Saturday, January 22, 2011

Water. The Saga. Part 1: Cold. Running. (I don't ask for much!)

OK. You get home, you walk in the door, you wash your hands.

You wake up in the middle of the night. You go pee. You flush the toilet.

You eat dinner and remember (this time) to presoak the lasagna pan in hot water before it gets really stuck on there and never comes off again.

Sound familiar?

You lucky bastard.

As you may or may not know/remember - when we moved on to this property we had lakefront, a pond (or two, depending on your criteria), and an old well. Now I have electricity and running water. Kinda.

The well guys were awesome - they were the same guys that we had come out to measure the depth of the well when we failed to do so(or at least we thought we failed. We didn't think that my father would be off by 90ft). They came out, dug a trench, broke their trencher on tree roots, fixed it, installed the pump, tank, well cover & outdoor hydrant, hooked up the camper and got the whole system running in a day. Just the two of them. They even managed to get their trucks and trailer out of the driveway successfully.  (a feat, to be sure).

The Beast heading down the hill through the trees to clear the way to the well for the trencher.
Trench. Whoa.

The hookup.
I waited until they left to dance a jig and turn all the water on and off for no apparent reason.

This bliss lasted until the first hard freeze (a few days later).

Gratuitous 'everything's frozen' picture.
To be fair to Melvin (my dear tin can) - he's getting old and quirky and the winter this year has been worse than usual. I am also new to the trials and tribulations (and joys!) of camper living, and my learning curve in terms of winterizing while living in the thing full time has been slow and bloody.

It started with my noticing that the bath tub would have water coming up out of the drain in the morning. That was slightly baffling, but could always be remedied by the emptying of the tanks - even if they barely had anything in them. When I woke up in the morning and water didn't come out of the faucets, I knew I had to do something to remedy the situation.

Thankfully the water freezing and my figuring out that the back flowing tub was because the waste line was freezing happened within a day of each other, so I could fix both issues at the same time by installing a pipe warmer. (and do everything they say NOT to, just to keep the record straight).

The shortest length I could find was 6', and the one rule I wasn't going to break was the whole 'don't attempt to shorten the cord' one, so I just snaked it up the water intake, hopped it over the bumper, and ran it along the waste line. Insulate the whole thing, and you're done. As are your freezing problems.

This is NOT good.

There had been a pipe warmer of sorts put in here eons ago. Yes, I forgot about it. (It was corroded anyway...)

New pipe warmer snaking up the naked intake pipe. And, as specified in the installation instructions, NOT touching the ground.
Broke the rules and laid the pipe warmer along the waste pipe. Justification: we're not running blackwater (no gasses really to speak of) and the pipe is thicker than the specs say the warmer can handle anyway, so *hopefully* no fear of anything bad. (So far so good. Fingers crossed). The big orange thing is the thermostat which will kick it on and off automatically when needed. Unless the tape doesn't hold. Crap. I have to remember to check.
I even got the cord to go out the same hole as the electric cord used to plug the camper in. The Virgo in me is ecstatic.
Fiberglass insulation layer.
Plastic over the fiberglass insulating material, per installation instructions (for once).
Original foam and plastic insulation put on by the well guys put back on by me, blatantly ignoring the installation instructions' insistence that the fiberglass insulation NOT get compressed. Justification: if it freezes again, I'll freak - more is better! Besides, I wrapped the fiberglass loosely...
My beautiful insulation job on the waste line. Hehe.
Lest you think all of my problems are solved - I still have a water heater that's on the fritz, a mysterious puddle on the bathroom floor, and the (as of yet future) appearance of a hero to fix it all. (I have the hero. He just hasn't gotten out here yet) Hurray!!!


Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

That's hardcore! I feel like a wimp for whining about not having working central heating in a climate where sub-freezing temperatures are an aberration.

caitlinvb said...

Thanks Steve! It's amazing how much easier it is to be hardcore when you have no choice...and when your 'driveway' is so thrashed you can't escape! Notice the phone calls filled with tears, frustration and whatnot to my mom and the boyfriend are NOT mentioned. Much.