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Old 12-03-2009, 04:41 PM   #1
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Just a few nights of freezing?

So I've been full time in my Airstream since August, and this week is going to be the first couple nights it gets below freezing. I'm in western Oregon, so this will only happen a couple time this winter. It hasn't gotten below 39 inside the trailer, even with the heat off at night. I've been using an oil-filled radiator for heat so far, but with three dogs, I stay warm when I'm sleeping!

I have the hose insulated and the spigot wrapped, and last night I left the sink dripping. Is there anything else I should be concerned about?

thanks!

Cam
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:53 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums!

If you have a hard freeze your under-floortanks won't be heated very well from an oil-filled heater and could possibly freeze. I don't think that will be a problem where you are located, necessarily, but worth mentioning. If your hose and spigot are wrapped and there's little chance of a freeze inside of the Airstream, you can forget about having to leave the water dripping. That's just annoying anyway!
So are you on the Mackenzie River? I have good friends in Springfield on Camp Creek Rd, just across the freeway from you.
Happy Streaming!
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:56 PM   #3
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The furnace will heat the areas where your water pipes are. With other heat source, remember to leave the lower cupboard doors open a crack to allow heat to enter these areas. We remove the inside cover & stuff the roof vents with regular R-12 insulation to minimize heat loss there. I also use the plastic sheets for windows with 2 sided tape.

Ricky
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:59 PM   #4
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Here in Tennessee we have a humidity problem. 2 humans & 3 dogs can add to the moisture problem. I'm looking for a cheap dehumidifier. Be careful if you try to button up the AS tight like a house.

Ricky
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:26 PM   #5
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Ricky, humidity from breathing will always be a buildup problem unless you have windows slightly ajar. I just open one window away from the sleeping area, turn the latch crosswise and let the window rest back down -- 1/4-1/2" circulation max. Run the furnace as normal and accept the minor extra fuel use. A full 30# propane tank will easily last a week with nights in the mid teens -- though I dress in a lot of synthetic fleece and don't run the furnace much during the day.

Cam - also see http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...tml#post778258
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:16 PM   #6
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Ahhh Three Dog Night! Have you ever sen rain??
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Old 12-04-2009, 02:39 PM   #7
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We just got back from Denver, and the auxilliary heater in the air conditioning unit kept the interior of our 19-foot Bambi around 60 degrees when the outside temps dipped into the low teens.

We had everyting off during the day, when it was in the mid-40's. Then, we only turned the furnace on for about 15-20 minutes to bring it up to 55-60 in the evening, and turned on the auxilliary electric heating element in the air conditioner. The drain valves froze one night though.

The air conditioner blower is a little noisy, but you get used to it. Given the option of freezing or a little noise, I'll take the noise (and heat). Also, you can't hear the blower at all outside of the trailer.
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Old 12-04-2009, 03:34 PM   #8
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Phoenix, don't forget that you must use your propane furnace if you want to send warm air down to your tanks. The a/c heating element won't do it.

Enjoy your cold weather camping!

Pat
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Old 12-04-2009, 04:03 PM   #9
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In predicting how cold it will get overnight you might consider that the weather bureau (or whatever they call it now) has been known to be wrong. If they say it's going to be in the upper 20's, maybe it will be in the lower 20's.

Things start to freeze and turn water to slush below 32˚, and somewhere around the upper 20's, ice starts to get hard and expand (11%). A full or nearly full tank can blow out seals if it freezes.

Given tht frozen pipes and tanks and valves are expensive and/or a pain to fix, I'd rather make sure nothing does freeze.

The heat pump on the A/C automatically is supposed to turn on the furnace when the outside temp is in the upper 20's, but how accurate is that? I watched that and on ours it seems to wait until it's around 25 or 26˚. Another factor to consider is that if it is windy out, any heat delivered to the tanks will be quickly dissipated. The furnace operates based on the temp inside, not in the tanks and if the furnace is set to keep a low temp (40˚ is the minimum with the newer thermostats) it could be a lot colder in tanks.

I don't like to use the heat pump when the temp is the 30's because it's inefficient and noisy, but using a ceramic heater doesn't insure the furnace goes on when the temp gets around freezing. So to do that I have to wake up in the middle of the night and turn on the furnace. It's a dilemma. The sensor that tells the thermostat to turn on the furnace when the heat pump is used could be used to turn on the furnace when the A/C heat pump is not used. I'll have all winter to figure that out.

For a few nights of freezing, why not use the furnace?

Gene
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Old 12-04-2009, 04:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
The drain valves froze one night though.

One good freeze is all it takes to swell or burst a pipe or fitting. The pipes and fittings are not expensive to fix, but your floor sure is! When in that low of temps it makes sense to run the furnace, to me anyway.

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Old 12-05-2009, 02:22 PM   #11
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For a few nights of freezing, why not use the furnace?

Gene
As for me, there's nothing like the nice, warm air that you can only get from your furnace. Go ahead - splurge and enjoy yourself.

Pat
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:04 PM   #12
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Hmm all useful advice. The only problem I ran into today (since they are predicting several more cold nights in the 20s!) is that I couldn't get the pilot to stay lit on my furnace. Problem with thermocoupler maybe? Clearly I should have checked it before the freeze!
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:51 AM   #13
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Things only break when you use them. Hope you made it through the night.

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Old 12-07-2009, 03:03 PM   #14
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through the night

well, I went to bed, left the faucet dripping and when I got up, no drip and it was 20 degrees out! I turned off the outdoor spigot and disconnected the hose. Hose looked ok. It was the spigot (which was wrapped) that was frozen -- no water coming out.

So I opened the taps turned on the water pump and drained the hot water and the holding tank. I am hoping that the fact that the water ran from the hot and cold water tank to the kitchen sink means that I made it without any burst pipes! Then I opened the valves and drained everything, and I guess I will stay that way til the freeze ends and/or I get my furnace working!

Cam
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