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Old 03-29-2009, 06:31 AM   #1
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Below Freezing While Driving

I've been using my AS since 87 and have almost every year encountered temps below freezing temps when traveling from one place to another. I just leave the trailers furnace on the lowest temperature setting and check to make sure it's working every few hours during a normal rest stop.
I'm rather new to the forum and wondering what all of you do to avoid frozen pipes and tanks in this situation?
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Old 03-29-2009, 08:53 AM   #2
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I haven't yet used the furnace while driving in the past 1 1/2 years. I figure the movement keeps the water from freezing in the tanks and there's enough warmth retained inside from the time the furnace was on to protect the pipes. Also, during the day, there's enough sun on the trailer, even on cloudy days, to warm it up. If it were down in the teens, then I would consider turning on the furnace. The lowest setting in our trailer is 40˚.

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Old 03-29-2009, 08:54 AM   #3
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We don't worry about it too much, unless the temp is really far below freezing. The motion of the trailer will help keep the water sloshing around, and keep it from solidifying. Fast-moving river rapids don't generally freeze, but a slow moving stream or lake will.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:00 AM   #4
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I'm a little surprised to hear this since my thoughts would be that the water in the plumbing isn't really sloshing around....maybe the tanks would be..

I just think of the plumbing that is below the floor and in those areas where the furnace is vented to. To me it's a roll of the dice as to when it gets too cold. Personally I'd rather take the safe route and deploy some heat. The penalty for guessing wrong is too great.

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Old 03-29-2009, 09:03 AM   #5
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I'm a little surprised to hear this since my thoughts would be that the water in the plumbing isn't really sloshing around....maybe the tanks would be..

I just think of the plumbing that is below the floor and in those areas where the furnace is vented to. To me it's a roll of the dice as to when it gets too cold. Personally I'd rather take the safe route and deploy some heat. The penalty for guessing wrong is too great.

Jack
Jack, in our trailer the only part of the plumbing that is below floor level and subject to freezing from not having the furnace on, is the fresh water inlet pipe, and it sticks out of the trailer. Everything else except the fresh and waste holding tanks are above floor level. It is this way on a 2007 we have in the shop right now as well.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:04 AM   #6
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Put a simple thermometer inside a lower cabinet where your pipes run. In cold conditions after driving a distance, stop and check that you're not anywhere close to freezing.

Wind chill will remove a lot of heat while underway unless the furnace is running. There is a safety tradeoff of running LP vs. not doing so. FWIW leave lower cabinet doors ajar if you can so that heated air can actually get in to where the pipes are. Check that thermometer on occasion so you can appropriately set the thermostat. Thermostat settings even in the low 60s will burn an awful lot of LP -- or I sure did once on a 350 mile trip at 15 above.

Shower mixer valves on exterior walls are especially vulnerable to destructive freezing. I don't think the furnace will save you there if it's especially cold outside.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:06 AM   #7
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Put a simple thermometer inside a lower cabinet where your pipes run. In cold conditions after driving a distance, stop and check that you're not anywhere close to freezing.

Wind chill will remove a lot of heat while underway unless the furnace is running. There is a safety tradeoff of running LP vs. not doing so. FWIW leave lower cabinet doors ajar if you can so that heated air can actually get in to where the pipes are. Check that thermometer on occasion so you can appropriately set the thermostat. Thermostat settings even in the low 60s will burn an awful lot of LP -- or I sure did once on a 350 mile trip at 15 above.

Shower mixer valves on exterior walls are especially vulnerable to destructive freezing. I don't think the furnace will save you there if it's especially cold outside.
I wonder if a catalytic heater would put out enough heat in that case. I know they burn a lot less LP.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:12 AM   #8
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I've been using my AS since 87 and have almost every year encountered temps below freezing temps when traveling from one place to another. I just leave the trailers furnace on the lowest temperature setting and check to make sure it's working every few hours during a normal rest stop.
I'm rather new to the forum and wondering what all of you do to avoid frozen pipes and tanks in this situation?
Same thing although I leave it at 55. The airstream is not air tight underneath.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Jack, in our trailer the only part of the plumbing that is below floor level and subject to freezing from not having the furnace on, is the fresh water inlet pipe, and it sticks out of the trailer. Everything else except the fresh and waste holding tanks are above floor level. It is this way on a 2007 we have in the shop right now as well.
One area I'm thinking of is the shower drain trap. That drops below floor level.
Other areas like under the our closet floor have cutouts in the plywood floor that would allow air intrusion that gets into the underbelly to filter in to.

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Old 03-29-2009, 09:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Put a simple thermometer inside a lower cabinet where your pipes run. In cold conditions after driving a distance, stop and check that you're not anywhere close to freezing.
I carry one of those thermometers that have a remote sending unit. I usually mount the remote outside when I'm camped. Next time we are out I might pack the remote down in the areas where I have concern. I'll put the receiver in the van and see if we can get a reading as we travel. Good idea Bob.

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Old 03-29-2009, 09:31 AM   #11
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I have been towing in below freezing conditions all winter and haven't had a problem i don't leave any heat on after I begin my trip an dI find if my AS is at 70 when I leave even when the weather is in the teens - 20's I am still in the 40's for over 8 hours!
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:42 AM   #12
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propane on while driving??

"Wind chill will remove a lot of heat while underway unless the furnace is running. There is a safety tradeoff of running LP vs. not doing so. "

We have heard both extremes from many people about having propane on while driving---from never, ever leave propane on while driving as you can cause an explosion, to people who leave it on 24-7 and see no risk whatsoever. One fellow traveler told us that it is illegal in some states to drive with your propane on.

What do the forum experts have to say on this matter??

Thanks.
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Old 03-30-2009, 08:14 AM   #13
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The other thing I didn't mention is I enjoy driving at night. So the temps drop rather fast and stay there. I do like the idea about the remote temp sensor to check vulnerable areas where the pipes might freeze.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:27 PM   #14
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This is an interesting thread, and something I've wondered about myself. This answers one of my questions Here's a thought; The outside hose connection is obviously vulnerable to freezing. I've seen a fitting you screw in to that connection that has the same end as a tire valve stem. Has anyone tried blowing some air in to the line to push the water away from the outside of the fitting? Or will the 12 volt pump push the water back up the line?
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:47 PM   #15
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The city water inlet has a one way valve that prevents the pump from sending water up that line.

I don't know of any states that have laws about leaving the propane on except in certain situations—the tunnel at Norfolk, Va., is one. Car ferries will require the propane be turned off. Manitoba and one of the Maritime provinces (maybe NS) also prohibit it, but how would they know? I've not seen a propane check station when I've entered those provinces (this is, of course, hypothetical as I would never suggest anyone break the law). Perhaps spoiled food in the fridge would be more dangerous than leaving the propane on, but the fridge stays cold for a long time and you can put frozen gel packs in it.

The best way to keep the water sloshing around in the potable water tank is keep it half full. Plenty of slosh space and enough water to retain some warmth. 2air has posted the grey and black tanks are not heated directly like the potable water tank. I think their contents probably lower the freezing point a bit, especially the black tank. You could put some salt into them to lower it more, though I haven't tried it. It true the water doesn't slosh in the pipes, but so far nothing has frozen.

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Old 10-26-2009, 07:08 AM   #16
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We also use a remote sensing thermometer - really takes the guesswork out of the discussion.

It is rare that we have had to use the furnace when driving (can only think of once) - but we several times have chosen to turn the furnace on towards the end of a long travel day when the interior temperature is cold (but not freezing) and it will likely take longer to warm up the trailer (i.e. my wife hates a cold bed) than we would like.


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Old 10-26-2009, 07:31 AM   #17
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The best way to keep the water sloshing around in the potable water tank is keep it half full. Plenty of slosh space and enough water to retain some warmth. 2air has posted the grey and black tanks are not heated directly like the potable water tank. I think their contents probably lower the freezing point a bit, especially the black tank. You could put some salt into them to lower it more, though I haven't tried it. It true the water doesn't slosh in the pipes, but so far nothing has frozen.

Gene

I use the pink stuff...not sure a concentration of salt would be a good idea...

Pink stuff will prevent your valves from freezing up also, which are even more vulnerable than the tanks.
No valve...no dump.

Heat on low is the best way to prevent damage to systems. If you have to shut it off due to tunnells,refueling, car ferries, etc, just turn it back on when you get a chance, everything should be OK for an hour or two.

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Old 11-23-2019, 09:13 AM   #18
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If you are worried you could lways winterize it between campsites. I know it's a hassle but it would alleviate your stress.
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Old 11-23-2019, 09:16 AM   #19
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We leave home winterized when leaving in the spring..as we get into -6 to 20 degrees . No water..in unit
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Old 11-23-2019, 10:52 AM   #20
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I see a lot of names here I haven't seen in years. I hope they are all well.

Probably the coldest temps we had while traveling were the first time we took a long trip (2 weeks) with the Airstream in 2007 about a month after we bought it. When we started from Cortez, Colorado, one morning it was in the upper teens and in the 20's a good part of the day. I don't remember where we stayed that night—maybe northern Arizona, but the temps did warm up. We were green and maybe lucky, but nothing froze and we did not keep the furnace on while driving. I may have turned it on when we were stopped and think I had to do that some other time, but can't really recall.

If the temps stayed in the teens all day, I would have done more. Either stop often and run the furnace or just run it while driving. In 2007, we really didn't understand things very well, but had no problems. Of course, if we were driving from Montana early in the spring, I'd look at it differently. From here we can be in warmer climes pretty quickly.
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