6+ Practical Ways to Stop Your Mobile Home Pipes from Freezing

Discover proven insulation techniques and heat tape tips to safeguard your pipes against the cold.

how to keep mobile home pipes from freezing

Winter is always coming, and you have to plan for the first harsh cold season in a mobile home. Without some prep, you can risk freezing pipes that cut off your supply of water and can do a fair amount of damage to a mobile home.

Let’s look at practical ways to stop your mobile home pipes from freezing and what to do if they do.

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Do pipes freeze in manufactured homes?

Mobile homes typically have smaller, thinner water pipes throughout the walls and foundation. It also means you will winterize a manufactured home differently than a stationary stick home.

1. Insulate exposed pipes.

Insulation is a cheap DIY option when preparing pipes for the coming winter months. You can purchase fiberglass or polyethylene insulation tubes at the local hardware store.

If a blizzard catches you off guard, newspaper works as a fast insulation solution to quickly freezing mobile home water pipes.

2. Apply heat tape.

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Heat tape is an affordable way to warm water pipes and stop the lines from freezing. 

You wrap the heat tape around the mobile home pipes and then plug it into a power supply. 

You use heat tape around pipes before installing insulation, such as insulating tubes.

3. Open cabinet doors.

You want to get heat into pipes before they freeze solid. Opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors is a fast way to get warm air into cold pipes.

Because mobile home water lines are along the exterior wall, they get colder faster and are far more likely to freeze.

4. Turn up the thermostat.

The US Department of Energy suggests that people leave their thermostats at 68°F during the winter. But that doesn’t apply to cold snaps.

Crank the thermostat up and keep it there to keep the pipes warm enough that it doesn’t freeze solid. And when you maintain a steady temperature, you’re working the furnace, which is always a good idea.

5. Stop leaks and drafts.

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Gaps and leaks allow frigid air to go where it pleases inside your home. It lowers the overall temperature around the dwelling’s plumbing and increases the risk of bursting.

6. Keep the water faucet running.

Keeping the water tap dripping is a tried and true practical way to save water lines from freezing.

You don’t want to turn the water up on full blast. Instead, turn the tap on to a slow drip.

Signs the Pipes are Frozen

We don’t have x-ray vision, and most of us aren’t professional plumbers, but you do have ways to identify frozen pipes.

  • Cracks and leaks. Sometimes some damage is already done. But, the sooner you can spot cracks and leaks in the water pipe, the better, Shut off the main valve and call a professional to replace the mobile home water pipe ASAP.
  • Feel the pipe. If parts of the pipe are cold, it’s a sign that they could be freezing even with the water trickling.
  • Hit and listen. Use a wrench or screwdrive to hit the pipes at regular intervals. The frozen bits will make a less hollow sound.

How do I unfreeze pipes in a mobile home?

We don’t always recognize the threat of wintry weather in time to stop water lines from freezing.

Salt can unfreeze frozen pipes.

Science says that salt can lower the freezing point of ice. It means you can use it to defrost pipes, and it’s so aggressive that it will damage the lines.

Pour the salt down the drain. It works best when you dissolve the salt in warm-temperature water before you pour it.

Don’t pour steaming hot water down the drain. It can do far more harm than good to the water pipes. 

Shoot it with a heat gun.

If you happen to have a heat gun lying around, point it at the frozen mobile home water pipes and wait for the defrosting process.

For those of us who don’t have a heat gun (most of us), a hair dryer makes a great substitute.

Don’t put a hair dryer or heat gun too close to the frozen lines.

The hot towel treatment.

Wrapping warm wet towels around freezing water pipes to thaw them out slowly is an o[topn, but it isn’t an easy one.

You’ll fill a bucket with warm water, wet a few towels, then wring and wrap them around the problem pipe.

You have to repeat the process every time the towel goes cold, which given the below 20 temps, you may be giving the pipes the spa treatment for a while.

It’s not too late for heat tape.

Hardware stores have heat tape in stock. If the roads are safe, take a quick trip to grab some electric heating tape and apply it by wrapping the pipes in a spiral pattern.

Place a space heater.

The bathroom and kitchen cabinets are likely already open to warm the threatened water lines. 

A space heater can direct even more thawing heat to the pipes. If the problem pipes are behind walls, a space heater placed near the wall is at least something to keep them from bursting.

Do not leave a space heater unattended. Thawing some annoying frozen pipes isn’t worth accidentally burning down the house.

At what temperature do pipes freeze in a mobile home?

Regardless of the type of home, exposed water pipes will start to freeze when it drops below 20°F. It does take six hours at those ice-cold temps for water lines to freeze solid.

How long does it take for pipes to unfreeze in a mobile home?

The unthawing time varies depending on how you’re unfreezing the pipes. It takes 45 minutes or so to do the job with a hairdryer.

How do you winterize pipes in a mobile home?

  • insulate with fiberglass or polyethylene insulation tubes
  • electric heat tape
  • open bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors
  • crank up the thermostat
  • plug up gaps and drafts
  • keep tap trickling

More FAQs about Mobile Homes & Freezing Pipes

At what temperature do pipes freeze in a mobile home?

Pipes in a mobile home can freeze and potentially burst if the temperature outside drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately six consecutive hours. Therefore, it is important to keep your mobile home warm and comfortable to prevent this from happening.

Can pipes freeze in one night?

Pipes can freeze in one night if the temperature outside is low and the pipes are not adequately protected.

How long can a house go without heat before pipes freeze?

A house can go approximately 6 hours without heat before the pipes start to freeze if the temperature outside is below freezing.

What is heat tape for mobile homes?

Heat tape for mobile homes is a heat-conducting wire that is used to prevent metal and plastic pipes from freezing in cold winter conditions. It is commonly utilized by individuals residing in sub-freezing areas due to its affordability and effectiveness. Despite its name, heat tape is not an adhesive tape but rather an electrically powered wire that conducts heat.

How cold does it have to be for pipes to freeze and bust?

The pipes can potentially burst when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit because water expands when it freezes, creating pressure in the pipes. However, the exact time it takes for the pipes to burst depends on the severity and duration of the cold temperatures.

Will PVC pipe freeze underground?

PVC pipe may freeze underground in climates where freezing temperatures occur. The ground freezing and thawing can lead to soil shifting, contracting, and expanding, potentially causing damage to the plumbing system.

Will my heating pipes freeze?

Your heating pipes may freeze if the frost-stat or room/radiator thermostats are set too low, as there is a risk that the water pipes may already be frozen by the time the heating is triggered to come on. To prevent this, it is recommended to keep the heating permanently on, maintaining a minimum temperature of 13 degrees C.

How do you protect mobile home pipes from freezing?

Mobile home pipes can be protected from freezing by using heat tape, which is a type of tape that is wrapped around the water pipes and connected to the electrical supply. Insulation should be added around the heat tape for added protection. The heat tape is designed to activate automatically when the temperature drops to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do you winterize a mobile home pipe?

To winterize a mobile home pipe, start by inspecting the pipes underneath the foundation of your mobile home. After identifying the pipes, wrap them with foam insulation or heat tape. This will effectively insulate the pipes, preventing potential pipe bursts and saving you from expensive repairs in the future.

What is the best thing to stop pipes freezing?

The best way to prevent pipes from freezing is by wrapping them with pipe sponge covers in cold areas. It is also important to insulate water tanks, especially in colder locations such as the loft. Additionally, setting the thermostat at 12-15C when you are away from the property helps maintain warm air inside, which aids in preventing internal pipes from freezing.

How can I make my mobile home warmer?

To make your mobile home warmer, you can consider reinsulating your walls, caulking any gaps or cracks, unplugging electronics when not in use, allowing sunlight to enter your home, investing in energy-efficient window treatments, and utilizing ceiling fans to circulate warm air.

Does skirting prevent pipes from freezing?

Skirting helps prevent pipes from freezing by sealing off the bottom of an RV, which stops air infiltration. By trapping the air and heating it, the contained and heated air acts as a protective barrier to prevent the pipes from freezing.

How long does heat tape last on a mobile home?

The heat tape on a mobile home typically lasts for about three years due to constant exposure to water and electricity, necessitating replacement every three years or so.

How quickly do pipes freeze in a house?

Pipes in a house can freeze at varying speeds depending on the conditions. Most pipes are likely to freeze within six to eight hours. If the temperature drops below 20 degrees, uninsulated exterior pipes can freeze in less than six hours. On the other hand, it takes at least 12 hours for unprotected pipes to freeze when the temperature is at 32 degrees.

How do I know if my pipes are at risk of freezing?

You can determine if your pipes are at risk of freezing by looking for frost on the outside of a pipe. Another less obvious warning sign is a foul smell coming from the drain or faucet. When a pipe is frozen, odors cannot escape and are instead pushed back into the home’s faucet. Additionally, if you notice no water or only a slow trickle when using a faucet, it could indicate that the pipes are frozen.

Will pipes under a mobile home freeze?

Pipes under a mobile home can freeze. Plumbers often receive numerous calls regarding frozen pipes in mobile homes every year, especially in cold climates. Dealing with this issue can be a major headache for homeowners.

How cold can my house get before pipes freeze?

The pipes in your house can be at risk of freezing when temperatures drop to around 20° F for a few hours. It is recommended to insulate your exposed pipes to maintain a temperature above the freezing point.

How do water pipes run under a mobile home?

Water pipes run under a mobile home by being located within the belly board, also known as the bottom board, and surrounded by insulation. The belly board serves to enclose the insulation around the plumbing, ensuring everything remains secure within the flooring system of the home.

How long does it take for pipes to freeze under house?

The pipes under a house can freeze within six to eight hours, considering that most pipes are affected by freezing within this time frame. If the temperature drops below 20 degrees, uninsulated exterior pipes may freeze in less than six hours. However, it generally takes at least 12 hours for unprotected pipes to freeze when the temperature is at 32 degrees.

How do you know if your pipes are frozen under the house?

You can determine if your pipes are frozen under the house by looking out for certain signs. These signs include whistling and banging noises coming from the pipes, as well as strange bubbling sounds when you flush a toilet. Additionally, dampness, puddles, or rings on drywall or ceilings are indicators of an urgent issue. It is important to note that in some cases, the pipe may appear undamaged, and homeowners may not notice any signs of small fractures caused by the expansion of ice.

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