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Old 03-17-2016, 05:25 AM   #1
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South Hero , Vermont
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Freezing Temperature & hot water heater question

I live in Northern Vermont. After the warmest winter in recent memories and temps above freezing the last few weeks, things are turning a lot colder tomorrow. As in mid-teen temps at night an only up to 30 during the day. We are driving to the Smokies' on Monday and I got my AS out of storage to clean it up and do a few small projects. I already de-winterized and filled my water tank since we will "camp" at Wal-Mart or the side of the road for at least the first night.
My question is, if I run the furnace at home for the next few days, will that keep the hot water tank from freezing, or does the hot water heater need to be on also? I guess that my other option is to drain and re-winterize again for 2 days.
Any advise?

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Old 03-17-2016, 05:52 AM   #2
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I would spend the $10 (probably less) just for the peace of mind. I'm not expert, but it seems to me the pipes would freeze long before the water heater.

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Old 03-17-2016, 06:06 AM   #3
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I'd winterize by simply blowing out all lines and empty tank. I'd use bottled water until final destination.

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Old 03-17-2016, 06:39 AM   #4
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Ditto to paiceman, including empty holding tanks.
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:44 AM   #5
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My suggestion is to run your furnace and open cabinet doors where water lines may be behind them. The thermostat on our AS goes down to either 40 or 45 degrees, and I have used that lowest setting to keep the unit above freezing before. The water heater is usually well insulated. If you were to run it allowing the water to come up to temperature, you could turn it off and possibly not need to run it again while waiting to leave. Enjoy your trip.
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:50 AM   #6
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If very cold antifreeze all your drains?
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Old 03-17-2016, 10:15 AM   #7
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[QUOTE=paiceman;1763534]I'd winterize by simply blowing out all lines and empty tank. I'd use bottled water until final destination.[/QUOTE

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Old 03-17-2016, 11:35 AM   #8
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Freeze damaged plumbing would ruin your trip.

For two nights you could run the furnace, but what if it malfunctioned? Low probability, but potentially high impact event.

Also, I haven't checked the forecast, but you may also be driving for a day or so in sub-freezing weather, which you would not have to worry about if you were winterized.
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Old 03-17-2016, 12:02 PM   #9
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W Greg has the answer.

Open the cabinet doors. Most of the plumbing in hidden behind the cabinets, inside the heated space.

Let the water heater run until shuts off then turn it off.

Run the furnace to keep the trailer above freezing and all will be fine.

One can do the "what if" thing until afraid to leave the house.....


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Old 03-17-2016, 12:43 PM   #10
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I agree and have to think that operating the furnace and water heater would would prevent lines, holding tanks and water tank from freezing. Otherwise, it seems the trailer would not be useful for camping in very cold weather. Or am I missing something.

Only problem I would worry about would be running out of battery while operating the furnace but being plugged in would probably fix that. And, if plugged in, maybe a portable electric heater (or 2) instead of burning propane.
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Old 03-17-2016, 01:41 PM   #11
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Thanks for the replies. I did end up blowing out the lines, draining the tank and adding pink to the drains to save 3 days of gas from the furnace. Draining the tank was the worst part since I filled it (30 gallons) yesterday and it took about 1.5 hours to drain through the little valve.
I will add water and run the furnace when we take off in freezing temps. Hopefully it will be above freezing by the time we get south of here.
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:24 PM   #12
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I ran into the same problem a month or so ago. I followed some advice I got here on the Forum and ran the furnace, set at 45 degrees, for a couple of nights and during the day, until I got far enough south for the temps to get up. No problems at all, and I don't think it really used a lot of propane. I did have shore power on all except one night. The weather here in East Tennessee in pretty nice now and temps much below 30 next week are not likely. Have a good trip!
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:51 PM   #13
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Here's the deal with the weather - Fri. 36 hi 18 lo - Sat. 30 hi 16 lo - Sun. 43 hi 25 lo - Mon. 30 hi 18 low (we're in Stowe which is colder than Hero). I think if you set the heater at 60, open the cabinets, and make sure you're plugged into landline electric to save your batteries, you should be OK at night. During the day you'll be above freezing. Be very careful on Monday as there's a chance of sizable snow from the mid Atlantic states up to us here in VT. We are pulling our AS out in 2 weeks to get ready for spring break in FL. Save journeys.

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