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Old 01-23-2015, 10:31 AM   #1
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Temporary (emergency) winterizing

This is not in the "winterizing" section because it's not really about that.

We have our AS parked in our driveway in usually-temperate Atlanta, and we have gotten a few below-freezing cold-snaps already. Another one is coming.

We did not "winteriz"e because we planned on using it throughout the winter. How do people protect the tanks when this happens (it could happen camping, it could happen in the fall, it could happen in the early spring when you don't expect it). I have been thinking about a skirt that could be hooked around the body to close off the airspace underneath (I'm thinking canvas and suction cups)?
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:53 AM   #2
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Run the furnace... The tanks receive heat from your furnace ducting.

It's generally thought that an electric heater will not prevent freezing, as the air is not circulating.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:05 AM   #3
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Keep the furnace running at low setting all day and night. Also, if you have nothing in the tanks you can blow out the water lines and put some antifreeze in the traps and that will do it.

You need the furnace on for the tanks if something is in them as they are designed in such a way as to pass warm air, in the duct work around the tanks.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:07 AM   #4
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If the tanks are empty you have nothing to worry about. The water lines and P-traps are another matter.

A space heater usually will keep our rig warm enough to prevent freezing. We set ours on 39 degrees.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:21 AM   #5
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Open cabinet doors. Turn on furnace not "heat pump". I add an electric heater far from the thermostat to add "heat" which the furnace will
Circulate.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:23 AM   #6
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What is a "below-freezing cold snap"? - if it is just a couple of degrees below freezing at night but above freezing during the day then you do not have a lot to worry about. Keeping your furnace on, at a low temperature, will keep your water system protected - I usually shoot to keep my temperature at about 45 to 50 degrees F under these circumstances.

If you are going to be away from the trailer and still feel a little vulnerable then give yourself an added degree of comfort by making sure your water lines do not have any pressure in them - turn the water pump off, then open the low-point drain valves and all your taps; finally, you can make sure air circulates in and around the lines by leaving your cupboard doors open. Also, there is nothing wrong with an electric heater if it has a fan - ceramic heaters are great.


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Old 01-23-2015, 11:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RangerJay View Post
If you are going to be away from the trailer and still feel a little vulnerable then give yourself an added degree of comfort by making sure your water lines do not have any pressure in them - turn the water pump off, then open the low-point drain valves and all your taps; finally, you can make sure air circulates in and around the lines by leaving your cupboard doors open. Also, there is nothing wrong with an electric heater if it has a fan - ceramic heaters are great.


Jay

What is the general consensus on the black and grey waste lines by the knife valves? If there is fluid in those tanks surely the exposed pipes are at risk of freezing. Is this generally acceptable? Or should those tanks be drained completely or filled with a bit of antifreeze?
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:28 PM   #8
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For driveway storage we always do a dump before bringing the trailer home so fluids in the grey water and black water tanks are a non-issue.

For camping in the fall the sewage pipes have simply never been a worry - we do lots of fall camping where nighttime temperatures will drop below freezing - sometimes well below freezing - but daytime temperatures will (usually) rise above freezing - in our dozen or so years of this kind of trailer camping we have never had an issue (imagine me knocking on wood as I type this .....). In the beginning (2003) I used to obsess about pipes freezing during our fall season - now - using the practices talked about above - I don't even think about it.

I suppose if we were camping when there was a forecast for an extended freeze that included below-freezing day-time temperatures I might want to give a little more thought about protecting exposed sewer pipes.


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Old 01-23-2015, 01:21 PM   #9
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What is the general consensus on the black and grey waste lines by the knife valves? If there is fluid in those tanks surely the exposed pipes are at risk of freezing. Is this generally acceptable? Or should those tanks be drained completely or filled with a bit of antifreeze?

With properly emptied tanks there is no measurable water remaining in the tanks or drain lines to amount to a concern. Trace amounts of liquid in the tanks or drain lines will not expand enough in a freeze condition to cause harm.
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:25 PM   #10
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If you want to be on the really safe side (and not necessary with above-freezing daytime temps,) have you or one of your neighbours got an air compressor to blow out the pipes? The process also involves draining the water heater and your drinking water tank. If not, any RV service centre can do this for you.

The waste water tanks should be ok if you add some light anti-freeze, such as windshield washer fluid. (We were told this by the folks at Can-Am in Ontario, Canada, where winter camping is a serious undertaking.)
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:23 PM   #11
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Thanks, everyone, for the info. The heat never occurred to me.

One thing odd about the heat: it was hell to get the "on" switch on on the thermostat. I didn't want to break it so didn't force it. Is it usually that way?

PS: Any of you northeasterners want to move to Atlanta? It's beautiful and sunny down here. And we can see the snowless ground.
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:34 PM   #12
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Rock salt down the toilet will keep. The black tank from. Freezing, the gray has no direct drop. If the gray is full or half full. The area by the valve mat freeze, but not the whole tank. If. That is the case, try hot water down the slinky while held up, and the valve will soon thaw enough to open.


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Old 01-30-2015, 07:41 AM   #13
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I live in Huntsville AL, weather similar to Atlanta. I do use RV antifreeze for winterizing. It only takes me approximately 30 to 40 minutes to do when I get home from a trip. The first time took two hours till I got the routine down.Click image for larger version

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Old 02-03-2015, 10:23 AM   #14
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If traveling and using the trailer when temps are in 40's during the day but 20's at night, is it generally OK to keep water in the fresh plumbing system? Those low point drains would be my biggest concern. Going to be facing this for the first time soon I think.
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