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Unfreezing your frozen waterlines
Sat 02/24/07 07:40:48 am
by Mark Bower

If you've gotten a cold snap and have discovered your without water, most likely you've had a waterline freeze-up. Probably the hardest part about unthawing a frozen waterline is determining exactly where it is froze.

If you have no water anywhere, the main waterline leading to your home is probably froze. This picture shows a new heat tape being installed (click here for related article).

First, check all of your faucets. Are you getting water from any of them? If not, then most likely your main waterline to the home is froze. If you are getting some water, then the likely culprit is a tear or opening in your belly that's letting cold air reach a nearby waterline.

If your main waterline is froze, first thing you should do is check the heat tape. It should feel warm to the touch. If it doesn't, make sure the outlet that the heat tape is plugged into is working. If you have a thermostat on the heat tape, make sure that it isn't located in a warm spot preventing the heat-tape from coming on. If none of these suggestions solve your problem, then you'll probably need to replace the heat tape.


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by John Grissim
If your heat tape is warm and your still not getting any water, the next likely place that's froze is your water riser. Your water riser is where your water comes out of the ground. Often times the riser comes up through a small culvert. Your heat tape should extend down into the culvert several feet along the waterline. Then, insulation should be stuffed around the top of the culvert. If you don't have any insulation covering the top, you may be froze down past the heat tape's reach. Some water risers have a heat rod that runs down the center of them. Make sure this heat rod is plugged in and working. Like the heat tape, it'll feel warm to the touch.

Sometimes you'll find that your froze-up in the water heater room, especially if you have an outside access to your water heater. Make sure your access door is well sealed, not letting in any drafts.

If you find a pipe that's froze, it'll usually be very cold to the touch. Unthaw it using a heat gun. Never use an open flame, like a torch. A hair dryer may also work, but a heat gun like those used in stripping paint work exceptionally well on a medium setting. When unthawing, have an open faucet so you can tell whether or not your succeeding. For freeze-ups deep inside culverts, you may have to rent a nibco-type heater to help unthaw them. If your whole main line is froze because of a bad heat tape, install a new heat tape and let the heat tape unthaw it. It may take several hours to unthaw.

If you've tried all these suggestions and still can't find the location of your freeze-up, then please don't hesitate to e-mail me at [email protected]. We strive to answer 'emergency' type questions immediately

Mark Bower owns Aberdeen Mobile Home Repair and is the author of "The Manual for Manufactured/Mobile Home Repair and Upgrade" available on this website.

The Manual for
Manufactured Home Repair & Upgrade

"Every winter my roof leaked around the swamp cooler. We even had a couple mobile home repairmen out to seal it. Nothing worked and this went on for 5 years," said Maureen of Elko, Nevada. "Then last summer I ordered The Manual and it suggested I use neoprene to seal the leak. Since then I've had no leaks at all!"

Maureen is referring to The Manual for Manufactured/Mobile Home Repair and Upgrade by Mark Bower. Most just dub it The Manual. Bower owns and operates Aberdeen Mobile Home Repair in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Maureen isn't alone. Hundreds of others have written to Bower sharing similar stories of how The Manual has solved their problems. Esther of St. Louis, Missouri, writes, "We had squeaky floors in the living room and without The Manual, I would have had my husband tear out the floors and put in new ones. What a lifesaver!"

Bower enjoys the letters he receives regarding his manual. "I wrote this manual from experience," says Bower. "I'm not just some guy with his feet up on the desk - I'm out in the field every day doing what I write."

Tom of Lansing, Michigan, followed the simple instructions on installing a shut-off valve and saved $75 on a service call. Mary of Churdan, Iowa, writes to say she uses the manual to keep the repair guys she hires honest, "When I had my home releveled, I sent two different contractors packing because I knew they weren't doing the job right. This manual has literally saved me hundreds of dollars!"

Bower has updated his manual for 2004. More information was added regarding additions and porches. "We added details on attaching porches so they don't leak even if they shift with the seasons." says Bower. With high energy prices now upon us, Bower says he's also included a section on building a solar heating panel. "Find an old sliding glass door and you can build one for under $100," says Bower who built two panels for his own 1800 square foot manufactured home. "You'd be surprised at how much heat they create when the sun is shining."

David of Lake McConaughy, Nebraska, says The Manual should be called, The Mobile Home Bible. Dave writes, "I wish I had your manual when we had our 1965 Star. It would have saved me WEEKS of work!"

Vicki of Ocala, Florida, bought Bower's manual because it had instructions for installing a metal roofover. "My son and husband had the roof up in 2 days from start to finish," says Vicki. "The 4 inch overhang is awesome - no more water running down the siding. Great roof, great instructions, I love it!"

The Manual also helped Pam from Duluth, Minnesota, replace her skirting and repair her underbelly. "It gave me the courage to tackle these projects," writes Pam. " I saved a lot of money by being able to do it myself."

Bower says many manufactured home owners are do-it-yourselfers, and he's glad to be able to provide them a tool, The Manual, to help them do more.

Get The Manual Now!

Mark Bower can be reached at [email protected]


Manufactured Housing Repair On-Line

The MH Parts Store On-Line   MH Parts may not be very pretty... but when you need them you just can't do with out them. Don't run all over town to assemble the things you need for that home renovation or repair. Order from our on-line parts store. Everything you need is here from doors, windows, screens, plumbing and electric parts, bath and kitchen fixtures, roof and ceiling components, and more.... even set-up materials, The Part Store's Owner/Managers, keep it simple, they just provide you with the best possible products available.

The Manual for Manufactured Home Repair & Upgrade   If your looking for a book that covers all facets of manufactured home repair, you've found it! This is the only book of its type, available to the public, that we have been able to find. As you would expect from the title, The repair and upgrade techniques described in this manual are specific to manufactured homes. This book will answer almost every question on manufactured home repair that we have ever heard. Not only does this book show you how to repair and maintain your home, but also great methods for upgrading it.

The Manufactured Home Repair & Renovation Forum   An open discussion group where all are welcome to participate. No registration necessary! Discussion threads covering a wide range of questions, answers, and relating of personal experiences involving MH Repairs. Moderated by Tracy L. Mason of MB-Quality Contractors, from Greeley, CO. Ask our experienced manufactured home repair and renovation contractor about your home repair needs! Basic home fix-it techniques to trade secrets.

Advanced Foundation Systems   Designed and engineered for manufactued homes, These foundation systems add a high level of strutural stability and have proven most cost-effective for the manufactured home, buyer. Advanced Foundation Systems meet or exceed industry standards, and have been proven safer under adverse conditions. Advanced Foundation Systems offer you the best foundation technology available for your manufactured added safety and a lower cost.


Finance Your MH Renovation/Repair   There are many loan programs available to MH Owners. Secure the money you need to renovate, upgrade, or even expand your MH. One stop shopping. select your loan preferences and we will forward your request for loan information to as many as a dozen participating manufactured housing finance offices.

Skirting For The 21 Century Manufactured Home   System-1 is what skirting should be- 100% solid concrete. System-1 is not an imitation or a look alike - it is the original concrete skirting system that resists the elements from the summer heat of Texas to the harsh winters of Minnesota. System-1 is built to last and is designed to stay put for years of dependable service. Stop chasing your skirting down the street and look at just some of the benefits System-1 concrete skirting provides you.

Hardboard Siding Repairs   Does your Manufactured Home have hardboard siding that is swelling, rotting, or buckling? You might be entitled to a Cash Settlement! Find out if you qualify HERE

Manufactured Housing Yellow Pages / SERVICE COMPANIES   The Yellow Pages is an ever expanding data base that is growing into one of the richest resources in the world for locating and contacting companies that participate in, or offer services to, the manufactured housing industry.

The Mobile Home Expert   The business of installing and servicing manufactured homes is rapidly moving away from the world of the one pick-up, one jack, local set up and repair guys and into the world of certified tradesmen, and licensed contractors. The modern manufactured home is greeted with stiff compliance codes regulating construction, warranty and installation. As more and more local agencies get involved in the inspection of installations it gets more and more difficult to know what the rules of the game are, especially if your operating in more than one jurisdiction. Consult with R.T. Bonney, who has participated in all phases of the industry over the past 30 Years He can provide solutions for the modern problems of operating most types of manufactured housing business.

Floor Repair Info Kit   includes a 25 minute VHS video about repairing the floor underneath your toilet, and a booklet on floor repair. Price:$25.95 - Shipping & Handling:$3.90

Painting and Texturing Paneled Walls   By following the steps in this 20 minute video, your paneled walls will look darn near like textured sheetrock. Works on both wood paneling and vinyl-covered paneling or sheetrock. Price:$19.95 Shipping & Handling:$3.90

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