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Old 12-11-2014, 04:49 PM   #1
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Will the heat pump keep the tanks from freezing

I have a 2011 30' international. If I keep the heat pump (rear A/C unit) on will it keep the holding tanks and water system from freezing? Thanks!
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Old 12-11-2014, 04:52 PM   #2
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The only heat going to the holding tanks is vented from your furnace.

The A/C's heat pump doesn't.
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Old 12-11-2014, 04:56 PM   #3
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Well that's a great design.
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Old 12-11-2014, 05:04 PM   #4
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Given that most heat pumps are ineffective at freezing temps...well.
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Old 12-11-2014, 05:10 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick response. I have my trailer in heated pole building but thought when it gets below freezing I thought it would be cheaper to heat with the heat pump rather than heating the whole 30' x 50' building with propane. I'm in western WA so we only get below freezing a couple times each winter. BTW I have a heat pump (newer mini split unit) at my cabin in Winthrop WA were it gets cold in the winter and it is good to about 20 degrees.
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Old 12-11-2014, 05:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Riverdrifter View Post
Thanks for the quick response. I have my trailer in heated pole building but thought when it gets below freezing I thought it would be cheaper to heat with the heat pump rather than heating the whole 30' x 50' building with propane. I'm in western WA so we only get below freezing a couple times each winter. BTW I have a heat pump (newer mini split unit) at my cabin in Winthrop WA were it gets cold in the winter and it is good to about 20 degrees.
If you have infrequent, predictable and short duration periods of freezing weather, you could consider running the Airstream's furnace. The furnace has some of it's heated air diverted into the belly pan and that is designed to allow you to camp during freezing temperatures. We've successfully camped in temps as low as 19 degrees and the furnace did its job. Of course, you'd have to make sure that your pole barn was vented sufficiently to provide fresh air to the furnace and also to vent out the products of combustion.
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Old 12-11-2014, 05:15 PM   #7
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I think you could get the same heating effect from a small space heater and likely use a lot less electric. Of course you would also not get the benefit of heat to the tanks but the tanks are not the freeze problem. It's the trailer plumbing that you need to be concerned with. Maybe a space heater ( or heat pump if that's your choice) and a small fan to circulate the warm air ????
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Old 12-11-2014, 06:15 PM   #8
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I doubt very much that your rig would ever get cold enough to freeze tanks or pipes inside an enclosed pole barn building in western Washington.

The heat pump would do fine with the small pipes in the body of the trailer, and the mass of the liquids in the water and holding tanks (if not drained) would be so large that freezing would not occur.

However, as I said to begin with, I doubt that you would ever have and problem inside a building of any type in Western Washington. You would have to have sustained temps below 32 F for anything to happen.
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Old 12-11-2014, 07:14 PM   #9
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I would drain the holding tanks, especially the water tank. The water tank drain valve is at the bottom of the tank and exposed to cold air, no matter how you heat the trailer. Some models (our 25 for example) have the drain valves for the hot and cold system under the tailer, exposed to cold air, so I would open those as well, let them drain and leave the valves open.

It is not unusual for these exposed valves to break from freezing and they are very difficult to replace.
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Old 12-11-2014, 07:18 PM   #10
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Where I live we the winter lows are generally in the 40's and daytime highs in the 50's and 60's. We get occasional night time winter temps that dip into the 20's and on sometimes into the teens although for the most part. This is generally not a problem if it happens for just a night or two. The problem is when you have extended below freezing temps like we get sometimes.

I got careless one year and did not run my furnace as I thought a portable heater would suffice during an extended freeze. Needless to say I had some issues with some frozen pipes.

Last year we had about a two week cold spell so I ran my furnace...just set it to 50 degrees... and had no issues at all. In two weeks of subfreezing I almost emptied my propane tanks, but in my opinion, it was worth the cost for peace of mind and no frozen pipes.
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Old 12-11-2014, 08:52 PM   #11
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Given that most heat pumps are ineffective at freezing temps...well.
This is totally true. On my 2010, the unit will switch itself over from the heat pump to the furnace somewhere in the mid 30s.

For the short duration freezes we have in Texas, I have a small electric heater that keeps the living space above freezing which protects most of the plumbing.
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Old 12-12-2014, 12:20 AM   #12
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They suggest not using the heat pump below 45 degrees F. No heat (as said above) flows underneath the floor in the plumbing area unless you fire up your furnace.
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Old 12-12-2014, 12:56 AM   #13
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Hi, maybe a make-shift skirt of some kind and a few lights under your trailer; This could work and draw way less power than most anything else.
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Old 12-12-2014, 09:26 AM   #14
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They suggest not using the heat pump below 45 degrees F. No heat (as said above) flows underneath the floor in the plumbing area unless you fire up your furnace.
That begs the question, as an AS design issue, why not force some of that heat-pumped air through the underfloor ducts to the benefit of the tanks? Maybe have a valve to switch from furnace to ambient air supply?

That would make it possible to use the heat pump safely as the predominantly resistive heat source in very low temps.
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