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Old 12-10-2009, 12:39 AM   #1
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2009 23' International
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Extremely Cold Extremely Worried

So my wife and I recently moved to Boulder CO. We plan to use the AS throughout the winter and have already taken her out for skiing at Breckenridge. Believe it or not, Boulder winters are historically not very harsh. Sure it snows for a day or two but it's usually gone the next day. Then we are back to sunny with temps in the 40s/50s. SO my plan for the winter was to run a portable heater and/or the furnace on the harsh days. I have a remote thermometer in there so i can monitor the temperature from the living room. Unfortunately a freak system has moved in and we are on week 2 of temperatures hovering around zero. Right now my thermometer reads 38 degrees (it sits on the kitchen counter in the AS) I have emptied the fresh water tank via the valves in the trunk. I raised the AS and opened up all the faucets to help things drain. I drained the water heater. I've put RV anti-freeze in all the drains (but only one bottle between all of them!) I ran the water pump till nothing came out but air. Here is why i'm still worried. I did not use a compressor to blow the pipes. The grey water tank probably has a quarter tank or less of fluid in it. The Black tank probably less. And i completely forgot about the outside shower faucet! I'm guessing the anti-freeze is not enough and too diluted in the grey tank. And I ran out of propane one night and the trailer only had an electric portable to keep it warm I'm sure it didn't circulate air well enough to keep everything from freezing. When the weather does warm up how will I know if a small leak has occurred? Everything is so buried and inaccessible. Amy I worrying too much? It's a 09 international 23ft. I assume most of the pipes are plastic. Are they more resilient than the old school copper pipes? I really want to use the trailer year round. Am I taking enough precautions in the event of a serious cold spell? THANKS! Tom Oh and one other thing...Is it ok to leave the LCD tv in all winter?
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:56 AM   #2
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I'd be worried if I were you. Winterize it as soon as you can. Hopefully nothing froze up solid.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:59 AM   #3
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I'd be worried if I were you. Winterize it as soon as you can. Hopefully nothing froze up solid.
Oh! I recommend you take your LCD TV out of the trailer. Everything I've read about them tells me freezing weather can damage them. Our LCD TV is stored in our guest bedroom closet for the winter, I didn't want to chance having an extra expense (replacement TV) at the start of the camping season in 2010.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:05 AM   #4
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reads like you have access to electricity?

if this is true consider placing a small OIL filled or ceramic space heater in the unit and leave it ON 24/7.

my preference is OIL filled and a 1500 watt version that has setting for 600 and 900 along with full on.

then set the main trailer thermostat to 45-48 degrees for a few weeks and keep track of lp gas usage.

IF you are going through lp gas too quickly, lower the themo to 42, the lowest setting available.

open all the cabinets and drawers to better circulate the space heater warmth.

install a bypass valve at the water pump and use THAT to circulate a little rv antifreeze to ALL of the pipes/lines.

BYPASS the water heater and leave it EMPTY.

poor 1 cup of rv antifreeze into each sink drain AND the toilet bowl (above the valve)

leave all three tanks with MINIMAL fluids, don't ATTEMPT to open the drain valves in frigid temps.
_____________

then before trips quickly fill the fresh tank and FLUSH all the faucets to clear.

which send the pink stuff to the wash water tank.

THEN open the water heater bypass and fill the tank, then turn ON the gas to heat the water.
_____________

add a few gallons of drinking water (jugs) and go camping!
_____________

IF you keep the inside 40 or so 'pinking' the water pipes isn't necessary,

but IF the power should go off (and the trailer quickly get cold) this pink stuff will save your pipes.
_____________

IF you wanna go camping and don't plan to shower, just leave the lines PINKED and skip using the fresh water tank...

then consider using a porta potty or bucket/bags instead of the toilet for that business.
_____________

once u have several warmer days (45-55) OPEN the outside shower fixture and DRAIN that water.

then CLOSE the bypass valve to the outside shower which cuts OFF the water flowing into that pipe.

next year CLOSE off/bypass the outside shower faucet PRE WINTER season.
_____________

i use my trailer every winter (usually in the south) and right now it's approaching ZERO outside, where i'm parked.

since the fresh tank is ~1/2 full, the heat set a tad higher (52) but otherwise follow all the steps listed above.

no problems with frozen pipes or tanks in many years following these steps.
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IF you are keeping the trailer at 30 or warmer inside (in prep for camping) the LCD TELE IS FINE!!!!

check the owners manual or operating specs (online) MOST of them are rated to ~zero (some lower) degrees when not in use.

teles FREEZING is mostly a MYTH.

have fun!
2air'
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:30 AM   #5
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Yes I am plugged in and I do have both the furnace and a portable heater running. (I only failed at that one day.) I do have all the cabinets open. I'm also worried about the water in the battery? does having the trailer plugged in keep that from freezing? If i can keep the interior at 40 and the fresh and hot water tanks drained. I should not worry about pinking the lines. (I really want to avoid that stuff in the lines. I still drink from the tap it doesn't seem like the pink stuff would rinse well)
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:36 AM   #6
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So Come warmer weather.....Is there away to test for damage or leaks? besides the obvious river or puddle?
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:45 AM   #7
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well sometimes you can't have it ALL...

carrying 2-3 gallons of bottle water for drinking is save and simple for few days winter camping.

and the pink stuff clears QUICKLY, IF just run into the pex, but it's NOT absolutely required (unless the heating fails)

it's essentially NON toxic when consumed, but one could also run VODKA into the lines which isn't PINK....

the point is IF you wanna protect the lines and PUMPS, simply running draining won't do it.

so either blow out the lines with air or run the pink or vodka.
____________

simple test is to turn the water pump ON and close all the faucets...

IF there is a leak in the fresh water side the pump will CYCLE on occasionally, even with the fixtures OFF.
______________

leaks near the water pump inspect visually.

OUTSIDE stuff (drain valves, tanks) look for leaks outside.

MOST of the pex can be seen from INSIDE if you are willing to dig aroundand know the layout.

occasionally an access door or trim piece must be removed to see some sections of the pex.
______________

one last thing on heating/retaining the warmth...

cut bubble foil to FIT the fantastic fan vent, bath vent and sky light and vista view windows.

1-2 layers of bubble foil will CUT heat loss topside.

cheers
2air'
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:52 AM   #8
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This may not be acceptable in your area; put bailes of straw around the outside to close the gap between ground and bottom of trailer. This would stop/slow the cold air from circulating around the holding tanks and help the interior heaters with some more insulation.
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:07 AM   #9
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yada yada yada
I'm also worried about the water in the battery? does having the trailer plugged in keep that from freezing?
yada yada yada
Good question. Here is what I found:

Can a battery freeze?
The only way that a battery can freeze is if it is left in a state of partial or complete discharged. As the state of charge in a battery decreases, the electrolyte becomes more like water and the freezing temperature increases. The freezing temperature of the electrolyte in a fully charged battery is -92.0oF. At a 40% state of charge, electrolyte will freeze if the temperature reaches approximately 16.0oF.
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:12 AM   #10
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Your battery won't freeze if it's kept at full charge by the converter/charger as your rig is plugged into AC...as a battery becomes discharged, the electrolyte becomes less 'acidic' and will freeze easier...you shouldn't have any problems in this area...
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:03 AM   #11
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drain traps

We pour a little of the pink stuff down the trap in the shower, the bathroom sink and the kitchen sink; plus all of the items mentioned above! Good job, 2air!
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:15 AM   #12
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What you've probably damaged already are the filters on the faucets (kitchen and shower). Moen has replacements, but they are often available cheaper directly from a big box hardware store. Those pipes need to be blown, and the filters REMOVED if you're wintering over. Ask me how I know.

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Old 12-10-2009, 12:08 PM   #13
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I remember well one time in Denver when I was driving a truck and I ran into a blue norther there. It got to -18 overnight and my truck stopped running at 4:00am because my diesel fuel had turned to green jello. That day the high temp was only -5 and I got frostbite on one knee kneeling on the truck frame all day long trying to clear my fuel lines to get the truck restarted, to no avail.

Yup, it gets COLD in Boulder.
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:12 AM   #14
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I'll have a big surprise when I finally get to my airstream parked inside a machine shed in Oregon.

Outside its gotten down to minus 2 degrees.

Inside low so far is 16 degrees (the machine shed is insulated).

This is rare as there is enough insulation, mass and solar heating effect that it seldom drops below freezing inside the machine shed.

I blew out the lines with air compressor and circulated the pink stuff before putting the airstream to bed in September. So this will be a good test of what I did or didn't do correctly during the winterizing procedure.

I like the comments of putting a space heater inside as extra insurance. Actually I could remotely control off / on using internet and only switch the heater on once inside temps threatened to reach freezing.
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