How to,protect water pump from freezing.

Submitted: Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 13:36
ThreadID: 103930 Views:3991 Replies:5 FollowUps:5
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Recently we went to the Alpine National Park and experienced -5.4C temperatures outside. In the morning our water lines were frozen. Fortunately they are hoses and not metal pipes so no damage was done. The water pump did not freeze though.

The vehicle is an Earthcruiser with the water pump in an outside locker. We will be going into much colder temperatures than that next year. Mcy concern is how to protect the waterpump, from freezing and perhaps being destroyed.

Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing?
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 14:17

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 14:17
Interesting question Beryl.

I presume this is your drinking etc water supply.

The best way is to stop the transfer of heat, and much more cooling occurs when a tap/pipe etc is exposed to moving air.

So insulating everything (plastic tap/pipe/hose) even putting a clipon foam cover will usually be enough in Aussie land.
(Makes an amazing difference on tests I did to get a more effect thermos flask)

A better solution if you can do it is to ensure there is no water to freeze.

I.E. often people have a tank with a tap near the base which runs off to another tap which may be exposed.

If the tap at the tank base can be turned off, then the secondary tap is turned on such that the water inbetween is drained off then without water the pipes won't freeze.

The water near the tank won't freeze overnight because it is thermally connected to the much larger body of water (in the tank)

Perhaps your water pump is, or could be closer and hence more thermally connected to the tank.

Could this already be the situation and you don't need to worry ?
Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 516685

Follow Up By: Member - Berylvt - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 14:44

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 14:44
Yes that sounds great - if we had taps before and after the pumps we could drain the pumps when cold weather is expected. I' ll work on that.
FollowupID: 796088

Reply By: Ross M - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 15:51

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 15:51
Modern home solar water systems use the system pump to cycle every little while so the tank water (in this case the water in the roof heat collectors) is replaced with some from the storage tank. This only happens when the temp is below a set value and the water is likely to freeze in the collectors.
One solution may be to use a "cold" sensing thermostat to run the pump briefly so it doesn't freeze and have the water cycled back to tank.
Jaycar have a kit which can be set to do that. Hot or cold sensing. NTC resistor, like vehicle temp sensors use is the temp detecting method.

Maybe be an option if you can't relocate, insulate or drain the pump etc.
AnswerID: 516691

Reply By: pmacks - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 15:57

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 15:57
Hi berylvt

We have insulated all our waterlines in our Jayco caravan with 25mm thick ARMAFLEX it is realativley cheap and available from any air conditioning supplier ( heatcraft ) it is designed to insulate flow and return return lines in refrigeration systems, however our pump is mounted inside the van in a cupboard.

Looking forward to reading your Blog about the upcomming trip !!

AnswerID: 516694

Reply By: The Bantam - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 18:42

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 18:42
Insulating you water pump wont stop it from will just slow the process down.

If ya realy dead set want to do the job properly, you need to insulate and heat.

So if ya water pump is inside a compartment, insulate it then include some sort of heating element.

A 20 watt light bulb may just be sufficient..of course you could run it thru some sort of thermostat.

As far as the hoses, insulating those is no biggie, and there are heating cables available.

wrap some of this heating cable around the hose then fit the insulation.

If ya water tank is going to have a problem.

The other choice is to bring all this stuff inside the habitable compartment.

AnswerID: 516711

Reply By: blue one - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 21:07

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 21:07
G'Day Berylvt,
I'm working in Antarctica at the moment and we use coolant that can withstand the freezing temperatures. No fancy stuff just the right product. Shop around and find the right solution for the temps you will be experiencing.


AnswerID: 516738

Follow Up By: blue one - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 21:08

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 21:08
Just don't drink it.
FollowupID: 796146

Follow Up By: Member - Berylvt - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 08:39

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 08:39
Fancy hearing from the Antarctic! Fantastic!
I don't suppose you are referring to an additive or drinking water though?

How's the camping down there?
FollowupID: 796184

Follow Up By: blue one - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 09:01

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 09:01
The camping is fine in a polar pyramid tent. They are pretty much the same design that the original explorers used.

Mostly we use field huts which are definitely more comfortable when connected to a generator.

My blog site is It will give you an idea what it's like down here.

Yep I got it mixed up and thought you were referring to coolant. you have a great rig with an earthcruiser. I have been admiring them for a couple of years now.

Good luck with your travels and I look forward to updates of where you go.


FollowupID: 796189

Follow Up By: Member - Berylvt - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 10:18

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 10:18
Steve -I had look at your blog -great pics. My father in law stayed in Shackletons hut for 3 days in a blizzard 55years ago. He was looking for insects in the Antarctic -found a fly leg in the jet stream I think,.... And some mites.

My blog -
Hopefully it will be more interesting when get overseas. One more shakedown trip to Cape York before we go OS.

Please do follow the blog if you are interested.
FollowupID: 796206

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