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Old 01-07-2013, 06:54 AM   #1
4 Rivet Member
2011 23' Flying Cloud
Durango , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 432
De-Winterizing in Deep Freeze

OK, it's not generally the plan, but we've winterized and de-winterized twice so far this winter, and I'm getting it down to a pretty smooth routine. I'll just share this for the folk who wonder about the practicalities of winter camping.

I first winterized in October (it freezes early at 7400' in CO), and then we decided on a Thanksgiving trip from CO-WA. (previous posts). I don't use RV antifreeze in the potable water system, preferring to keep it chemical-free, I just use it in the drains and waste tanks. I do a good blow-out with air for the rest of the system.

We began this January trip from CO-AL on the 5th, picking up the trailer in Albuquerque from our dealer where we had left it for a couple of warranty repairs. It had been in the single digits for several nights in ABQ, and the dealers exterior spigots were all frozen, so I couldn't de-winterize the systems there. I turned on the furnace to thaw out the unit as we made the short tow to American RV Park (fine facility). Even there, we had to shift sites to find an unfrozen water spigot. With temp in the mid-20's and dropping, I tested the system with the city water connection, and we were leak-free. I then filled the potable tank. Switched on the water pump - nada. OK, I thought, maybe there's a bit of ice left in the pump impeller. I put our small electric heater in the plumbing space to blow on the pump, and sure enough it came to life after 15 minutes. No leaks - great. We were fully functional as the temp headed toward an overnight low of 9.

The unit was perfectly warm and comfortable through our coldest night thus far (we've camped in the teens many times). I use the furnace rather than the heat pump as it warms the plumbing areas, and I don't leave the hoses connected overnight. I did have to use a tea kettle of hot water to thaw open the sewer cap and water spigot the next morning, but no real problems.

So, the Airstream has passed another test for our all-season adventures. She also survived our visit to the ABQ RV Show where the big motorhomes didn't tempt us in the least. Onwards towards Alabama!

Safe Travels,
Joe & Joan Donnaway
Durango, CO
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:37 AM   #2
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2007 30' Classic
Albuquerque , New Mexico
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,750
Images: 33
I too had to winterize three times this winter before we finally towed the Airstream down here to our winter haven in Mesa, AZ.
Many thanks to this forum for suggesting the use of cheap vodka instead of RV antifreeze.
For those who missed the post, I purchased two large bottles (1.75 liters each) of cheap vodka and added a little red food dye.
Then after draining and by-passing the H2O heater and blowing out the lines with compressed air, I pumped vodka into the hot and cold H2O supply lines.
This way we didn't have to deal with the lingering taste of anti-freeze!
I still use RV anti-freeze in the p-traps and shower drain.

Ken L
2007 Classic Limited 30 (Sold)
2007Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax/Allison
Four Corners Unit WBCCI #8654, Affiliate NM Unit
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:53 AM   #3
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2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,020
I dunno. The lingering taste of Popov could be just as bad.
To learn to see below the surface, you must adjust your altitude
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