31-RK Water Leak?

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31-RK Water Leak?

Postby mkaiserco » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:27 pm

OK, OK, I know, we were taking a big chance by trying to use this thing through the cold Colorado winter, at 9,300 feet no less.

So far, all systems have performed well, despite the conditions.

But when the water pump stopped working, I had a look around to see what was up. When I opened up the enclosed storage compartment, on the left side where the pump is, I noticed that all the carpeting on the floor of the storage area is wet. I figure the water pipe froze somewhere in its pressurized section and burst. But I don't know that for sure.

My next step is going to be to remove the screws that seem to be holding that floor section (again, the bottom of the storage compartment) down. Does this sound like a good idea?

Does it also sound right that the line could have frozen. The trailer has had heat on at all times, and the tank heaters have been on as well. But we have already had some outside temps around 10 below. Should I be looking at putting some heat tape somewhere under there?

Thanks in advance for any useful information.
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Postby Shields » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:51 pm

We just left Bailey area at about 8300 feet about a week ago.
Here is what we did. The first night there temps went down to 7 degrees, or thereabouts. The line from the fresh tank to the pump had frozen up.
We then created the hillbilly hotel by making a skirt out of 1" foam board and put a light underneath the drain pipe junction. By that afternoon we were still frozen so I took a 5 gallon fresh water bottle and put it in the hold, stuck the hose for the antifreeze line into it, switched the valve on the inlet of the pump and used that for fresh. By the next day we had thawed out and I continued using the Cardinal fresh tank. I kept the lights on in the hold for extra heat, we blocked two registers in the trailer to force more heat into the hold. One other night it got down to -3 and I had forgotten to close my foam hillbilly door so guess what? So, back to my 5 gal bottle, but I filled the fresh tank with warm water and in 5 minutes we were thawed out. I would doubt you have a leaky line other than a connector being loose.
We stayed cozy inside the trailer and I would suspect we have a blanket missing on the tank or a line misrouted to a cold spot. But keep heat in that hold and put up a skirt. I am confident we could have stayed the winter, if he had wanted to. Came back to good old warm Michigan. :)
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Postby Rob & Cathy » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:59 pm

Hi Mike, I had a leak in the same area when I was at a campground with unusually high water pressure. I found leaks at a couple of the pipe connectors in the area of the pump and filter. Once I re-tightened the couplers all was well. You should be able to find the leak if you can pressurize the lines. I ran a fan directed at the wet carpet to dry it out. It took a could of days and that was in the summer.

Have you determined why the water pump isn't working? Remember there's a pressure switch near the pump and don't forget to check the fuse.

Rob
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Postby mkaiserco » Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:26 pm

Al (Nadine?),

Thanks for the information. I already have a skirt around the perimeter of the trailer and heat tape on the waste pipe junction (was having problems with "water" leaking past the individual tank valves and freezing in the junction, in front of the final valve and cap).

Tell me more about what you mean when you "kept the lights on in the hold for extra heat". Please tell me which lights you're referring to. I'd definitely like to do that, too.

And as for finding my leak, should I remove the floor of the storage compartment to look for it?

Rob, I don't think my problem is at the area of the pump--but I'll have another look. I didn't actually see any moisture in the area where the pump is located--just wet carpeting on the floor of the compartment.

Another clue? When I turn on the pump switch, I hear a "humming" sound coming from the pump area. Once I figure out where the leak is, I'll check the pressure switch. All the fuses are good.

Thanks to you both.
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Postby Shields » Tue Jan 01, 2008 7:12 pm

the pump hums if it has no water supply, not the usual hard pumping sound.
The lights are the lights in the hold on the toggle switch. Any heat at all is good. You can also plug in an accessory light or heater in there. I would gues your freezeup is in the inlet to your pump line. Fill your tank with hot or warm water and see if it clears up.
I don't know what kind of water supply you have available. I was lucky enough to be at my daughter's and hooked up to the laundry tub and ran warm water. Helped a lot

I am taking the pan off, when warm weather arrives because my best bet is that the suction line from the tank to the pump freezes at the tank outlet. It is probably not an area that the blankets protect.

Good luck. I know what you are going through. But the warm water trick just might pull you through.
If you try the bucket and short line that is for anti freaze addition you will get the pump reprimed and possibly find the leak. I would almost put a box of donuts on a loose connection. That tubing is pretty forgiving on freeze up.

Where are you in Colorado?
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Postby Olbird » Tue Jan 01, 2008 8:04 pm

You canot get to the tanks or water line from the compartment flooring without doing plywood cutting.

The underbelly metal is what you remove to gain access to lines and tanks.
Tanks also do not have blankets around them, they stuff house insulation around things things under the floor and on top underbelly metal as each sheet is installed.

Loose underbelly panels and open joints allow wind to move the insulation while driving causing insulation to move around on top of the metal and sometimes fly out on the road.

I am not saying you cannot gain access from the plywood floor, I am just saying how it was put together, frame first, tanks, plumbing and pipes, wires, and then plywood floor, carpet, walls, on and on and on.

Get some heat between the underbelly metal and floor anyway you can.
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Postby mkaiserco » Tue Jan 01, 2008 8:04 pm

The trailer is in Gilpin County, between Black Hawk and Nederland, CO. I'm currently in Ohio, still visiting family for Christmas, but my son is in the trailer. When I get back in about a week, we'll see what we can find.

As for the water supply, the trailer is on a site where we're building a home, so we don't really have a water line to the trailer. There is a well on the site, so we periodically pump water to refill the tank.

I'll let you know what we find. Thanks again for the advice--and encouragement.
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Postby Don Wilson » Tue Jan 01, 2008 9:12 pm

For additional heat inside the storage compartment you might try hooking a trouble light that you can leave on all the time. We used to keep one on in our pump house as I was growing up to keep the pump solenoid and well housing from freezing up. If you keep it close to the pump it will protect it from freezing and might help thaw out the lines from the fresh water tank earlier in the day.

Good Luck on the leaks but it sounds like Rob and Al have given you good advice there!

Don
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Postby Luizianna » Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:47 am

When we were in San Antonio, we had a leak in the plastic hose fitting by the pump, it came loose. This past weekend it started again. The first time Virg had to cut the hose, now he's got to replace it before we head out again.

It's a wonder more stuff doesn't shake loose as these rv's go down the road. Be sure and check the screws and housing in the ceiling fans too!!!
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Postby markj » Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:19 pm

I was putting insulation on my drop down drain hoses under my rig and noticed the front two long drains had the black insulation fabric cut when they installed the drop down drain pipes. They cut it about one foot, and there was no insulation on the horizontal hoses. I put house insulation in there and retaped it up. I just wonder where else there's a lack of insulation that would freeze pipes in cold weather.

Wow--minus-10 degrees--and your rig stayed warm inside? The furnace must have been running 24 hours a day!
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Postby Shields » Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:31 pm

They stay pretty toasty once warmed up throughout. and the furnace works full time, and remember that propane at high altitudes vaporizes differently so it really runs more than it would at sea level at -10. We never got to -10, only to -5 but didn't know it until we stuck our nose outside. Nice 72 inside the camper, however, we did have an electric assist plugged in also. Which was really nice the night I forgot to put a new propane tank on and we ran out. :)
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Postby Luizianna » Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:31 pm

We ran a small ceramic heater this past weekend. First time it's been cold enuff to use it!! Actually turned the furnace to off and we kept warm all night...temps down in the 30's outside. I actually liked the smaller heater as it was not noisy at all!! When the furnace is on it is so loud you have to turn the tv up....then when it kicks off...the tv bout makes you jump out your skin!! I was very impressed with that little bitty heater!!
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Postby david_iona » Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:49 pm

I had a similar leak that caused the carpet under the TV cabinet to get soaked and I found the leak to be the outside shower connections underneath the cabinet. I had not drained them when I winterized the first winter and the fittings froze and broke. That may be an area for you to check out as well.
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Postby Shields » Wed Jan 02, 2008 3:30 pm

then when it kicks off...the tv bout makes you jump out your skin!!


I guess that means you were napping while watching tv? :)

Al
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Postby markj » Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:42 am

The electric heater I use always is the oil filled radiator type. No fan, no noise, just hot heat waves coming out of it! Love it!

We also plug in a small fan forced heater to focus the heat at us--usually when sitting in the recliner watching a movie, etc. Oh does that feel good! Expecially when I'm not paying for the electricity!
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