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Old 02-12-2021, 03:26 PM   #1
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2016 26' Flying Cloud
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How cold can we camp with furnace running

We are camping in south central Texas in our FC 26U where lows down to 10 degrees F are expected at night. We have no external hoses and we are topped off propane. We will be running our furnace. Will the furnace keep the internal pipes and holding tanks from freezing, or should we drain everything and winterize?

Jeff
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Old 02-12-2021, 03:46 PM   #2
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I'm thinking you'll be fine, as long as furnace keeps running.
Thats why I always keep a generator available, for portable electric heaters.
I also have Buddy Portable propane heaters, for backup.
I don't use Airstream propane furnace, or appliances, in my mountain Yard whale, I'm all electric.
Old mechanic, every mechanical device will fail at some point.
Backups are important, you never know.Especially in cold weather in a trailer.
Mechanical failures/ power outages/ seem to favor late nights.
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Old 02-12-2021, 04:01 PM   #3
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You should be good but I'd take the outside shower handle off and store until things warm up a bit. I use 2" foam in there but in a pinch I think you could get away with a face towel. From my experience the outside shower is one of the weak points for freezing.
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Old 02-12-2021, 05:42 PM   #4
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Too many crucial variables for a reliable and meaningful reply IMO.

Where are you? Here is the detailed NWS forecast for the San Antonio airport, for example:

https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClic...0&AheadDay.y=9

. . . which calls for very strong north winds for a few days, with a low of 12F by Tuesday. [See "Forward 2 Days" button]

That wind can be the killer IMO.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

You might want to peruse the Winterizing forum and the Sticky Topic at the top:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f458/
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f45...rize-7222.html

PS -- If your city water intake port, and/or exterior shower faucets, face the prevailing strong north wind, those are two easy-to-identify weak links in the chain. The interior spaces near these should be kept especially warm, and any lower cabinet doors left open. A small portable electric heater aimed at these areas will improve your odds IMO. Hopefully you have shore power? Good recent suggestion to remove the outdoor shower spray head and its hose . . . and good tips from Brian in the next post . . .

Good luck . . . and please update us next week, about the additional steps you take, and how it all works out.
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Old 02-12-2021, 05:44 PM   #5
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I did some heat transfer modeling last winter and came up with the general guidance that the water pipes in the walls will run steady state at 1/2 the difference between the inside and outside temperature and will take about two hours to get to that state. So if its 10 outside you need the temp to be 50 inside to prevent freezing. If it is windy (> 15 mph) add 5 degrees to the required inside temp. The exceptions are the low point drain valves, the outside shower and the city water inlet. So remove the outside shower hose and stuff anything you have into the void. Bubble wrap is water proof but paper will do in a pinch. Also tape a 12 inch diameter bit of bubble wrap or cardboard (three or more thicknesses) or anything on the city inlet and wrap the low point drain valves if you can.

That cold hits us on Monday .... but it will be 10 degrees warmer here.
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Old 02-12-2021, 05:52 PM   #6
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That cold front is hitting me right now. We’re expecting a high temperature of 2 degrees tomorrow, with a low temperature of -8 degrees on Saturday night. Chilly! I was going to go to the storage facility and do a few minor projects on my winterized Airstream to prepare for our first outing of 2021, but I may wait for warmer weather.

I used to live in Dripping Springs, TX back when it was a sleepy small town. I remember what an ordeal it was when the temperature dropped that low. Texans aren’t used to that!
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Old 02-12-2021, 06:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcooper0 View Post
. . .
. . . or should we drain everything and winterize?
. . .
PS -- Personally . . . for what it's worth . . . that is what I would do, with that extreme weather event barreling down on you from the Rockies.

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Old 02-12-2021, 06:17 PM   #8
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When it hits us with an expected low of 18 I won't be winterizing.....
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Old 02-12-2021, 07:11 PM   #9
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Thats not cold!! Tonight it is calling for -33, with a -53 wind chill up here in the north!! We've had this weather for the last 2 weeks.
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Old 02-12-2021, 07:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbwell View Post
thats not cold!! Tonight it is calling for -33, with a -53 wind chill up here in the north!! We've had this weather for the last 2 weeks.
ouch
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Old 02-12-2021, 07:43 PM   #11
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To all you cold weather folks, after surviving 19 winters at ORD Chicago we are now in the Valley of the sun. Phoenix where we donít know what winterizing our SA is. However we have camped in northern ILL in the winter with a coldest temperature we survived in the trailer was -5 standing. Open all inside doors and drawers, have propane heater on to heat the water tank area, have a small electric heater working to help propane heater. Disconnect all outside hoses, and store, remove shower hose and pack the area with something to help keep it above 32 degrees. Lots of blankets and enjoy your time.
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Old 02-13-2021, 10:13 AM   #12
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One aspect of cold weather heating not mentioned is the BTU effectiveness of propane at temperatures below freezing.
We wintered in our 31' AS to temperatures as low as 14F and not getting abouve freezing during the day. We "winterized" our propane tanks by making an inner propane cover liner of reflectrix and placed an incandescent 60 watt light bulb by the regulator under the tank covers.Took a bit of pre-rigging to set up the cover, work light, electrical cord-it did help with the propane effiency and kept the regulator from freezing.
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Old 02-13-2021, 10:38 AM   #13
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Go further south into the Baja or is it Bah ha. While I like cold in the winter the AS does not..
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Old 02-13-2021, 01:27 PM   #14
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you guys should be fine. we took a trip to Taos, NM over Christmas in our 25' Eddie Bauer AS where temperatures were single digits to below zero. We kept furnace running at an inside temp of 60 degrees and were just fine. If you hook up to water, simply leave one faucet barely running overnight and that should prevent your pipes from freezing up. Winter Airstreaming is a blast....

Good Luck! JHS
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Old 02-13-2021, 01:38 PM   #15
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The biggest issue is to watch the LP tank levels. You’ll go through a tank in about 2 days. I bought an extra tank when we were camping in cold weather for a week. It was nice to have that little extra buffer. I always kept a spare full. AS’s go through lots of LP. Also you will need to keep a fan running to prevent humidity unless you have a portable dehumidifier. Something I have been meaning to get.

Other than that play some games and enjoy it. Tonight it will be -23 in Wisconsin.
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Old 02-13-2021, 03:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daquenzer View Post
...Also you will need to keep a fan running to prevent humidity unless you have a portable dehumidifier. Something I have been meaning to get. ...
A dehumidifier, that's a great idea! We've had humidity issues when using the HP's and would put the fan on Med. or Low, not Auto, to keep air moving.

Had a couple of different types of dehumidifiers in our boat(s) but never thought about one for the A/S. Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2021, 03:39 PM   #17
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How cold...?

Iím a bit late on the reply but I see you have some good responses. I agree with the comment concerning outdoor shower being a weakest link. In addition to adding insulation in the ext shower area, I would also direct an electric heater toward an open kitchen sink door as the fixture is located on the outside wall opposite this location. We also use an electric heater to supplement the furnace to save propane. The furnace (via the thermostat) will still come on as needed and circulate/regulate per the thermostat. Safe travels...
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Old 02-13-2021, 03:51 PM   #18
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I would not chance it without shore power...
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Old 02-14-2021, 03:28 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by IB Streamin View Post
I’m a bit late on the reply but I see you have some good responses. I agree with the comment concerning outdoor shower being a weakest link. In addition to adding insulation in the ext shower area, I would also direct an electric heater toward an open kitchen sink door as the fixture is located on the outside wall opposite this location. We also use an electric heater to supplement the furnace to save propane. The furnace (via the thermostat) will still come on as needed and circulate/regulate per the thermostat. Safe travels...
Thanks OP for the update. Please let us know how it works out. BTW where are you located for this adventure? Near San Antonio +/-?

Per Post #4 . . . the devil is in the temp/wind details of that NWS forecast, which is still calling for overnight lows of 12F, with constant 20-30 MPH north winds for this afternoon through most of Monday.

Not a friendly environment for camping!

PS -- These short-term NWS forecasts are remarkably accurate, because the real-time data is looped back into the NWS system, which then re-calibrates the forecast -- very handy for travelers IMO.

Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2021, 08:07 AM   #20
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I would not chance it without shore power...
The single best defense against trailer freezing when not winterized is the propane furnace. Simply maintain an inside temperature that is equal or more than the difference between the outdoor temp and freezing. Add 5 if wind is above 15 mph. If the furnace fails you have 2-3 hours to drain the water and blow the pipes out, or establish running water or an alternative heat source.
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