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Old 01-22-2022, 07:54 AM   #1
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Frozen Drain Plugs Cracked Pex?

First winter in 2018 Palomino Compass. Watched too many videos to count but didn't see any that addressed the drain plugs. Windows insulated, furnace running (passthrough is 80 degress) so plenty of heat inside. The initial problem was no water in kitchen. No issues in bathroom toilet, shower or sink. Initially thought the cartridge was blocked because it originally started with just the hot water line when temperatures started to fall in December. Not the case. Both sides have the issue and happens only when temperatures fall below freezing. Thought there must exposed pex or no heat hitting the lines back at the kitchen sink so started with a hair dryer and that seemed to relieve he problem. Yes had been leaving all the doors open so heat could go in. Even tried a space heater blowing into the cabinet. The line was 80 degrees as far down as I could shoot with the temp laser. And then the 5 degree weather came and I was without water even with the space heater. Long story short, I was looking into the bay and behind the wall to see where things go and I saw 2 sets of lines dive down into the belly of the beast. Obviously one set was the kitchen lines and the other ?? Well I looked under the belly and there was my answer. The drain lines. A nice 2 ft icicle about 4 inches wide. Yep.

So my guess is that they put a t for the kitchen hot and cold just inside the coreplast bottom? And the water started freezing from the bottom up? And has reached the T blocking the water from going up to the sink? And at this point it has burst probably at the T?

It's probably going to stay below freezing for at least the next 2 weeks. Anyone else have this issue? Was thinking after fixing encasing in a 4 inch PVC and filling with spray foam leaving valves exposed but putting an insulated screw cap over them like a septic plug. Anyone fix? Do I need to remove the coreplast bottom to access everything and then insulation batting everywhere so wait until I have plenty of time to work on? But then won't my water just leak when this artificial ice plug melts?

A little frustrated with myself but I am learning that RV is learn as you go. lol

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-22-2022, 10:07 AM   #2
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thats why r v antifreeze is sold. you have eanty of time before spring camping starts, sharkbite fittings will fix it. watch utube videos and you can do the repair yourself.
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Old 01-22-2022, 10:34 AM   #3
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Guess I should have mentioned I am staying in the RV. Winterizing with RV antifreeze wasn't an option. I do use it in my drains if I am away for a few days just in case I run out of propane or lose electric. It's a 4 season setup but I guess it's really only 3 and 1/2 lol. Thanks for the tip on the youtube. I thought I tried but sometimes I end up on a youtube rabbit hole run.
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Old 01-22-2022, 10:38 AM   #4
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Two things I learned about water many, many years ago:

1. Water freezes at 32°F

2. Water freezes faster than it thaws
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Old 01-22-2022, 10:45 AM   #5
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Thanks I guess. Lol.
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Old 01-23-2022, 11:23 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Yuckster322 View Post
First winter in 2018 Palomino Compass. Watched too many videos to count but didn't see any that addressed the drain plugs. Windows insulated, furnace running (passthrough is 80 degress) so plenty of heat inside. The initial problem was no water in kitchen. No issues in bathroom toilet, shower or sink. Initially thought the cartridge was blocked because it originally started with just the hot water line when temperatures started to fall in December. Not the case. Both sides have the issue and happens only when temperatures fall below freezing. Thought there must exposed pex or no heat hitting the lines back at the kitchen sink so started with a hair dryer and that seemed to relieve he problem. Yes had been leaving all the doors open so heat could go in. Even tried a space heater blowing into the cabinet. The line was 80 degrees as far down as I could shoot with the temp laser. And then the 5 degree weather came and I was without water even with the space heater. Long story short, I was looking into the bay and behind the wall to see where things go and I saw 2 sets of lines dive down into the belly of the beast. Obviously one set was the kitchen lines and the other ?? Well I looked under the belly and there was my answer. The drain lines. A nice 2 ft icicle about 4 inches wide. Yep.

So my guess is that they put a t for the kitchen hot and cold just inside the coreplast bottom? And the water started freezing from the bottom up? And has reached the T blocking the water from going up to the sink? And at this point it has burst probably at the T?

It's probably going to stay below freezing for at least the next 2 weeks. Anyone else have this issue? Was thinking after fixing encasing in a 4 inch PVC and filling with spray foam leaving valves exposed but putting an insulated screw cap over them like a septic plug. Anyone fix? Do I need to remove the coreplast bottom to access everything and then insulation batting everywhere so wait until I have plenty of time to work on? But then won't my water just leak when this artificial ice plug melts?

A little frustrated with myself but I am learning that RV is learn as you go. lol

Thanks in advance.
Work on it as you can by first trying to remove the ice plug with hair dryer or heater. Would not use a 4 inch PVC pipe filled with foam. Use the thickest black or grey split pipe insulation to cover the line, it is much easier to use. Will have to remove the bottom to access the lines but once done it should increase the resiliency of freezing to way below 0 degrees.
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Old 01-23-2022, 11:40 AM   #7
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It's not likely the pex has split. Most likely the connector to which the pex is connected. They are often plastic; replace with brass. Insulate the low point drains as described above.
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Old 01-23-2022, 04:34 PM   #8
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Thanks I guess. Lol.
In all seriousness, your take away should be that if you're going up against Mother Nature you had best bring your A-Game, because she is a cruel mistress.
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Old 01-23-2022, 05:03 PM   #9
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Guess I should have mentioned I am staying in the RV. Winterizing with RV antifreeze wasn't an option. I do use it in my drains if I am away for a few days just in case I run out of propane or lose electric. It's a 4 season setup but I guess it's really only 3 and 1/2 lol. Thanks for the tip on the youtube. I thought I tried but sometimes I end up on a youtube rabbit hole run.
Winterizing with RV antifreeze is always an option if you don't want the pipes to freeze. These rigs are not really 4 seasons and cold weather is not one of them. You can buy heated hose to warm the water going into the rig, but it's probably not going to help at 5 degrees.
If you're going to be away for a few days, blowing out the lines with air at 30psi should keep the lines from freezing.
At this point, you might want to keep the faucets open a bit to relieve the pressure on lines that are frozen. Those two lines you see (red and blue) are low point drains that drain the pipes. You have to open the faucets to drain the lines completely with those low point drains.

You're not going to be able to find the damage (if any) til after the lines unfreeze. You might want to disconnect from city water, let the lines unfreeze, and test the connections with an air compressor.
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Old 01-23-2022, 05:31 PM   #10
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Thx. Concerned that the freezing started from the drain plug and worked it’s way up the line. Are you saying that the insulation would have prevented that? There still is no heat source because of the insulation in the belly preventing air flow from the furnace to warm all the way to the point where the drain lines exit the underbelly.
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Old 01-23-2022, 05:34 PM   #11
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I understood. Lol. First year camper here. And really thought had things covered. Had to develop septic and water so a little disappointed that a drain line bit me. But it is what it is and will take care of it. Have found a lot of help reviewing videos etc.
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Old 01-23-2022, 05:35 PM   #12
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Thx. Bought some brass. Have seen suggestions to swap out the valves to ball valves as well. Thoughts? Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-23-2022, 05:40 PM   #13
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Thanks for the response. No city water and have turned off the pumps.
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Old 01-24-2022, 12:54 AM   #14
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Thx. Bought some brass. Have seen suggestions to swap out the valves to ball valves as well. Thoughts? Thanks in advance.
If the valves you have only turn 90 degrees from open to off, they already are ball valves. My 2015 Wildcat Maxx came with ball valves on the drain lines, nylon maybe, plastic probably. No issues so have not replaced them.

I have replaced all the shutoff valves in our house and our well house with brass ball valves because they are easier to open and close than compression valves or gate valves and less likely to develop bypass leaks leaks when I shut them off to work on other plumbing. Ball valves and gate valves open to provide full diameter passage for your water. Compression valves restrict the flow even when fully open.

Brass ball valves for PEX that need clamps are about $10 each. More like $20 for brass Shark Bite.
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Old 01-24-2022, 08:10 AM   #15
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I would think heat tape is your answer. I'm assuming you have shore power. If you have access, I would put shutoff valves on the drain lines inside the heated space, and leave the outside valves open.

Do you have heat tape on your dump valves? That is apparently another area that causes problems.
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Old 01-24-2022, 08:44 AM   #16
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Thanks for info. I am not sure what they are, but will find out when I thaw off the icicle! Lol
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Old 01-24-2022, 08:46 AM   #17
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I was wondering if anyone had put in other shutoff valves in the heated area. I think that is my long term solution for sure. Thanks.
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Old 01-24-2022, 08:49 AM   #18
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Fortunately my dump valves are in a cabinet that receives heat from the furnace. I insulated the door and for backup put a short piece of heat tape Even at 0 degrees the area has been maintaining about 38-40 so hopefully have that area covered. But thanks for the tip.
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Old 01-24-2022, 09:01 AM   #19
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I was wondering if anyone had put in other shutoff valves in the heated area. I think that is my long term solution for sure. Thanks.
Some brands of R/Vs come that way, others don't.
Many folks make this mod if staying in cold climates.

So, if you are staying long term (and you are going to need to access the plumbing anyway) I agree with the suggestion of putting shut-off valves in the heated/enclosed area and simply let the drain pipe stick out the bottom.
You'll be shutting off the flow while still in the heated area and the water will simply drain out whatever sticks below where it isn't protected.

Heat tapes could work but that requires electricity to keep them warm, something that 'may' be precious if on a 30a shore power connection.
Remote valves will cost you nothing to keep the low points from freezing once the initial expense is absorbed.
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Old 01-24-2022, 09:08 AM   #20
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Shark Bite fittings are expensive, but they are super easy to use, and they don't leak. Just be sure to push the Pex in all the way. Good luck.
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