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Old 10-13-2020, 01:40 PM   #1
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Advice sought - temporary winterizing

We're in Montana for a couple of weeks more before heading south to warmer climates.
Since an imminent few days cold spell has overnight temps predicted to be down to 17F, I'm concerned about water lines, etc. freezing. Daytime temps are predicted to be OK.

I can get some 20A/120V power, so planning the following:
Light bulb in wet bay
Ceramic heater in living area
No freezables in basement
Keep the 100 gal FW tank full
Use the Showermiser before bedtime to create a warm mass of water in the FW tank

Does that sound like a good plan? Any comments appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 10-13-2020, 02:09 PM   #2
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Light bulb in wet bay. fifth wheels are designed so that the water lines run next to the heating ducts. Thus furnace on. Pipes ok. Just a light in the wet bay only protects the wet bay.

Keep the 100 gal FW tank full. My fifth wheel has heaters on the tanks. Run on a thermostat. Dc. Have to be turned on.

In about 15 minutes the DW and I can use the air compressor to blow all water lines. Drain the water tank. Half gallon of antifreeze for the drains.

17 degrees is getting pretty serious.

Just setting the thermostat to 60 and having a 15 amp connection to run the tank heaters would do us.
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Old 10-13-2020, 06:59 PM   #3
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You may be better off running the furnace as that should send some heat to the wet bay. My Berk has tank heaters. Are you staying in it at that temp?
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Old 10-13-2020, 07:11 PM   #4
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At the very least, disconnect the fresh water line from the campground water. I don't know about your particular rig, but in many rigs, the furnace heats the bay areas. As to the fresh water tank, as long as it's not completely full and has room for expansion, you'll be ok. Running water freezes more slowly, so we tend to run all the faucets for a bit if we get up in the middle of the night.
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Old 10-13-2020, 07:57 PM   #5
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I have camped down to 22 and used a honey bucket. At 17 I am not sure I would use water and I would blow out the lines.

If you are going to need water then I would leave some room in the fresh tank in case it does freeze and not hook up a hose at all. I doubt the whole thing will freeze but you should leave room to expand just in case. Fresh tank doesnt have heating pads on my trailer.

I would add some heat pads if you don't have any to the gray and black tanks near the valves along with some expanding foam over it and get one of those hose insulators for the low point drains as well.
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Old 10-13-2020, 08:59 PM   #6
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Interior temp

How warm can you keep the interior of the coach with 17 degree outside temperature?
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Old 10-14-2020, 11:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inlineskater67 View Post
You may be better off running the furnace as that should send some heat to the wet bay. My Berk has tank heaters. Are you staying in it at that temp?
Right now we're dry camping in Glacier NP "Primitive Status" - and the peaks are currently covered in beautiful new snow!

We can get to a residence and power the MH with 20A via extension cord. And we'll overnight indoors there. We just need to get the MH through a few days of this cold spell before we travel south - so are avoiding draining lines, antifreeze, etc. if we can.

Hopefully 20A can run a ceramic heater, 1 or 2 light bulbs, and the tank heating pads.

Does anyone know the wattage of those pads?

Our immediate objective isn't for our comfort, just to prevent freezing damage.

We appreciate all the tips!
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Old 10-14-2020, 01:55 PM   #8
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Just my two cents:

Complete winterizing is cheap insurance for the effort it takes - don't ask me how I know.
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:04 PM   #9
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Just my two cents:

Complete winterizing is cheap insurance for the effort it takes - don't ask me how I know.
That would be my two cents as-well. One season, we were headed south and got caught in an ice storm near Chicago. Fortunately, the MH was still winterized. We had heat, but the eggs in the refrigerator were frozen. All that is needed is one exposed area that will cause more grief that blowing out the lines.
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:43 PM   #10
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You might be surprised that just keeping the unit warm, furnace on occasionally, ceramic heater on will ward off a lot of cold. On my motorhome I leave a light (100 watt) on in the wet bay and in the compartment where my water pump is located. I have a heater for the water tank but i do not think it is necessary as my furnace ducts go right past tank.

If you have an outside shower drain the hoses. If you are using the shower and toilet pour some RV antifreeze down the drains and toilet after emptying tanks, this will keep the discharge valves from freezing, add more A/F as the tanks fill. disconnect outside hoses at freezing temps. Leave hot water tank on, preferably propane as 120V hookup may trip breaker?, Leave all cupboard doors open that are near water lines even to the point of removing any access panels. I have on occasion placed a ceramic heater in the pump bay as this is where most of my water hoses are located. Turn off water pump at freezing temps and open all taps to relieve water pressure. Pex pipes can take a lot of freezing temps as they are plastic and tend to expand when frozen. I have yet to have a low point drain burst even at 15 degrees but I have spare hose just in case. A thermometer placed here and there will give you peace of mind. I would not drive down the road at these temps without winterizing.
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Old 10-14-2020, 03:57 PM   #11
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Talking Cheap insurance

For as cheap RV Antifreeze is, buy 3 or 4 gallons and winterize. Then when you dewinterize you got an excuse to sanitize the lines.
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Old 10-14-2020, 06:18 PM   #12
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Keep the lavatory door open so the toilet valve doesn't freeze. They are very delicate. And when they do freeze, the water runs down the outside of the line, not on the floor where you would see it. You don't know it's failed until your foot goes through the floor.
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Old 10-14-2020, 07:05 PM   #13
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For as cheap RV Antifreeze is, buy 3 or 4 gallons and winterize. Then when you dewinterize you got an excuse to sanitize the lines.
I got the impression from the post that they were living in the unit so winterizing may not be feasible on a day to day basis. Could be wrong so maybe the OP could clarify.
But yes, you and other posters are right, RV antifreeze is cheap for sure, so if not living in unit for two weeks definitely winterize, wish Vodka was as cheap.
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Old 10-14-2020, 09:54 PM   #14
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Live in MT, know only 5ers. I second Caribou Campers concern about driving down the road not winterized; quite a ways to go from Glacier Park-you probably need to get past St. George to get to warmer driving temps. That being said, while you are parked I also agree w/ Caribou about exterior shower, hookups and valves as primary concern. If there is any kind of breeze where you are sitting, see how you might block it. Keen eye on the weather app.of course.
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Old 10-15-2020, 05:11 AM   #15
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I driveway camped while the house was being remodeled, into the teens- I did the following-
In wet bay- on passenger side removed silly white panel, and added a Ceramic heater running on low. I then put a remote sensor thermometer on the drivers side wet bay. ( like $20 on amazon) with a freeze alarm function next to my bed. Day time I ran HP for heat- when it got cold I ran Ceramic heater in side but I was hooked to 50 amp. I tried to save propane for hot water.

I also had heat pads on.
The remote thermometer is the best, Knowing 100% the wet bay was 45F made me sleep good.
Now if driving down the road in below freezing weather I would winterize if in the teens.
Good luck
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:21 AM   #16
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Id unhook hose from both ends, turn the hot water heater bypass on and blow out lines with air. Takes all of 10 minutes.
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Old 10-17-2020, 10:59 AM   #17
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Id unhook hose from both ends, turn the hot water heater bypass on and blow out lines with air. Takes all of 10 minutes.
After reading all of the responses, the winterizing seems to be the lesser headache. For all the years we traveled (an lived) in cold climates, it was so much easier to have the camper winterized and carry a 5 gal. potable water container.
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Old 10-17-2020, 11:35 AM   #18
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not if you want hot shower water... most of us do, that's we find ways to limit the need to EVER winterize.
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Old 10-17-2020, 12:31 PM   #19
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not if you want hot shower water... most of us do, that's we find ways to limit the need to EVER winterize.
It can be pretty difficult to have a hot shower when the lines leading to water heater are frozen.
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Old 10-17-2020, 03:53 PM   #20
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I think we're in pretty good shape now - out of GNP in Kalispell with temporary 20A/120V via extension cord. We're set up running a ceramic heater in the living area at 50 deg., tank heaters on, gas water heater idling in eco mode, and 150W light bulb in the wet bay.

Between now and Friday, couple of mid 20s and one 20 deg. night predicted.

Plan is to leave Friday (driving in warmer daytime) for the N shore of Washington's Olympic Peninsula for a few weeks, where serious cold temps don't look like they'll be a problem. Then follow the coast down to SoCal into December. Expect the Pacific will moderate temps along that route so freezing will be less of a concern.

Thanks for all the good tips and advice!
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