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Old 04-15-2018, 10:44 AM   #1
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Best ways to counter risk of short-term plumbing freeze-ups?

I've been itching to dewinterize the new TT I picked up last month, and start actually using it. Unfortunately, the weather has not been cooperating lately.

Meanwhile, I've been prepping / installing useful items into it (6v batts, hardwired EMS, ARP for the fridge, etc.)

What I've been looking for are continuous sustained periods where the ambient is > 32F / 0C, before removing the anti-freeze and not having to worry about damaging the plumbing.

I know some areas will freeze before others (outside shower, 'city' water intake); others require more water / sustained periods / lower temps before freezing solid. So let's consider the scenario(s) which produce the worst outcome in the shortest time.

My scenario:
Trailer resides in Northern IL when not being used (outdoors, off-residence)
(I have HOA restrictions, so I can't keep the TT on my driveway > 24hrs).

I *do* actually have a decent air compressor in the garage, however.

I do *not* plan on 'winter camping' (e.g.; in snow, or the possibility of same)

I *do* plan on dry camping when I can (so I don't want to be tethered to shore power for six months in place)

The trailer:
25' long. Has outdoor shower (which I don't see using much, TBH)
I-beam frame
46gal fresh, 38 gray, 30 black.
And the biggie (?) - TT has an *open* underbelly.
No heaters on tanks / lines (obviously)
Willing to forgo using the outdoor shower on a semi-permanent basis
I do plan on relocating the spare from the bumper to an under-frame mount (eventually installing a BAL)

So...over the next season / year, what are the best options (read: least consuming in time / effort / funds) to guard against short-term issues. Long-term, I know - just put the pink stuff in until ready to use, then get the trailer out of the freezing temps.

What I'm looking to achieve - not worrying about scenarios like we have currently, weather-wise, and rushing to counter them for fear of damage.

I'll jot down the 'obvious' ones...
- Keep the TT out of freezing temps in the first place (e.g.; snowbird)
- Winterize before the first freeze / wait until last hard freeze to dewinterize

What mods should I pursue over the next year to give myself the best short-term 'margin' ? These should be self-installable where possible (and I will tackle them over the next few months, not 'tomorrow')

- Coroplast (recommended thickness?)
- As above, but with removable insulation added
- Tank / line heaters (only useful if I'm actively using the trailer, as I have no shore power at the trailer's storage location)
- Tow the TT to my home & fire up the compressor (blow out lines) - not feasible if away from home (with / without the TT)

- Do nothing - not enough risk / overthinking on my part

- Something other than the above which I haven't found / figured out

On a related topic - when the dealer rep did my PDI, she mentioned that "RV antifreeze will still *freeze*...its benefit is that it won't *expand* ". Not sure of the truth of that statement, or if they just use cheap antifreeze and she was prepping me for that, when I took out what they added.

If you made it this far...thanks for taking the time to read.
Mega-thanks if you care to fashion a reply to the above
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:02 AM   #2
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Hate to say it, but you probably should have purchased a trailer that already had the insulated belly on it!

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Old 04-15-2018, 11:08 AM   #3
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I gotta be honest I started to skim half way through. I would agree if you got that much time to type you maybe over thinking it.
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:11 AM   #4
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Personally I think you're anxious for spring weather to arrive (as we all are) and you're hoping to get a jump on the camping season by de-winterizing, perhaps a couple weeks early.

The long range trend is for northern Illinois to have a 30% chance of above normal temperatures from April through June. However, Illinois is very near the "bull nose" boundary of colder air propagating across the northern tier of the US. As low pressure systems pass along the northern tier of the US, cold fronts will push south into Illinois - much like what you've just experienced over the last couple of days.

In other words, generally speaking Illinois will have a slight chance of above normal temps except when low pressure systems pass by bringing cold, below freezing temps with northerly wind much like you're experiencing today. The black arrow below denotes how the cold air will push south during frontal passages. All of this is to say that if it were me, I'd wait until the end of the month (at least) to reduce the risks to your camper.

Rich J.
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:11 AM   #5
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If you don't plan on camping when the ambient outside temps are near freezing, don't worry about tanks freezing. Your biggest challenge will be keeping the interior at a comfortable temperature.

If you have any concerns about the pipes freezing, at a minimum blow out the lines but IMO RV antifreeze is inexpensive and easy to pump into the lines for a guaranteed solution. RV antifreeze goes to a gel and does not expand so the dealer rep was essentially correct.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HangDiver View Post
Personally I think you're anxious for spring weather to arrive (as we all are) and you're hoping to get a jump on the camping season by de-winterizing, perhaps a couple weeks early.

The long range trend is for northern Illinois to have a 30% chance of above normal temperatures from April through June. However, Illinois is very near the "bull nose" boundary of colder air propagating across the northern tier of the US. As low pressure systems pass along the northern tier of the US, cold fronts will push south into Illinois - much like what you've just experienced over the last couple of days.

In other words, generally speaking Illinois will have a slight chance of above normal temps except when low pressure systems pass by bringing cold, below freezing temps with northerly wind much like you're experiencing today. The black arrow below denotes how the cold air will push south during frontal passages. All of this is to say that if it were me, I'd wait until the end of the month (at least) to reduce the risks to your camper.

Rich J.
Very nice response - thank you! Are you WXHangDiver , IRL ? LOL

On a more serious note - see that blue area in MT? That's where I plan to be in a few weeks (Glacier Nat'l Pk). So I suppose my post has implications for 'in-season' usage, as well.

As a result, I guess it would be a good plan to always have a couple gallons of the pink stuff on board. Thx again (also to @itat , who essentially suggested this)


@Kimber45 - Noted! I've seen that brevity seems to be favored on this site.
Yeah, I tend to be a bit anal-retentive (enough to know that the word is hyphenated...lol). Just trying to avoid having to replace pipes right out of the box
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:28 PM   #7
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We dewinterized and went camping Easter weekend. Next week was forecasted to be down in mid twenties at home. We re-winterized because I didn’t want to have the worry of freezing or bursting pipes. We were supposed to camp the next weekend but temps were forecasted down into low 20’s. We cancelled because I didn’t want to take a chance of city water freezing coming into the camper. We have an enclosed under belly and tank heaters. Would I have been okay- maybe - but it wasn’t worth the chance to me.

I advise carrying the pink stuff. Stores in our town were out with this cold spurt.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:03 PM   #8
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I hope the OP hasn't dewinterize yet, I think they are still having freezing weather and heavy snow this weekend
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:16 PM   #9
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We camp 12 months of the year and not always in the south. We have ducted heat and have camped when it got to 16 over night and 30s during the day. Using on board heat with an oil filled heater to supplement, have not had any problem in 6 years. This winter we were in southern Alabama and most nights in Jan was sub freezing and no frozen problems. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:34 PM   #10
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best ways to counter risk of plumbing freeze-ups

Does this answer your question?
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:38 PM   #11
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Cold weather camping

If you are planning to be on the outskirts of Glacier Park in two weeks I would just about guarantee you frozen pipes. 20's overnight is average and the tourist attractions, Going to The Sun Road etc. don't open until mid June. If I misread that my apologies, I am in a hurry.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:52 PM   #12
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The Going to the Sun Highway will not be open for a month at least! We had record snow here this year and it is still snowing. So I would say be very careful. Our last freeze days at lower elevations, 3000 ft, are late May and it is not unusual to get snow later than that but it usually melts quickly.
Glacier's weather is highly variable and can be extreme. Warm days and cool nights are the norm even in summer. Even when it's in the 80s and 90s in the daytime it can cool down into the 40s at night. So in a few weeks, late April early May it is still going to be very wintery in Glacier. We are headed to the Grand Canyon and southern Utah next week to escape the lingering winter here in Montana. We usually start going to the lakes in Mt in mid to late May but we check the weather for late freezes.
Good luck and enjoy beautiful Glacier.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:02 PM   #13
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Our 2300 SunSeeker does very well down to 14 degrees. That is till you run out of LP and then things go downhill pretty fast. I was surprised at how fast it went through a full tank. $120 later back in business. Aaannnndddd we are now back into freezing temps again. Unbelievable! Enough winter!

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Old 04-15-2018, 02:06 PM   #14
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here is a link that you can use to view current conditions in Glacier
https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/photo...ia/webcams.htm
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:10 PM   #15
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Aaannnndddd we are now back into freezing temps again. Unbelievable! Enough winter!
Alan
It was a busy day in Iowa this past Friday.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:31 PM   #16
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QUOTE "On a related topic - when the dealer rep did my PDI, she mentioned that "RV antifreeze will still *freeze*...its benefit is that it won't *expand* ". Not sure of the truth of that statement, or if they just use cheap antifreeze and she was prepping me for that, when I took out what they added."

That is correct after the antifreeze gets below -50* and it doesn't expand at any temperature. With today's RV's having PEX plumbing, it's the plastic fittings and valves that crack when the water inside freezes. The toilet flush valve will crack with less than 1/2 teaspoon of water in it, which sometimes happens when you just blow the lines out.
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Old 04-15-2018, 03:06 PM   #17
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It was a busy day in Iowa this past Friday.


Bwahahaha! Exactly! Love this!
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Old 04-15-2018, 03:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrapper View Post
QUOTE "On a related topic - when the dealer rep did my PDI, she mentioned that "RV antifreeze will still *freeze*...its benefit is that it won't *expand* ". Not sure of the truth of that statement, or if they just use cheap antifreeze and she was prepping me for that, when I took out what they added."

That is correct after the antifreeze gets below -50* and it doesn't expand at any temperature. With today's RV's having PEX plumbing, it's the plastic fittings and valves that crack when the water inside freezes. The toilet flush valve will crack with less than 1/2 teaspoon of water in it, which sometimes happens when you just blow the lines out.
I can attest to that. One night on the range at slightly below freezing and I had the fitting, on the feed line to the toilet, crack in my 2300 SunSeeker motor home.
When travelling south this past Feb. we used the pink stuff in the reservoir to flush. If we needed drinking water, we used bottled.
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reprise View Post
I've been itching to dewinterize the new TT I picked up last month, and start actually using it. Unfortunately, the weather has not been cooperating lately.



Meanwhile, I've been prepping / installing useful items into it (6v batts, hardwired EMS, ARP for the fridge, etc.)



What I've been looking for are continuous sustained periods where the ambient is > 32F / 0C, before removing the anti-freeze and not having to worry about damaging the plumbing.



I know some areas will freeze before others (outside shower, 'city' water intake); others require more water / sustained periods / lower temps before freezing solid. So let's consider the scenario(s) which produce the worst outcome in the shortest time.



My scenario:

Trailer resides in Northern IL when not being used (outdoors, off-residence)

(I have HOA restrictions, so I can't keep the TT on my driveway > 24hrs).



I *do* actually have a decent air compressor in the garage, however.



I do *not* plan on 'winter camping' (e.g.; in snow, or the possibility of same)



I *do* plan on dry camping when I can (so I don't want to be tethered to shore power for six months in place)



The trailer:

25' long. Has outdoor shower (which I don't see using much, TBH)

I-beam frame

46gal fresh, 38 gray, 30 black.

And the biggie (?) - TT has an *open* underbelly.

No heaters on tanks / lines (obviously)

Willing to forgo using the outdoor shower on a semi-permanent basis

I do plan on relocating the spare from the bumper to an under-frame mount (eventually installing a BAL)



So...over the next season / year, what are the best options (read: least consuming in time / effort / funds) to guard against short-term issues. Long-term, I know - just put the pink stuff in until ready to use, then get the trailer out of the freezing temps.



What I'm looking to achieve - not worrying about scenarios like we have currently, weather-wise, and rushing to counter them for fear of damage.



I'll jot down the 'obvious' ones...

- Keep the TT out of freezing temps in the first place (e.g.; snowbird)

- Winterize before the first freeze / wait until last hard freeze to dewinterize



What mods should I pursue over the next year to give myself the best short-term 'margin' ? These should be self-installable where possible (and I will tackle them over the next few months, not 'tomorrow')



- Coroplast (recommended thickness?)

- As above, but with removable insulation added

- Tank / line heaters (only useful if I'm actively using the trailer, as I have no shore power at the trailer's storage location)

- Tow the TT to my home & fire up the compressor (blow out lines) - not feasible if away from home (with / without the TT)



- Do nothing - not enough risk / overthinking on my part



- Something other than the above which I haven't found / figured out



On a related topic - when the dealer rep did my PDI, she mentioned that "RV antifreeze will still *freeze*...its benefit is that it won't *expand* ". Not sure of the truth of that statement, or if they just use cheap antifreeze and she was prepping me for that, when I took out what they added.



If you made it this far...thanks for taking the time to read.

Mega-thanks if you care to fashion a reply to the above


Pickup small generator and portable pancake air compressor then you can blow out your lines anywhere any time.
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:57 PM   #20
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The dealer's rep was speaking of something they did not fully understand.

The "Pink Stuff" is basically Propylene Glycol and water. The freeze point is when it starts to turn to slush and should not damage anything. As the temperatures drops the stuff expands building up pressure until the burst point of the pluming is reached. The burst temperature varies for different materials. It takes a lower temperature/higher pressure to burst copper than plastic for example. To my knowledge, PEX tubing is the most tolerant plumbing material we will find in our RV's.

The wild claims on the anti-freeze jug of "protection to xyz degrees!" is actually rather misleading. The rating is for a particular plumbing material, and may only protect our RV's plastic fittings, etc, to a higher temperature.
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