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Old 11-15-2010, 01:39 PM   #11
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Re: insulating water tank/pipes for the winter

This has always been something I've considered. If the temps are at a constant low temp, like the mid twenty's, because insulation does not create heat I would think having those pipes covered wouldn't make that much of a difference other than protecting from wind exposure and would make it even much harder to thaw if any water was left in the system. It seems to me you just need to blast out all the water you can whether or not the pipes are insulated, especially in extreme cold temperatures. I did insulate mine that are exposed to the undercarriage so when driving in snow the lines would hopefully freeze slower. Seeing the pipes covered with ice isn't good.
Really what you need is heat tape wrapped around them, then insulation added. The problem is how much power that heat tape and heat blankets pull. If you can heat it while driving that might work. Something else that might help is if you could circulate the water throughout the system.
In 2006 I think Camping World sold 12v heat tape and blankets. Here are a couple of links but they refer to RV's that hook up to shore power.

http://www.ehow.com/how_2097799_cold-we ... mp-rv.html
http://www.marxrv.com/skp/survive.htm
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:59 AM   #12
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Re: insulating water tank/pipes for the winter

In the winter while camping, even with the furnace on, the hot water line freezes. Why? I have no idea other than it must be routed differently than the cold. We have never had any lasting issues with freezing the lines though...yet.

We travel during the winter so I keep the van full and ready to go. I have the van plugged in and have a space heater running with the sink/water tank/water heater cabinets open. No problems so far even down to -13.
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Old 12-17-2010, 06:01 PM   #13
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Re: insulating water tank/pipes for the winter

This may be to late for your Utah trip but here are my thoughts. We have been in below freezing temps many time (sometimes in the single digits) and have had are share of problems. We have the flat plate water heater that was on the outside of the van and I feel that caused most of the trouble. The Pex pipe and fitting will not burst, except for the 90 degree pex to 1/2" plastic female threaded elbow. I have had my flat plate rupture, the valves in the shower were damage, water pump freeze (you'll know this is the case when that fuse blows) and many morning with no water do to frozen pipes. I also feel that insulating the pipes will only delay the thawing process. And the 12v pipe tape will just pull to much from an already strained (do to the cold) battery. This summer I took the time to address these problems. I pulled out all of the plumbing and started over. Along with many other things, I flipped the water pump over and raised all the pipe as far off the floor as possible, for my set up that is about 12" to 13". I feel that this will make a big difference because the 1/2" plywood that is the floor has no insulating value. My only weak spot is the filter at the bottom of the tank which is still less then 1" from the floor. We have never had the water in the tank freeze so I am hoping that the filter is close enough to that body of water to prevent a problem. Also, leaving the cabinet doors open that have any plumbing in them will help.

Since the changes, we have spent a few nights in the low 20s with no troubles but the real test will be in Kirkwood next week.
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:19 PM   #14
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Re: insulating water tank/pipes for the winter

Here's the mod I did a long time ago to include foam under the tank (scroll down to the pictures I posted). Key is to keep stuff off the floor, and if you have a flat plate, get it back inside your van where it belongs. Also note that with my setup I can turn on the van, get the flat plate hot, using the quick disconnects I can cycle hot water back into the tank so that I can start with a warm water tank. However, I've never had a problem that required that to date. Still, might help in Alaska...


viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3928&hilit=+flatplate
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:23 PM   #15
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Re: insulating water tank/pipes for the winter

got an idea for you guys. This is what they do in Australia, granted it doesn't really get cold there, but I think it would work well for the winter. http://www.helton.com.au/shower%20units.htm There is a company in the states that use to sell an item similar, but recently just discontinued selling them http://hotcampshowers.com/vehicle_mounted_shower You could keep water in your tank insulated running a 12 volt heat pad to keep the tank from freezing. insulate your lines or use 12 volt heat tape or purge them dry after use if your going to be leaving the vehicle for a while and then when you need hot water just turn your engine on and circulate the hot water to your tank to heat the water inside it and then run it through your lines or run it directly from the cold insulated holding tank straight to the heat exchanger then to your empty lines. You would have to find a good and easy way to empty your lines running the excess water back to your holding tank (which if you guys know of a way please let me know). Tell me what you guys think. Do you think it would work or not?
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:36 PM   #16
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Re: insulating water tank/pipes for the winter

Quote:
Originally Posted by SovereignCitizen
got an idea for you guys. This is what they do in Australia, granted it doesn't really get cold there, but I think it would work well for the winter. http://www.helton.com.au/shower%20units.htm ......... Tell me what you guys think. Do you think it would work or not?
Interesting idea. I personally don't like the 12V heating solutions because electricity is a really, really inefficient way of heating something. No, correction, it's totally efficient (near 100% of the energy goes to heat), but it takes a lot of electricity to produce a little heat. Over a long cold night, you could kill your batteries just trying to keep the lines warm. Not saying it won't work, but now that I've moved the flat plate and dealt with the lines, I've stayed in super cold temps and not had any problems.
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Old 12-20-2010, 11:11 PM   #17
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Re: insulating water tank/pipes for the winter

when you say flat plate are you referring to something like this?http://www.blueridgecompany.com/hydr...exchangers/101
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