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Old 06-09-2010, 03:41 PM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
N/A moving , Colorado
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31' Sovereign Airstream, Colorado, Winter

Can it be done. Can one live the winter in Colorado in an Airstream?
What do I need to do it. How should I prepare the rig? I am renovating my Airstream and wonder about insulation? Plumbing, Staying warm....
What are your experiences?
How about RV Sites near Fort Collins or Colorado Springs?

Thanks!

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Old 06-09-2010, 04:49 PM   #2
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1997 34' Limited
1977 31' Sovereign
Greeneville , Tennessee
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Well the answer to your question you kinda already answered it, as you renovate you need to make sure that you insulate it well between the outside skin and interior skin, as well as and especially between the floor and the underbelly pan, this is where the majority of your problems with freezing can be caused/avoided.
Another thing is once you are done and have it parked I would rap all water lines from the trailer to the ground, there is a heating element you can get at most any building supply stores such as lowes, home depot, true value, that you can place on the water line to prevent freezing and it plugs into 110. I used one of these on our moble home when we had it and I was the only one without frozen lines. Draw back is you can not run it into the ground with the water line so you need to make sure the water line is well insulated from 12 inches underground to 1-2 inch above ground and then have the electric line heater take it from there to the trailer.
Skirt the trailer all the way around to keep snow and limit cold air under it. If you have a truckstop near you, a flat bed trucking company, you know or you could ask one of the drivers to help you find a wood tarp from a truck that is no longer of any use and cut it to fit for your trailer. These wood tarps that flatbed trucks use are thick and water/freeze resistant, also will not allow any air through.
Good thing about the above is if you decide to move the trailer to go travel it is all unplug/remove stuff.
If it was me I would have some jack stands placed along the frame (4 on each side) to take the weight off the tires because the freezing can cause them to go flat if full of air. But this is something that someone who lives in their camper in the type of winter you have that could tell you about this better than me.

Sarge
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:24 PM   #3
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Having hunted in a stock 25 Safari in Colorado in the late fall, my answer is that you will be uncomfortable in the winter in a stock Airstream even on the Front Range of Colorado.
Sarge, has described modifications that will prevent your unit from freezing sewer and water and make it semi habitable but by no means comfortable nor energy efficient.
When you figure how much propane you are going to burn even to keep semi warm, my 2 cents is that you will save $$ and be more comfortable winterizing and storing your Airstream and renting an apartment.
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:52 PM   #4
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1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
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Best anwsers are from people that have done this. Use the search bar up top in the fat blue horizontal line, select the Google version, and put in "winter living".

MANY good stories of what they did, and how they survived!

Personally, I think anyone doing this is certifiable, but that's just one man's opinion.
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Old 06-13-2010, 04:01 AM   #5
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I spent 7 years living in my 73 Excella. I made a skirt from 1" rigid styrofoam and covered it in foil bubble wrap both to add R value and to hide the pink. The foil matched the trailer. The skirt was like a square box around the base of the trailer, for the front and back a made a horizontal panel like a lid and cut it to fit around the curved edges of the trailer. I then attached it to the sides of the trailer with aluminum foil tape to stop air loss(heat) from escaping up the side of the trailer. I put 2 halogen work lights, those little units that have the yellow handles and are free standing. The work lamps kept my floor toasty warm all winter. You will have to use heat tape on the water line and make sure warm air is getting under the bed where the city water is coming in(leave open the tambour doors). My trailer had one bad spot for the water line, the pipes inside the trailer run up the road side and in the kitchen they go back under the floor to cross over to the kitchen sink. Right at the spot where they go under the floor it is next to the fresh air intake for the fridge and in extreme cold mornings it would freeze there. You could try an electric space heater there but getting the warm air to drop down under the floor is difficult, I hit that spot in the morning and after work with a hair dryer and that thawed it out. A dripping tap in the kitchen would also stop that section of pipe from freezing. My trailer had heat ducts from the furnace under the floor to the fresh water tank in the kitchen and in the bathroom to the waste water tanks which stopped the tanks from freezing. I also used 2 electric space heaters ( 1 living room & 1 bedroom) to augment the propane furnace and give it a rest. If the furnace runs full time you run the risk of overheating the firebox and it could crack. My original furnace lasted only one winter before it died and had to be replaced ( it was 26 years old anyway). Propand usage will be significant, my 2 40lb tanks lasted 3 months in the summer and as little as 10 days during the coldest part of winter. I got 2 extra tanks and always had spares on hand. Run the trailer with both tanks open and let the automatic switch over regulator go back and forth between both tanks until they are completely empty. Propane boils from a liquid to a vapor at -44F and the colder it gets the less efficient it is as the pressure in each tank drops. Running both tanks allows the regulator to switch to the other tank and allow the first tank to "warm" up again to raise the pressure in the tank. A couple of times I had the regulator and the tank valves freeze up, hot water will thaw them out. Do not use electric heaters or open flame to thaw them out- EXTREME DANGER of explosion. I never did this but you could try a water heater blanket or a battery blanket to keep the propane tanks warmer to keep the pressure up and raise the effeciency of them. I'm going to quote from an Atwood service manual 40 lb tank 60% full btu's at +20F (72000) at -15F (8500) and 10% full btu"s at +20F (32400) at -15F (4050). As you can see the difference is massive. The manual states using a insulated fire resistant blanket and a 75 watt light bulb under the tanks would raise the tank temps by 10 to 20 degrees and allow double the BTU capacity of the tank. The only other problem I had was heat loss through the trailer, melting snow which caused ice damming and large icicle formations to collect around the awning arms and other spots. Not much you can do about that. I hope this information helps you out.
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