A Frozen Hose Indoors

Yesterday we pretty much finished our Christmas shopping. We hit up three different craft fairs, one McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Chapters and the public library. I’ll leave it to my family’s imagination to see what gifts they can foresee based on that itinerary.It was a nice sunny day for once, but very cold. I made sure my solar panels were pointed in a generally favourable direction before we left, and when we returned, I could see I was running around 13.8 volts and 6-7 amps of charge. Doubling the charge (because my monitor seems to report half the charge at a time…) I came up with 12-14 amps of charge. Not too shabby in my opinion. I checked with my multimeter, and it agreed with my guess – 15 amps of charge was its best guess.

In spite of that, I still fired up the generator (twenty six pulls – maybe I should have a new ripcord set aside for the premature failure of this one?) so that Donna could do a few loads of laundry. Friday night being sauna night, we decided it was a good time to also strip the bedding and have a fresh start to the weekend.

After the last incident where the laundry drain hose had frozen, I had cut about two thirds of it off, allowing just about ten feet of hose to drain the water away from the yurts. On a whim, I decided to check it. It appeared frozen solid, and I was a little chagrined. Later, Donna confirmed my fears when she reported that the wash machine was not draining the first load of water.

I poured a stock pot of hot water along the length, to no avail.

I poured a kettle of steaming hot water along the length, to no avail.

I took a break to relieve myself on a nearby tree, observing the steam arising from my own contribution, but decided that I still had other options.

Using my draw saw, I cut the hose down to about five feet. It had no spot left where it water could possibly collect, at least in future pumpings – where I cut I noted it was still solid ice inside.

Another kettle of water removed that, but still it refused to pump.

I removed the hose altogether, and blew through it – no resistance! The hose was fine. This made me more nervous yet. Returning inside, I got behind the wash machine and started to manipulate the rubber hose inside. Clearly I could feel and hear ice cracking. This was unexpected. I knew that the yurts get cold, but freezing up a hose like that was new. I suppose it doesn’t get much air circulation, and is against an outside wall, and the back yurt IS generally much cooler than the main one, but to freeze a hose solid?

We pulled out the wash machine to get better access to the hose. This is where I appreciate that we had purchased an apartment unit, already on casters and smaller than normal.

I manipulated the hose while Kenny stood outside calling the play by play. “Trickle of water! Now lots! Now a trickle again!”

At last we got “Now lots!” consistently, and with Donna setting the machine to a final spin and drain cycle, were satisfied that the problem was solved, at least for the time being.

Now we have a much shorter hose outside, that can’t possibly freeze (?) and a future plan to pull the wash machine out from the wall the mornings we are planning on doing any laundry. Hopefully that will thaw the indoor hose, which is never completely free of water.

It will be interesting to see if we can keep the future sauna warm enough to generally prevent this from happening again. Donna feels that it is more a case of the floor needing more insulation, than the trapped airspace being cold – she may be right – we only put in the prescribed 4″ of insulation, rather than the 6″ that we would have had space for. Next time…


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