One Woman's Tale of Frozen Pipes and Perseverance.

I woke up the other morning to no water. I went to the kitchen, no water, I went to the bathroom, no water, and I went to the kid’s bathroom, no water. I knew it was cold here in Illinois, and we had about six inches of snow that covered the ground but no water! That was just too much! I live in a mobile home and had no idea why I didn’t have any water! I expected frozen pipes; my heart sank as I thought of how much it would cost to have it repaired. I thought of how alone I felt in those moments. What on earth was I going to do?

Living in a mobile home is different than living in a house, that much I knew. I had lived in the mobile home for about eight years, and knew some of the basic repairs, but fixing plumbing was not one of them! My deceased husband had taken care of the repairs before! I sighed and called the local mobile home repairman. He told me it would have cost $110.00 just to come out and look at my pipes and that was not counting if anything needed to be repaired, labor, materials and OH MY! He told me to check my “Heat Tape” and I had to ask him how do I do this? What in the world was heat tape? He said that I would have to crawl underneath the trailer and ensure it was plugged in. To check my outside pipes that ran not only to the underneath of the mobile home but to an outside source as well.

I hung up with a very sad heart, a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I did not have the money to hire him, but knew that somehow, someway I would have to if I could not resolve this problem. So I went to my computer, booted it up and put, “Heat Tape for mobile homes” in my search. I found out that you have to check to see if they are plugged in, that the unit is still working. So with the help of my 18-year-old son, flashlight in hand, we braved the cold, the snow ice, and blowing biting winds. We went outside, and removed the skirting in the places where we knew the main water supply was at, and he crawled underneath to check the unit. It was plugged in and all the heat tape seemed to be in working order. We followed the pipes to the outside where they lay exposed to the elements. They had been covered almost all the way with foam-type pipe insulation, but some of that was gnawed away and part of the pipe lay on the frozen ground.

I removed the lid of the stone covered well where the main water supply shut-off valve is at, and part of that insulation was gone. My heart sank to an even-lower state. But determination goes a long way! I went back inside, stripped off all the heavy outside wear, and went back to my wonderful computer, putting in yet again more searches on defrosting frozen pipes that are exposed outside. Most of them said to pour hot water over the frozen pipes. Okay, how in the world was I going to do this with no water! Or you could use a space heater, blow dryer, or a heating pad. I had no space heater, and was afraid that my heating pad would never do the trick, so I pretty much caved in and thought to myself I will wait until the morning and call the repairman. And maybe skip food for the next month!

I was chatting on the phone with my mom and she said go and scoop some snow in a bucket to heat to wash your hands. They used to do that when she was young. I was sitting there much later and thought to myself why couldn’t I do that for heating water to pour over those pipes? First off I went out and wrapped my pipes in a garbage bag and two warmed towels, wrapping them around to at least protect them from getting colder! And then with buckets in hand, I gathered snow, lots and lots of snow! Bringing it back into the house, and transferring it to pots and pans on my stove, heating it until it melted, letting it cool enough so that it was not boiling, and poured some down my bathroom drains, which by the way are the closet to the outside water supply.

Next I took some of that water outside to pour over the towel-covered pipes, repeating this over and over until I was exhausted. It takes a lot of snow to make one pot of water! And then I went to sleep with nightmares of bursting pipes, no water for months and sacrificing food in order to call the repairman! The next day awakening once again to no water. Bound and determined, I was not going to give up this fight! I went out and changed the towels, wrapping them tight, and keeping them off the ground. Guess what, it worked! Later that day I had water once again! It was like heaven sent! And now I had to make sure it stayed on! With a trip down to Ace Hardware, I bought more of that foam-type pipe insulation, fiberglass pipe insulation and professional duct tape. Moisture proof, element proof, can handle extreme cold temperatures. They also have this great aluminum insulation tape that is a little bit more expensive, that can replace the foam-type pipe insulation, but I opted for the foam tubing because that was already on some of the pipe. The helpful hardware man at Ace said that vermin love the foam-type pipe insulation, so it needed to be covered in something they could not gnaw through. And since I live in the back of a cornfield, this is a BIG problem for me! That and the cold Illinois winter winds blow right across those fields!

My daughter and I went outside with a garbage bag, the foam-type pipe insulation, duct tape, the fiberglass pipe insulation, and scissors. We cut to size the piece of foam-pipe type insulation to fit, and then you have to slice it all the way across the top, slide it over the pipe, nice and secure, and wrap the duct tape over that, making sure that pipe is off the ground completely. And next inside the stone well where the main water supply valve is at, we took the fiberglass insulation and wrapped it down in snug, putting the black heavy duty garbage bag over the top of that, and shut the lid back tight.

Make sure all your outside hoses are off, and the outside spigot is turned off. And also make sure your heat tape is working and in proper order, before winter!

Inside your mobile home, leave the water to trickle in the bathroom, and leave the cupboard doors open on the vanity. This will help keep the pipes warm. I am by far not a certified plumber, but I fixed it for under $12.00!

 

 

With a little bit of money, a little bit of sweat and tears, a lot of determination and perseverance, and lots of prayers, it worked!  This DIY project will provide food for the next month for my table!

 

 

 

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”  ~Newt Gingrich~

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Comments 27 comments

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago

Laurie ,Excellent job, the net does have one thing and that is info. I feel for your need in info. Plumbers have always said , stop the draft -stop the freezing. Being a carpenter , jack of all trades, I am impressed!


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

Aww, bless your heart. I understand. We lived in mobile homes a couple of times when I was a child but I can remember always having to leave the cupboard doors open and even now have to leave the bathroom faucet dripping if we're going to have extended below zero temps. I'm really proud of you! I know that horrible feeling of realizing there is no one there but you to deal with this and no money to have it fixed. Great job!!!! And an informative hub for others - voted up!


ghomefitness profile image

ghomefitness 5 years ago from Chicago,IL

Good job! You are like MacGyver :)


Scarlett My Dear profile image

Scarlett My Dear 5 years ago from Missouri

Laurie, I know the underlying frustration and the apprehension that leaves you in a cold sweat. You are not only fixing frozen pipes, but renewing self-confidence and providing for yourself and your family.

Much love and respect! ~Scarlett


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 5 years ago Author

@ahorseback-Thank you kindly! I guess I am learning to be a jack-of-all-trades! Thanks to the internet and a lot of helpeful people! It is amazing what you can do if you have to! But I don't think I am ready to tackle electricity yet!

Blessings,

Laurie

@Pooh-Awww thank you Sweet Lady! You have to learn how to do many things with no money as you well know. Not fun! But maybe in our next lives we will be rich! I guess it is a good thing that we do have that ability to learn and as the saying reminds me every day, life goes on.....

Blessings and hugs,

Laurie


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 5 years ago Author

@gohomefitness-Thank you! *laughs* Duct tape is the wonder of it all! According to MacGyver!

Blessings,

Laurie

@Scarlett-Thank you Sweetie! Yes, we sure do what we have to for our family, and we keep on going through those trials and tribulations, and keep building up, and trying to always remain strong.

Blessings and hugs,

Laurie


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Ain't life grand, each day brings a whole new set of challenges, and living in cold weather can be a real nightmare. I live in Colorado and I understand what the cold weather can do, kudos to you my brave friend, great job, great hub, and an amazing story. rate up peace & love darski


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

WOW - Congratulations on a job well done, in spite of heavy odds!

I don't live in a mobile home but houses have all their own malfunctions and maintenance and repair challenges. Being the sole householder, (there's no 18 year old assistant ever - none! ) - plus being a definite senior citizen, when there's a constant array of unexpected and uninvited glitches to address, it puts me to the test too.

I have a fair amount of know-how and plenty of resourcefulness but a lack of height and brawn often halt my progress. LOL. Anyway - DIY is a great thing. Nothing feels better than to know you're not helpless or dependent on someone else when things go amiss, since there is a parade of amisses ever-ready. My husband & I used to RV and then used the RVs at the ranch as home bases while we built a little cabin. Then the RVs in town for our home bases there when we had to go in for supplies for the ranch. (all that is 500 miles from actual home here in Dallas, you see). So I'm aware of how different the construction must be in a mobile home and especially in Illinois. I lived in Indiana for many years. It's a whole - other challenge when it's deep winter. Ours are much milder down here, though last February, it looked like Canada here. But I have to remember to turn off the outside faucets in a timely manner. Can be hard to calculate since it may be freezing one morning and hot the next.

I hope the rest of your winter goes smoothly without any more "character-building experiences". My daughter lives in Bloomington and several of my grands are in Indianapolis. Daughter has been known to mention to God that she's had enough character building experiences for a day's worth. LOL

Thanks for sharing - this was like being there - only without the frozen fingers and snow on the threshold from the boots.


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Fantastic job, both on the pipes and the hub, Laurie! I am getting way too reliant on my partner, he fixes most things that break in our house - our boiler packed up last winter, during the coldest week, and we had no heating or hot water. Me and the kids snuggled up on the sofa with blankets while Kev spent two days fixing the boiler, poor man! If he hadn't have done that I wouldn't have been able to do it, and I would have had to get someone out. I'm not very comfortable being the one who doesn't know how to fix things, and I'm starting to wonder how I would cope if he weren't here.

Your hub has given me hope, and cause to think that maybe I, too, am more resourceful than I imagine!

Linda.


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 5 years ago from Canada

Laurie, wow, wow, wow!!!!! You did so well, and deserve medals for this! I can so much relate because we are just in the process of trying to sell our mobile home, and am VERY familiar with what comes with the territory!

The first winter we had it, the pipes froze, too, and we lived without water on New Years Eve. What we did was empty what was already in the tank, and fill up every container we could scrounge up, so we had some water. And then my husband must have gone down there half a dozen times before it was fixed.

He did manage to fix it up, so the next year it didn't freeze, but that was a New Years to remember, with a lot of trips down below. We learned living in a trailer to be resourceful, and to keep plugging away at it. We would still be there, but had to move because of some family circumstances. It is inexpensive living, and it's a home you can afford, which makes great sense.

Thanks for a great hub, and take care! I wish you all the best over the holidays .... !


gracenotes profile image

gracenotes 5 years ago from North Texas

I'm single. I've aimed a blow dryer at a frozen pipe before. Although I really shouldn't have problems with interior pipes in this house, I do -- unfortunately. It doesn't get cold enough here to be a constant worry, but I have to be ready to let the water trickle or stream on a couple of faucets, should the occasion arise.

Good work! I am glad that you managed this successfully. I used to worry about mechanical problems, but I don't anymore. There's always a solution. I wish relationship problems could be solved so easily with ingenuity and logic.


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 5 years ago Author

Dear Friend Darski! The cold weather is upon us and the weather can be frightful! But thank goodness for the internet and determination! Thank you Sweetie for your endearing comments! It makes me warm thinking of friends who are there in spirit!

Blessings and hugs! Happy Holidays!

Laurie


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 5 years ago Author

Thank you Nellieanna! I know that feeling well, always something seemingly needing repair! And at times very little money when it does break! I am very lucky that I do have two of my children that still live at home, a son that does have some of that brawn I am missing. They have been a Godsend to me, and not only for the brawn and youth aspect! LOL

But sometimes determination is all we have, and we keep going no matter what. Even the cold Illinois winter tried to battle and halt all that progress of repair, but I just kept going and going. Too bad I wasn't being paid by the hour! LOL I wish!! Earlier in the autumn my kitchen pipes backed up and wouldn't work, so I had to DIY and learning plumbing! I watched a video online and within an hour and a half, had it flowing just fine!

I know that life often throws us things that we feel will beat us and we just keep marching on!

Thank you Dear Lady for you touching comments, and for stopping by.

Happy Holidays!

Blessings and hugs,

Laurie


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 5 years ago Author

Thank you Linda! Thank you for your kind and sweet comments! I know what you mean about becoming too reliant on your partner, I was too! All these years always leaning on others to fix things, and having no knowledge of any of that. I mean I could paint and do simple, very simple repair jobs, and one day I found myself alone, and not a lot of money to hire it done. So I got up and said to myself, I can do this, and I am learning, teaching myself as I go. Because life goes on and we have to do what we have to do at times!

I wish you and yours a most Happy Holiday!

Blessings and hugs,

Laurie


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 5 years ago Author

Thank you PrairiePrincess! Thank you for your lovely comments! Ahhh so you know about the joys of living in a mobile home at times! *laughs* It sure does take determination to crawl underneath their and try to figure out the problem! And work and work until it is solved! They are sure a different dwelling, when you think they are like living in a house, things work just a little different in so many ways. But yes a less expensive way to live for the most part, until something breaks, and then it is right up there on the charts with repair bills!

I hope you and yours have a most Happy Holiday!

Blessings and hugs,

Laurie


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 5 years ago Author

Thank you Grace for stopping by and your kind comments! I read that blow dryers work too, but mine has an automatic shut-off and wouldn't stay going that long! And wouldn't that be nice if relationships could be fixed with just a little bit of time, and a lot of love!

I wish you and yours a Happy Holiday!

Blessings and hugs,

Laurie


Carrie.M profile image

Carrie.M 5 years ago from MI, United States

Well done! What a way to persevere when things got tough. If only more people had your "not going to quit" attitude maybe this world would be a better place! It is amazing how much information is at our fingertips these days. I'm sure there aren't many problems that can’t be solved with a quick Google search.


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 5 years ago Author

Thank you Carrie. Sometimes we have to persevere and keep going, we have no choice! And yes we sure do have a lot of wealth right at our fingertips, thank goodness!

I wish you and yours a Happy Holiday.

Blessings,

Laurie


PookieB profile image

PookieB 5 years ago

Good Job Laur!!! I'm so glad you got the problem fixed. I'm proud of you!


Aniela profile image

Aniela 5 years ago from Southeastern, PA

Well done! Determination wins again! Good for you! :)


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 5 years ago Author

Thanks Paula! I guess you have to do what you have to do! Nice to know you can at times do it!

Love you!

Laur


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 5 years ago Author

Thank you Aniela! Sometimes it sure pays off, which I am very grateful for! Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Blessings,

Laurie


J Sunhawk profile image

J Sunhawk 5 years ago from South Carolina

You did well, Laurie. Letting the water run out your tap during cold nights is an easy remedy to prevent frozen pipes. Paying a few extra dollars on your water bill is better than a $300 plumber's bill.


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 5 years ago Author

Thank you J! I thought so too, much better to spend a little on the water, than thousands on broken pipes!

Thank you for stopping by and it is a pleasure to have you here.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Blessings,

Laurie


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada

Oh LaurieDawn...I loved this! I lived on a farm for a number of years and was green from the city! So this was so reminicient of some of my experiences (my husband went away to work in the winter)and the things I had to deal with. So many times I didn't even know what it (whatever was broke) was called, never mind fix it! Great job! Proud of you and your kids for helping! Blessings to you Ulrike Grace


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 5 years ago Author

UlrikeGrace! LOL I can so relate to having things to fix that you have no idea what it is called! And looking up a thingamaggie on google so would not work!!! At times it sure is a challenge, but then again so is life many many times, we just have to get up and do it.

Blessings,

Laurie


MIMI 2 years ago

Woke up in my mobile this morning and no water .It was 5 below had new heat tape put on this summer . Was frantic decided to go on to my computer and the first thing I clicked was you LaurieDawn and GOD BLESS YOU for your help had bottled water, boiled it up and poured it down the faucet near the water line waited waited waited and then saw GOLD I MEAN WATER dripping out.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR ARTICLE

WISHING YOU & YOURS THE BEST IN 2014

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