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Old 09-18-2017, 11:01 AM   #1
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Not ready to winterize

Hello. We are the new owners of a Flying Cloud 23FB and we live in the mountains of Colorado. The weather forecast is for lows in the upper 20's this weekend. The flying Cloud is parked outside. We are not ready to winterize yet. Will we be alright during this short cold spell? Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-18-2017, 11:16 AM   #2
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First of all, welcome to the forum. It's good to have you with us.

Unless you plan to keep heat in it (or store it in a heated garage) you should winterize. All it takes is one pipe to break and you will wish you had taken the precaution. A once of prevention is definitely worth the effort. I know from personal experience!

Perhaps an electric heater if you do not want to run the furnace.
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Old 09-18-2017, 11:22 AM   #3
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Go ahead and winterize. If you have a late-season camping trip planned for later in the year, you can just un-winterize then, and re-winterize when the trip is over.

I live in a part of the country where I can sometimes go a whole winter without having to winterize. But some years I do have to winterize. One winter, I winterized my Airstream FIVE times, because I went on winter camping trips, but then had freezing weather forecast for the times between the trips.

If nothing else, winterizing more than once a year will allow you to get very good at the process, very quickly. Just look at it as a learning experience.
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Old 09-18-2017, 11:26 AM   #4
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Generally it takes a cold night, below freezing, coupled with a freezing condition the day before or after to freeze a trailer. If you are looking at below freezing temperatures for over 12 hours I would and do not winterize.

Keep in mind it is the latent heat of fusion that in effect protects you during those short cycles.
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Old 09-18-2017, 12:48 PM   #5
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Hi

As much as temperature matters, there are other variables like wind and the duration of the cold snap that also contribute. There are things like the pressure regulator that can get "hit" fairly quickly if the wind blows the right way. The fill line to the fresh water tank is another vulnerable item if the fresh water was just topped off.

Net result is "how lucky do you feel?". It's easy for me, sitting here with the forecast in the 80's for highs and 70's for lows to put off winterizing. I'd suggest it's probably time for you to get going.

Bob
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dajlaw View Post
Hello. We are the new owners of a Flying Cloud 23FB and we live in the mountains of Colorado. The weather forecast is for lows in the upper 20's this weekend. The flying Cloud is parked outside. We are not ready to winterize yet. Will we be alright during this short cold spell? Thanks in advance!
A chain is as strong as its weakest link. In your Airstream, one weak link freeze-up inside a wall or other hidden spot will render the plumbing useless.

Under the circumstances you describe I would winterize.

Might you get away with not winterizing? Yes.

But why risk it? Once you get the hang of it winterizing takes a couple of hours. Living in the mountains of Colorado, you might as well learn the process sooner rather than later, when you have the time to do so at leisurely pace.

When the next cold spell hits without much warning, and you are in a panic to winterize, it will not be as easy to do it correctly with peace of mind.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can accomplish today?

Practice makes perfect?

Good luck,

Peter
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Old 09-18-2017, 03:38 PM   #7
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Our first year with this 25' Airstream we were still working full time so the Airstream sat by the garage waiting on us to go out weekends. Generally our lowest overnight temperatures were 20 degrees through December. We left the heat on 45 or 50 degrees all the time.

For colder weather in January and February we winterized a little. Instead of putting chemical in our potable water system, we drained it and blew it out with air compressor for January and February.

In retrospect we were pretty lucky 'cause we hadn't gotten the water out of the toilet's flush valve, down beside the toilet where the foot pedal pivots. Lucky it didn't freeze, but we did keep a little heat on throughout all winter months.

Since that winter we've never winterized. Sometimes we move South to warmer weather but we've only had one line freeze in ten years. The wind was howling up the hill, outside temp was 22 degrees. Although we were in it and keeping the trailer 68 degrees with the furnace, water line in the windward wheel well froze. Lucky we noticed, toilet, lav and shower wouldn't run cold water. Opened the cabinets, stuck a space heater blowing into that cavity and the line thawed. We moved off the mountain the next day to warmer temps.

Other times we've dry camped a week of nights down to 19 at night and in the low 50s in the day. Once we had 11 over night. Zero problems in both cases. It was the cold wind blowing under the wheel well that seemed to get us last winter.

I agree with Peter, Howie, Bob and Protagonist, can't afford to be reckless. If we were leaving it unattended, we'd have to take more measures. Since we're with it, in it all the time, we've worked it out so far.
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Old 09-18-2017, 03:49 PM   #8
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If your desire to delay winterizing is because you want to get in another trip or two before you do winterize your trailer then I would run the furnace while the trailer is in your driveway. Set it to 55 degrees or so and you'll be fine. We've spent many days in below freezing temperatures with the furnace running and everything was fine. I would open cabinet doors so that the warm air gets in to those spaces that will have plumbing.

I should add that you should heat the trailer using the furnace and not a space heater since the furnace does send some heat into the belly area to keep the tanks from freezing, a space heater won't do that.
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by AnnArborBob View Post
If your desire to delay winterizing is because you want to get in another trip or two before you do winterize your trailer then I would run the furnace while the trailer is in your driveway. Set it to 55 degrees or so and you'll be fine. We've spent many days in below freezing temperatures with the furnace running and everything was fine. I would open cabinet doors so that the warm air gets in to those spaces that will have plumbing.

I should add that you should heat the trailer using the furnace and not a space heater since the furnace does send some heat into the belly area to keep the tanks from freezing, a space heater won't do that. [emphasis added]
Are you positive that your advice applies to the AS under consideration here, a 2017 23FB? I am not personally sure about the heat ducting in that model.

Also, assuring a newcomer that they will be "fine" without knowing the local weather conditions including wind, location, etc. etc.., it seems to me, is asking for trouble all around -- in my personal opinion. A 25 MPH wind, in 25 F weather, can freeze a pipe on the upwind side of the trailer in no time, especially the exterior shower set up, as well as the city water feed and pressure regulator, which may be buried deeply and not in contact with warm air inside.

I would again advise caution here -- and a more conservative approach.

Lastly Bob, are you willing to pay for any repairs because of freeze-ups to this 23FB, if your advice is incorrect?

A chain is only as strong as the weakest link.

Good luck,

Peter

PS -- dajlaw, you must have shore power in order to accomplish this without winterizing the pipes. Your batteries will not support this adventure IMO. Please let us know how this turns out.
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Old 09-18-2017, 09:12 PM   #10
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I would winterize. Water heater inlet and outlet closed, bypass open as part of the process so if you don't want to empty the water heater keep it turned on on propane at night. If you want to run the furnace all night you'll probably need an extension cord for some power because the furnace will pull the batteries down over night.
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Old 09-18-2017, 10:57 PM   #11
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Winterize. I just bought RV anti freeze for $4 a gallon at Wal-Mart. Cheap insurance.
Don't forget to drain and bypass the water heater prior to pumping in the anti freeze.
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:22 AM   #12
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Upper 20's - will not freeze assuming warm daytime temps. We use our Airstream almost every month of the year - for colder nights (low 20's) I drain all of the lines including the water heater and heat the interior using electric heat or propane, In Colorado you will need to winterize as temps reach down to the teens, Living in Texas is much easier than when I lived n NW Kansas were the cold winds really get nippy. BTW remember to drain the outside shower. Around here that is what every one breaks at least once.
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:46 PM   #13
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Winterize as everyone describes, then flush the system before the next trip. I keep my black and grey tanks empty at home and open the dump valves so there is nothing in the waste line to freeze the valves.
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Old 09-19-2017, 01:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by dajlaw View Post
Hello. We are the new owners of a Flying Cloud 23FB and we live in the mountains of Colorado. The weather forecast is for lows in the upper 20's this weekend. The flying Cloud is parked outside. We are not ready to winterize yet. Will we be alright during this short cold spell? Thanks in advance!
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