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Old 01-13-2020, 04:10 PM   #1
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Dewinterize or wait till hit warmer climate

Know this question probably has been answered several different times, but just would like to know what others would do. This is our first time taking our 5th wheel out in winter as we have always been spring to fall RVers and the DW does like full hookups as she just dreads not having water.

My unit has been in storage since having work done at Amish Family RV (Orvan) the 2nd week of Nov. Just pulled it out yesterday (Sunday) from unheated indoor storage. Have opened it up and have the furnace set low (55), fireplace set at min (62) and bedroom heater on (about 55). Will close slides in at night and adjust furnace down to 45, leaving the two electric run all night (50 amp at home).

Temps today Joliet, IL are 37/32 and tomorrow they will be 45/28. We will leave the following morning (Wed) when temps are to be 46/22. Now for the question - Would you dewinterize and sanitize when the temps will be 45/28 at home or would you wait till you reach warmer weather in a campground. First stop temps in Marion, IL (which will be a 7 hr haul) will be 60/27 (Wed) and next stop near Nashville, TN will be 51/37 (Thurs).

Plan has been to dewinterize at Marion and sanitize in Nashville to which the DW understands. Because I think I have time and the temps will be above freezing during the day, that maybe I would do it here at home tomorrow instead of on the road. With having the heat on and the ability to turn the tank heaters on, my gut is saying yes go ahead, but that little inner voice says no wait, being the DW has agreed to the original plan. If I do it at home I could check the system out ensuring no leaks and don't have to going through sanitizing the fresh water tank at a campground.

Your thoughts and quick responses will be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Old 01-13-2020, 04:31 PM   #2
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You should be fine.

I live in North Georgia and don't worry about winterizing if the highs are in the 40's. During the day, the camper will absorb enough heat to be fine. Personally, keep the gas off and save your propane as well.
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Old 01-13-2020, 04:36 PM   #3
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If you have heated tanks and heated underbelly, I would Dewinterize. If exposed plumbing, I might hold off. With temps at 28 over night, it shouldn't freeze. Ours has the heated wet compartments so I set the heat to 50 overnight and that works in Jersey in the winter. We have camped with temps at 16 overnight and no problem using the unit heat.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:25 AM   #4
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Im confused. Where will the 28 degrees be and where will the 22 degrees be? 28 Id be OK with, 22 I would not without knowing that all water-containing areas are heated.

For example, I know my outside compartment where the water pump is located is roughly 10 degrees above ambient in cold weather. But the wet bay itself is only 3 degrees above ambient.

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Old 01-14-2020, 12:59 AM   #5
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I'm super conservative when it comes to dewinterizing, so I'd go with your little voice and wait til I hit warmer weather.
You can always take gallon jugs of water for drinking and flushing til you can find time to do it properly.
Trusting the weathercast is always 'iffy'.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:18 AM   #6
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Ditto reverse snowbird.

Three gallons of water in the rv for the first days.

Winterization and un winterization is an hour deal at most at a full service campsite. We tend not to drink water from the rv holding tank. You could just fill the tank and use it without sterilization until you get somewhere warm.

Easier than in the driveway and likely warmer.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:58 AM   #7
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I agree on waiting a bit.

We left STL right after New Year's. It was probably warm enough to dewinterize, but we waited until we got to Waco, TX. It took 30 minutes in a FHU campground, but we didn't have to worry about any cold weather that we might have encountered during the first two days on the road.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:41 AM   #8
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I had the exact same scenario a few weeks ago.

I dewinterized and monitored my temps in the basement with a remote temp sensor and never seen anything below 39 during a 21 night (about 6 hours at that temp) with the heat set just about as you described.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:50 AM   #9
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I would wait as you need to consider the temps/duration while traveling.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Reverse_snowbird View Post
I'm super conservative when it comes to dewinterizing, so I'd go with your little voice and wait til I hit warmer weather.
You can always take gallon jugs of water for drinking and flushing til you can find time to do it properly.
Trusting the weathercast is always 'iffy'.
Having traveled multiple times from northern Illinois in freezing temps, I also go with being cautious. We carried 5 gallons of water in the RV and waited until it was above 32 before dewinterizing. One factor to consider is wind chill. The TT will be getting dragged down the road with a minimum wind chill factor of 55 mph winds. Will chill causes available heat to dissipate more rapidly.

One winter we were headed south and got as far as Chicago when there was freezing rain and black ice, so we stayed over at a truck stop. We were running heat in the MH, but hadn't dewinterized. In the morning, the eggs in the refrigerator were frozen. And no, the frig was not set that cold. That tells me any exposed pipes would have frozen.
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Old 01-15-2020, 12:17 AM   #11
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I live about 2 miles north of I80 and about a mile west of I55 near Joliet which is southwest of Chicago.

I went ahead and dewinterized & sanitized today. It was in mid 40's. Real nice. Have electric fireplace and bedroom space heater running as well as furnace, water heater and tank heaters. Feel it all should be OK even though it is going to be in upper 20's tonight. Tomorrow we leave for Florida. Right now it is 28 and by 8 in morning it should be 33 according to the weather channel app for the area. Tomorrow night it will be down to about 22, but we will hopefully be in Marion by then.

Dewinterizing at a campground would have been OK, but going through the sanitization part I think would have be tedious. Dumping the fresh water tank after adding bleach was quicker at home than in a campground.

Thanks everyone for there quick responses. As always they are greatly appreciated.

Safe travels.
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Old 01-15-2020, 09:31 AM   #12
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You should be good. Congrats and have fun on your trip.
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Old 01-15-2020, 09:25 PM   #13
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Follow Up

Well all things went well as no problems or freeze ups at all over night. Around 11 last night according to the weather app the temp was supposedly 28 degrees. At about 4:30 am this morning temp according to my outdoor thermometer was 30 degrees and at 6:30 am it was 32. Temp inside my 5th varied between 58 and 63.

We left this morning heading for Florida. Temp when we arrived in Marion, IL around 3 pm was about 60 degrees. Looking forward to 8 week in warm weather.

Take care and safe travels
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Old 01-15-2020, 09:43 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by LittleBill View Post
Well all things went well as no problems or freeze ups at all over night. Around 11 last night according to the weather app the temp was supposedly 28 degrees. At about 4:30 am this morning temp according to my outdoor thermometer was 30 degrees and at 6:30 am it was 32. Temp inside my 5th varied between 58 and 63.

We left this morning heading for Florida. Temp when we arrived in Marion, IL around 3 pm was about 60 degrees. Looking forward to 8 week in warm weather.

Take care and safe travels
Travel safe.
It was 82 here in Central FL today.
We are really enjoying the sunshine.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:20 PM   #15
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Having grown up in Minooka and spending a lot of time with friends in the Camelot subdivision, I know the area your from. Safe travels.

We've trekked from Iowa now for nearly all of the last 10 years to Orlando between Christmas and new year's. Our first stop is typically in Clarksville, TN. If I see any traveling temps below 32, that's where we plan to dewinterize. I don't usually sanitize for that trip.

I can tell you it only takes once to convince you not to risk it. Having sat in the rest area north of Springfield with water running out of the wet bay due to a frozen/ broken line, I have now given up trying to add enough heat to keep things from freezing. It was 32 outside, but driving the motorhome at 70mph, completely sucked out all the heat I was adding with the furnace and 2 1500w heaters in the bay. Luckily for us it happened on the way home so I had all winter to repair it. Keeping things warm going down the road is 70 times harder than setting still at a camp sight.
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