When we decided to spend Dec-Feb in Kentucky, we did a lot of research about the winters here beforehand. The research showed that while these are the coldest months in this area, it doesn’t get crazy cold. A few inches of snow and a few days of freezing temps are the norm. We do really love being in the snow so we had hoped for that but this winter is beyond what we had expected.
Our 1st frozen water line and dump valve happened here. It is a lot of work for Korey to ensure that we are in working order in the cold. I (Michelle) help too but Korey really takes over the rig maintenance. About 10 days ago the temp dropped to 1 degree overnight. We watch the weather closely, but from what we saw on multiple websites, it was only supposed to dip just a little below freezing so we cranked the heat and thought we would be OK.
Our Bighorn Traveler is a 4 season fifth wheel, so it was really put to the test. Even though we dealt with an issue, it really held up well in the 1 degree temp with the heater set to 70, electric fireplace running at 68, and a heated water hose that Korey made (we saved about $50 making the hose vs. buying a premade heated hose and it works really well!)
This is what happened at 1 degree overnight:
- Frozen cold water line in the kitchen
- Frozen dump valves to both grey tanks (luckily we didn’t have full tanks!
Luckily the hot water in the kitchen still worked fine, and all water in the bathroom, including the toilet. Our steps to attempt to defrost the cold water line in the kitchen started first. We knew we didn’t need to empty the tanks that day so the focus was on the kitchen. The kitchen sink is in an island, we opened up the cupboards and faced a space heater at the lines for 2 hours without success, the line was still frozen. Korey’s wheels started turning once he knew it wasn’t frozen inside, and he decided to remove part of the basement storage wall to expose those water lines. He then used a space heater facing these lines for roughly 20 min and viola! cold water in the kitchen was back in action. The space heater used was small but one that may be used in a garage or something, it tripped the breaker once because I turned another space heater on inside, I could sit directly in front of a heater all day long and still be cold, haha. Korey decided to go ahead and head to a hardware store to get a small space heater that could run behind the basement wall facing all of our water lines.
Next up was the frozen dump valves. The space heater wasn’t enough, they were rock solid so it was on to plan B. Outdoor heat lamps like used in a chicken coupe. We now have 2 heat lamps outside facing the sewer line where Korey believes the valves are, we have a covered underbelly and without ripping that out to see where they actually are, it is a guessing game. THIS WORKED! They give off just enough heat to keep it from freezing up again, and the little space heater in the basement is doing the trick for the water lines.
We are back in business!
Fast forward to today… woke up to a few inches of snow, 2 degrees overnight, we had a high of 18 degrees yesterday and today is a high of 8 degrees. Tonight we are looking at 1 degree below zero. Everything is working just fine, no frozen water lines and it is really cold outside. With the wind chill it feels like negative 10 degrees.
Good times… next January we are thinking of a location where there will be a little less work to keep from freezing up…maybe Arizona? All in all, even though it’s been freezing cold and a pain in the neck to deal with, it is a great way to learn more about our RV and what it can handle in the cold. I know I gush about how awesome Korey is often, but this guy deserves a frickin’ medal. He has remained calm and just did what he had to do to fix it and without any complaints, even after being up all night long at work, AND with our check engine light coming on, that same day he had to take our truck into the dealership to see what the deal was and get it fixed. I didn’t want him to go to work that night because the power also went out for a few hours and I am not able to lift the generator out if it went out again at night. We are here for a workamper job at Amazon, Korey is working nights, and I mentioned only once that I wish he didn’t have to work because I was nervous about dealing with everything on my own and he said “no problem, I wouldn’t leave you to do this, I will call them right now”. So thankful that he took that night off to make sure that everything was good, and not leave me to do it.
A “heat wave” is coming this weekend…looking at 50 degree temps. So with this forecast, we are taking full advantage and heading down to Mammoth Caves National Park. It will be our 3rd National Park since hitting the road and we are really looking forward to it.
Stay warm friends!