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Old 02-09-2016, 12:00 PM   #15
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Winterize.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:07 PM   #16
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The cold and hot water drain valves under our Airstream are brass and completely exposed to weather. When the valves are closed they contain water which is subject to outside temperatures. I think they are the weakest link in the system for freezing, so I always open them when the temp drops below freezing for several hours, especially if there is freezing wind to cool things more quickly.

The fresh water tank drain is plastic, a little more forgiving than brass, but I open it as well with most freezing conditions as mentioned above. Our storage tank shutoffs are also exposed to weather, so I'm also concerned about them although there some little room for expansion if freezing happens, and the liquid volume behind them will hold some warmth.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:14 PM   #17
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If you are driving in freezing temps, even if you keep the inside of the rig warm, there are two at risk locations for damage (I've experienced both). The low point water drains and the valve that sends water to the no-fuss-flush. Open both of them. The former requires you to open a faucet (to admit air) and will take awhile.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
The fact that wind chill doesn't affect pipes is best illustrated with the following example, using the official National Weather Service wind chill chart

Consider an air temperature of 35F. Pipes will not freeze at this temperature. I'm sure we can all agree on that.

Now add a 20mph wind. The wind chill is 24F. The wind chill is now below freezing, but the pipes still will not freeze, because the actual temperature is still 35F, above freezing.

Wind chill only affects how quickly something will get colder, not how cold it will get.
Protagonist's concluding comment nails it precisely. Consequently, if you use a heat source to increase sub-freezing ambient temperature to above freezing temperature, any circulation of the cold ambient air replaces heated air. Thus, the heat provided by the heat source will be diminished by the air circulation. Strictly speaking, this is not "wind chill" as it is typically defined (effect on biologic tissue). But the heat loss is real. This is essentially what your tv radiator does for water cooling.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:18 PM   #19
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I live in Minnesota and have taken my trailer on a handful of early spring and late fall trips where temperatures have dropped below freezing.

I would recommend running the furnace and keeping the interior temperature up to around 60 degrees or so.

You will use considerable amounts of propane and 12v power while on the road. While it is true that there is no windchill effect as such, traveling at highway speeds increases the amount of air exchange so the furnace will run quite a bit more than if the trailer were stationary. Be sure your batteries are in good shape, and plan on using shore power during your stops. It's easy to go through a full cylinder of propane on a trip like this, so consider topping off before leaving or have a stop in mind where you can get a cylinder refilled.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:58 PM   #20
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If I were caught in a freeze and worried bout the pipes, I would disconnect the inlet to the pump and let it suck air while opening each tap in turn till some air blew through. Then shut off the pump and open the taps and then open the low point drains.
If there is some air space then the water expansion while it freezes will not burst the pipes. It's only when the water has no place to expand as it freezes that the damage occurs.
On the new(to me) trailer last year, I missed the line from the city water connection to the valve nest around the water heater, and it did not do any damage. I doubt that there was enough antifreeze seeping to that section of the trailer piping to protect against the -15F temps we had. I assume the water/ice simply expanded along the line into empty space.
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Old 02-09-2016, 01:24 PM   #21
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....
If there is some air space then the water expansion while it freezes will not burst the pipes. It's only when the water has no place to expand as it freezes that the damage occurs.
On the new(to me) trailer last year, I missed the line from the city water connection to the valve nest around the water heater, and it did not do any damage....
Over the years, I've replaced a lot of plumbing that burst because of freezing. Some of it in RVs, lots in houses, barns, etc.

The presence of air space is no guarantee against damage.

Damage is often cumulative as plumbing components will stretch up to a point. Some parts will endure a number of freeze-thaw cycles before they burst.

Thorough winterizing is hard to do and requires care and time to be taken. I have had damage after blowing lines only and now do that first followed by pumping antifreeze.

Easiest answer is keep everything warm
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Old 02-09-2016, 01:53 PM   #22
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Wind-chill or windchill, (popularly wind chill factor) is the perceived decrease in air temperature felt by the body on exposed skin due to the flow of air. That's it, the key word is perceived as when wind chill is reported it is not an actual temperature.

Run with the furnace on. But as Doug said I'd blow the lines out as well and use facilities in campgrounds until arriving in FL. OR run straight through.

Enjoy

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Old 02-09-2016, 03:20 PM   #23
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Drain and blow ... why risk a bad scenario for the small amount of effort /time potentially saved by not draining ...
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Old 02-09-2016, 04:22 PM   #24
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I would drain and blow out the lines then use jugs of water when needed. Let the pump suck some air to make sure it's empty. Simple risk/reward calculation.
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Old 02-09-2016, 04:55 PM   #25
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I 100% agree with this advice, we tow on the Alaska highway in winter. The only thing we do differently than this advice is we don't add water to the fresh water tank until we get into areas where the daytime temps get up around freezing, until them just use jugs. The coldest temps we have done this with no water in the fresh tank, but using the gray and black tanks, was -29 F at Llaird River, and the coldest with fully functional water system was -10 F overnight at Dawson Creek. However I realize it is your trailer and your choice.


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I pull my trailer in and through the Colorado Mountains all winter long. (I live in the middle of the mountains.) I fill my water and split a gallon jug of RV antifreeze between my gray and black tanks to cover the exposed valves. I set my furnace thermostat to 50F and have never frozen a line, even in sub zero temps. (It was -14F when I pulled out of the house on my last trip.)

It is true that the lines used by Airstream today are pretty forgiving to freezing but unfortunately, there are a few components that are not made from that material. The brass hot water shutoff is one, and the low point drains are another. But, still with lots of miles and days in super cold temps, no problems in my experience.

The advice above to shut your furnace off before hitting the gas station is a no-joke good practice and should include the fridge and hot water heater if on propane. Those are three sparks that might be very un-welcomed in the presence of gasoline fumes. I was standing at a pump fueling just two weeks ago when another motorist, filling a small gas can, left the can unattended for just a second. The gas can tipped over and the hose didn't shut off. The can dumped and the hose kept pumping fuel on the ground. It was a matter of seconds before the spill was within feet of my trailer. I was thankful that I had turned all the units off.

Have a safe trip.
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:25 AM   #26
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I agree. I live in Parker, Co. I have traveled the last two winters from Colorado to the south in lots of freezing temps and had no problems. I keep the furnace set to 40 Deg. while traveling and when we are not in the trailer and at 60 or higher when we are in it. I have not put antifreeze in the tanks but if it were in really cold, like maybe below 20 Deg F, for a long time I would add it to the black and grey tanks. I always use the fresh water tank and only use a water hose to fill it. I see no advantage to leaving the water hose exposed and looked up to an outside water tap.
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Old 02-14-2016, 07:34 AM   #27
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Thanks for all the good advice. We are in North Georgia and the coldest weather is behind us. I ran the furnace at 45 degrees night before last and on the road yesterday. We hooked up the water yesterday afternoon, then unhooked before going to bed. We then used bottled water for bedtime routines. Left the furnace at 60 degrees overnight, assisted by a small electric heater and an electric blanket. Even with the heater, the furnace cycled enough to keep things underneath above freezing. I did split a bottle of antifreeze between the two waste tanks. Everything seems fine after two nights in the low 20s.

Richard
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:58 AM   #28
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Thanks for all the good advice. We are in North Georgia and the coldest weather is behind us. I ran the furnace at 45 degrees night before last and on the road yesterday. We hooked up the water yesterday afternoon, then unhooked before going to bed. We then used bottled water for bedtime routines. Left the furnace at 60 degrees overnight, assisted by a small electric heater and an electric blanket. Even with the heater, the furnace cycled enough to keep things underneath above freezing. I did split a bottle of antifreeze between the two waste tanks. Everything seems fine after two nights in the low 20s.

Richard
Thanks for the follow-up -- much appreciated. And glad the trip went well!

Peter
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