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Where, Oh Where, Is Our Water…or Oops, We Forgot to Drip!

February 27, 2009

Well, we forgot to drip our water Monday night, so we woke up to no water on Tuesday. Dave checked outside, but found the hose going into the RV to be nice and flexible. The heat tape was working fine. So, reluctantly, we called the gal who runs the water company. She lives around the “corner” from us and typically, if it is a water company problem, she doesn’t have water either. I really hated to wake her up at 4:30 in the morning, but she was very understanding about it. The last time we woke her up about the water, she did not have any either, so it actually gave her a heads up to get her guys working on it. This time, though, it was us.

We have a place where the water does a “Y”. One line goes to the RV and one line to the outdoor faucet. Dave tried to see if we had water to the outside faucet so as to narrow the possibilities down of where the freeze might be. Unfortunately, our son had never disconnected the laundry room hose. That meant that the water, even though turned off, did not drain down the pipe like it was supposed to. So, the pipe froze. Since the faucet is surrounded by bales and covered up, Dave slipped a little electric heater in inside with the faucet and let it run.

After a few hours, I realized that the little electric heater was just not going to do it. The faucet was one of the places that had been dug out and it was sitting in water with a layer of ice on it, in addition to the pipe being filled with ice. So, I pulled the Buddy Heater (which runs on propane) out and put it in there instead. That gave a lot more heat. I also replaced the insulation that had blown off the top of the faucet cover and plugged a hole in the bale wall in the back of the cover.

On top of that, the black water tank was FULL. The valve was also frozen, so Dave was unable to open it up. Considering what happened when I opened it up later, that was probably a good thing. When I put the Buddy Heater in with the faucet, I had our son move the electric heater to where the valve was behind the insulating sheets. I knew that would unfreeze it with no problem as we had done it before.

Later, I went to pull the black water tank valve. Well, the hose running from the valve to the septic opening was old. It split apart with one part hanging there by a plastic “thread”, as it were. I quickly grabbed the hose and held it together minimizing the mess. Thankfully, I was quick and very little actually leaked, especially since it wasn’t very runny. Ick! I had to quickly get the valve closed again. So, Dave stopped by the store on the way home to buy a new hose and some stuff to put in the fresh water tanks to keep the water fresh.

We did get the faucet pipe unfrozen, but it still did not have any water, either. There are a couple of places where our water pipes are not reburied after digging for leaks. Dave has been wanting to bury them a certain way, so he waited. However, he did have them covered up pretty well. We found the one by the laundry room uncovered. We don’t know why it was uncovered, but we suspect that might be where it froze.

Thankfully, we had water in our tanks. It was not fresh, so we did not want to drink it without boiling it, but we were able to wash our hands, which we followed up with what we call hand “goop”…hand sanitizer. We plan on draining the tanks and refilling them with fresh water, in case we lose water again…or power…as the pump runs on the 12 volt.

Thankfully, our water did thaw out about mid afternoon. When Dave got home, he checked our water meter and it shows no leakage! Yay…we did not break any pipes! He also replaced the black water hose and we got the tank drained. Phew!

I am very grateful that we have no leaks and that it all got thawed out!

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