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Old 12-30-2017, 09:35 PM   #1
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Camping in below freezing temperatures

My first time camping in temperatures below freezing. I am in San Antonio and next week two nights will get down in the 20s. Other than leaving a faucet dripping to keep my hose from freezing is there anything else I should do? I have a Cedar Creek fifth wheel. I see the low point drains are below the belly and they will have water in them. Do I need to winterize, drain or just keep the heater on.
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:39 PM   #2
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I would be concerned about the outside shower ( if installed) as most I have seen the faucets and spray wand are plastic, Make sure you run furnace if it warms the underside. You will not get any heat in there using space heaters. Open cabinets to allow warm air into any plumbing in them.
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:41 PM   #3
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Thanks FlyBob
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:46 AM   #4
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I am full time in a 17 champagne. For the last 2 weeks have had lowes in the teens and single digits with highs in the 20's. I have a skirting around mine, along with other things, but we are in one spot for the entire winter. What I would recommend is a heated water line. You can make your own for around $20. You need a pipe heat tape and 1in pipe insulation with some electric tape. I would place a small ceramic heater in the gen compartment to keep the washing machine lines from freezing. I would close the water line valve to the ice maker, there is no way to keep it warm without the skirting.
Your outside shower will be fine, it is in a heated compartment.
Good luck and enjoy. You should be warm, we are.
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:52 PM   #5
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I stay dry and winterized. Of course I'm in mid Michigan and a lot colder. Use a 2.5 gallon jug inside for water and coffee jugs in bath at night. Good to go.
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:54 PM   #6
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We have a heated and insulated water hose. Wrapped an old moving blanket around the outside faucet and post even tho it is insulated by the campground. Have a temp controlled heater underneath plus it is warmed when the propane furnace is on. We leave the grey tank open and a small drip from the kitchen faucet. Both our bathroom and kitchen sinks are on inside walls so we don't leave the cabinet doors open but if they are on outside walls, definitely keep them open. Make sure to have adequate propane and don't wait until you're out to try to go find some. Have a fall back plan in case the campground electricity is interrupted for an extended period (generator ?) And bundle up in layers...it doesn't have to be a balmy 75 inside...65 to 68 is cold but if needing to conserve on your propane or electricity use, it's not too bad.
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Old 12-31-2017, 02:13 PM   #7
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Temps will stay below freezing long enough that just dripping the faucet may still lead to a frozen water hose, then you have no water. In addition, the sewer hose may freeze solid (but unlikely) if it is above ground.

Usually, I just fill the fresh water tank and use the 12v pump. The biggest risk there is that the water pickup tube will freeze first, long before the tank itself or lines inside the RV (even with cabinet doors closed). This has worked for me multiple times here in central Tx in these temps. I store the fresh water hose in the basement at night, then hook it back up when temps rise above freezing.

I don't use a heated hose, but if you have one, then you have less worries. Make sure the black tank is not near capacity in case you can't dump for a few days.
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Old 12-31-2017, 03:29 PM   #8
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Brusso - Skirting Type?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brusso View Post
I am full time in a 17 champagne. For the last 2 weeks have had lowes in the teens and single digits with highs in the 20's. I have a skirting around mine, along with other things, but we are in one spot for the entire winter. What I would recommend is a heated water line. You can make your own for around $20. You need a pipe heat tape and 1in pipe insulation with some electric tape. I would place a small ceramic heater in the gen compartment to keep the washing machine lines from freezing. I would close the water line valve to the ice maker, there is no way to keep it warm without the skirting.
Your outside shower will be fine, it is in a heated compartment.
Good luck and enjoy. You should be warm, we are.
Brusso, what type of skirting do you have? Bought or homemade? Product Name? THANKS
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Old 12-31-2017, 03:52 PM   #9
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We just left Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Temps were below freezing at night. We have a Cedar Creek 29IK. We put some water in the fresh water tank and stowed the hose. With the thermostat set for 55 at night and the water heater on we never had a problem.
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Old 12-31-2017, 04:24 PM   #10
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We carry pipe covers to put on our water hoses, add a bib cover over the faucet, lay blanket or towels over exposed water hose in water bay and can usually withstand a night or two. I do need to remember to upen the sink cabinets on our next trip.
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Old 12-31-2017, 04:36 PM   #11
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Do you have heat strips attached to your tanks ? As Brusso said place a small ceramic heater or light bulb near the tanks if you can get access. What I have done is fill the fresh water tank and then disconnect and drain the water hose pipe, that's ussually the first to freeze. A full fresh water tank should last you a day or better. When your running low on fresh water pull the hose out during the daytime and refill FW tank. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-31-2017, 04:46 PM   #12
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Go buy a heat tape and some of that foam pipe insulation. Wrap your water line from the spigot to your camper with the heat tape and insulation. Wouldn't help to do the spigot if you can as well, if you can't get the insulation on it, at least use the heat tape.
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Old 12-31-2017, 05:08 PM   #13
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I put water in my fresh water tank and disconnect the hose, turn on the tank heaters.
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Old 12-31-2017, 05:11 PM   #14
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My thoughts...not a comprehensive response.
  1. Winterize low point gray water traps with RV antifreeze - shower, etc.
  2. Get heat "cable" (not tape) AND some foam/foil insulation over the heat cable on low point fresh water drains and other vulnerable spots. Heat cables can be crossed over themselves. Tapes should not be crossed. Add heat cable to any moderately exposed fresh or gray plumbing. This can be a permanent installation.
  3. The outdoor shower comment was good. Open cabinets that can feed heat to the outdoor shower enclosure. REMOVE the hose and shower head and drain. The faucet will probably be OK. Get fiberglass insulation and pack it between the outdoor shower door/cover and the faucet. Consider wrapping the faucet body with heat cable...presuming it does not get hot enough to melt plastic.
  4. DISCONNECT your freshwater supply hose - heated or not - and drain it. By disconnecting it, you'll allow the "Hydrant" or sill-cock supplying water to drain and be as protected as it is designed to be by the RV park. Disconnecting from the side of your RV will enable the input side to drain a bit. Leaving a hose connected is the surest way to promote freezing.
  5. Cover the freshwater input on your RV with foam/foil insulation to capture what little heat will protect that connection.
  6. Turn off your hot water heater and use fiberglass insulation between the outside cover and the unit to keep it from cooling off excessively.
  7. Shut your dump valves, disconnect the black/gray hoses, and drain them. Pull the hose from the RV park drain fitting and close it for odor.

As someone else mentioned, skirting and heat cables are the way mobile homes protect plumbing from freezing in Canadian winters. But without skirting, you must be vigilant about protecting all "exposed" plumbing, and the most vulnerable point is the fresh water hose connecting the camper to the RV park spigot. Disconnect BOTH ends of your freshwater hose and drain it, then couple the two ends to keep it clean. Then the fittings on the RV and the RV park supply can drain as designed.

One other post recently featured a fresh pump freeze-up enabled by a chintzy plastic access cover in a cargo bay. This was on an allegedly 4-seasons RV. The furnace heat run to that cavity was not delivering adequate warm air to prevent freezing. A heat cable and foam/foil insulation wrap makes a permanent solution. They'll often last 10 to 20 years.

That's my 2 cents...worth every penny you paid for it.
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Old 12-31-2017, 05:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brusso View Post
I am full time in a 17 champagne. For the last 2 weeks have had lowes in the teens and single digits with highs in the 20's. I have a skirting around mine, along with other things, but we are in one spot for the entire winter. What I would recommend is a heated water line. You can make your own for around $20. You need a pipe heat tape and 1in pipe insulation with some electric tape. I would place a small ceramic heater in the gen compartment to keep the washing machine lines from freezing. I would close the water line valve to the ice maker, there is no way to keep it warm without the skirting.
Your outside shower will be fine, it is in a heated compartment.
Good luck and enjoy. You should be warm, we are.
We discovered the washing machine lines need a heater the hard way - they froze so now we have a heater there. But we did not know the ice maker line is exposed. Where does it exit the Champagne?

We have a heated water hose and have had no problems with water.
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Old 12-31-2017, 05:34 PM   #16
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Brusso, what type of skirting do you have? Bought or homemade? Product Name? THANKS
Just thought I'd jump in on the skirting question. My TT stays parked all winter in North Georgia and I stack bales of pine needles around it for skirting. Then, in the spring, those pine needles go into flower beds, around trees, etc.
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Old 12-31-2017, 06:01 PM   #17
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Pardon me for piggy banking on your post. I'm in Victoria TX with the same forecast. My XLR 27 hfs has no cold weather options. Campgrounds manager told me just to set a stream on all my faucets and keep the heat up a little inside. I was tempted to winterize for a couple days and use the campground facilities. Manager said that was not necessary. Do I believe her or follow my gut?
Happy New Year to all.
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:01 PM   #18
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Pardon me for piggy banking on your post. I'm in Victoria TX <<SNIP>> Do I believe her or follow my gut?
Happy New Year to all.
I've boondocked in March in the Colorado Rockies. My PUP is very modest, and temps got low enough for the dog-bowl ice test I mentioned. Our dog water bowl skimmed over during the night.
No problems with freezing.

But the HW PUP furnace ran almost non-stop. I kept the interior cabinet doors open. I drained the outdoor shower. And, because i'm an old fart with prostate issues, I got up several times during the night and flushed the toilet...and washed my hands. Those two acts circulate the water, especially in the all-important fresh tank to pump areas.

But 28 degrees is very different than 24...or 20. My dog bowl test says it was just below freezing...not really cold.

Definitely DISCONNECT your shore water supply hose on both ends and drain it. In my opinion, that's the most vulnerable spot.
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:49 PM   #19
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I have seen campers shovel snow around the skirting to prevent air flow and add insulating properties.
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Old 01-01-2018, 12:34 AM   #20
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Every RV we have had acts differently in freezing weather. So disconnect the hoses, shut all the valves, fill the fresh water tank, run the gas heater, and see how it goes. You will soon learn the problem areas particular to your RV. Good luck!
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