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Old 12-17-2014, 10:01 AM   #1
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2015 FC 19 Holding Tank Freeze Protection

I am trying to track down the "while living in and using" freeze protection design for the 19 ft Flying Cloud. Manual description is poor. Thanks
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:07 AM   #2
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I'm not exactly sure what you are asking.

But if you are wondering how to keep your holding tank from freezing while you are using the trailer in sub-freezing temperatures, the answer is that your furnace has a portion of its warm air diverted into the belly area where your holding tank is located. Thus, so long as you run your furnace and set your thermostat at a reasonable minimum temperature (I would say around 50 or so) your holding tank will not freeze. Also, keep in mind that 100% pure water (i.e., distilled) freezes at 32 degrees. Impure water freezes at a lower temperature depending on the degree of impurities. Since your holding tank surely contains water with a lot of impurities, its freezing point will be somewhat lower than 32 degrees.

Does this answer your question?
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:58 AM   #3
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AnnArborBob
Yes, thank you.
D
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:48 AM   #4
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Exception to furnace freeze protection would be the cold and hot water system drain valves and fresh water tank drain valves, which on trailers like mine are all exposed to weather under the trailer. The external shower valves behind the plastic or stainless door may not do well either.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Exception to furnace freeze protection would be the cold and hot water system drain valves and fresh water tank drain valves, which on trailers like mine are all exposed to weather under the trailer. The external shower valves behind the plastic or stainless door may not do well either.
Good point, Doug. When we traveled from north to south, we ran into overnight temperatures in the mid teens and had no issues with the low point drain valves and the anti-freeze was still in the outdoor shower and black tank flush valves from the winterizing we had done earlier in the fall so those parts were protected. We've been above freezing now for about a month and so far so good. No leaks!
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:25 PM   #6
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I don't think the new 16 - 20' FC Bambi series has any ducting to the holding or water tanks. I believe they all use 12 volt electric heat pads, at least my 2014 FC 20 does. The furnaces on these smaller models is direct vent, one large outlet into the interior with no ductwork to anyplace.

On my FC 20, the black water tank is above the floor, directly under the toilet, and so is inside the heated area of the trailer and will not freeze. However the dump valve and some pipe are exposed outside and certainly could freeze.

The gray water and fresh water tanks are both located in and below the belly pan and are heated with electric pads, 12 volt, with switches (in my 20') in the bathroom, one for each tank. They take about 4 amps at 12 volts each, and so if boon docking without access to 120 volt power to keep the battery charged, will quickly exhaust your battery. It is kind of a dumb design. In addition, the gray water drain line runs outside, unheated and un insulated to the gray water dump valve, and so even if the heating pads are on, there is uninsulated exposed pipe to freeze. Again, I wonder "what were they thinking".

So, that is how the 20' FC works, and I think your 19' is probably similar.
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:44 PM   #7
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idroba may be right, but our 2002 19' Bambi does have heat ducted to the gray and blackwater tanks. Airstream has never changed the floorplan, so maybe they have retained the tank heating arrangement.

We have used our trailer often in temperatures down to 9 F overnight and have never had the tanks freeze. We always run the propane furnace in order to be sure that the tanks are heated.

Here http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ns-128364.html is a discussion of the freezing-drain problem.

Tim
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
I don't think the new 16 - 20' FC Bambi series has any ducting to the holding or water tanks. I believe they all use 12 volt electric heat pads, at least my 2014 FC 20 does. The furnaces on these smaller models is direct vent, one large outlet into the interior with no ductwork to anyplace.
If idroba's observation applies to the OP's particular trailer then my solution will not apply. I would encourage the OP to verify the furnace setup in his trailer before proceeding into sub-freezing areas. A frozen tank and/or water system is a major expense to repair and needs to be avoided.

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Old 12-19-2014, 01:10 AM   #9
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Ok I found some information in the manual that I missed somehow on the first pass. Lesson learned for new Airstream owners, read the manual a few times.

First to set the stage we are discussing a 2015 19 FC. The manual states that the fresh water tank is above the floor and in the heated portion of the trailer. The gray holding tank is below the floor, insulated and a 2" duct from the furnace supplies heat to it. The black tank is below floor insulated with no heat ducted to it. While mentioning no ducted heat it does not say electric pad heat is provided, therefore I conclude there is not electric pad heat. The manual does recommend RV antifreeze for the black tank in freezing conditions.

Mention of the outdoor shower, low point drains and un-insulated dump valves systems are, should be, of concern. Great catch to "dkottum" et all. Anybody want to offer up experience with these potential cold weather weak points?

"Tim A" you have never had a problem with these weak points, correct? I am assuming you are running all the self contained system while camping.

Thanks Again Airstreamers!!!!!!!
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Old 12-19-2014, 01:22 AM   #10
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Tim A.... Thanks for the link, good stuff..

In post above the word "additional" should preceed the word "experience" in the second to last paragraph.

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Old 12-19-2014, 08:25 AM   #11
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Remember that only pure (i.e., distilled) water freezes at 32 F. Liquids with impurities (i.e., your black tank) will freeze at a lower temperature. Seattle is not known for long hard freezes so you may be OK by just dumping the black tank and throwing in a little bit of anti-freeze for good measure.
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Old 12-19-2014, 08:32 AM   #12
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Our 20 FC was the same as idroba explained ... no furnace / heat ducting paralleling water concerns. It had a single point furnace outlet; we did NOT trust the "freeze protection" when the temps dropped - we dry camped from that point on ...before parking for the winter.
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Old 02-25-2015, 09:56 PM   #13
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I recently froze the gray water valve @ 22 deg; needed to thaw it with hot water , but broke handle trying to open it while frozen . Black water valve didn't freeze....on 2013 FC
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