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Old 10-06-2018, 04:18 PM   #1
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2017 19' Flying Cloud
Seattle , Washington
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 32
First Winter Newbie Question

This will be my first winter with the AS. We plan to use it for our ski weekends here in Washington (Baker, Crystal and the Summit). There are no hook ups as we will be in the parking lot with the other RV'ers. So here are my questions..

1. Whats the lowest temp I should keep the furnace set at to keep the pipes from freezing? I have read from 65 to 55 degrees so any real world experience advice would be great.

Note- i just got a Honda 2200 watt generator to charge the battery. I read that the furnace eats the battery up pretty good.

2. To be safe should i pour a few cups of RV antifreeze in the black and gray tanks just to be safe. We won't use the bathroom much, just the middle of the night "got to go" otherwise we use the ski lodge bathrooms.

3. If we don't plan to use any hot water should i drain the hot water tank and bypass it.

4. If my wife wants to use the hot water tank should i keep it running all the time. I am assuming and this is a big assume.... that the inside temp that keeps the black and gray tanks all good does not push heat to the hot water tank. again i have no idea what i am taking about

i would like to not winterize the AS. The temps in seattle where we live rarely hits below freezing. But if i see a cold front coming then i will blow out all the airlines and hotter tank ect. I don't plan to flush the system with antifreeze

thanks

Brad
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Old 10-06-2018, 04:43 PM   #2
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You might want to consider using 'Wag Bags" in the toilet to collect the waste rather than using the holding tanks and risk freezing the valves. These can be disposed of in the garbage.
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Old 10-06-2018, 06:42 PM   #3
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You ask some great questions for which I have no answers. But I'd like to know so I'm just tagging along!
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Old 10-06-2018, 08:17 PM   #4
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

If the outside temperature goes well below freezing for days at a time, an un-winterized trailer is likely to freeze up. Is well below freezing 20F or 10F? It depends a lot on things like wind direction and how well various parts of the trailer are protected (like with hay bales). Simply put, there is no furnace setting that will keep the trailer from freezing if it gets cold enough long enough.

Next up is simply living in the trailer when it gets cold. When you live in the trailer, the humidity goes up. That humidity condenses out on the walls and windows. Wiping down the windows on a daily basis is fairly easy. Drying out the walls behind the cabinetry is not quite as easy. Water hanging around gets you into mold and rot issues.

The trailer has pretty poor insulation. Getting it up to 65 or 70F will use a *lot* of propane. Since energy is energy, it would also use a lot of electric. The typical trailer is set up with way more "horsepower" on the propane side than when running on electric. Heating one with electricity involves supplemental heating sources.

Can you go skiing with an RV? Sure you can !!! Been there / done that. We ran a class A for that sort of thing. That's a very different sort of beast than a 3 season trailer. Even with something like that, the lodge was always more comfortable ....

Bob
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:38 AM   #5
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1965 24' Tradewind
almena , Wisconsin
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Winter Heating!!!

Just a suggestion! If/when I decide to spend a winter or any cold weather time in my AS I am going to install an Espar or Webasto type “diesel” fired heater. Four reasons: No. 1 - Significantly less battery drain. These are what the big trucks use to heat their cabs when parking for the evening. Do not know the numbers but I have and know many others do regularly, leave them running all weekend with no engine starting issues Monday morning. No. 2 - These heaters put out clean dry heat. Does not add any moisture to the inside air. No. 3 - Nothing under pressure so there no chance of a leak emptying the tank or filling the inside with propane. No. 4 - The chance of any carbon monoxide coming from a diesel fired heater is significantly less. Of course, always have a carbon monoxide detector and make sure it is ALWAYS working properly. One more thing. The manufactures of these heaters are not real clear on this but they run best and run for a much longer time without maintenance when burning a No. 1 fuel. No. 1 diesel, No. 1 heating oil, kerosine and Jet-A are all the same thing. They come out of the same storage tank at the refinery. The difference is how it is taxed. Just a suggestion!!!
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:48 AM   #6
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Brrrr...

Read this thread for a more comprehensive recap of how you may want to modify your unit for winter camping:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f459...ons-98695.html
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Old 10-07-2018, 12:19 PM   #7
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2014 16' Sport
Newport Beach , California
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Winter Use

Hi Brad,

I spent the entire winter last year at about 7,000ft in Colorado. At times the temperature went down to -14. If you are only using the trailer for weekends, then you shouldn't have much trouble if you live in an area where it only occasionally freezes over night.

The first consideration is yes you can use a lot of propane but two tanks should easily get you through 3-4 days. My maxium at -14 was a tank a week - while using shore power.

Since you will not be using hookups, you do not have to worry about buying a heated water hose - which works well down to 5 degrees.

I set my thermometer at 55 for the winter. If the temp drops below freezing, I also leave the hot water heater on because my heater is where the other water valves are and cabinets, etc. It helps to keep them from freezing and not as much propane use as you might think.

The heater has a vent into the enclosed space below the floor where the internal water pipes are and the top of the tanks - water is inside the trailer. Keeping the heater on means the only time water starts freezing up is when it gets below a sustained 10 degrees. Meaning the toilet and faucets work. At 5 and below, the internal tank can start to freeze but the pipes themselves seem to remain clear.

Yes the dump valve can freeze - especially if towing on sloppy roads. But it easily unfreezes by putting a heater next to it or using a hair drier to defrost it. Since you will be going home, this shouldn't be a problem for you. I coat mine and the bar on it liberally with silicon lubricant monthly and this seems to do the job.

Condensation is a problem but that's what dehumidifiers are for. The first one didn't work very well, but the small one I have now keeps condensation to a monimum. I have a very small one and it gets the job done.

Space heaters - I have a small room one and turn it on if I'm going to be up and doing things in the trailer - mornings to get up and evenings before bed. It has a suprisingly low amperage and puts out a lot of heat - quickly.

My air conditioner is also a heater and works well and quickly down to about 40 degrees.

Electricity - I put in two deep cycle batteries that keep going long past the stock single battery. I've gone 3 days on the coldest days on just battery power by minimizing or turning off as much as I can. I also have a 3x4 solar panel. If I'm not using shore power, I have a Honda EU 2200i generator. Running it when I get in from being out and about all day for about an hour seems to top the batteries off and lets me use the space heater and microwave for dinner. As well as charging my laptop and phone.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:27 PM   #8
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2017 19' Flying Cloud
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thanks everybody for all your help! I think because i am chicken i will drain and blow out the lines and just tin tent it for the first few weekends then maybe i will give the keeping it warm inside a try. at least now i get to buy a mini compressor
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradley G View Post
thanks everybody for all your help! I think because i am chicken i will drain and blow out the lines and just tin tent it for the first few weekends then maybe i will give the keeping it warm inside a try. at least now i get to buy a mini compressor
Great decision! And you are not being a chicken IMO -- just wise until you learn the ropes. This way you can relax and enjoy your free time skiing, without worrying about the trailer.

Have fun -- aluminum tents are great!

Peter
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Old 10-09-2018, 06:01 AM   #10
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We would echo Califbob. Dry camping is fun.
We generally winter camp until just after Thanksgiving in the fall / winter and start our season in early February. Usually we don't have too many temps below zero, but they are below freezing. A small electric heater supplements the propane fired furnace and it is run via our generator when boondocking - or, by shore power when "hooked" in to shore power.
We have found that just a small vent left open at night while sleeping takes care of most of the condensation for us on a two or three day excursion. Daytime condensation is minimized with the furnace / space heather keeping temps around 62-65 degrees. All the water has been blown out and RV antifreeze in the lines. But we use "bags" in the commode and carry water in jugs for personal consumption. Cooking vapor is minimized by preparing meals for reheating via the microwave. But, boy, do we have fun...sometime parking on 6-8 inches of ice on the side roads!
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Old 10-10-2018, 12:11 PM   #11
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2017 28' International
Millbury , Massachusetts
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How cold without modifications

This morning I was ready to change travel plans and get to a lower elevation, but now after reading this thread, the Newbies Guide and the FAQ sticky on this forum, I think I am being overly nervous over nothing, but I'll ask anyway.

We are heading to Capital Reef tomorrow for 5 days. The day/night temps are predicted to be 50/36, 50/33, 55/34, Sunday 43/24, 45/34. However we will also be staying in the Utah/northern Arizona area for several more weeks - some at high elevations like the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

My concern was Sunday (and for future stops) - especially since the forecast for Sunday keeps going down (was a low of 28 just yesterday and now saying low of 24 - will it go lower still?).

My takeaway from what I've read is that I shouldn't have to worry about a single night of "below freezing temperatures" provided I take some precautions, which seem easy enough for this slight level of cold.

My takeaway:
I have an electric heater (Vornado) which I use to supplement the propane when needed. I'll keep the set point for the propane heater no more than 60 deg F so as not to use it up too fast (the electric heater should help supplement).

I will fill the fresh water tank and disconnect the city water hose (which I will let drip), during the night when expected freezing temps.

If there is expected high winds on top of the cold, I would try to offer up some wind block for under the trailer (don't think necessary this week).

Keep an eye on humidity (we have a humidity sensor) and vent the trailer if it gets high.

So the question is:

Using these simple methods - JUST HOW COLD CAN WE EXPECT TO ENDURE WITHOUT PIPES FREEZING?

I am much less concerned about comfort level, or how fast we use up the propane. I also understand that dump valves can freeze, but this seems temporary and repairable (hair dryer) and may not be a problem for a one or two overnight freeze.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 10-10-2018, 12:45 PM   #12
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Way too many variables to make a sensible guess IMO.

Also . . . crashing into this thread . . . you might consider starting your own.

Peter
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Old 10-10-2018, 02:05 PM   #13
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Port Dover , ON Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WorkBGone View Post
...

My takeaway:
I have an electric heater (Vornado) which I use to supplement the propane when needed. I'll keep the set point for the propane heater no more than 60 deg F so as not to use it up too fast (the electric heater should help supplement).

I will fill the fresh water tank ...
Be cautious with using the supplemental heat. Your electric heater does not provide warm air to the plumbing and tanks - this is provided by the furnace, so make sure that the furnace runs enough.
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Old 10-11-2018, 07:44 AM   #14
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

The stock answer to the question is the furnace and heaters (if you have them) will give you about another 10 degrees of protection. That puts you in the 24 to 20 degree range for might be ok / might not be ok. Since the wind speed and direction are not mentioned and the amount of cover at the campsite are unknown ... that's about as good an answer as there is. ( = strong wind means you get into trouble at a higher temperature).

Bob
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