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Old 09-24-2018, 10:21 PM   #1
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Winter use with Ultraheat?

Is anyone using their Interstate in sub zero weather without winterizing?

We hope to use the Interstate to travel to various sporting events with our kids.
Including travel during the winter months. Our main use is to and from the events with the occasional overnight stay in the unit (not expected during the winter). Typically we will stay in the hotels with the team and the unit will be parked overnight in a lot, not plugged in.

The question is, will Ultraheat (or equal) heating pads keep things safe underneath the Airstream. Will the macerator be safe with Ultraheat in close proximity What other equipment is recommended?

Thank you in advance.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:11 AM   #2
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Winter use with Ultraheat?

WELCOME to AirForums!

What do you plan to use as an energy source for the heating pads? I'm not sure if they have enough energy to handle sub-zero.

The heating pads will help, but there are several week spots. The outdoor shower is one of them. Also your water heater is another if it is an on-demand. If it has a storage tank you will need to keep it running so it doesn't freeze up.

I've used my Interstate in sub-zero conditions in Minnesota, but it was winterized. I used RV anti-freeze to flush the toilet.

What you propose is difficult in an Interstate without significant mods.

Good Luck,
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:59 AM   #3
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What you propose is difficult in an Interstate without significant mods.
MIKE - I agree. I lived in Chicago while a teen and I have gone through sub-zero winters that were just brutal to cars, let alone an rv with water systems being parked overnight without shore or gen power. I only imagine it is worse in MI and definitely know from experience it is even worse in MN. Freezing temps is one thing, but sub-zero is a completely different beast and raises the stakes dramatically. Water in those conditions freeze before it hits the ground. Ultraheat is not going to be enough.

This usage environment requires some serious professional upfitting, I would assume starting with insulating those critical water lines in undercarriage. Same with interior insulation since it would not be plugged in. Ultraheat is supposedly tested to -11°F but using batts without the advantage of insulation will almost guarantee batts will rundown in short order. It is dual voltage, so using 120vAC would be almost necessary, like one would use an engine block heater.

On a personal note - I would be very scared to use an AI in sub-zero temps. It just was not meant for such environment, no matter if Ultraheat and insulation is added. Their manufacturing practices/process (same with other Class B's) is not geared for that. If this was my usage, I would start with a total custom job. I have seen Renegades ordered by IWS Motorcoach with custom Arctic package that can be used in Alaska in mid-Jan. I am sure Advanced RV can tackle this need.
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:04 AM   #4
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We used ours in the early-spring and got caught in a snowstorm. Temperature was not too bad - mid 20's at the lowest. But there were tons (likely a slight exaggeration) of snow and slush underneath. No damage done (far as I know) but I'm sure the Airstream components underneath (LPG tank, plumbing, dump valves, macerator, hose reel, etc.) was not designed for the weight of all that snow/slush.
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Old 09-25-2018, 12:08 PM   #5
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Your problem will be where to get the energy from to operate Ultraheat.
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:09 PM   #6
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Two thoughts. Perhaps a remote starter that could be set to run for 15 min per hour which would charge the batteries and heat the interior.

The other option would be to add a dedicated and isolated lithium battery (or two) to run the Ultraheat. Looks like the max draw (my best guess at this point) would be 20-25 amps at 12v

Truthfully I wouldn’t use it if the temps were expected to be below say 15 F overnight. Our trips are usually only three to four days max so the forecast should be close enough to know whether or not it would get below 15 ish
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:06 PM   #7
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My week long Minnesota trip in February was typical epic Minnesota cold. Most nights were -15 to -20 degF and never got much above zero during the day. But I was winterized so no damage.

The coldest I've ever camped was winter of 2017 in Taos, NM where my brother-in-law lives. It got down to 13 degF one night. We were in a campground with shore power. I had tank heaters on and water heater on. Ran an electric space heater over night and the LP heater in the morning. My 2013 Interstate does not have internal shut-offs for the outside shower lines. In the morning the outside shower was a block of ice - yikes! I got lucky as there was no damage.

I have had the van parked in my driveway in Maryland once when temp dropped just below freezing but was not winterized. I wrapped 120VAC heat tape around the outside shower to prevent it from freezing.

If I get a custom Advanced RV build in a few years it will be equipped to handle freezing weather with a motor fuel fired heating system.
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Old 09-25-2018, 09:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
My week long Minnesota trip in February was typical epic Minnesota cold. Most nights were -15 to -20 degF and never got much above zero during the day. But I was winterized so no damage.

The coldest I've ever camped was winter of 2017 in Taos, NM where my brother-in-law lives. It got down to 13 degF one night. We were in a campground with shore power. I had tank heaters on and water heater on. Ran an electric space heater over night and the LP heater in the morning. My 2013 Interstate does not have internal shut-offs for the outside shower lines. In the morning the outside shower was a block of ice - yikes! I got lucky as there was no damage.

I have had the van parked in my driveway in Maryland once when temp dropped just below freezing but was not winterized. I wrapped 120VAC heat tape around the outside shower to prevent it from freezing.

If I get a custom Advanced RV build in a few years it will be equipped to handle freezing weather with a motor fuel fired heating system.
MIKE - your MN story makes me cringe just reading it. You definitely a better rugged camping man than me. My camping spirit disappears below 40°F. BTW - how to run water heater on all night? Mine shuts down at the slightest wiff of low flow, even when showering. Do you just keep it drip, drip? One trick I learned in Chicago prevent pipes freezing
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Old 09-26-2018, 11:00 AM   #9
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MIKE - your MN story makes me cringe just reading it. You definitely a better rugged camping man than me. My camping spirit disappears below 40°F. BTW - how to run water heater on all night? Mine shuts down at the slightest wiff of low flow, even when showering. Do you just keep it drip, drip? One trick I learned in Chicago prevent pipes freezing
ALEX - I didn't mean to imply we were camping during that frigid Minnesota trip. I stayed indoors with relatives. You have the on-demand water heater which makes it even more difficult to camp in cold weather. Mine is a standard Atwood 6 gallon RV water heater. I can run it on electricity when plugged into 120VAC power or run it on LP. It also lets you run both for a fast warm-up.

I don't consider Airstream's move to on demand water heaters as an improvement. Thy might work OK for some, but not for me.
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Old 09-26-2018, 06:48 PM   #10
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ALEX - I didn't mean to imply we were camping during that frigid Minnesota trip. I stayed indoors with relatives. You have the on-demand water heater which makes it even more difficult to camp in cold weather.
MIKE - ah, ok, you didnt camp in -13 MN. But +13 in NM still too extreme for my blood. I bet not much competition at getting nice campsites.

Hey, I have a hard enough time keeping my on-demand to maintain hot water 30secs after I momentarily turn off faucet in shower to conserve water & save grey tank space. Can't imagine what happen in cold weather.
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Old 09-27-2018, 07:46 AM   #11
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Winter use with Ultraheat?

Trying to intentionally use an un-winterized Interstate in sub zero temps seems unquestionably high risk, so why take the chance?

Carry some antifreeze for Emergency toilet flushes, otherwise use public facilities, bottled water, etc.

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Old 09-28-2018, 09:50 AM   #12
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Here is another thread that asks a similar question, with some replies:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...es-173097.html
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Old 09-28-2018, 01:47 PM   #13
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For some years, I trailed my 26' Cape Dory keel sailboat to Yellowstone on Labor Day weekend and put it on Yellowstone Lake for a week to 10 days. The park is very empty at that time of year. We lived on the boat, not only in the marina, but also in the far reaches of the lake. We could go under sail where power boats were restricted. We would tie off just off shore at night (bear proof) and use the dinghy to fish. About every 3rd cast yielded a big trout.

The boat was snowed on some years and it was below freezing a lot of mornings. We stayed snug enough with cooking heat from the alcohol stove and a big sleeping bag. It was never too cold in the daytime. Our biggest task was keeping moisture out of the boat. At night, we would open the deck vents and crawl into the sleeping bag.
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Old 09-28-2018, 08:00 PM   #14
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I don't think it is possible to use a non winterized Interstate in sub zero weather. There is too much exposed piping. Also the macerator pump is un heated. Even with tank heaters on I doubt it would keep things from freezing at 20 degrees.
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