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Topic: HELP - Frozen Septic Pipes in Trailer!
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Robyn Gibb

1/18/2011 9:08:18 AM
Member since:
Mar 2009
Total posts:92
HELP - Frozen Septic Pipes in Trailer!

Hello Everyone,  
I was hoping someone out there would have an idea on someone I could call about my pipes. I have a trailer and the septic pipe that runs under it is frozen solid on the one side of my house. Of course I didn't figure out it was frozen until after a load of laundry where all the water pooled in my bath tub and toilet... GRR!!  
Someone told me that there are people who you can get to come out to "steam" the line clear. However I looked in the phonebook and I can't seem to find anyone who advertizes this. I was hoping that someone out there would have an idea of who I could try calling or any suggestions on how to thaw the pipes.  
Thank you for all of your help: hope you all enjoy the rest of your day!!!  


1/18/2011 9:10:35 AM
Member since:
Oct 2007
Total posts:800
frozen pipes

you could try a heat tape

Michelle Budiwski

1/18/2011 9:11:09 AM
Member since:
Apr 2009
Total posts:8121

Any plumber will be able to help.  
That sucks - good luck!


1/18/2011 9:12:06 AM
Member since:
Jun 2010
Total posts:18
Unplug Sewer Services

Also make sure your heat tape is turned on - check your electrical panel to see if there is a breaker marked for heat tape.


1/18/2011 9:46:57 AM
Member since:
Jan 2009
Total posts:460
Once you have it thawed

Be sure to check your taps or your toilet. If either of them have a slow leak... that dripping down the line in these temperatures will freeze in the sewer line again and build up ice slowly over time, thus causing you to have another frozen sewer line. It is not normal to put heat trace on sewer lines.  
Check to make sure that the sewer line is also at a proper angle to the ground and hasn't for some reason come apart underneath your trailer.


1/18/2011 10:03:03 AM
Member since:
Feb 2006
Total posts:519
That sucks

Happened to me last winter. I had a slow drip that I didn't know about, and it froze my septic pipes.  
I couldn't find a single plumber that would do it. And when I tried calling those companies that are supposed to specialize in it, I got the run around. Finally I had to get my uncle to come fix it, because I had been without working plumbing of any sort for days, just me and my one year old.  
It seems like it should have been easier to find somebody to fix it. I didn't care how much it would have cost, but I couldn't find a single company to help.


1/18/2011 10:28:40 AM
Member since:
Aug 2009
Total posts:736

....could try a few litres of methyl hydrate down the drain...just make sure to keep the lit cigs or open flames away. It's worked for me, but there again depends how badly it's frozen.

don brown

1/18/2011 11:34:23 AM
Member since:
Aug 2010
Total posts:4536
You could try

Murray's mobile steam cleaning 761-2353 or 725-4681.


1/18/2011 12:14:32 PM
Member since:
Oct 2008
Total posts:433
Had This Happen Before

The first year we got the new mobile trailer this happened.  
You need to get someone out there ASAP to steam clean the pipes and get everything cleared out.  
Then put heat tape where the freeze is happening (for us it was near a join in the piping) and keep the heat tape plugged in every winter from Nov-Apr and/or as long as it is really cold out.  
This will stop this from happening in the future.

Mike Waddell

1/18/2011 1:20:00 PM
Member since:
Apr 2007
Total posts:66
Heat "Trace" better than heat tape once you have it thawed

Once you are able to get the pipe thawed out a product that we have found that works better than a heat tape is a heat trace.  
As I understand it a heat trace is safer and more efficient at keeping lines thawed. We have used them in a couple of places and I will never go back to a heat tape.


1/18/2011 1:22:32 PM
Member since:
Apr 2010
Total posts:528

I'm sure most people who own a trailer have had pipes freeze so I'm sure there is someone out there. One thing we did that seemed to help was we'd flush and run water for about 5 minutes every few hours just to keep the water flowing. Of course this is back when we didn't have to pay for water but might help. If the water flows it can't freeze.

Robyn Gibb

1/18/2011 1:50:45 PM
Member since:
Mar 2009
Total posts:92

This is the first time this has ever happened to us. We were away this weekend and we must have had a tap dripping or something and it built up. It is now completely frozen solid and it doesn't want to thaw. We were told when we moved the trailer not to put heat tape on the septic pipes only the water lines going in.  
Someone I talked to suggested Woody's steam cleaning however I cannot find a phone number for them. Does anyone know if they have went out of buisness or a phone number I can use to call them.  
Thank you for all of your help!!!  
Edited by Robyn Gibb, 2011-01-18 13:51:24


1/18/2011 2:08:22 PM
Member since:
Apr 2010
Total posts:294

Just don't take a blow torch and forget about it to answer the phone!! I've known 2 ppl that have lost there trailors due to that reason... mind you they were older but it was devistating those things burn like crazy and crazy fast!!! Becareful!


1/18/2011 2:29:46 PM
Member since:
Jan 2007
Total posts:1313
Yep been there done that

5gallon pail of hot water sump pump adapted down to 3/8 tubing at the most and around 25 to 30 ft of tubing should do it. 1- 3" furnco? coupling assuming it is 3" abs pipe there now and a hack saw .  
Crawl underneith cut your pipe plug in your pump and start feeding the tube in.Yep done this enough times.Remember to have the furnco on the pipe before you start.  
Before you ask but sorry I won't come over and do  
Happy plumbing.

Pots And Owls

1/18/2011 6:12:34 PM
Member since:
Jan 2011
Total posts:49
Once the pipes are thawed

This happened to me several times, always at the same pipe bend. Even extra heavy duty super duper expensive heating tape didn't work. In the end, I bought an inexpensive space heater (no an, just three lamps) and positioned it below the offending region. Never a frozen pipe since.


1/18/2011 6:24:09 PM
Member since:
Jul 2006
Total posts:1707

kramer said "....could try a few litres of methyl hydrate down the drain...just make sure to keep the lit cigs or open flames away. It's worked for me, but there again depends how badly it's frozen. "

Don't put methyl hydrate down the sewer. If anything you could try RV plumbing antifreeze but I'm afraid if there's a lot of standing water in the line it would dilute the antifreeze to where it would be useless.


1/18/2011 7:12:57 PM
Member since:
Dec 2006
Total posts:1408

be painfuly slow, if you can get to the offending section of line, use a hair dryer. Please NEVER use a propane torch or any other form of open flame or very high heat. Robert Haresnape does work on mobiles 724-6822. He's usually booked to the eyeballs but he will prioritize emergencies.


1/18/2011 8:14:58 PM
Member since:
Sep 2009
Total posts:473
Steam Cleaner

Steam is the best way to go. I know people who used to hire Woody's but not sure if he is still in business. Definitely find a steam cleaner though, quick and "almost painless". Check your toilet as these are usually the culprit. Often a bad flapper in the tank can be letting a little water past. Normally if you are at home and using hot water throughout the day, its enough to clear the drains, but when you are away and something is trickling, it will plug a sewer line pretty quick. Best of Luck.

The Plumber

1/18/2011 8:27:15 PM
Member since:
Mar 2009
Total posts:57

Woody passed away a few years back. The guy running Murray's steam cleaning took over for him. He is the most reasonable priced and to deal with. Very professional. Call unplug too , they would be my # 2


1/18/2011 8:35:27 PM
Member since:
Mar 2008
Total posts:13
My method

Happend to me last year. I tapped a small hole in the pipe under the frozen part, and threaded a small flexible tube( brakeline) attatched to a garden hose. I then attached it to the tap on the hot water tap for the washer. Turned it on and once it was hot, fed it up the pipe slowly pushing up till it broke free (you'll hear it) Then turned the taps on hot and ran it for a while. I also poured the kettle down the drain.

Harley rider

1/18/2011 8:44:49 PM
Member since:
Oct 2007
Total posts:31
happened to us too

but i rented a herman nelson(BIG construction heater) from C&C rentals put the hose under the place and everything was thawed in about 20 min way way cheaper than calling any unplug place i figured that trick when a certain unplug company told me to wait till they got there waited all day they called the next day to say they may be there that day i told them dont worry about it i fixed it it cost like 30 bucks to rent the heater the other company wanted 160 to show up plus i live out of the city and there were mmore charges for that.. hope that helps


1/18/2011 9:16:41 PM
Member since:
Jun 2009
Total posts:408
Thaw with hot water

Ice can be thawed with hot water. The trick is to get the hot water directly into the frozen area. Hopefully you have a cleanout you can thread a stiff black plastic 1/2 inch hose. hook up to the hot water line and push the hose down the drainpipe. As the hot water melts the ice keep pushing the hose in until the ice is thawed.  
I thawed fifty feet of the inlaws sewer line a few years ago. Expect some water to come back the cleanout until the ice dam is thawed. My inlaws argued that it wouldn't work but used this trick several times in the years since.  

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