramic heaters with decent fans installed in an underbelly would make for true 4 season camping. Even on DC, would it draw more amperage than a full set of DC tank and valve heaters? Probably not, and would protect all the lines, not just the tanks and drains.
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Old 11-01-2019, 10:13 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by grumpyer View Post
You can also use a 100 watt light bulb to heat that area
For the younger folk, an old-style incandescent 100 watt light bulb, not an LED bulb. Flea markets are a good source since you can't buy them in stores anymore in the USA.

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Old 11-02-2019, 09:40 AM   #14
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For the younger folk, an old-style incandescent 100 watt light bulb, not an LED bulb. Flea markets are a good source since you can't buy them in stores anymore in the USA.

Ray
I agree. I grew up on a farm where light bulbs of all sizes were used in places like the pump house, boxes built over free standing water faucets/hydrants, chicken houses, etc.

They were about all that was available back in the day for the average person. Unfortunately they caused their fair share of fires unless properly protected.

If one is going to use an incandescent bulb two things: Make sure there are no combustible materials near it and second, create a shield to prevent anything that accidentally falls against it from igniting. Some coarse screen, often called hardware cloth, fastened to the base that holds the socket is a good method.

We used to use a string of "light bulbs" in our boat that was moored 12 months of the year in a marina. A piece of 2 X 10 for the base, a ceramic socket for the bulb, and either screen or a #10 tin can with both ends cut out for both a shield and chimney to promote circulation. Vents were formed at the bottom by using a can opener that cut small triangles for an opening. Cut openings all around the bottom and bent a couple out so sheet metal screws could be run through the tabs to anchor the shield can to the base.

Of course this was before dehumidifiers were affordable enough to buy one of those to replace a string of lights.

Another way to prevent freezing in corner areas is to make sure they have plenty of circulation from the heated living area. Vent holes with screens and simple computer type vans can blow warmer air into those spaces. Every situation is different so one needs to use their imagination.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:24 AM   #15
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For future trips to avoid similar problems the OP is having, I am installing a heat line on my feed hose from the FW tank to the pump, of which about 5 feet is exposed beneath my trailer. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Already have a tiny ceramic heater in my wet bay.
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