Frozen pipes are unfortunately a very common issue with mobile homes. If you’re learning how to do this for the first time, just know it most certainly won’t be the last. Mobile home pipes are especially susceptible to freezing as they’re located under the home where the air is colder and damp. The upside to this is that mobile home pipes are incredibly accessible, and you won’t have to ruin your walls or floors to fix the issue. This is great since you won’t need to rely on a professional to fix your pipes if you’re willing to learn how to take care of them. If that’s you, take a look below at our guide to thawing frozen pipes under a mobile home and how to prevent the issue down the road.
How to locate the problem
The most obvious sign of a frozen pipe is that your faucets no longer produce water. In order to identify the source of the issue, try turning on all the faucets in your home to see which ones work. If none of the faucets work, this means the issue is most likely coming from your home’s main water line (AKA, where all of your pipes meet). If your faucets work in your bathroom but not your kitchen, then the source is probably right beneath the kitchen in your supply line.
Once you have an idea of where the issue is coming from, go to the source and search for other obvious signs of freezing. Think frost or unusual coloring to start. You should also run your hand across the pipe and feel where it’s the coldest. Try taking an item like a screwdriver and lightly hitting the pipes to find the less hollow-sounding areas – if it sounds solid to you, this probably means the water inside is frozen.
Frozen pipes can sometimes lead to pipe ruptures. If the ice doesn’t thaw but continues to expand, it can cause cracks in your pipes. If you see these during your inspection, please proceed with caution or call a professional to fix the pipe depending on the severity of the issue.
How to thaw the pipes
Thawing your frozen pipes is a much easier project than it sounds, and can actually be accomplished using a number of household items. Below is a step-by-step guide to unfreezing your pipes.
Turn on your faucets
Make sure to turn on your faucets before you begin thawing the pipes. This is especially helpful as it will relieve the pressure of the ice and possibly break apart the ice once the thawing process is in motion.
Warm up the pipes
There are a number of ways to unfreeze your pipes, and your method might depend on what materials are available to you. The most popular method seems to be the hair dryer approach. Simply take a hair dryer and hover it over the frozen parts of the pipe until thawing has completed. You will do the exact same thing if you’re using a heat gun. Keep in mind that PVC pipes can be damaged if you’re applying heat even as low as 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Know the power of your hair dryer or heat gun before beginning.
Other effective thawing methods include using a space heater, a heat lamp or warm towels. The downside to space heaters and heat lamps they may take up a lot of space and can be difficult to fit next to your pipes depending on how your plumbing is arranged. If you’re going to use warm towels, make sure to replace them with freshly soaked towels every 5-10 minutes.
Try pouring salt down the sink
If a hair dryer, space heater, heat gun or other method fail to work, try pouring some salt down the sink. Salt is great on everything, including frozen pipes, as they are known to lower the melting point of ice. It’s recommended you use a tablespoon of salt. This isn’t going to instantly thaw your pipes, so stay patient and give the salt some time to do its job before giving up.
Look for any holes in your skirting
While it may not be the sole source of your frozen pipes, a hole in your mobile home skirting could be letting some wind into the underside of the home where the pipes are located. Look for any damage around the house and make repairs as needed. This can help lower the overall temperature under the home.
Turn up the heat
Turning up the heat inside your home won’t necessarily unfreeze your pipes, but it will help with the overall warming process. Try turning it somewhere around 75 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Opening interior doors throughout the house will help the warm air circulate.
What not to do
You should never use an open flame to thaw your pipes. Please avoid using a propane or kerosene heater, blow torch, lighter or any other flame devices. This is a fire hazard and could also destroy your pipes.
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How to prevent frozen pipes under a mobile home
Get Heat Tape Now!
The most popular method of prevention is heat tape. While the name suggests this is tape, it’s actually a cord or heat cable encased in electrical wire. You can wrap heating tape around both metal and plastic pipes to regulate temperature during the colder months. Keep in mind that you will need a nearby outlet to power the heat tape.
Depending on where you live, it might be a good idea to insulate your pipes. Materials you can use for pipe insulation include spiral-wrap, fiberglass, and foam, among others. Insulation is known to slow the transfer of heat, so it may not be able to prevent a pipe from freezing. If you’re living in an area that’s known for brutal winters, you’ll be better off using heat tape. You can also try leaving your faucets on just ever so slightly at night during the coldest temperatures. Like we mentioned earlier, a steady flow of water can be helpful in breaking up ice.
Now you know!
Frozen pipes under a mobile home are a recurring problem whenever cold weather begins to set in. Not only is it fixable, it is also preventable. We hope this guide has helped with both. It might be worth your time to check out our guide to your mobile home drain system. After all, you can never know too much about your plumbing!