After two weeks in the desert outside of Las Vegas, we took advantage of a break in the weather and headed north. We made it to Twin Falls, Idaho, and decided to hunker down for some more not-so-great weather to pass through.
As we were setting up, we noticed some water pooled on top of a storage bin in our basement, made a mental note to check it later, and continued on. Good thing, because no sooner had we finished setting up and moved inside the trailer than a rainshower hit. We thanked God for giving us a clear window of weather for the duration of our trip.
Grateful to be in a city where we could restock our supplies, we headed to a grocery story the next day. Not long after we got all our goods inside the trailer and put away, I noticed white flakes flying at us. We hadn’t seen snow since we’re not sure when. It stuck only briefly before melting away. The same thing happened the next day.
The third day, however, we awoke to a winter wonderland. A fresh layer of snow blanketed Gulliver and the ground outside our trailer. We took joy in our frosty surroundings, a welcome change of scenery from the desert landscape. Our delight didn’t last long, though. While busy about our day, we both heard a loud crash and jumped up to see what had happened.
Peering out our windows didn’t reveal anything conclusive, so we bundled up and left the warmth of our trailer to investigate.
Ice covered our stairs. Careful not to slip, we braved the 30-degree temperature that felt like 18 with the wind chill. We found plenty of snow and ice on the roof and water on the ground where some had melted, but no clear indication of what had caused the noise. We decided a sheet of ice must have been blown by the wind and crashed into something on the roof or onto the ground.
Water in the Basement
The wind continued to blow that day until all snow and ice had been eliminated from our roof and our surroundings. Despite the blustery conditions, we made a point to sop up the water in our basement, dejected to have yet another water problem.
As we tried to identify the source of the leak, we noticed a warped, discolored ceiling panel and a drip from the box protecting our leveling wires from damage. Bob pulled down the ceiling panels and more water dripped from them. A closer look at the panels revealed we had had an issue for a while.
We touched the water pipes originating from the bathroom. They felt completely dry. We decided the water must have been a result of condensation since we found ourselves in much colder conditions than we had experienced up to this point. Nothing else made sense. So, we stuffed a rag around the pipes in the bathroom floor to seal the hole between it and the basement.
Shark Bites Save the Day
The next morning, we dried the pool again. Midday, when the weather had warmed ever so slightly, we found yet another puddle in the basement. “Where could the water be coming from?” we wondered.
I had noticed a white, hard-water residue on top of the storage bin. Putting my sleuthing skills to work and investigating under the bathroom sink, I saw that same white residue on the cold water PEX pipe. Aha!
We sopped up the water in the basement, again, and secured a rag around the blue PEX pipe under the sink to test our theory. A few hours later, sure enough, the rag under the sink was wet and the basement was dry. We had finally pinpointed the source of the water: a seep, not a drip, from the cold water pipe close to the bathroom faucet. That explained why we occasionally heard the water pump kick on when we weren’t running any faucet.
To repair the leak, Bob went to the local Ace Hardware store and bought some Shark Bite ball valves to enable us to turn off the water to the bathroom sink if needed in the future. Unlike sticks-and-bricks homes, RVs don’t typically have shut-off valves at sinks. Bob also got some short, braided hoses to ensure enough flexibility to make the needed fix.
He cut the red and blue PEX pipes under the bathroom sink, attached the braided pipes and the SharkBite valves, and connected everything back together. Voila! No more water leak.
An Alarming Adventure
At 4:30 one morning during our stay in Twin Falls, a high-pitched beeping pulled us out of our warm slumber. It sounded like the familiar noise we hear when a propane tank runs empty. I got up to switch the tanks and noticed a flashing light in the bathroom, where we have a battery monitor. The unpleasant sound turned out to be coming from there.
Relieved that I didn’t have to go out in the cold to deal with propane bottles, I looked closer at the monitor and saw 33 degrees. It alerted us to near-freezing temperatures inside the front battery compartment of our rig, which meant it would be dangerous to charge our batteries until the compartment warmed up. Bob was able to stop the noise, and we drifted back to sleep.
No batteries were harmed. Our water leak was gone. And we were warm. We had and continue to have much to be thankful for.
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This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.