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Old 10-16-2008, 09:56 PM   #1
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Delay Winterizing/use heat pump

I'm interested in using my airstream for another month or two. I'm fortunate to be able to plug it in at my house. it's a 2008 CCD international 23' and has a heat pump. If I set the heat to 40ish degrees, will it be okay on a cold night? this would be using the electric heat pump rather than the propane. will it cost me an arm and a leg to heat or is the unit pretty efficient? any advice on the danger temperature range at which i should rush to the local dealer to winterize or what temp to set the heat pump at?
Thanks and please just reply with a link if this has been covered.

Craig
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Old 10-16-2008, 10:01 PM   #2
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I would still be concerned if you had water in the tanks and your water heater was full and turned off. These items are not heated by the heat pump and can be damaged if they freeze.
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Old 10-16-2008, 10:25 PM   #3
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In our experience the heat pump doesn't work very well in ambient temps below 40 degrees.

Pelonis Ceramic Disc Heater - Main St. Supply

You might be better off with one or more of these. They have worked well for us.
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Old 10-16-2008, 10:30 PM   #4
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The problem with not winterizing and being caught by a cold snap is that the price is just too steep to contemplate. It would be one of those - I knew better - moments.

Since the heat pump does not send heat to your "basement" (along with your water heater) as your propane furnace does, would it be worth it to you to use the furnace at a maintenance level? Expensive, but perhaps not as great as getting caught. Otherwise, you could drain your water heater and tanks and run your heat pump at, say, 55.

Perhaps you could skirt the bottom of your rig - then your heat pump plus a light bulb or two would do the trick.

Good for you for extending your season. We didn't buy these things to sit in the driveway.

Pat
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Old 10-16-2008, 10:59 PM   #5
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Get yourself a tire valve cap for the city water supply, a supply of RV antifreeze and a friend or dealer employee who has done this before. Then drain that puppy, blow her dry, disconnect the water filter, spray nozzles, etc. and pump antifreeze through the greywater and blackwater system paying attention to the traps. The alternative is many $$$ worth of repairs if you don't. For a weekend or when you can not keep it heated I suggest dry camping if there is any chance of a freeze up. We use a 5 gallon pail for a weekend with 2 adults and don't have a problem.

Just my .02 cents worth. Good luck and have a good fall camping in your AS.
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:53 AM   #6
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Craigs, I'd blow the lines out using a fitting on the city water inlet and compressed air, open the lower drain lines, and pour anti freeze down traps and into tanks. If you spend a few minutes on getting all of the water out, you can avoid having to pump the anti freeze into the lines for now. It's cheap insurance, and since you are in Golden, Camping World is only minutes away for all of these supplies. I'd still run a small heater at night to keep some residual heat, but this will go a long way to preventing a real freeze up problem and still keep you from having to fully winterize.
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Old 10-17-2008, 11:27 AM   #7
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I agree with you Chris. Just blowing the lines out will let you stretch your campng season. So far there is not anything forecast that would cause concern about a heavy freeze. Of course you know how right the weather forecasters have been. I agree with Richard that the heat pump does not provide a lot of heat to the plumbing. The furnace is what has the job of keeping the pipes from freezing when you are winter camping.
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Old 10-17-2008, 02:41 PM   #8
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The heat pump will just heat the room, not the tanks. The heat pump will work only if the room temperature is over 45 degrees, if below 45 the furnace will run automatically in an auxiliary heat mode. Once the interior is warm enough the heat pump will kick back on, leaving your tanks in danger. I would recommend running your furnace if you are not interested winterizing when necessary.
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:55 AM   #9
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Do not take a chance!

DO NOT TAKE A CHANCE!
We/"I" didn't do a thorough job winterizing our sovereign last winter and a bitter cold snap did us in.

All our copper lines froze and after months of trying to repair here and there we were forced to rip out all the copper and replace with Pex Pipe, new hot water heater etc. This required kitchen cabinet removal, oven, beds, closets, tub, stool. You name it we pulled it.....They don't make it easy for you to replace pipe.

This not only set us back financially but has consumed every weekend and most evenings for the past 10 months. Not to mention all the camping we DIDN'T get to do all year!

I will now winterize if there is a threat of cold weather and if a nice weekend comes up we will go camping and redo the winterizing. A very cheap price to pay!
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:48 PM   #10
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alright so this advice has been very helpful. we had our first cold night about two weeks ago. I had a dinner with coworkers from out of town and didn't get home until 9pm, forecast 23degrees low that night. Tried to hook up an oxygen bottle to some fittings that someone gave me since i figured my cigarette lighter tire pump doesn't have enough volume. spent an hour trying to fiddle around with both and no luck. Opened the valve outside, under the refrigerator (2008 22' CCD).

Unscrewed the kitchen sink nozzle and tried to blow into it. Heard lot's of gurgling noises. Tried blowing through the fresh water connection, no luck. the next day my cheeks felt like I was playing trumpet for hours. Eventually opened all the fresh water valves (kitchen, sink, shower) and propped a bottle under the toilet fill valve. Hooked two hoses together, to the house, with the hope that I could go full on and shut off before the water hit the trailer, blasting enough air through to clean out the lines much like the air compressor I didn't have.

Eventually I found the drain line valves in the back compartment and raised the front jack (and went back to playing trumptet with the sink nozzle). all seemed pretty clear, and I used some washer fluid for the drain traps. a week later I did a dry camping weekend (a week ago) and left all the valves open figuring anything would spill out on the drive. i ran into another pretty new airstream owner (used bambi, purchased 8 months prior) who, surprising to me, had used his water and tanks the night before.

so the main question is, if you have a new airstream can you just open the valves and drive with it as your offical winterization. other questions are, "is the valve under the refrigerator the hot water valve?" "should I still blow out the lines or does driving with the sink open and the rear right valves open cover it?" "is there a difference between using antifreeze and -25degree washer fluid in the traps?" "if you use the toilet with washer fluid and the dump station is closed (fortunately this time was open) is it bad if the black water tank freezes (at less than 1/4 full). "

i have other questions, but I'll save them for later. thanks for all the good info on this site ;-)
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Old 11-04-2008, 08:43 AM   #11
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Without trying to sound smug, you do realize that there is a winterizing guide with drain valve location in the Airstream manual? It should give you all of the info you need. While I have never done it, the small compressor of which you spoke can probably blow out the lines pretty quickly. I doubt that you got all of the water out of the system and getting some RV antifreeze is really the best way to go. Pour a 1/2 bottle of anti freeze down each grey water trap and black water tank to keep contents from freezing, but dump and clean if you can before it freezes. You will also want to run the water pump and drain the strainer that is before the pump. If you have an outdoor shower, don't forget to drain it too!!!

Ultimately, You owe it to your self to get to Camping World, buy a blow out fitting, some anti freeze and consider getting a pump bypass kit. All of these items together will cost less that the replacement cost of a single fixture that might suffer freeze damage.
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:37 AM   #12
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Last fall and spring I kept the Safari warm (enough) by using the heat pump with the thermostat set to 40˚—the lowest setting. The furnace is supposed to go on automatically when the temp gets to around freezing to keep the water tanks from freezing. I empty the fresh water tank when I get home and there's nothing much in the grey water and a gallon of water with deodorizer in the black water tank. I probably should empty the water lines too. When it is getting much colder, I check to make sure the heat pump is working—so far, so good. Even if the heat pump doesn't work, I would think as it gets colder the furnace would go on. The newest thermostats have this feature that switches over from the heat pump to the furnace. I don't know when this feature was included. I don't think the heat pump works very well when it's in the 30's, but that's when trying to keep the temp in the trailer at 70˚ rather than 40˚. When using the trailer at low temps I have turned on the furnace when it's 40˚ outside because the heat pump is not very efficient trying to keep the trailer around 65˚. When reading the materials on this it seems the feature of switching from heat pump to furnace would require a temp sensor outside or next to the tanks. I don't know if that is true, but it would be the best way to do it.

I wouldn't put an auxiliary heater in the trailer because the furnace would never go on (unless there were an external sensor next to the tanks?). I admit I worry about this because if the thermostat doesn't work automatically to switch over to the furnace, I got big troubles.

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Old 11-04-2008, 11:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1cericks1 View Post
I'm interested in using my airstream for another month or two. I'm fortunate to be able to plug it in at my house. it's a 2008 CCD international 23' and has a heat pump. If I set the heat to 40ish degrees, will it be okay on a cold night? this would be using the electric heat pump rather than the propane. will it cost me an arm and a leg to heat or is the unit pretty efficient? any advice on the danger temperature range at which i should rush to the local dealer to winterize or what temp to set the heat pump at?
Thanks and please just reply with a link if this has been covered.

Craig
The heat pump will not prevent the water system from freezing.

Heat must be circulated around the water lines and tanks, which is done automatically when the furnace runs.

If the furnace does not run, the water lines can freeze.

Running the heat pump will not save the day.

Andy
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:50 AM   #14
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Brad winterized today. I would rather be cautious than risk the damge of not winterizing in the colder climates. Just because you are winterized doesn't mean you still can't camp. Bring jugs of water, use a dish tub in your sink, use a teakettle or pan to heat your water and toss the wash water out or carry a 5 gallon receptacle to collect wash water and empty later. Get a portable toilet and or WAG bags. http://www.campingworld.com/shopping...e-toilet/23903 If you spend a month in the trailer in the freezing temperatures then maybe other extraordinary alternatives are worthwhile to persue, but for a weekend, I wouldn't.

Don't rush to local dealer to winterize, learn it, do it and be prepared. It is far too costly to make an error in judgment. It will save you a lot of money just warming up the Airstream when you are in it too. We use our Airstreams all year round on our property.
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