Frozen MH pipes and taps. Advice please

wingman

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Feb 10, 2013
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Went down to the storage place today to check on the van. Taps, pump etc all frozen :eek:

This has never happened to me before. I’ve always taken care to drain down in winter time. After the last run out, I drained the waste and fresh water tanks, but was short of time and alas, didn’t purge the water system properly (I normally use the ‘Floë’ purging system).

No matter my excuses, I’m really concerned now because everything is frozen. Even the kitchen tap has a ‘snot’ icicle hanging from it - despite being closed! How does that happen? (See pic)
7CC3E11D-E64E-49D6-95C8-AC092B3E29D0.jpeg


I pinned my hopes on the dump valve operating at around +4° but it didn’t and was still closed when I arrived today.

So, what do I do now? Presumably wait for a thaw in the weather. There is no power at the storage place, so I can’t run a heater. I guess I can’t use the gas either coz the heater (Whale) will be frozen too.

What’s the order to do things please folks? Any work-around?
 

scotjimland

Free Member
Jul 25, 2007
0
-12
.
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15
MH
.
Exp
.
not much you can do .. but I expect you may need new taps and a pump..

it happened to me last year, two new taps.. ouch

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Last edited:
Jun 4, 2016
3,065
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I have a question, after I drained our system I left our taps open to allow for expansion of any water left in the pipes, is this a good or bad idea?
I hope the OP's system is ok once thawed
 

Jim

Ringleader
Jul 19, 2007
32,645
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Sutton on Sea, UK
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MH
C Class Diesel RV
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Since 1988
Taps are £50 or so and unless you leave them open they can split. But the biggest danger is ruining your water heater. Replacing one of those will make your wallet wince. When it thaws you’ll know, don’t fill up with too much water, if you’ve had a joint pushed off, very likely, your pump (if it still works) might dump all your water in a cupboard. But that said.... You might be lucky; plenty have reported that they get away a freeze up and found no damage. Best of luck (y)

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Aug 18, 2014
18,367
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Lorca,Murcia,Spain
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32,898
MH
Transit PVC
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6 years since restarting
I have a question, after I drained our system I left our taps open to allow for expansion of any water left in the pipes, is this a good or bad idea?
I hope the OP's system is ok once thawed
I would say so. I would always leave all taps open. Any residual water can then expand rather than split something
 
Dec 10, 2013
3,066
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South Staffs
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Pilote Sensation P740GJ
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As most have said, not much you can do now but I would find out why you dump valve didn’t work, that could prove very expensive if it has broken the boiler.
Can you not take the motorhome to your home, get it hooked up there and get a fan heater going.
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
32,498
61,935
On the coast in West Sussex
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658
MH
Hymer B678 Dynamic Line
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Since 2008 & many years tugging
Why can't you just run the gas heating, then you can get everthing thawed out, put some water in and see what damage has been done. Stand by with large bucket and mop.:)
The iceicle coming out of the tap maybe because the spout was full of water and the water has expanded as it froze. I would be a bit concerned about the dump valve not working, if the boiler was full and frozen you may need a new boiler. Once up and running I would take the dump valve out and run some tests on it or replace it.

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Nov 25, 2014
269
371
Essex
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34,348
MH
A class
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Since 2006
On an optimistic note, I had the same thing happen on my Eura Mobil so while it was frozen I traced all the water pipes and found that 1 of the plastic manifolds had broken due to expansion. I purchased a replacement and had it fitted ready for the thaw. I checked all jubilee clips and waited. When it was eventually thawed out, the boiler, pump and taps were thankfully ok but the shower head had split and needed replacement. All in it cost me £40 odd and I counted myself lucky. Hopefully you will get away as lightly as I did.
Fingers crossed.
Richard
 

two

Aug 4, 2011
4,411
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A-Class Fiat
I agree with Lenny: use the gas heating. It'd be better to know the consequences now than the day before you intend to use it.
I hope that you are wrong about your dump valve and that your boiler is OK as a result.
I wouldn't leave it. It could get colder and, with luck, may not yet have frozen the boiler contents. You're more likely to suffer the consequences of freezing if you don't do anything about it.
I wonder what happened to "global warming"?
 
Apr 13, 2012
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I would leave it to thaw out without using any heat...............just wait and hope

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Feb 8, 2014
1,555
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Sheffield
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Eldis Majestic 115
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Vans and tugs since mid 70's
I agree with Lenny: use the gas heating. It'd be better to know the consequences now than the day before you intend to use it.
I hope that you are wrong about your dump valve and that your boiler is OK as a result.
I wouldn't leave it. It could get colder and, with luck, may not yet have frozen the boiler contents. You're more likely to suffer the consequences of freezing if you don't do anything about it.
I wonder what happened to "global warming"?
Opposite extremes as shown by the weather we've had last year and now into 2018.
 
OP
wingman

wingman

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Thanks so far everyone. I’m kicking myself because I normally purge the system and leave the taps open! Having done this religiously every year, I’m really miffed that I chose not to spend that extra half hour purging the system and chose not to heed the ‘Beast from the East’ warnings. We just don’t get this kind of protracted weather down here normally.

I guess once it’s frozen, you can’t get more frozen?

I plan to drive the MH home and warm it up gradually. Your prayers please!
 
Dec 21, 2008
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None gone caravannin
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Usually the expansion is taken up by the plastic pipes and it may pop the push fit couplings as others have mention look for splits in taps etc, I am surprised the dump valve hasn’t released, but if there is no pressure it will not dump
 

Riverbankannie

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Mar 11, 2016
7,264
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IH 630 RL PVC
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Thanks so far everyone. I’m kicking myself because I normally purge the system and leave the taps open! Having done this religiously every year, I’m really miffed that I chose not to spend that extra half hour purging the system and chose not to heed the ‘Beast from the East’ warnings. We just don’t get this kind of protracted weather down here normally.

I guess once it’s frozen, you can’t get more frozen?

I plan to drive the MH home and warm it up gradually. Your prayers please!
Hope it’s all ok.
 

DanielFord

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Jun 1, 2013
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I wouldn't force the thaw, that can cause more damage. Certainly do not turn on the water heater.
When I encountered a freeze up in the cooling system of a car, using a hairdryer on low setting was the gentlest way of clearing the ice. Of course there are so many hidden pipes in the van, this may not be practical. I'd be inclined to leave it to thaw naturally and then survey any damage.

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two

Aug 4, 2011
4,411
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An unusual property of water is to expand as it freezes. If it goes below -4°C it contracts, only to expand again as it warms back up!

I’d try to avoid as many of those cycles as possible by thawing it out and draining it. I don’t think the speed at which that’s done will make any difference.


Although I don’t think it’l help much, I’ll cross my fingers for you, Wingman. Just don’t do it again!
 
Dec 9, 2017
28
40
Funster No
51,607
133A92D9-B07A-41B6-814E-2FFDB5F2D675.jpeg
I think I have the same problem as the op...
This is my first van, people with more experience does this look as if the valve has opened?

Thanks

Paul
 
Dec 10, 2013
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It looks to me as though it’s dumped, I have the same type of valve and I think it’s flush with the body when it’s set.

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Dec 10, 2013
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Just to add, that type of valve will dump at about + 4 deg and are a bugger to reset if the temperature is not much above that.
 
Dec 9, 2017
28
40
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51,607
Many thanks, lessons learnt.
Taps won't open and I'm not going to force them, time to be patient..
 

GWAYGWAY

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Sep 6, 2014
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Hymer ML I 580
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I have drained mine down left all the taps and drain cock open and then put the truma on to electric heating but not for water, water inside in the drinking container is OK, so above 0 inside. about -6 tonight van set at +8 on EHU. hope it is OK, the truma book says OK to heat without water, but was that for gas only?, don't know it doesn't say. Fan is running very gently in the background.

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Aug 27, 2009
19,680
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Hertfordshire
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Van Conversion
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Thanks so far everyone. I’m kicking myself because I normally purge the system and leave the taps open! Having done this religiously every year, I’m really miffed that I chose not to spend that extra half hour purging the system and chose not to heed the ‘Beast from the East’ warnings. We just don’t get this kind of protracted weather down here normally.

I guess once it’s frozen, you can’t get more frozen?

I plan to drive the MH home and warm it up gradually. Your prayers please!
Might be a good idea not to tell your lovely lady that it was your fault;) :) Blame mice or squirrels....(y)
 
OP
wingman

wingman

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Feb 10, 2013
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So, this is the current situation....
I planned to bring the van back home from storage today to thaw out. Here’s a picture of the approach road to the storage area, complete with a stranded Range Rover.
I wouldn’t complain if this was the Cairngorms, or the M 8 but this is near Southend-on-Sea for Chrissake!!!
The drifts are 3 feet in some places, so there’s no way I can get to, or get out the MH. The police had to rescue people from cars on adjacent roads to the storage area last night.
So, my poor van is frozen, unloved and stranded. I can’t see me getting to it until next week :(
9084DC97-83D9-4171-A6F3-4BCAC140B38B.jpeg
 
Last edited:

soreeyes

Free Member
Feb 21, 2012
351
136
Dorset
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19,903
MH
Sunlight T69L 2017
Exp
im a newbie
Went down to the storage place today to check on the van. Taps, pump etc all frozen :eek:

This has never happened to me before. I’ve always taken care to drain down in winter time. After the last run out, I drained the waste and fresh water tanks, but was short of time and alas, didn’t purge the water system properly (I normally use the ‘Floë’ purging system).

No matter my excuses, I’m really concerned now because everything is frozen. Even the kitchen tap has a ‘snot’ icicle hanging from it - despite being closed! How does that happen? (See pic) View attachment 215816

I pinned my hopes on the dump valve operating at around +4° but it didn’t and was still closed when I arrived today.

So, what do I do now? Presumably wait for a thaw in the weather. There is no power at the storage place, so I can’t run a heater. I guess I can’t use the gas either coz the heater (Whale) will be frozen too.

What’s the order to do things please folks? Any work-around?


Possibly your find the taps have cracked inside to allow the tap to drip out if shut . When thawed you will need to check if anything has cracked like pump or pipes and joints can pop apart as the water freezes . Might be worth checking cupboards for anything has frozen and burst even toothpaste can cause a lot of damage when it bursts open .

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PP Bear

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Apr 5, 2013
4,091
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MH
Coach Build
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Got to mine last night. Parked headlong into heavy wind and snow and -8 temp. Engine battery was having none of it so hopefully I can slave tonight to run the engine.

Good job I changed the antifreeze just before Christmas.

I had drained all the water in November, run the pump dry and left the taps open, however I never unscrewed the shower hose and it’s frozen solid, including the mixer tap. Hoping that the freeze won’t have damaged any parts either and that the expansion will have been lateral along all the pipe.

Only a defrost will tell.

Pinkies crossed for us all.
 
Aug 27, 2009
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I my younger less aware days I had the van water heater in a fully winterized van split through freezing. It emptied its contents onto the cupboard floor. It was a steep learning curve after that....;)
 
Dec 10, 2013
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Just got back from our Motorhome storage yard and the thermometer was saying minus 4 C inside the Motorhome, that sort of temperature will cause damage if you haven’t drained down properly, what makes it worse is the temperature isn’t getting above freezing in the daytime.

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