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Author Topic: Keeping water from freezing??  (Read 2575 times)

Cant Wait

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Keeping water from freezing??
« on: October 19, 2013, 07:57:46 AM »
What do you do to keep the water in the basement of your coach from freezing when using an electric space heater to keep the living area warm, and the furnace does not run????? Do you put a 2nd space heater in the basement, or say a heat lamp???
2012 Winnebago "Our Incredible Journey"  40U
2008 Dakota Sport 4x4
2004 Subaru Baja - DW's
2005 Honda Shadow Aero - TOAD for now
Home - Western NY

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Keeping water from freezing??
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2013, 08:38:55 AM »
There is no fixed solution - it really depends on the particular coach and how cold it gets outside. Some basements stay fairly warm with radiated heat and are good to maybe 20 degrees, especially if the lowest temps are only for a few hours. It is pretty common for the basement to stay 10 degrees or so above ambient.

Exposed plumbing in the wet bay is a different story. You have waste drain valves, city inlet and probably the water pump exposed to ambient air (or nearly so). If the plumbing is in an enclosed bay, an incandescent  light bulb, say 75-100 watts, makes a good space heater for that area. Some extra insulation in the bottom of the bay helps too. But if the waste vales are exposed, you probably need to wrap them in some kind of insulating blanket.

Oh, keep the water heater on too!
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL


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  • Bill & Jolene/USA 00 Winnebago Adventurer 37G
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Re: Keeping water from freezing??
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2013, 09:20:42 AM »
Another option in addition to the exposed light bulb, is keep water running at a trickle.  If your sewer hose is connected, leave the gray tank valve open and the kitchen faucet running at a trickle.  Movng water doesn't freeze.  Well it will, but it has to be really cold.  I would also wrap the outside pipe with some insulation.

I have spent a number of winters in the freeze zone, and use a heated supply hose, this really helps, I made my own, but Pirit sells a good one. 

For really cold I have even wrapped the sewer hose, plus insulation, but we were seeing -20 deg. 

Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Retired from Old Faithful, On The Road for a bit
2000 Winnebago Adventurer 37G
2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara.
2012 Dodge Grand Caravan
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Clay L

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Re: Keeping water from freezing??
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2013, 10:25:34 AM »
I added a GFI outlet in my wet bay and use a small ceramic heater with the thermostat set at about 40 degrees to keep the area warm. I turn the furnace down to 55 at night and have had no problems with overnight stays down to 12 degrees or so. Tyh day temps went uo to the 40s.
If the low night temps were going to continue for days along with low daytime temps, I would increase the furnace temp up to 70 degrees or so day and night and forgo the use of electric heaters in the living space.
Clay (WA5NMR), Lee (Wife), Katie & Kelli (cats), Sali (toy poodle)
Settled down after full timing for eleven years and snowbirding for one year in a 2004 Winnebago 35N Sightseer, Workhorse W 20 Chassis. Honda toad

John From Detroit

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Re: Keeping water from freezing??
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2013, 10:32:12 AM »
There are many options.. Easiest is to use the furnace when it gets that cold

You can buy some peal and stick on electric heaters that go on the bottom of the tank.. I find them expensive myself, and of course impossible to install for all purposes and intents but they do make 'em.

What I did was pick up a string of old fashion C-9 Christmas bulbs. these are the larger blubs used for OUTDOOR trees.. These are water resistant.. There is a gap between the bottom of the tanks and the bottom of the enclosed bay.. These lamps, when controleld by a Thermostatic outlet (Freeze-Jack or some such, used to control tank heaters on farms and ice melter strips on roofs and pipe heater tape) add about 10 degrees of heat to the bay.. Oh, on the valves end (Where there is room) I hung a 100 watt ROUGH SERVICE lamp in a cage (Trouble lamp type lamp).

These work fairly well down to around 20-25 degrees.. Below that I'm gonna need the Furnace anyway.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.


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Re: Keeping water from freezing??
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2013, 10:10:05 PM »

Oh, keep the water heater on too!

Q: if I leave the electric water heater ''heater switch'' ON, does it have a thermostatic control... I usually try to turn it off after the water gets hot... Always wondered if will turn itself ''off'' after the water gets hot????  Probably does turn ''off'' but not sure about it...
07 Itasca Meridian 34SH.  '08 Jeep Sahara.
Taos, NM.

Lou Schneider

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Re: Keeping water from freezing??
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2013, 01:00:41 AM »
Yes, both the gas and electric sides of the water heater are thermostatically controlled.  You can leave either, or both, on without damage.

In fact, I find the hot water lasts longer if I let the heater cycle on while I'm taking a shower.   The added heat helps the hotter water in the tank rise to the outlet while the incoming cold water stays at the bottom.   If I turn the heater off the outlet temperature gradually drops throughout the shower, instead of staying hot until the end.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2013, 01:02:32 AM by Lou Schneider »