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Old 12-24-2011, 08:15 AM   #1
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When to de-winterize?

We're new to camping and are leaving western NY with our Safari 25 FB on March 1st for an eight week trip down through PA, WV, NC, TN and then south. Do any of you veterans have advice as to what temperature range you feel would be safe for us to drain our water system of the anti-freeze solution? Is it safe to do so if we're expecting any temps during the early days of our trip down as low as 30 degrees?
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:28 AM   #2
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Hello pilot.

If you are traveling in the trailer and have the furnace on at night, so that the interior of the trailer is maintained at 65-70 degrees, the water system will withstand temperatures down to around 10 degrees, possibly lower depending on wind. You would want to disconnect and drain the freshwater hose at night if you anticipate low temperatures as it will freeze and possibly burst with the possibility of damage to the inlet fittings on the trailer. If temperatures remain close to or below freezing during the day it is best to use the freshwater tank and pump, refilling the tank as necessary, even if water is available at the campsite.

If you anticipate temperatures below freezing in storage where you cannot run the furnace, the question becomes more difficult, but overnight lows of 30 degrees would be unlikely to cause damage as long as the daytime highs are at least in the 50s so that the trailer interior remains warm.
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:31 AM   #3
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If you are staying in the trailer you should be safe as long as the night temperatures don' drop below 25 degrees or the overnight and following day do not remain below freezing.

You have a large thermal mass there and it will either take a sistained freezing period, 24 plus hours, or a deep overnight drop to cause worry.

If the temperature is and has been below freezing when I leave Jersey I wait till I any below that weather and then put water on. Last year we left at 23 degrees during the day we left and had freezing till SC and then we put water on.

The heating system in an Airstream has a small amount of heat directed into the belly pan so while you are using the trailer and most likely having the heater on you are goo to go.

If it looks like it will be above the temperature range note above when you are leaving you might want to turn the heater on the day before and start off with water on board.

The last 2 winters in Fl. we have had the water hose freeze 2 or 4 nights. The parks generally will ask you to leave the hose cock running a small stream all night to keep the parks system from failing. Remember plastic and hose will expand while the water freezes and take a lot more than metal piping.
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetjocky View Post
We're new to camping and are leaving western NY with our Safari 25 FB on March 1st for an eight week trip down through PA, WV, NC, TN and then south. Do any of you veterans have advice as to what temperature range you feel would be safe for us to drain our water system of the anti-freeze solution? Is it safe to do so if we're expecting any temps during the early days of our trip down as low as 30 degrees?
If the question is when to "drain the anti-freeze", You can do it any time. I put it in to get the water out of the system, then drain it right away so the system is ready for water as soon as I get to warmer places. The anti freeze is just used to move the water out, it dosen't need to stay in the pipes.
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:39 AM   #5
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While all trailers have drainage valves one should never rely on them to drain the system of either water or anti freeze. The science of building trailer is not an exact one nor a professional one when it come to drainage.

That said even after draining there will be pockets of anti freeze in the system. I mention because anti freeze has an effect on some individuals lower tract and should be flushed out before drinking the water.

If I put water on while traveling south in the winter we won't use that water for food or drink until I have flushed the system once in a campground where the temperatures are safe. Toilet, washing and showering till then.
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Old 12-24-2011, 11:39 AM   #6
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I agree. If you are heading south 3/1 anyway and keeping the trailer heated, you can drain it anytime.
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Old 12-26-2011, 11:20 PM   #7
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As an ex New Yorker, I know it can still be cold in March when you depart. I feel you can unwinterize when the low temperature in the area you're in is 25 degrees or higher. This could be as soon as southern PA for you. This is assuming you'll be staying in the AS to run the furnace at night. Here in TN it's in the mid 70's in March.
Take advantage of courtesy parking on your trip. We're near Chattanooga if you're heading this way.
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer
... You would want to disconnect and drain the freshwater hose at night if you anticipate low temperatures as it will freeze and possibly burst with the possibility of damage to the inlet fittings on the trailer. ...
Our club begins its schedule of monthly campouts in early March. Several years ago we experienced an overnight cold snap in Texas and a bunch of folks were hauling stiff broken hoses to the dumpster in the morning. The freeze damage can also be conducted into the city water inlet if the hose is left attached as Jammer points out.

Newer trailers with poly plumbing are more tolerant of freezing temps than the old ones with copper lines. Your furnace (not a space heater) at night will protect the plumbing from those dips into the 20s. If it is still pretty cold when you're ready to depart you may postpone flushing the lines until you get further south and just carry a few gallons in some disposable milk jugs for immediate needs.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetjocky
... Is it safe to do so if we're expecting any temps during the early days of our trip down as low as 30 degrees?
I am completely comfortable about traveling without concern of freezing pipes down to 30. You may experience temps below that overnight, but you will have heat that will be adequate for at least the mid 20s. If you have an exterior shower or faucet on your TT, there may be an inside shut off valve. If so, I would keep it closed and the outside faucet/shower drained until you're past the chance of a hard freeze.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:30 AM   #10
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I would wait and do it on the road while traveling south. You got to have something to do at the campsite. That way if it is still really cold you can wait until you get far enough south.
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Old 12-27-2011, 01:27 PM   #11
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We went south early last March. I put some water in our FW tank and made the mistake of pumping the system full before leaving. First day we made it to Roanoak, Va and stayed the night dry camping. The overnight temp. went down to 27 deg. I had run the heat for an hour or so before we went to sleep but the temps went just low enough to do a light freeze. Nothing froze solid but the water faucets were frozen. I didn't want to risk tearing the inner faucet seals so I didn't force them. As the day warmed everything thawed and was OK. No damage. We were lucky . So just beware of this possibility and make sure you are far enough south before charging your water system. This coming trip I will be more cautious.

PS: Had we run the heat I'm confidant that this would not have happened. We were without hookups and the batteries were on the low side so I opted on the side of caution and did not run the heater.
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