Fear of freezing

Fear of freezing

 

gary-736Dear Gary,
I am freaking out! The temperature got down to 25 last night and we have water in our water heater and one gallon of water and a chemical in our black tank. We did blow out the water lines. Should I be concerned about the tank and water heater freezing last night? We were not expecting the temperature to drop so fast. We are camping and I am scared I am going to find a busted tank. —Rhonda F.

Dear Rhonda,

wh-bypass-valves
Water heater bypass valves

I doubt any damage was done with one night below freezing, but if the temps are due to dip that low again, you’ll probably have to fully winterize the RV, including the water heater. If you have no water in the hot lines, the only way to blow out all the fresh plumbing lines with the water heater filled is to bypass it via the bypass valves. Perhaps you only need to drain the heater and all will be fine. You can easily drain the water heater by removing the plug and opening the P&T relief valve on the unit. But do verify all plumbing lines are clear of water — both hot and cold.

The holding tank is likely just fine also. Freeze damage occurs when lines freeze and expand the tubing. One gallon of water in a holding tank, even if it ices over, will not expand enough to cause any damage. It may cause the termination valves to stick a little, but nothing should be hurt. But it might be time to decide to move the RV or fully winterize it if the temperatures stay below-freezing for any length of time. No need to freak, however.

Read more from Gary Bunzer at the RVdoctor.com. See Gary’s videos about RV repair and maintenance.

##RVT772

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4 thoughts on “Fear of freezing

  1. Gene Bjerke

    We winterize by hooking a line from the pump input to bottles of anti-freeze. We leave them hooked up. We use bottled water for drinking, etc., but we flush the head with anti-freeze. We don’t do all that much in very cold weather, but so far all is okay.

  2. Dann G.

    This is terrific information. After years of RVing, I’m finding it informative to review things here including the replies. Thanks to everyone.

  3. Steven Scheinin

    We live in our RV full time, and it is not practical to winterize the water. Our rig has the arctic package. It has worked fine so far. Last year no problem with temperatures in Maryland going to 4 degrees. However we are now on the road and got caught in a cold snap in Virginia. Our only problem was the water line to the refrigerator stopped producing. When temps warmed up ok. Don’t know what to do about that.

  4. AC7880

    If your hot water heater has a electrical element in it make sure it is OFF before draining the HW tank. Otherwise you will burn up the element.

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