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Old 01-18-2021, 11:10 PM   #1
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2019 28' International
Purcellville , Virginia
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 14
Parking an AS overnight, low 20's

We have a recently purchased, 2019 International 28RBQ that we are taking to Fla. Its in a heated storage facility in Baltimore, but we need to pick it up Saturday so we can leave early Monday morning, Feb 1st. That means it sits outside our house 2 nights, and overnight temps are forecast to be low 20's and probably windy. Its not winterized, so my plan was to put the propane heat on at 60, open the cabinet doors to let heat circulate and (from what I have read), it should be fine.

We have yet to fill the freshwater tank, grey and black tanks were drained on the last trip, but the water heater and all other water lines should have water in them. Should I blow the water lines out with a compressor at the house, or is the propane furnace heat enough? I would hate to freeze the lines to start our second trip, but everything I've read seems to be that it will be OK. What do you think?
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Old 01-19-2021, 03:55 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Mike_C View Post
. . .
. . . I would hate to freeze the lines to start our second trip, but everything I've read seems to be that it will be OK. What do you think?
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Lows over the weekend in Purcellville are forecast to be in the low 20's, as you said, but the wind is supposed to be 20-30 MPH out of the NW.

https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClic...5&AheadDay.y=7

[N. B. button to "Forward 2 Days" . . . ]

That strong NW wind is a weak link here IMO, and could easily freeze and burst your outside shower and city water inlet plumbing etc., along with other plumbing lines hidden inside the exterior walls getting wind-blasted.

I would recommend winterizing fully IMO. In the 90's, on a cross-country trip in the old 25', we got caught by a similar weather condition, and had to take the bed apart to get to the back of the water heater to replace a cracked plastic elbow at a low point. Not too complicated, but very time-consuming. Fortunately the tow vehicle van was full of tools, and there was a great hardware store in Pacific Beach, San Diego CA, which opened early and had the correct NPT tap for cleaning out the female threads in the aluminum heater tank.

This Winterizing etc. sub-forum has further reading material:

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

You might get away with it, with the interior heating you plan, but if not . . . will the saved labor time be worth it?



Have a great trip!
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Old 01-19-2021, 04:17 AM   #3
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1977 31' Sovereign
Rochester , WASHINGTON
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Mike- Just run a couple extension cords to it, with some portable electric heaters, and open your under counter access doors/ especially bathroom.Get it nice and warm, 60 is a little weak , this is America, crank it up lol
The deal with these Airstreams, or really any camping trailer, is have backup heat for the junky propane furnaces.
Not if, but when, that propane furnace fails in the middle of the night, you'll be glad you have backup electric heaters.
I don't like propane lines in a camper, period.
But I do like the portable Buddy Series propane heaters for a electric outage backup.They really kick some heat out, and run on refillable 1 pound small green cans.Just crack a couple windows open if you run them.Regardless of what the Nervous Nellies say about them, they are safe to use indoors in trailers, as directed.
I run all electric everything.You'll be glad you have 2 or 3 little portable electric heaters ( Walmart) onboard for emergency use, if you only use propane.
I hate filling propane tanks, even for my gas grills, dependable power is electric in these tin cans.They are cold in the winter/ hot in summer.
I like quiet , dependable electric everything.Thats why you also want a backup gasoline generator, if furnace goes out.
Electric heaters are your friend in these tin cans, ask me how I know that for sure!
Always remember, have backups for your backups. 2 is one, and one is none ( old mechanic, everything fails).
Crank the heat up,it will be fine, always ask yourself what Cousin Eddy would do, if you're in a trailer ( National Lampoon Christmas Vacation) ... lol
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Old 01-19-2021, 07:43 AM   #4
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2018 25' International
Slidell , Louisiana
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I've done some pretty good modeling of heat loss in Airstreams. At 20 degrees and strong winds, you will need the inside temperature to be at 50 F or higher to prevent water pipe freezing. You will want to remove the outside shower hose and nozzel and fill the void area with bubble wrap. You should tape two layers of 12 inch round or square bubble wrap over the city inlet and black tank flush inlet and wrap the exposed low point drain and fresh water drain valves. Turn on the water heater twice a day for an hour or just leave it on. Open all the cabinet and closet doors as suggested.

If the temperature is going to remain below freezing durning the day, use the furnace so warm air flows into the tanks. Otherwise space heaters are fine except you will need at least 2500 watts to keep it above 50 so you'll be close to tripping the 15 amp breakers. You can use 1200 - 1500 watts from space heaters and set the furnace to 50 or 55 to top things off.
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Old 01-19-2021, 08:12 AM   #5
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What to do?

Just don't risk it.
Blow out your lines and empty your water heater.
Don't forget to blow out the toilet valve.
Put a little RV Fluid down each drain to keep it from freezing the water you just blew out.
Don't ever put your trailer in storage over the winter(even if heated) without winterizing for cases like this and possible power outages.
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Old 01-19-2021, 10:25 AM   #6
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2014 30' Classic
Harkers Island , North Carolina
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I lived in my 1993, 34' Excella 1000 for almost four years. During that time the winter temperatures occasionally dropped below zero. Of course, I had to disconnect from the outside water faucet, and I placed a light bulb inside the compartment where the outside connection was. I would fill up my fresh water tank so I could have water. Keeping my furnace set at 65 deg I never had an issue. I was impressed with my Airstream. In all those years, nothing ever failed or broke. However, you should take whatever measures you consider prudent.
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Old 01-19-2021, 10:28 AM   #7
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

The risk is fairly simple:

The water pipes run under the floor. Water tends to drain to the lowest point. Those pipes probably *do* have water in them

There is no insulation worth mentioning in that area. Sure it will warm up as the trailer warms up. There also is questionable sealing between this area and the outside.

If the wind blows from the "wrong" direction and you have a pipe near an air leak point, it's going to freeze. When it does it may or may not crack. If it cracks you have a problem. You can heat the inside to 110 degrees and still have this happen. It's just a matter of (bad) luck.

Bob
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Old 01-19-2021, 11:07 AM   #8
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Trois-Rivieres , Quebec
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieB View Post
Just don't risk it.
Blow out your lines and empty your water heater.
Don't forget to blow out the toilet valve.
Put a little RV Fluid down each drain to keep it from freezing the water you just blew out.
Don't ever put your trailer in storage over the winter(even if heated) without winterizing for cases like this and possible power outages.
Ditto. Simple physics, water freezes at 32. Heating can keep the temperature above freezing but are you certain that there won't be a water line segment that will not end up below freezing? If not, I wouldn't risk it.

Get a portable compressor with an adaptor for the city water inlet, get some pink antifreeze, install a winterizing valve on your water pump to make pumping antifreeze a lot easier and sleep tight (with an electric heater going to keep the inside temp reasonable if you intend to sleep in it). If you do a good job blowing out the lines, you could skip the antifreeze part. Don't forget to drain the hot water heater after opening the bypass valve (I carry a 15/16" wrench for the water heater plug).

Depending on when and where you travel, you may end up doing this a few times a year. Practice makes perfect and after a while it won't be that much of a bother. Safe travels!
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Old 01-19-2021, 11:20 AM   #9
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2018 26' Flying Cloud
WARNER ROBINS , GA
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Hi, great comment on removing outside shower. I rarely, if ever, use it. Do you have a recommendation on something good to cap it with? I did find an alternative (Dura Faucet DF-SA186-WT RV Exterior Quick Connect Spray Faucet with Multi Spray Nozzle) but not sure how much of a problem is will be to replace.
thanks for the advice, JRW
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Old 01-19-2021, 11:54 AM   #10
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The best solution would be to pick-up the trailer in Balt., head south on I-95, don't stop until you hit warm weather. Problem solved.

Or

Blow lines out at the location in Balt., open all drain valves, blow out lines, and drive trailer home with all drain points open. After getting home, repeat process, turn on the heat, open all cabinet doors, etc.. with small fans running to move warmer air into location were water lines are located.

Good Luck,
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Old 01-19-2021, 12:01 PM   #11
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Homosassa , Florida
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Given the known temperature and wind expected, I would blow the water lines out, wrap heat tape around black/gray valves, put the pink stuff in drains, as someone mentioned, stuff reflectix in the outside shower and wrap the outside sewer drains over the heat tape. Furnace on 60 sounds good. Make sure your propane tanks are filled. Have a safe trip down. I would also check air pressure in tires before leaving. We're starting to warm up this week in Central Florida.
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Old 01-19-2021, 12:47 PM   #12
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2019 30' Classic
Belleville , Illinois
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Stevie B. Nailed it. Drain the water heater, fresh water tank and blow out the lines. Add a gallon of RVG anti-freeze to the grey and black tank if they are not empty.
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Old 01-19-2021, 04:09 PM   #13
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Winterize it.
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Old 01-19-2021, 05:10 PM   #14
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Purcellville , Virginia
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Lots of good advice. I'm going to blow out all the lines in Baltimore, drain the water heater and open the drains, then drive to my house. Put a little antifreeze in the drains, and put the heat on. It will be a good education to see where everything is. Longer term, heading south before it gets cold, and staying there may be the best choice of all :-)
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Old 01-19-2021, 05:43 PM   #15
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Thanks for the update . . . have a great trip.
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Old 01-19-2021, 05:53 PM   #16
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2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
La Quinta, N Barrington , CA & IL
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I was in Texas with the temperature at 24 degrees. There was no problem. Had the water hose disconnected. Set the furnace at 68 degrees and the two heaters at 70 degrees.
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Old 01-19-2021, 06:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_C View Post
Lots of good advice. I'm going to blow out all the lines in Baltimore, drain the water heater and open the drains, then drive to my house. Put a little antifreeze in the drains, and put the heat on. It will be a good education to see where everything is. Longer term, heading south before it gets cold, and staying there may be the best choice of all :-)
Sounds like a good plan.

I have overnighted many times with temps dropping into the 20ís or teens, and never frozen up.

If your rig will be unoccupied, I would set the furnace temp to 65-70, with all the cabinets open, just to be on the safe side.

Maggie
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Old 01-19-2021, 06:12 PM   #18
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Good low-stress call...

...not to mention I didn't hear if you would need to tow through low temps on your way south. If so, it's another wild card. I know a number of folks here tow with the furnace on; not sure it keeps the minimally protected pipes happy, though.
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Old 01-19-2021, 07:01 PM   #19
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Purcellville , Virginia
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I think it will be easier to prevent a problem than it will be to fix it, probably more enjoyable too.
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Old 01-19-2021, 07:42 PM   #20
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Williamsburg , Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_C View Post
Lots of good advice. I'm going to blow out all the lines in Baltimore, drain the water heater and open the drains, then drive to my house. Put a little antifreeze in the drains, and put the heat on. It will be a good education to see where everything is. Longer term, heading south before it gets cold, and staying there may be the best choice of all :-)
Excellent decision.
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