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Old 11-19-2016, 04:04 AM   #1
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Using periodically in winter...Not winterizing

It has been a long time since I have been visiting airstream forums. I used to be visiting this site in the past everyday, but now that I have restored two airstreams I have kind of been away from forums.

Here is what I am doing these days... I have one of my airstreams in a barn up north and will be going back and forth to visit my trailer during winter (450 miles away)to build my retirement home. I have already winterized it, but I will be using it every other month and I don't want to keep winterizing each time I visit. My question is what type of heater which is safe can I put in my trailer that will keep my valves and water lines from freezing? I want to know if anybody else has been doing this. I don't want to burn the trailer and barn down by having some sort of electrical short. I also want to keep the temp in the trailer just above freezing so I can use a minimal amount of electricity. I have electric and a water hook up in the barn which is a nice convince. The heater I am thinking of is a oil heater with a thermostat. Your knowledge would be very much appreciated.
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Old 11-19-2016, 04:24 AM   #2
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I used one of these on my boat for many years. Just a possibility for you.
https://the-boatsafe-llc.myshopify.com/

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Old 11-19-2016, 04:33 AM   #3
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One power outage and it's done no matter what heater you use. I would blow it out or drain and charge with antifreeze each time.
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Old 11-19-2016, 06:54 AM   #4
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thanks for the feedback. I worry about the electric going out also. It would be a gamble.
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Old 11-19-2016, 07:43 AM   #5
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How do you keep the water from freezing at the spigot outside the AS? Can you use that to get water for a temporary solution each time?

Maybe have a 5 gallon container in the kitchen area for washing dishes and another in the bath for showers (this will have to be heated on the stove first). Add a pump to each going to the sink and shower. When it's time to leave, dump the 5 gallons and pour antifreeze in the traps. Put the pumps in the trunk of your car and go home, reassemble when you go back.
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Old 11-19-2016, 07:45 AM   #6
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Best not to be hooked up to water in feeezing temps, but instead fill your freshwater tank.

Most campgrounds open in winter have some access to water, tho not always at every site.
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Old 11-19-2016, 10:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lothlorian View Post
Here is what I am doing these days... I have one of my airstreams in a barn up north and will be going back and forth to visit my trailer during winter (450 miles away)to build my retirement home. I have already winterized it, but I will be using it every other month and I don't want to keep winterizing each time I visit. My question is what type of heater which is safe can I put in my trailer that will keep my valves and water lines from freezing? I want to know if anybody else has been doing this. I don't want to burn the trailer and barn down by having some sort of electrical short. I also want to keep the temp in the trailer just above freezing so I can use a minimal amount of electricity. I have electric and a water hook up in the barn which is a nice convince. The heater I am thinking of is a oil heater with a thermostat. Your knowledge would be very much appreciated.
I went back and reread your post, sorry, a little sleepy this morning. First of all, welcome back to the forum.

Second, I see you keep your AS in a barn, so how are you getting water to it now? Do you just take it out and fill up the fresh water tank and bring it back to the barn or is there a water line in the barn? Going back to my original post, is there some way for you to bring 5-gallon water totes and create a temporary water system?
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Old 11-19-2016, 12:05 PM   #8
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It just seems like the relatively small cost in time to winterize is really worth it. Even when I'm pulling my AS in sub-freezing temps I 'quick winterize" it meaning I open the hot and cold water valves for the full system at the back of (my) trailer and open the faucets, empty the fresh tank and black tank (no grey tank on mine), empty the water heater, and just leave everything wide open inside. I run about a cup of antifreeze into the water pump to clear the pump of water and put a couple cups worth of antifreeze in the drain traps - all of 3 drains including the tub.

It takes me about 5 more minutes at hitch and leave time. Then when I get home I go ahead and blow the system out and and finalize the routine - again it takes longer to get the 33 gallon compressor charged up and ready than it does to actually winterize. You already know all of this since you've restored several trailers and I'm not saying anything you don't already know.
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Old 11-19-2016, 12:13 PM   #9
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Heater to keep water lines freeze free

I live in CT and keep my AS in my garage/barn. While I drain the lines and empty the water tank, I am concerned about the water pump which is buried under electric cables and a heating duct. To avoid disassembling all this, and to avoid antifreeze in my water lines, I bought a boat heater from West Marine about three years ago. It has several energy levels and a thermostat. The setting I like the best is the Anti-freeze setting which automatically turns on the heater when the temp drops below 38 deg F (3 deg C) and will keep the heater running to maintain this temp. It applies to confined areas and I pick up the floor of the closet and place it on top of the black water tank near the water pump. So far so good! It is model 7867500, is made in Canada. The name on the warranty card is Caframo Ltd., R.R. #2 Wiarton, Ont NOH 2TO. This is an electric unit and I am fortunate to have a backup generator.
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Old 11-19-2016, 01:23 PM   #10
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I open all of the faucets (both hot and cold) open the drains to the ground, drain the lines, empty the HW, and the supply tanks, blow out the system @35 psi (run the pump while blowing air) and leave the drains open. Blow out water line to black tank, add antifreeze to all Drains to fill Ptraps, and toilet. No problems with freezing in CT. I also use a Milk House heater (made in USA) on low heat with cupboard doors and access panel open for circulation. Maybe more work but I don't like any antifreeze in my supply water.
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Old 11-19-2016, 01:30 PM   #11
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What are the coldest temperatures you expect?
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Old 11-19-2016, 03:07 PM   #12
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Winterizing

At about $2.50 a gallon for antifreeze, I drain all my water, put two gallons of pink antifreeze in my water tank and run all my lines till they are pink. Don't forget to drain your water heater and shut off the bypass. Dump a few cups into your sink traps.
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Old 11-19-2016, 04:22 PM   #13
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this doesn't answer your question about heaters... though to me the boat heater sounds great....but here in Arkansas we don't close everything up from October to May. that being said we may have temps like this week 80's for highs and now freeze warning for tonight. so what I do to keep ready for the lovely surprise weekends, is put cheap vodka in my traps and tanks. a bit more money than antifreeze but worth it to me to be healthy safe and ready!
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Old 11-19-2016, 06:10 PM   #14
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Here in NorCal I am confronted with a similar situation as eggman--warmer days and sometimes freezing nights. I use my trailer year-round so I don't winterize. Instead I have a small, relatively inexpensive catalytic heater that works perfectly well. The heat setting on it allows for infinite adjustment (analog for you techies), so I set it to come on just before freezing. As soon as the temp rises above the set point, the heater turns off. Dairy farmers in this area have been using larger heaters like this in their milk barns for decades. Google "milkhouse heater".
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Old 11-19-2016, 08:08 PM   #15
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Thinking this through, I think 450 miles away is just a bit too far to leave any sort of electronic device running that may cause a fire. The other consideration is that any power outage that may occur will shut down your heater and then all is for naught. Even with some sort of security device that features an app for your smart phone to notify you of the situation, you're still 450 miles away. Can you get back there in time to prevent any damage? Winter travel is not always that reliable. If there was someone local competent enough to check daily and reset breakers etc. it may work but if you are relying solely upon yourself, I think I'd winterize fully and rough it for the time you are there as was indicated in an earlier post.

Good luck and please post what you finally decide to do and then how it works out...
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Old 11-20-2016, 12:36 PM   #16
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Fear of fire with an electric heater? Don't be scared off by what you don't fully understand. If they were inherently dangerous, there'd be lotsa burned down barns hereabouts. Fires with electric heaters are caused by improper use, like tall radiant heaters being bumped over and igniting flammable material that was too close to begin with. After a straightforward draining of the water lines, put your electric heater on a metal tray on the trailer floor, being sure the circuit you plug into has a circuit breaker that is not over-rated or under-rated for the heater's power load. Of course you also want to be sure the reliability of local line power is good. There are no 100% guarantees, but my suspicion is you are more likely to miss something in repeated winterizing procedures than you would by following the simple precautions of setting up an electric heater.
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Old 11-20-2016, 02:37 PM   #17
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RVs aren't as well insulated as most homes and cabins. Additional precautions are usually necessary to insulate them for winter months.

First find your areas average (mean) winter temperatures. Take a look at historical winter temperature data, most areas have data going back at least 30 years and will provide a average high and low mean temperatures for a 30 year period.

Another difference is most RVs don't have a buried water supply that goes directly into the RV. Water is normally supplied above ground through a water supply hose and facet. Both the facet and water supply hose need to have adequate insulation. Adequate insulation may mean insulation of larger insulated plastic pipe around external above ground water supply lines.

Another thing you can do is shorten the RV water supply hose and then insulate. Longer water supply hoses are more difficult to insulate and more susceptible to freezing.

If temperatures in your area significantly drop during the winter months, installation of an electrical heating strip for the water supply may be necessary.

Once the water supply has be insulated for a specific areas winter weather. What I usually do is install a portable electric oil heater in the RV and set the thermostat to low or possibly medium temperature setting. Electric oil heaters I find work the best to maintain internal room temperatures inside a RV. As long as their functioning properly, you can pretty much leave them alone for extended periods of time without any worry.

Other things I've done to better insulate RVs is to re-insulate an RV's walls, ceiling and floor. This can be difficult for many RVs as the RV's skin and wall panels may have little or no readily available access. Installation of a rug sometimes helps to insulate a RV.

Some areas you need to insulate and/or make certain the sewer lines and holding tanks are well drained. Otherwise sewer lines and/of holding tanks can potentially freeze up damaging the lines, hoses, and possibly damaging the holding tanks. This type of problem is often with sewer hoses attached from the RV black / grey water tank to septic connection, freeze up.
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:46 PM   #18
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I have a Stanley set to low in my Sovereign. It's in the rear bath area on the floor and the whole coach is pleasantly warm. Lows in the lower 30s. Even in past years when the temp dropped into the teens it stayed warm.
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Old 12-01-2016, 06:11 PM   #19
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I hope you don't mind if I ask a question on your thread?

I live in the mountains of AZ and have just brought my Airstream Home. We have been having freezing temperatures and my 16' Bambi has been professionally winterized before I picked it up. since I have been going in and out continuously while I have been setting her up, I have left my heater on at 50 degrees utilizing the propane tanks.

I was wondering what people's thoughts were on doing this and any concerns I should be aware of.

Thanks!
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Old 12-01-2016, 06:15 PM   #20
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I was wondering what people's thoughts were on doing this and any concerns I should be aware of.

Thanks!
If you run the tanks empty it is a little bit of a hassle, but not much, to get the furnace and stove to fire up again. You will have to bleed off the air until you get propane. I would get the stove lit first and then go for the furnace.
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