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Old 10-29-2010, 07:57 AM   #21
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Dan are you sure it was your water line that froze. maybe it was the campgrounds line or the faucet. The steel faucet or tap will get colder first and freeze.
The campground faucet is heated. It has two spigots... I opened the "spare" and water flowed fine, so I think it's good to that point. I'm wondering if the heater in the campground piping "fooled" my heat tape thermostat into thinking it was warmer out, causing it to not turn on. The heat tape thermostat is not too far from the heated spigot. I will check it out this weekend.
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:04 AM   #22
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Movin-in is mistaken if he thinks minimum temps at 8,000 feet in Colorado are going to be 10 degrees. Minus 10 in a warm year is more like it. In Grand Lake Colorado at 8,400 feet my recording thermometer showed the minimum of -32 last winter. Fortunately, I was in Mexico and the Airstream was in Tucson.
dmac has real world experience living in Denver at 5200 feet. Despite his ingenuity, he is pushing the envelope living all winter in a poorly insulated Airstream.
Wanabe full timers are better off living at the Y or taking their Airstreams to the sunbelt.
Last winter I rented a townhome in Denver. There were long period of cold, which is concerning to me! Grand Lake is much colder than here, of course.

I am here "temporarily" (although it's been 15 months now) and don't want to sign a lease and can't afford much since my income mostly goes home to pay for the house and family bills. Anyway, I will take it one month at a time. There are many other campers at this RV park who stay year round... brrrr.
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:07 AM   #23
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Dan your thoughts on the campground heater fooling your tstat sound plausible. One other spot to chack would be your city water connection. Again it's metal and may have froze there. Check your interior piping as well. I had one spot where the main supply line went under the floor to cross over from roadside to curbside. The exact spot where it went under the floor was right at the same spot the fridge drew in fresh air through the belly. On very cold days it would freeze there and I had to use a hair dyrer to thaw it out. Your trialer may be different though brcause it is so much newer than mine.
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:15 AM   #24
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I ran the heat tape up-to and along the trailer's city water connection, and insulated it too. From there that pipe goes inside and under the rear corner bed area. Since no heat is in that area I bought a small thermostatically controlled electric heater and put it back there. I also put a remote thermometer in there, and it is staying 43 F or higher. So, I'm pretty sure the hose froze.
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:32 AM   #25
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That sounds like a good idea!! It does get cold in your area!!
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:36 AM   #26
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If heat tape doesn't work ,perhaps a heat cable that you would use in eave troughs might work. Wrap it around the water inlet .
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:55 AM   #27
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Don't wrap heat tape over itself. That will burn it out fast. It only lasts a few years anyway. I think I have seen heated hoses in catalogues for winter use. Have you looked in the Camping World on I-70 near 38th and Youngsfield?

If we sell our house in the winter, we are planning in living in our trailer in Santa Fe until we find another house. While SF isn't as cold as Denver, it is at 7,000', so we may have the same issues.

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Old 10-29-2010, 10:25 AM   #28
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Virginia Beach normally has six to eight weeks of "winter" but the temperature rarely gets below the 20's (F). Nonetheless the old propane tanks take a beating when that oinking piggy furnace runs. If you're really in cold - like Colorado - I'd say a pair of 100lb or a single 250lb tank, with auto refill, is an absolute necessity. I'd also keep the factory tanks topped off to get you through a bad night when the big tanks run out prematurely. Here I just keep a standard "refill/exchange" tank or two. And of course the 30's I have on the Airstream only run out at 3 AM.

More and more campgrounds are charging for electricity because so many campers have space heaters of one kind or another, but I'm not sure that as inefficient as the furnaces are, electricity might truly be cheaper.

As for "professional skirting" on a trailer - in Colorado - I'd get it anyway even with the snaps. There's another newer Airstream in my campground with a skirt made of Zipdee fabric that matches his awning. His is VELCROED on and the prickly side, which is on the trailer, is the "glue on" kind. He uses black Velcro and glues it just below the bottom band where the floor is attached. I think he actually pulls off the velcro in the summer - the glue will dissolve with veggie oil. I do think though that the wheel well covers have traditional snaps. I don't think that the fabric alone would offer that much protection especially in Colorado, but who knows what evil lurks under it? If you carefully trimmed the pink stryofoam and then covered it with nicely tucked in ZipDee fabric, could they really object? Of course ZipDee fabric itself isn't cheap either.

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Old 10-29-2010, 10:56 AM   #29
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Upon further thought.... winterize and get a room at the Y. It's too darned cold up there!

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Old 10-29-2010, 02:13 PM   #30
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I've also seen ads for heated water hose. It's expensive though. Depending on the brand, as much as $90 to $200 for 15 to 25 ft. hoses. Here's a link. Make sure you take a look at the reviews:

Amazon.com: PIRIT PWL-02-25 Water Line 25-Foot Heated Water Hose: Patio, Lawn & Garden
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Old 10-29-2010, 10:21 PM   #31
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No one has discussed auxiliary heating with electric. Granted that overall the furnace will keep the AS warm, but there is nothing to equal the radiant heat of an electric heater. Permanent of portable? Experience and recommendations? Zigi
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:24 PM   #32
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I've been there and done that, but not in an airstream. You'll have to skirt to keep the wind from freezing pipes, even pipes inside the trailer. Insulated skirting is a must. A light bulb or two or milk house heater under the trailer will help, but keep the bulbs off the staw or any combustibles. When it really does get cold, not that 10 degree summer: Running hoses will freeze while running full stream. Dump valves that are open will let the freeze (and mice) in farther into the trailer. Leave the water running at all faucets all the time. (and someone will always turn them off when you're not looking and you're froze up for another few days). If the water stops running, you have a few moments to get the freezing pressure off before the isolated pressure points breaks the pipes, then a few more moments to find the freeze and thaw it out. A 2 liter bottle of hot water, with a hole poked in the top works well to thaw out pipes. Wind will be the cause of a lot of freezes, and frequently adjacent to the water heater. Your heat tape needs to be on metal, or thinking it's on metal before it comes on. An extension cord with a light at the plug helps to show if there's power at the heat tape. It takes days and more days for your black water and gray water tanks to thaw out under there in the spring thaw out of the sun. Expect nice animals to be camping with you inside the skirting. Your sewer line will always be running up hill and therefore frozen. You'll be tired of winter before Thanksgiving. Oh, it might snow too. Snow against the skirting is really a nice insulator and stops a lot of wind. Tiny snow dust, drifts inside also helps to find the air leaks in your insulation. Tell us of your 100 below wind chill experiences, and what the snow sounds like when you're walking on it. If you're in a campsite, some nice helpful person will turn your water or power off for you about every day after you leave for work. It will always be dark when you're looking for the freeze.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:11 AM   #33
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Upon further thought.... winterize and get a room at the Y. It's too darned cold up there!

Paula
The Y does not have rooms!

I'll take it month-by-month. If it gets ridiculous, I'll find an extended stay hotel.

I'm really hoping to find a job at home... but after 2 years of looking, I may be working here awhile.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:16 AM   #34
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No one has discussed auxiliary heating with electric. Granted that overall the furnace will keep the AS warm, but there is nothing to equal the radiant heat of an electric heater. Permanent of portable? Experience and recommendations? Zigi
At the RV park where I am staying they charge for electricity, and my calculations suggest that the BTU per dollar of resistance heat will be very expensive. Also, without the furnace running the heat will not get to the tanks below. A heat pump is 3-4 times more efficient than resistance heat, in terms of BTU per watt... so that works for warmer weather (30 F+). I have been using the heat pump exclusively in September and October.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:34 AM   #35
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I think I found the problem with my heat tape setup. The RV park has a heater rod they put into the water faucet assembly to keep it from freezing. It makes the spigot and water warm to the touch. My heat tape thermostat was only about 6 inches down the well insulated hose from that. So that warmth fooled the thermostat into thinking it was a warm night, and the heat tape did not come on. The hose froze further downstream.

So I tried holding a chunk of ice on the heat tape thermostat, but was unable to determine if the heat tape came on. It did not feel very warm to the touch. But my hands were wet from the ice, and perhaps I did not wait long enough. Anyway, given the paragraph above I will assume the heat tape works and I just need to change the thermostat position. The plug has a light to indicate it is receiving power, which it is.

I just pulled the thermostat away from the hose and outside of the pipe insulation, sitting out in the air. Why does the thermostat not work when exposed to cold air? Why does it need to be attached to metal? I would think either one is at the same ambient temp. I could find something metal to attach it to if that is really necessary - I could even buy a short length of pipe from Home Depot to really fool it!

In Denver it gets cold at night with average lows around 15 F in January. Days are often warm with average highs in January of 53 F, with 60+ F not uncommon. I think the heat pump will take care of the days, and the furnace at night.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:04 AM   #36
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Cool Winter Full-Timing...How To????

Dan:
AS is not insulated for enjoyable full-timing in Winter as I see it. We have owned 13 RVs since 1969 and the AS is like trying to heat and cool an aluminum Prince Albert can. We full-timed in our 310 MOHO in Denver and Texas last Winter, and believe me it was a challenge!!
First, Fill your water tank and use self-contained so you avoid water freeze-ups in the low temps. Keep cabinet doors open to get heat circulation through-out your unit to avoid freeze ups. Second, Get a larger capacity LP bottle (100#) and use your smaller tank for emergency when the larger runs out. Third, Be sure your furnace is in top operating condition, as it will run a lot of the time.
Fourth, use ceramic cube heaters to heat areas that tend to freeze or to maintain comfort level during extremes of weather. Fifth, Pray for a mild winter in Colorado.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:30 AM   #37
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Dan:
AS is not insulated for enjoyable full-timing in Winter as I see it. We have owned 13 RVs since 1969 and the AS is like trying to heat and cool an aluminum Prince Albert can. We full-timed in our 310 MOHO in Denver and Texas last Winter, and believe me it was a challenge!!
First, Fill your water tank and use self-contained so you avoid water freeze-ups in the low temps. Keep cabinet doors open to get heat circulation through-out your unit to avoid freeze ups. Second, Get a larger capacity LP bottle (100#) and use your smaller tank for emergency when the larger runs out. Third, Be sure your furnace is in top operating condition, as it will run a lot of the time.
Fourth, use ceramic cube heaters to heat areas that tend to freeze or to maintain comfort level during extremes of weather. Fifth, Pray for a mild winter in Colorado.
Mike
All good ideas!

I have several job opportunities in-process. The most exciting is Director of a large computing facility for the UN in Switzerland. Something will hit eventually.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:35 AM   #38
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All good ideas!

I have several job opportunities in-process. The most exciting is Director of a large computing facility for the UN in Switzerland. Something will hit eventually.
Well, congratulations, but isn't it going to be expensive to get your Airstream over to Switzerland?
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:44 AM   #39
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Well, congratulations, but isn't it going to be expensive to get your Airstream over to Switzerland?
Too early for congratulations... I applied, and six months later (!) they contacted me to take a series of exams, and now I'm waiting, again.

I think the trailer would go in a hangar for a couple years. The UN has a great program where they move you and your stuff to and from... don't know yet if they move trucks and trailers though.
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Old 10-30-2010, 01:39 PM   #40
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In my 20's I had the privilege of living in a mobile home in South Dakota for 7 seasons. I used heat tape and insulation on both the water line and the sewer. To increase the heat of the tape I just used more wraps per foot. I wrapped the tape with insulation and the insulation with a moisture proof wrap. If the insulation would get wet, the pipes would sometimes still freeze.

I'd do anything before I'd live in a camper in Dakota winter.
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