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Old 12-20-2010, 08:12 PM   #1
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Unable to Winterize this year; advice for the thaw!

I had a late season camping trip this year, and planned to winterize my AS the week that I got back home. Life got in the way and I wasn't able to get to it before a flash freeze hit. To add insult to injury, temperatures have stayed unseasonably cold so far this winter and it hasn't gone above the freezing point since the night of the flash freeze.

It was just all such horrible timing! I live in a city, so I can't even store my AS locally. It's not like I can just go to my yard to work on it.

In any event, I've pretty much resigned myself to having some plumbing repairs to do in the spring.

My question is... is there anything I can do to minimize water damage to the interior when a thaw comes?

Would opening the low point drain valves and running the heater for a bit help? Perhaps once the temperatures get above freezing.

My concern would be water leaking into the interior (floors, etc) and potentially causing water damage, or lead to mould at some point.

Any advice would be appreciated. Anything I can do in the short term, or do I just wait for spring and save up for the plumbing repairs? ;-)
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:25 PM   #2
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I think I'd clear out under the kitchen sink & bathroom sink & put a long tupperware container in there to catch the water in the spring before it damages anything. I'd also start saving up some $ for some new fittings! I'm sure you have a sick feeling about it all--kinda like when I left the pump in my pond this fall. My husband just went out there & broke the ice to get it out--at least that could be salvaged. Maybe it won't be as bad as you think!
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:36 PM   #3
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I'd still try and winterize it before a long freeze.
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Old 12-20-2010, 09:07 PM   #4
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*nerd hat on*

Water expands in the transition stage between freeze AND thaw. This means you want to be on the ball for the first thaw. When it comes drain the lines and winterize. Get the water out during the first thaw so the damage is minimized. Patch any damage and winterize.

*nerd hat off*

Aww screw it, what could possibly go wrong......
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Old 12-20-2010, 09:39 PM   #5
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is it about due for a wheel bearing repack or drum brake inspection?

this is what i would do and right away.

-find a shop locally that can do the wheel bearings.

-ask to schedule for FIRST job of the morning,

-and to bring/deliver the trailer the day before (around closing time)

-have them back the unit IN to the service bay and leave it over night.

-in fact ask if YOU can stay overnight inside the shop, in the stream.

((i have done this several times and small a/s dealers or service shops)

-hook up to electric and turn OFF all lp gas lines/and shut OFF the lp tanks.

the trailer will thaw, IF it's too cold for sleeping plug in an electric space heater of some sort.

assuming nothing is broked yet, there shouldn't be any water UNDER the unit it the morning.

-have the hubs serviced and as soon as the unit is OUTSIDE,

-open the low water lines, fresh tank stopcock and water heater (pull the tank plug AND open the pressure relief valve.

-drive back to your storage site with these CLEAN water lines open.

-stop somewhere and dump the wash water and perhaps the black tank.
____________

-when back in storage add a gallon of rv antifreeze to the wash tank and black tank after closing the valves.

-put some antifreeze in the toilet bowl and sink traps

-either blow out the water lines or use a bypass valve and PINK the water lines (not the fresh tank)

in other words winterize the thing now after an overnight of indoor storage.

IF you wait till spring, all of the tanks, the water heater, water pump and a variety of lines/valves may need replacing.

so that's 3-4,000$ of repairs potentially NOT counting water damage to the interior elements.

waiting till spring is a very very bad idea.

cheers
2air'
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Old 12-20-2010, 11:26 PM   #6
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Words of Wisdom

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
is it about due for a wheel bearing repack or drum brake inspection?
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post

this is what i would do and right away.

-find a shop locally that can do the wheel bearings.

-ask to schedule for FIRST job of the morning,

-and to bring/deliver the trailer the day before (around closing time)

-have them back the unit IN to the service bay and leave it over night.

-in fact ask if YOU can stay overnight inside the shop, in the stream.

((i have done this several times and small a/s dealers or service shops)

-hook up to electric and turn OFF all lp gas lines/and shut OFF the lp tanks.

the trailer will thaw, IF it's too cold for sleeping plug in an electric space heater of some sort.

assuming nothing is broked yet, there shouldn't be any water UNDER the unit it the morning.

-have the hubs serviced and as soon as the unit is OUTSIDE,

-open the low water lines, fresh tank stopcock and water heater (pull the tank plug AND open the pressure relief valve.

-drive back to your storage site with these CLEAN water lines open.

-stop somewhere and dump the wash water and perhaps the black tank.
____________

-when back in storage add a gallon of rv antifreeze to the wash tank and black tank after closing the valves.

-put some antifreeze in the toilet bowl and sink traps

-either blow out the water lines or use a bypass valve and PINK the water lines (not the fresh tank)

in other words winterize the thing now after an overnight of indoor storage.

IF you wait till spring, all of the tanks, the water heater, water pump and a variety of lines/valves may need replacing.

so that's 3-4,000$ of repairs potentially NOT counting water damage to the interior elements.

waiting till spring is a very very bad idea.

cheers
2air'


Read the above from 2air again and act on it. This is the best advice you are going to get.
In the meantime, it you can't do it because of the holidays, get 10 gal of pink (or more if the tanks are full) and pour it in every trap, including the fresh and waste water tanks. It will be the cheapest thing you can do even if you end up dumping it in a few days. Run the furnace and leave it on if in outdoor storage and return the next day and try to circulate the fresh water with the pump.
Waiting will only cost you more. Get to it and take the load off the mind.
Let us know how you make out.
Good luck
Dave
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Old 12-21-2010, 12:58 AM   #7
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Ditto what 2Air and Dave said.

Yours is a newer unit with PEX pipes... so you have a chance if you act now to minimize damage. Your water filters in the kitchen faucet and possibly the shower/sink will be gonners - buy them over the internet for the best price.

Even if you don't need service, get it inside and thawed before the PEX goes too. I know Canada's economy isn't as messed up as the US, but I'll bet you can easily find someone with spare warehouse space who'll let you park it inside for long enough for it to thaw. Be sure to open the taps, all the water valves and the water heater's relief valve so that it can drain as it thaws.

GOOD LUCK!
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:33 AM   #8
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All good to know, since obviously, I didn't! Hope I never have to go there!
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:56 AM   #9
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You're getting dittos on good, experienced advice. Pex is forgiving as noted. The P-traps are probably more vulnerable. Most are accessible except for the shower. Take your spring shower, run outside and look under the trailer and grab for a towel. Sorry that the order of my instructions got you arrested...

Take note of the plastic strainer just toward the tank from your water pump. One was cracked on an old Argosy I had that hadn't been winterized. Take out the kitchen faucet filter if you have one. Definitely don't run the pump in this state. How much water is in your tanks? Which ones? I assume the HW heater is full -- I don't think that would thaw in one night. Ulp! At least see if you can get the HW heater drain removed the morning after. Maybe take 2air's advice one step further and deliver it to the repair shop Friday afternoon for a Monday morning bearing lube. And go ahead and have them winterize it for you. There's a risk they get cash register eyes a la Sid Caesar 31 seconds into this clip I would put off the full damage assessment until it's completely 'unthawed' in the spring.

Please keep us filled in.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:18 AM   #10
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I would wait until it is completely unfrozen in the Spring, or completely thawed.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:26 AM   #11
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Toronto Guy, how many weeks has it been in this frozen state?
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:36 AM   #12
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Check the airport--the one that serves the little airplanes, not the airliners.

Where you live, they often have heated hangar space available, and they rent it by the night. See if they'd let you thaw and winterize your Airstream in their hangar for a couple of nights rent.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:37 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the advice guys!

The tanks are actually empty, as I don't have access to anywhere to dump my tanks near my storage facility, I always make sure they are empty after my last camping trip of the year.

My only option I have the time for would be to run my furnace all night. I simply can't tow it to a service location at the moment.

It was interesting to hear that the freeze thaw cycle is what does the most damage, so I'll get on winterizing what I can as soon as possible. I'll put antifreeze in the traps too, as the water melts the antifreeze will displace it.

My main worry was the plumbing lines.... but since I've been reassured that IPEX is forgiving, maybe there's some reason for hope.

The worst part of the story is that my AS was parked all summer and unused. We moved last spring, and in the wake of getting settled into a new house we didn't really have any time for camping. So, it was still winterized from last season. Then, we decided to do our annual (Canadian) Thanksgiving trip to Algonquin Park. So, I de-winterized for a two day camping trip.

"I'll have tons of time to winterize it again..." I thought. Then life threw me a curve ball or two. ;-)

It will be hovering around the freezing mark here on Thursday, so I'll head out to my AS that day and get the furnace fired up.

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I'm a member of quite a few on-line forums for various hobbies and interests I have, and nowhere else are the people as friendly and helpful as they are here!
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:47 AM   #14
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Hey TO guy where is the AS stored. I might be able to suggest a close service centre and someone to move it for you. The water heater will be the most expensive part to replace if damaged. If you try to run the furnace all night without shore power the battery will run down and the furnace will shut off and now you will have two problems, frozen plumbing and a dead frozen battery.
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