RV Life & Frozen Pipes {A Funny Winter Bloopers Story}


Ahhhhhh, doesn’t it look lovely? I mean something right out of a postcard right? Yeah, well don’t let it fool you. The same weather that brings us RVers the beauty and serenity of picturesque scenes from a Hallmark movie is also the same kind of weather than can wreak havoc on water lines, pipes and normal life as we know it!

rving in cold weather, rving, the light life blog

Well, here we are! Genuinely loving every single second of our new, free life….even in the cold. However, nothing worth doing in life comes easy. But then again, you already knew that. So here’s a bit about how it’s going for us after two months into our stay in an area of almost consistently below freezing temps from about January – March. (at least this year)

There is no denying that even with all of the cold weather smarts we began our first stay in The North Pole Front Royal, Virginia with, we are still doing our share of living and learning what NOT to do to survive full-time RVing in cold weather.

After two months of several significant snowfalls and subzero temps at times, up until this past week we had managed to escape the frozen horrors experienced by RVers all around us! Largely due to this check list we followed on this post.  That is until we made one tiny mistake.


In the cold weather survival post I wrote here, I wrote about how important it is to keep a steady stream of water running at all times when the temps reach below 32 degrees. Well, this got turned off for all of 45 minutes the other night in 14 degree weather. One of the kids had accidentally turned it all the way off and we didn’t notice until it was too late.

So this is what happens when you don’t follow the survival rules for RVing in cold weather. And that, is just no fun at all.

20140305-100401.jpgLet me just be clear, I am a woman, and everyone knows that although we women can be pretty darn tough, we also require a fairly large amount of water at our disposal for various tasks. We also have 3 kids on board with us right now which create lots of dirty dishes and messes. Therefore we knew quick like that it is NOT a going to be a good life for long with no water! Thankfully, I had just washed up all the dishes so I didn’t have to contend with staring at a dirty kitchen.

But hey, it was the perfect excuse for me to declare a cooking strike!

And so, we blow dried and used torches, stood at the faucets and held prayer services and set the whole darn thing on fire! Because humans can deal with a lot of things, but desperation begins to set in when you don’t have water. And then to make things even worst I started remembering back to comments I had read in RVing Facebook groups about people who hadn’t had water for over 10 days…. TEN! Apprently because once your water freezes, it becomes a domino effect making it extremely difficult to thaw everything out until the weather warms up again.

And with no warmer weather in sight until the weekend it was NOT looking good for us.

After trying everything we knew to do to no avail, since we have a heated underbelly, my husband decided to just crank up the heat inside the RV hoping that just maybe the underbelly of the RV would also heat up enough to thaw everything out.

20140305-093905.jpgAnd so I asked Duck Dynasty my husband to drive me to the nearest Starbucks so I could calm my thoughts and write for a bit without thinking on the water tragedy back home.

My husband is a genius at solving problems. We call him our “McGyver” because he almost always fixes things in a sticky situation. It’s like one of his spiritual gifts! So when he can’t fix something I start to freak out a little (or a lot) inside. And just like that, the sky opened up, the Heavens sang and sunbeams burst down on us – I got his text from him.


It had worked! Turns out that when you have a heated underbelly, cranking up the heat on the inside of your RV to “hot as hell” status, sometimes does the trick!

And never ever in our lives have we been so grateful to see the sight of something as ordinary as water flowing freely into our sinks.

So we are back in business!…..at least until the next crisis event. And even then I’m sure we will come out of the whole thing with yet another hilarious story to tell in our long lineup of RV bloopers!

We live and we learn. And in the learning we become overwhelmingly grateful for the very smallest of things.

Tiny house, big life.

 Please leave us any tips, personal experiences, comments or questions in the comment section below!



About Rachel Rowell

A true southern gal at heart, Rachel was raised and lives in the deep south and spends her days raising her own babies, writing, making music, reading out on the front porch, and cooking supper for her family to sit around the table and enjoy together at nights! Her ultimate girlhood dream was to raise a family in a house just like "Anne of Green Gables" and now she is living her dream and inspiring others along the way.

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11 Responses to RV Life & Frozen Pipes {A Funny Winter Bloopers Story}

  1. cozybegone March 5, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    “Hot as Hell” status really good me :O) Glad the water is back up and running!!!!

  2. Carl Ball March 5, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    We froze up in Lubbock TX on the way south. There is heat in the storage but one area seems to not have enough so we just stuck an electric heater in that compartment and no more problems. It was very cold and extremely windy. The temp was 4 F and high wind. We were happy to head further south once the roads cleared.

  3. Paul March 5, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    Stories like this make me glad that we live and camp in Florida. My questions was when you were here in Florida why not stay till April?

    • Rachel Rowell March 5, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

      Paul, at least for now we don’t yet have the luxury just going to any place we desire anytime. We follow my husband’s work which means we do usually have a few options of jobs/locations to choose from when we move from job to job but we don’t get to just say, “Hey let’s go to Florida!” We were just there close to Tampa in Oct. – Dec. and would definitely have preferred to stay through this part of the year but his contract job ended and it was time to move on. Great question though.

  4. Katie March 5, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    We had a water main break at my house (due to the cold) a few weeks ago and didn’t have water for almost a week. It is the worst feeling. I understand the need to get away! Congrats on getting water back!!!!

  5. Scott March 5, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    Great post and good news! One NYE having not done enough preventative cold weather stuff even though I had a heated water hose, the CG upright water pipe froze. Tried heat lamp, ceramic heater and boiling water to no avail. No one had a blow torch. But wait! I carry road flares and not the cheap Auto Zone ones. Well, it did not take long for a 2000 degree flame to get that pipe fixture flowing. I did have to work the heat lamp a bit to get the black tank working on the ROO back then. My current ride is a Sunseeker with a heated underbelly. Far less problems.

  6. Gary Sieverding March 7, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    That picture of the faucet turned on and NO water coming out looks familiar to our time last December in Coffeyville, KS when we worked for Amazon!! Glad you are back to “normal”. We also discovered that in below zero weather, space heaters inside don’t do the job on the plumbing of the coach, as Anthony discovered. Solution: Turn up the heat!!

  7. Jessica March 10, 2014 at 12:56 am #

    Love reading your blog! My hubby is in front royal also, and we are planning on joining him “on the road” this summer…. Wherever he’ll be at that point 🙂 I’ve been searching for a blog to make this seem more doable, and yours did just that 🙂

  8. mrsd March 12, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    Lol!! We are dealing with the same, also our first few months rving. In the cold. Can’t wait til spring!

  9. Lynn Bonelli~Tales From the Mutiny March 13, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Our first year (winter 2012) we had our RV pipes freeze in Tucson AZ. It was 11 degrees for about 2 weeks. We found a ton of helpful advise on the Gone With the Wynns blog (since they purposely RV in snow sometimes for skiing). We purchased 2 small ceramic heaters…one for our tank side compartment and one for the water pump side (this is the side that froze). For peace of mind we also bought little thermometers with wires so we could put the temp probes in the compartments but see the temp from the reader thingy while still inside the RV. Neither bay got above 60 degrees so we felt safe and that the plastics wouldn’t melt or catch on fire. We also insulated every pipe and hose we could reached with foam insulator and heat tape. Since it was only a brief period of time we never got around to skirting the RV, which is probably one of the best ways to prevent freezing pipes and tanks…apparently one can even use snow to create a “skirt” around the bottom of the RV. We wintered in FLorida this year but still managed to get into below freezing temperatures in Grayton Beach and St. Andrews State Park. Seems like even when you choose a warmer area there is always the chance for some polar vortex to test you. Better to just be prepared to a certain extent.

    • Melissa November 13, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

      We are in Lubbock Texas as we speak froze up water pipes lolololol had no idea of the weather getting this cold in a RV travel trailer in November in this area’
      Looking to buy underpinning ASAP ‘
      Not use to living on the road in a travel trailer so this is a lesson learned for me
      Ba ba ba blammmm!!!! B puddin ‘

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