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Old 11-24-2013, 03:59 PM   #1
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2005 30' Safari
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Can I keep my trailer in Chicago without winterizing?

I recently purchased a 2005 30' Safari Bunkhouse. So far I love it. The only big problem is that I'm using it in Chicago. Temperatures just dropped here and I'm chewing through propane. Worse, I have no shore power and have been running a gas generator to charge the batteries. That's been a real headache.

How warm do I need to keep the trailer when I leave? Temperatures are in the 16-34F range. Is 50F reasonable? Could I safely go lower?

I'm planning to get a PV system to help the situation. It feels like it's going to take a *lot* to keep up with the furnace usage, though.

Thank you!

--kyler
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Old 11-24-2013, 04:19 PM   #2
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No is the simple answer.

Are you living in it, or simply storing it?


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Old 11-24-2013, 04:24 PM   #3
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Uh oh.

I'm in it most of the time but I return to my farm occasionally. Are you saying it's not safe to keep it at 50F? I've been thinking about winterizing and then switching to a portable fresh water tank I can haul inside when I'm there. That would be cumbersome but better than no water.

Thank you for helping me understand the ramifications.

--kyler
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Old 11-24-2013, 04:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by kylerlaird View Post
Uh oh.

I'm in it most of the time but I return to my farm occasionally. Are you saying it's not safe to keep it at 50F? I've been thinking about winterizing and then switching to a portable fresh water tank I can haul inside when I'm there. That would be cumbersome but better than no water.

Thank you for helping me understand the ramifications.

--kyler
You just answered your own question Kylerlaid. No shore power and 2 forty Lb propane will not make you a happy camper in Chicago winter. If money is no issue, have the propane vendor deliver a 200 gal rental tank by you and sign a 3 months refill contract whereby they come and check you wkly and refill as needed. Your two 40LB OEM becomes your back up. I have arranged this for friends at Croton Point campground in Westchester , NY .
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:58 PM   #5
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I think you have #30 twin lpg tanks?
That might last a long weekend without showers or cooking. PV will offer nothing but battery chafing no real power to heat from 12v.
As state above.... a big rental tank with weekly fill agreement. I'm in Cincinnati this weekend. Down to 12° last night. I have a catylitic fireplace twin furnaces and a heat pump..... warm inside but will gulp 19 gallons in 5 days. Heat cooking and water heating uses a lot.
Don't forget if you use external water sources it goes in the waste tanks and freezes also. My 34 has 110 and 12 volt anti frost heaters on all my tanks besides the ducts from the furnaces.110 is good but 12 volts kills the batteries within 2 days.
Additionally water needs to be dumped. There is no totally easy solution but some good work arounds. Keeping cabinet doors open allows warm air to reach pipes but you also have the city inlet the external shower the black tank flush etc all exposed to the cold. Additionally the NH has exposed dump valves and those freeze fast.

If you are going to use infrequently I might reconsider leaving her wet.
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:17 PM   #6
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Thanks, Atomic13. My 30 pound tanks (with a spare set) have been lasting plenty long. I'm not terribly concerned about refilling them. I just found a new 24-hour refill place nearby. (And it's just money - not frozen/broken bits.) It's been quite pleasant sleeping inside the trailer; I've had to turn down the furnace when the dogs pile on top of me.

I put antifreeze in my gray and black water tanks. I read that it will settle to the bottom (dump valve). My biggest concern is with freshwater. That's why I was thinking about draining it and just using a portable water tank. I hope I don't have to do that but at least I'd be certain not to freeze and rupture it.

My other concern is the hot water heater. Does running the heater provide sufficient heat through the lines to prevent freezing at these temps?

As much as I'd like to stick probes in the tanks and determine the optimal temperature to run the furnace for every condition, I'd rather have a good safe rule of thumb.
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Old 11-25-2013, 02:16 AM   #7
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Personally I have an on demand water heater. I have no tank to worry about.... however in past units (05 bunkhouse) and my PanAmerica) I left the water heater on and had no freezing. In your BH do you have the water heater bypass kit? If so you could just drain the hot water tank and not have hot water But still retain running water in the galley and lav and head.
Indeed the dogs warm things up. Hows your humidity in the morning? Sleeping with the windows open?
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Old 11-25-2013, 03:38 AM   #8
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Personally, I think it is a recipe for disaster. You are just asking for trouble. Winterize it and try dry camping. Use a small porta potty, take sponge baths, etc.
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:58 AM   #9
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50 is enough to keep it from freezing. Even 40 is enough. Technically, 33 is enough, but you have to make an allowance for the fact that some parts of the plumbing might get colder than that.

But you're going to go through the propane like there's no tomorrow at any reasonable temperature, and of course gasoline to keep the batteries charged.

When I wrote the winter camping FAQ thread, I specifically excluded what you're trying to do because it's just so difficult, especially without shore power.
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:36 AM   #10
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We keep our Avion in LaPorte during the hunting season. We winterize it and take along water. Water can be dumped down the drains, but before leaving & shutting her furnace down, the grey tank is drained & antifreeze poured down the drains. Its worry-free if it's winterized.
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Old 11-25-2013, 07:02 AM   #11
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I spent the winter in mine last year. It can be done..it is a head ache. In my opinion the weak link is the furnace. If the blower quits (running it for 12 to 20 hours at a time) you are going to freeze like a popsicle..and quickly. Condensation is also a giant headache. You will end up with ice on the walls and windows. It unfreezes and the water is hazardous to the areas below the windows. As I said in my thread,(http://www.airforums.com/forums/f459...yon-98031.html)
These are three season trailers. Yes, it can be lived in during a cold winter, but so can a tent..neither will be easy or comfortable.
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Old 11-25-2013, 03:47 PM   #12
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Thanks for the information, all. I plan to keep it at 50F for now. I'll take an air compressor with me tonight and try to blow out the lines, dump the tanks, and then run antifreeze. I can live with dry camping until I get shore power.
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