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Old 11-12-2019, 09:40 AM   #1
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Camping-between-Seasons type of question

Hi all,
I am currently camped with AS in Virginia Beach assisting family members with settling into their new home. I will be here until 24 November and then head home and winterize the AS in Woodbridge, VA.
My current concern is the immediate weather that is approaching now in Virginia Beach. Temps are projected to lower throughout today and tonight; will be 32 degrees by 0700 tomorrow and then weather tops off at 39 degrees on Wednesday. The next 7 days look pretty good with day temps in 50's and night temps in 40's.
Here are my questions: When the weather dip down to freezing mark temporarily, are safeguarding measures necessary? i.e. detach water hose from AS and from the water source? Empty gray/black tanks? Is it okay if my fresh water tank is full (and if I've disconnected from water source, I need my freshwater tank). Any tips appreciated!
Many thanks.
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Old 11-12-2019, 09:58 AM   #2
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Fill the fresh water tank and run off of it. Disconnect the water hose and drain it. Disconnect the sewer hose and store it away. Ideally, hook up to shore power and run the furnace on electricity (if that's an option). If not, start researching propane resources nearby . In any case, you do want to keep the trailer warm to prevent freezing issues (and also to protect the pipes ).

Bob
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Old 11-12-2019, 10:13 AM   #3
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A dip into the high 20s may freeze your city water hose, but won't damage it Not a bad idea to disconnect it, As long as the heat is on in the trailer I don't see the need to dump the tanks.
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Old 11-12-2019, 12:50 PM   #4
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It all depends upon the equipment of your trailer. Generally if you have a "furnace" you have to run it to get defrosting to the tanks and pipes below. That means propane usage. Don't get too aggressive on temp settings. The higher you set it the faster the tank goes empty.

My trailer has the Alde system which can run on electric or gas. We also have electric heat pads for the tanks. That is a rare installation I'm learning.

Either way if you are filtering your water the "blue plastic filter pack" will freeze faster than the hose, remove filter. I'd fill the water tank and run off the tank/pump. You can leave the sewer hose just empty it and get rid of trapped water. The material does not like cold so don't mess with it before a warm after noon if there are freezing temps.

The best way to warm up the trailer in the morning is bake cookies. You get warm and have cookies.
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Old 11-12-2019, 12:55 PM   #5
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Closing the shades on the windows will help keep the heat loss down and may lessen the condensation. A towel in the window sills can be helpfull, ring it out periodically. You won't be able to see out of them any way.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:42 PM   #6
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The best way to warm up the trailer in the morning is bake cookies. You get warm and have cookies.
Best idea I ever heard. In New Mexico we prefer biscochitos especially for Christmas.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:52 PM   #7
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Hi

Shades closed at night is a very good idea. If the sun is shining and it can make it in a widow, you can get solar gain in the middle of the day.

Bob
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Old 11-12-2019, 03:51 PM   #8
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Yep, If you run the furnace at low this will keep your pipes from freezing. Disconnect your city water hose as suggested. Assuming you're connected to power you can use a 750-1000 watt electric heater this way no condesation worries and yes it does help to draw the shades.
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Old 11-12-2019, 06:24 PM   #9
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I am trying to get through this cold snap as well, given we are camping the weekend before Thanksgiving when weather is supposed to be perfect at mid 60s day, mid 40s night.

But tonight is forecast for 22. So...I have furnace set to 50 and rear heat pump set to 50 for backup. Also have electric water heater on, water valves at faucets open doors and drawers of cabinets open, and outside shower faucet head in the house.

Here's crossing my fingers. Didn't get the lemon tree in the garage either but it is covered up....this weather is cray cray
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Old 11-12-2019, 06:28 PM   #10
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PS. 32 in Virginia Beach that's not bad at all, low probability for anything to freeze inside the trailer to begin with
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:28 PM   #11
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Once you get past the end of October, it becomes "who knows??" in terms of weather on the east coast. It could be very nice clear into mid December. You also could get a foot of snow. It could be fine up in New York and an absolute mess in North Carolina .... We try to get things put away before we get into November.

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Old 11-13-2019, 07:46 AM   #12
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Dear all,
It's 0800 and 32 degrees this sunny morning, just like the weatherman predicted. As suggested, I disconnected and drained the hose and filter from AS, used the freshwater tank; and the heat pump throughout the night. My Iceland blanket kept me and the dog toasty. I turned on propane heat this morning for 15 minutes to take off the chill, and realized it was the first time I've ever turned it on so held my breath. It worked great, what a relief. The shades are up and skylight uncovered. Per Overstreet's sensible suggestion, I won't hook up the hose until this afternoon when it's warmed up. Overstreet also made me aware that it is the propane heating system that warms the holding tanks. Does that mean the heat pump heat system does not?
Thanks so much for your quick responses. Having AirForums "in my back pocket" in my Airstream life gives me confidence. (The entertainment value is also sometimes quite high - ha!) take care.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:10 AM   #13
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Hi

The heat pump will stop working when it gets really cold out. Just how cold is very much a "that depends" sort of thing. I've run ours down in the low 30's without either one conking out. As far as I know, they will shut down before they get in trouble mechanically.

The gotcha is that if the weather guy is wrong (like he was here last week) and it goes to 28 instead of 33, you may find out what point the heat pump kicks out. All of a sudden it's not running (with no real indication that's the case) and the trailer is cooling off.

Another tidbit - the furnace (the one that runs on propane) may have ducts that feed air here or there to keep the pipes / tanks warm. Even if you have ducted air, it's not going the same places. If it gets *really* cold, these will help with the pipes.

A quick drop to 32 degrees at 7AM is different than the whole day staying below freezing. It looks like we will only make it to freezing by noon today. Even if it had not gone into the low 20's last night, staying below freezing for 8 to 12 hours is way more trouble than 30 minutes.

So - not an issue at 32 (or at 28). If it heads to 22 or 18, run the furnace. We have an unusual system in ours. The "furnace" has a separate control system. I can set the heat pumps at one temperature and the propane stuff a bit lower. If one conks out, the other would come online all by its self.

Bob
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatLee View Post
<<snip>> Overstreet also made me aware that it is the propane heating system that warms the holding tanks. Does that mean the heat pump heat system does not?
<<snip>>.
There is no duct from the rooftop unit to below the floor, so no warm air from the heat pump gets around the tanks. Only the furnace blows into that space.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:27 AM   #15
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If my CCC thermostat is set to “heat pump” and it gets too cold outside, it switches to furnace automatically. We were camped last weekend in mid-20s and ran the furnace all night at 66 with no appreciable (according to the gauge on my range vent status panel) use of propane. All I did was disconnect from campground water and drain hose and filter.

As Al.U.Minium said, a few hours at 32 shouldn’t be an issue. I have left hose connected in those conditions. The only thing was a small ice plug that melted soon after sunrise. The hose is flexible enough not to burst as log as it doesn’t completely freeze up.

Al
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:36 AM   #16
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I ran on heat pump but when the temperature got to 20 something the thermostat automatically switched to gas furnace. I certainly didn't program that since I didn't know it could. The way I knew it turned on the furnace is the floor was toasty warm in the morning. I read the manual for the CCC-2 and it didn't show a pre-programed option.
However, If I was camping in low temps with power, I'd fire up an electric heater while keeping the gas furnace lower.
After trying many small electric heaters, including the Broan, I couldn't beat the OLD Pelonis ceramic from the eighties. So a trip on E-bay and I found one still in the box with the instruction sheet. Like new. There must be thousands of these sitting in granny's basement. Not cheap, built like a tank.
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:17 AM   #17
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I would keep the propane furnace on set to a low setting. It is ducted with the tanks and pipes.

“Propane is cheaper than plumbing.”
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:33 PM   #18
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So my plans to survive the cold snap did not work out as expected.

First, the wind blew the cover off most my lemon tree...pretty sure that killed a good part of it at 23F low.

Secondly, Airstream was 34F in one zone, 32F in the other. Both propane tanks MT.

Heat pump was not running.

Heck of a time to run out of gas!

So after a trip to hardware store to fill tanks, tonight I will add ceramic space heater as 3rd heat source and backup. HP definitely stops working at some temperature point.

No long term problems noted, but at 130pm on sunny day ambient air temp is only 39, so any ice in the shade has not melted.

Live and learn....

Al U.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:47 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Hi

Fill the fresh water tank and run off of it. Disconnect the water hose and drain it. Disconnect the sewer hose and store it away. Ideally, hook up to shore power and run the furnace on electricity (if that's an option). If not, start researching propane resources nearby . In any case, you do want to keep the trailer warm to prevent freezing issues (and also to protect the pipes ).

Bob
UB is right; don't chance an electric heater to keep your pipes from freezing if your in that type weather...use your furnace and ideally, hook up to electric to run the furnace/heater; save the batteries! (There is another thread running on this and TPMS as well.)

I run one tank at a time when using propane...that way I know when one needs to be refilled, and can switch tanks. This requires you monitoring the tanks of course, but if inside, you will know when one is empty pretty quick in cold weather...we use an electric to help keep warm when staying inside, but do not run it when we are storing and cold weather hits, like this week in Austin...27 out at night recently...in that situation, I run the tanks one at a time and make sure to check for empty tank every couple days...switch tanks and take empty to fill...tedious if you need to run for a week or more, I know...but we use our AS in winter so draining and using antifreeze not an option for our lifestyle...
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Old 11-14-2019, 06:46 AM   #20
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Good morning all,
Another cold night in Virginia Beach. After midnight last night, I queried Siri as to current temp in Va. Beach. 28 degrees. I turned off the heat pump and switched to the propane furnace, set it at 70 degrees and also my alarm for an hour later. When I awoke again, it was nice at 74 degrees. So I shut off the furnace and switched back to the heat pump. However, it didn't switch back to the heat pump mode, it stayed on the furnace setting. So I turned everything off and within a few minutes, I heard the low hum that had stayed on after I turned everything off, stop running. I tried the heat pump again and it started up and kept the trailer comfortable the rest of the night.
I feel like I got ahead of the cold by turning on the furnace and that's why the heat pump worked better? Am I imagining that? It is 0740 and 30 degrees out and still comfortable with the heat pump running. Relieved to see no wet windows or dripping on interior aluminum, probably because humidity has been very low here (like 26 percent), right?
BTW - Uncle Bob, thanks so much for your running observations throughout my thread.
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