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Old 12-29-2015, 01:47 PM   #1
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A few nights below freezing. Concerns?

I am heading out today for a 5 night trip to the high desert of California. Temps are going to be in the low 40's by day and low teens at night. I will have the heater cranked up inside 24/7. Is there any need to worry about the water lines outside and fresh tank freezing overnight?

I'm from SoCal, so I've blissfully ignored all the winterizing threads in the past... But welcome all suggestions! Thanks!

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Old 12-29-2015, 01:51 PM   #2
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If you have a heater on at a decent temp, the radiant heat thru the floor should be fine. Just don't have a hose hooked up to water supply. I recommend a buddy heater since they do not use battery just leave it on the low setting.

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Old 12-29-2015, 02:20 PM   #3
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Are you dry camping?

I would not expect the fresh water tank to freeze overnight if it is within the area of the trailer that sees heat from the furnace (like under a bed). It will also take time for that large of a volume of water to freeze so a few hours of freezing temps shouldn't hurt it. As far as the water lines that will depend a lot on where they run. If they are outside along the trailer frame like mine are then I would say there is a very good chance they will freeze. If they are all inside I think you would be ok as long as they get some radiant heat from the trailer living space.

When my wife and I winter camp we do not use the on-board water system. Instead we use water jugs with a wash pan and leave the waterlines winterized. If we use the grey or black tanks I just keep some extra RV antifreeze around and add it to the tanks while in use and after we dump them. Doing it this way we don't have to worry about what the temperatures are going to be during our trip and potentially damaging the plumbing.
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:02 PM   #4
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Thank you both. Good advice. We are dry camping and will use bottled water at least for the morning coffee until I can make sure the lines are good. Most of them run inside, I believe.
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:26 PM   #5
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Are you staying at a campground or are you camping in the open area?
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Old 12-29-2015, 11:34 PM   #6
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Terier, we are staying in the open desert. No hookups.
Just me, my girlfriend and our crazy Boxer Stella.
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Old 12-30-2015, 12:08 AM   #7
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It's hard to say really, while I doubt you'll have an issue with only a few hours in the teens, it is still technically possible.

One option, if you're willing, is to shut off the valve between your FW tank and your water pump, then open your low point drains, draining the lines mostly. The damage to pipes comes not from the freezing itself, but the inability for the water to expand as it freezes. By at least draining the lines you're providing room for that expansion.

The one downside I see to this is that you're losing the water you have in your lines. Since you're dry camping, in a dessert none the less, that may be a precious commodity.

Oh, almost forgot, also bypass your hot water tank so you don't accidentally drain that too. The HW tank shouldn't freeze, since it'll be full of hot water so leaving it full shouldn't be a problem.

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Old 12-30-2015, 03:38 AM   #8
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Put some of that silver insulation around your drain lines that are exposed, they will freeze first. Also cut a piece and stick it in your plastic out door shower door. Then you should be okay as long as you say it warms up to the 40's in the day. Only thing that has ever froze on me was the exposed drain lines. When it expanded it loosened the 90 degree crimp fittings. Didn't find out until I seen Icicles hanging down from every open spot or crack in the under belly.
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Old 12-30-2015, 12:52 PM   #9
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I know this doesn't apply to you, but if you ever have to hook up to water in freezing temps invest in a heated water hose. We have been in Truckee, ca in -7 and our water has not froze.
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Old 12-30-2015, 12:57 PM   #10
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We boondock in the california high desert often in the winter. I think the coldest has been in the single digits. We always fill with water and haven't had a problem. You need to make sure we have a fully charged battery at night and keep the heater set at least 60 so you do need plenty of propane. If you don't have a fully charged battery the heater will drain it over night with all the other parisitic electrical drains like refrigerator, propane detector, etc.

We also have a battery charger and jumper cables just in case.

We also take plenty of wood for a camp fire when its chilly at night.

We live in Mammoth so we have to winterized when we put the rv in storage.

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