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Old 09-15-2006, 01:26 PM   #1
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Wintering In an AS

Can we successfully winter in our 34' AS by applying the heavy canvas skirting and maybe placing a trouble light with a low wattage bulb on a stand under the unit to prevent freezing. We live in our AS. It is our only home although we are not officially fulltimers since we still work, and I dont want the lines to freeze. I know that the tanks and lines are warmed by the furnace, but is this enough for this part of the country? Thanks
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Old 09-15-2006, 01:51 PM   #2
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As I recall from living in Little Rock for 4 years, the winters in Arkansas are mild, but it can get snowy and icy at times. Airstreams aren't the best insulated RVs out there, but with proper precautions used for winter insulating and heating, you probably will do OK.
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Old 09-15-2006, 02:07 PM   #3
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I'd generally agree. You properly note that you must be running the furnace to force heated air around the tanks. Actual plumbing is usually above the floor but you might want to pay attention to the area around your tank dump valves. In the worst weather you'd want to leave lower storage doors open so that warm air can circulate under cabinets.

A good search term would be 'wintering' -- member Rubyslipper's thread began many discussions on this topic.

I grew up in San Antonio and Bryan, Texas. Slab foundation homes in the south frequently have pipes over the ceiling. I recall one cold spell (temps in the mid-teens) when a neighbor's house had a pipe break overhead. Dripping outdoor faucets wasn't enough to keep from freeze-up in all situations. Be prepared. Could you winterize quickly if you had to? Even up here we haven't had a bad winter in over 10 years -- I'm waiting...!
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Old 09-15-2006, 03:01 PM   #4
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Dumb, Lucky or Both

I spent 3 winters in NE Oklahoma in a 25ft SOB TT. It was not four season and the lines, tanks, or spigot never froze. Hooked to city water and just traded out the hose every morning and let the other thaw in the shower. The furnace kept it warm and cozy. It never frooze even during and ice storm. Am I looking at the both option here?
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Old 09-15-2006, 03:22 PM   #5
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I honestly don't think SOBs or Airstreams are any different on this issue. The metal construction doesn't have much to do with that statement -- 2" of fiberglass or metallized mylar bubble insulation can only do so much. I hear of some Canadian and maybe a Fox River RV that perform better in cold conditions.

Just keep your ear on weather forecasts if something heavy is coming. It's not always the storm but the clear sky cold afterward. Do Arkansans call 'em 'blue northers' (coming out of northern New Mexico and Colorado) like we did in Texas?
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Old 09-15-2006, 04:16 PM   #6
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I don't think the weather here is severe really. Just an occassional ice storm. Of course I lived in Michigan once upon a time. After I moved back to Oklahoma it is funny to see people scurry to the grocery store and by up all the milk, bread , etc when they are getting an inch of snow that doesn't even stay on the ground 24 hrs. I think I am just worried more since I finally have the AS and not some used SOB like in the past. I guess dreams really do come true!
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:15 PM   #7
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Howdy:
I've lived full-time in my AS for the past 2 winters (summers too--aren't they easy!) in snow country, in Colorado.
It has required a new level of vigiliance for me. When I decided to do it everyone around here thought I was crazy.
I never skirted mine. Only cause I didn't know how. I'm glad to learn on these forums.
Several key things for me: heat tape wrapped on all exposed plumbing (I have an actual water hose about 6' long from a wellhead to the bumper!) This heat tape has an integrated thermostat which kicks in at 33 degrees. On the outside of that is foam pipe insulation. With this set-up, I still had to leave faucets going pretty strong to keep from freezing, as you can imagine. Lord help me if the power went out. Then I broke out the Mr. Heater which attaches to the top of a propane bottle to keep things open enough until the power came back on...thankfully that didn't happen too much!
I had the propane company put in a large tank and directly hooked the AS up to it. That was the best move ever, as I no longer switched out tanks to stay warm...it cost me about $70 month in gas.

there's so much more, but don't want to be a bore! Let me know if I can help, I finally bought a house and so I'm selling the beloved Airstream!
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Old 09-30-2006, 01:16 PM   #8
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Hi Jana,
We did the opposite-sold the house and bought an AS. Thanks for the tips and I don't find them boring at all. Seems like I am not the only one with these questions.
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Old 04-06-2007, 07:29 PM   #9
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Has anyone spent a winter in Montana?
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Old 04-06-2007, 07:53 PM   #10
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uh...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gyandell
Has anyone spent a winter in Montana?
Airstream +
Wheels +
Tow Vehicle +
Arizona +

Why would you?

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Old 04-06-2007, 10:08 PM   #11
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IF it does not get below freezing for too long you will be ok.
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Old 04-06-2007, 10:09 PM   #12
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Actually we have a SOB manufacturer on the field where I work. Artic Fox from Northwoods/Nash is there cold weather unit.
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Old 04-06-2007, 10:13 PM   #13
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I was there until just after Thanksgiving. It got above freezing during the day and down to 20 at night. I am not going to spend the winter in Montana in my AS until I have some shelter for her. That may happen Winter 08/09.
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Old 04-07-2007, 05:40 AM   #14
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Thanks.I'm wanting to spend the winter around Yellowstone photographing and was wondering if anyone had put there AS through such cold weather.
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Old 04-07-2007, 07:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecatsandi
IF it does not get below freezing for too long you will be ok.
Still chuckling at this one Michelle -- good advice for Santa Fe, ya think? And yes, I've always heard that about Arctic Fox. We have friends who trout fish in Yellowstone every September. They get snow most every time and have been blasted out on a few trips. Places like Yellowstone and Bryce are high altitude and their winter is 2-3 months longer than for us Minnesotans. Just because it's an Airstream doesn't mean Robert F. Scott would have survived Antarctica with one.

We had a member from Montana posting about whether to do this about a year ago -- don't recall that they've been back here to report. The previous post by janars in this thread starts to give some of the details necessary. You'll need to be close by and able to winterize on the spot if you have any problems. You'd definitely need an electric hookup and a larger LP tank would be convenient. Your furnace will do much more than a space heater to keep your pipes unthawed (I know, not a word... but a Minnesota-ism that I enjoy). I don't know what sort of water source you'd be using -- ground frost goes down 3+ feet here. Keeping the outside water and sewer flowing is an issue unrelated to Airstreaming.

This question has been asked many times and discussed in much greater details. I'd recommend searching the forums on the word 'wintering'. A few threads by member rubyslipper started out the discussion in the beginning, though it's been discussed many other places. The nature of threads is that you'll read a lot of posts between picking up jewels. Also, look through the Winter Living subforum.
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Old 04-07-2007, 07:07 AM   #16
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Old thread, however......

Your Airstream, in all honesty, was not built to be a permanently fixed unit, but a travel trailer. Several of these posts have come close to the answer. Why would anyone want to swap hoses on a daily basis, or worry about exposed plumbing?
Solution:
Hook up an empty water supply hose to fill the on-board fresh water tank. When filled, drain the hose, and if you don't want to mess with putting it up, after draining it, coil it up, putting the ends together to keep the inside clean. When the fresh water tank is empty, refill it.
Draining the black water tank should be done on an as-needed basis, and they will not freeze during the 45 seconds it takes to drain them. The hose can be left connected, as it empties out, and then only the valve should be closed.
Wash water-same as black described above.
Use the LP furnace to heat WHEN THE TEMP IS BELOW 32, and that will prevent on-board tanks from freezing.
It is a good idea to put a high watt light bulb close to the LP tanks when temps fall below 35 or so. I won't explain all that here. There are threads already for that knowledge.

That's all it takes to safely stay in your Airstream all winter.

Although I like the thought of Arizona, as 'FOILED AGAIN' brought out.
Why wouldn't you?
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Old 04-07-2007, 08:52 AM   #17
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I appreciate the kind advice on winterizing my AS. I simply wanted advice on how to and what to do. Not to stay in one place as a fixed home,but simply how to handle the cold in my AS. The why would I is simply because. Yellowstone in the winter is absolutely wonderful. I wanted to know if it could be done in an AS. Enjoy life,enjoy family, enjoy your AS.
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Old 04-07-2007, 09:10 AM   #18
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gyandell,
In reading your viewer profile, I see where your family is supportive of your desire to live and work full time on the road. I think that's great!! Many of us have the same desire, but lack the courage to "turn loose of the tether". You are getting some very good advice on winter living in your AS. I try to camp at least once a month year round in addition to summer trips. My coldest, so far, has been -5 degrees and I got along just fine. Best of luck.
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:12 AM   #19
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When we do hit the road full time I will let you know. It will be very soon and are looking forward to trying it out. My youngest kid is now old enough and that has been the hold-up. So, see you in the parks and on the road. Thanks for all of the good advice. Gary
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Old 04-14-2007, 01:12 AM   #20
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Gyandell, I have the same questions. I have not talked to anyone who has tried to live in real winter weather in an Airstream or for that matter camped in winter weather to any extent. By winter weather I mean Montana or HERE in Washington it can get below zero here too. Do the tanks and lines keep from freezing in zero weather with the furnace on???...someone???...The only exsperience I have seen in zero weather is with a Lance camper. It did fine at 15 below zero on a hunting trip to Alberta. Matter of fact...the Lance camper was toasty at below zero and no frozen lines or tanks...can an Airstream do that????.....HELP....I want to know too???
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