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Old 08-27-2007, 02:57 AM   #1
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Alaska Winterizing

New Airstream owner in Alaska. Just wanted to see what others are doing in a harsher climate. I know people with motorhomes, and they don't put anti-freeze in over winter. They just air pressure out all water and leave as is. We live in Fairbanks where it can get extremely cold in the winter. I don't want to make a mistake and be sad in May when I'm ready to take off on a wrestling road trip. Much to do and see. Thanks for any info.
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Old 08-27-2007, 06:57 AM   #2
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I've been to Fairbanks and it's probably snowing there already

Cleveland can get to 10 below (springtime to you) so I use anti-freeze in the whole fresh water system, I drain and bypass the water heater (saves six gallons of anti-freeze), empty the holding tanks and fresh water tank, open the fridge and freezer doors and make sure I don't leave ANY food for critters.
I also take the TV and batteries out and we leave the roof vents cracked a bit for some ventilation (we've got the aero-flow covers on them so we don't get precipitation inside). We also give our bauxite beauty a good washing and a fresh coat of Walbernize before the snow flies since she is stored out-doors.

Airstream advertises that their TT's can be winter camped - I don't know about that - single pane windows that use about 1/3 of the surface area of the walls and about 1/4 of the roof is not insulated (skylights, vents, a/c) - I know here in the fall, it's tough to keep the inside warm when the weather is in the 40's - I don't think 20's or lower would work so well unless one has an unlimited supply of propane.

We are hoping ot visit your state next summer with the kids (sheesh, they're 25 and 27 so not quite kids anymore)! We LOVED it the first time and can't wait to get back. Our dream is to retire to the Kenai peninsula somewhere.

Best of luck!!
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:03 AM   #3
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Don't forget the traps under the sink, bath tub and put 3 or 4 oz. of antifreeze in the tolilet as an air seal to the tank.

If your trailer has copper plumbing I would suggest plowing out the system with compressed air before adding the anti freeze. Plastic pipe is much more forgiving to freezeing than copper
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:23 AM   #4
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Wow makes me glad to live in Florida. I always look forward to the cooler weather to camp in here.
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:24 AM   #5
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been there

I had the pleasure of winterizing twice in Alaska, and it worked out okay by doing the following: do the AS "manual" method with air, I liked using a low pressure setting of 30 psi, then after all that was done, I disconnected the inline strainer filter on the inlet side of the water pump (cursing the AS guy who installed it so close to the wall) then installed a line on the male fitting from the strainer/filter, installed this in the pump with some more cursing, then turned on pump and sucked RV anti freeze into the system and opened the taps one at a time till they bled pink. Pretty much the way the manual says to do it. Also, remove your water filter if you have one in the sink fixture, and don't forget to run the anti freeze thru the toilet lines. And I'm sure several folks will take issue with this, take your battery out, I know everyone says "a fully charged battery will not freeze" but they haven't lived in Fbanks in the winter and fer crying out loud it only takes a few minutes......perhaps Frozen C want's to pitch in here....
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:14 AM   #6
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Drain all water blow the lines out and just to be safe put in RV antifreeze in the tank and pump it though the system. Drain the water heater. put it in bypass. Put antifreeze in the toilet bowl, sinks and shower/bath. the traps will freeze. If you get a lot of snow. A rigid cover over the AS will keep the snow and ice off the trailer. Water can get in tiny cracks, freeze and open them up.

If you can put a heater inside to keep the temp from getting to cold.
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:19 AM   #7
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Alaskan Winterizing

Thank you, Thank you, for the replys. Looks like my husband has some work to do. Ha!
We are still warm up here believe it or not. It's been in the mid 70's.
And to retiring in Kenai...Do it. That was our Airstreams first road trip. Earlier this month. Coopers Landing and all that glacier water in the Kenai River is Beautiful. It was my first time there and I've lived in Alaska since 84.
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:30 AM   #8
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Cooper Landing is one of the weather forecasts that is on my browser sidebar - I check it DAILY!!!! We visited 7 years ago as part of a cruise and have decided that a log cabin with a carport for our Airstream would be IDEAL!
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:41 AM   #9
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oops

my bad, didn't catch that you had a vintage unit. I would still try and get some antifreeze into the water lines via the water pump (if it has one) after going thru the compressed air blow out drill.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:31 AM   #10
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I wonder if the odds of damage wouldnt be less that far up north? As I understand it, freeze damage comes during waters phase change to ice and vice versa; thus, if you freeze and stay that way you only have the one cylce to worry about whereas those in lower latitudes with repeated freeze/thaw cycles have several episodes to sweat out (so to speak). Of course, I this could all be bunk and misunderstanding on my part so take it with a grain of salt.
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:12 PM   #11
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Cooper Landing... Mmmm! I was there in June fishing at the Russian-Kenai confluence (along with hundreds of others). Heavenly!

You started this thread in the Winterizing & Storage subforum -- look back there and note the first 2 'sticky' threads. I would worry about water settling back into low spots where it could freeze. Installing a bypass valve as john hd describes is easy and greatly helps doing this yourself. RV antifreeze is cheap insurance.
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:06 PM   #12
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I think one thing to remember is that water has a strange property that causes it to expand when it turns over to ice. So it's not how cold it gets, it's just the matter of the early freezing stages. Once water gets below 28 degrees F, it goes into a contraction mode. So you can be in Florida during a hard freeze and get as much damage as the guy in Alaska. So a lot of folks worry about the extremely cold climates, but for all intents the winterizing routine is somewhat the same.

Here is a little more of the scientific side.

Density is mass divided by volume. Most substances decrease in size when they cool, thus most solids are more dense than the material as a liquid. But water is an exception. When it freezes, ice actually expands, thus reducing its density. That is because the way the ice crystals are formed. When liquid water is cooled, it contracts like one would expect until a temperature of approximately 4 degrees Celsius is reached. After that, it expands slightly until it reaches the freezing point, and then when it freezes it expands by approximately 9%. But after the temperature drops several degrees below 0 degrees C, ice starts to contract and soon becomes more dense than water.

What you do have to be concerned about in extremely cold climates is the freeze rating of the antifreeze you use since in most cases, there is still a water component in RV antifreeze.

Hope this helps.

Jack
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:46 PM   #13
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Good point, Jack. I just checked a jug of Peak RV antifreeze -- "protects to -50." The coldest I've seen here is -40 so I feel pretty secure. But Fairbanks ... brr!
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Old 08-27-2007, 05:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanoeStream
Good point, Jack. I just checked a jug of Peak RV antifreeze -- "protects to -50." The coldest I've seen here is -40 so I feel pretty secure. But Fairbanks ... brr!
I've never seen any RV antifreeze with a higher rating. I'll bet you though that someone makes it. I normally stick with the name brand antifreezes though. I never used to until I ended up with a toilet springing a leak one spring. It ended up the rubber bladder in it had turned to mush. I have a good feeling it was due to the no name antifreeze I had used. It may cost a $1 or so more but at least it gives me some peace of mind.

Jack
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