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Old 02-21-2015, 11:06 AM   #1
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Using coach in temps below freezing

For those of you who have used their coaches when the temps go below freezing (especially at night), is there anything special that should be done so that I don't have a problem with the pipes freezing?

We are heading home to New York from Florida in a few days (yeah, I know but all good things must come to an end) and I will probably be making a few stops along the way where the temperatures will be below freezing.

Thanks,
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Old 02-21-2015, 12:33 PM   #2
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The best thing to do is turn around. It's too cold and snowy here in NY.
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Old 02-21-2015, 09:01 PM   #3
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Tom, I don't have a lot of experience with cold weather camping. But once when parked at home the temps got below freezing. I put one of those "safety" lights in my wet bay. It put out enough heat that the temps in the wet bay stayed above freezing.

By safety light I mean the type that is yellow that you just screw a bulb into. It has a little gage around the bulb. Some use them to hang under a hood to work on engines. Not sure what the real name is.
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Old 02-21-2015, 09:31 PM   #4
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The problem won't be the stops. While stopped, my experience with the Berk was that as long as you ran the rear furnace, you are good to about Of. However there is terrible heat loss in the water bay while driving from the uninsulated floor. The heated tank will be fine but you should do something for the pump and manifolds. I added 2 1500W heaters and still froze the cold water manifold in Illinois last Kantar in 8f temps. If you can do without water while driving I would drain the water from the pump and manifolds. Also, for those with demand water heaters in the back, I was never able to keep from freezing the input line where it crossed over the radiator. I had a 2013 390 BH.
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Old 02-21-2015, 10:10 PM   #5
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I carry a small 3 gal. air compressors. So before leaving Florida last week, we drained and blew out the lines, water heater and tanks, but kept the furnace and frig on. I didn't want to take the chance on anything freezing up on our way home. We bought bottles of water to drink, make coffee and flush the toilet. Really wasn't bad at all, and I finally added anti-freeze to the traps and stored our trailer again for the rest of the winter.
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Old 02-21-2015, 10:39 PM   #6
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This was a good read for me since I plan to do this next year and have been thinking of it. My thought would be carry some rv antifreeze with you and a small compressor as others have said. I would drain the hot water tank and switch the bypass valves then head for home and when you get temps. below 40 blow out the lines and put antifreeze in traps. If you have to stop make sure to put more antifreeze back in traps that you use. As others have said I would carry some water jugs to flush with and make coffee. Please revive this post when you get home and let me know how it works.
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:52 AM   #7
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Tom,

When we were out in the cold(lows in the low 20's) the only issue we had was the source water spigot freezing, not our pipes. The main tank had about an inch of water in it and it did get enough surface ice that it wouldn't move out of the tank. We ran the furnace in both zones at night and that was enough to keep the pipes good. We ran the heat pump(zone 1) and furnace(zone 2) during the day to conserve propane and that kept us good as well.

Just an idea if you are looking for warmth in the coach, we pulled in the bed slide at night to avoid the cold zones at the windows by the head of the bed. Made a huge difference. Good Luck.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:12 AM   #8
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"Just an idea if you are looking for warmth in the coach, we pulled in the bed slide at night to avoid the cold zones at the windows by the head of the bed. Made a huge difference. Good Luck."JJvike I have never done any very cold time in our camper and this makes good sense having a smaller area to heat. Another thought would be open all the cupboards that have waterlines in them to let heat get to them.
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:31 AM   #9
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JJ-Mark,
Thanks for the suggestions. Hopefully it will warm up some before we get home and it won't be an issue.
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:43 PM   #10
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We have travelled a number of times in below freezing temps. Does your unit have tank heaters? If so turn them on. Also does it have a water cabinet heater? Turn it on too. At night, your furnace should keep enough heat in the underbelly to keep things fluid. The challenge may come when you reach NY and try nto dump and winterize. I would suggest that you dump all your tanks before you get to the deep freeze area.(If you do not, you may find that your dump valves are frozen... to avoid that dump a gallon of Rv antifreeze into your black-water tank and a gallon into your grey-water tank)
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:30 PM   #11
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Use mine in winter. Use a light bulb (100 w) in water pump store box and also one in water manifold compartment
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:31 PM   #12
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Coach main furnaces do not heat those areas
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joedebrv View Post
Coach main furnaces do not heat those areas
Your rear furnace on a 390BH does heat the water bay. If you remove the top white board from the right side inside the water pump access door and look above the black and gray tanks, you will see a small pipe coming down from the heat chase. As a matter of fact, that is the only heat drop into the bottom compartments. On a BH with split furnace, the is no duct opening in the front lower compartments.
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:02 PM   #14
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My pump had frozen in temps below 15. Had to use light bulb to heat that area
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:05 PM   #15
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My water manifold is on opposite side of coach from where the pump is mounted
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:39 PM   #16
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Here was my solution. I also had a heater on the manifold side. I was able to turn them on or off going down the road using the two red switches on the dash. The door on the pump side does not seal well because the two rubber mounts prevent the seal from making hard contact. I thought I had a picture of the heat duct but I cannot find it.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:47 PM   #17
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-5f in Green River, Utah 2 years ago. The slides are in because we were just about to leave, but all 4 were out all night. With just the furnaces running we had no problems with freezing pipes (no wind). However, the hot water inlet line froze before we made it half way to Denver.
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:40 AM   #18
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Did you install the switches on dash? What voltage is running the heaters?
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:59 AM   #19
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You didn't mention how you winterize. If you blow out your lines and then add antifreeze throughout the system, just use that to flush your toilet and use the campground facilities to bathe.

We leave our rv at our lake property here in NJ year round. ( wind chills have been below 0* lately ) I blow out the lines, add antifreeze to the system and if we go down for a day trip, we can still flush the toilet by running a pump line to a gallon of antifreeze. We never drink water from the holding tank anyway, so that is not an issue.

Good luck on your trip back to the frozen zone,
Don
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Old 02-23-2015, 11:49 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joedebrv View Post
Did you install the switches on dash? What voltage is running the heaters?
I installed the switches. The top black one operates the drivers side map light I installed and the 2 bottom ones with the red lights operate the switched outlets in the storage bays on either side of the coach. They are 12V switches controlling 120V outlets. The heaters are standard 1500W, 120V Sunbeam portable heaters.

To tmmar's original question, if the temp is above freezing while you're driving, I don't think there is much of an issue. Run the rear furnace and use an extra cord and drop a trouble light with a 100W incandescent bulb next to the pump or manifold overnight. If your driving in temps below freezing for more than about 3 hours, my opinion is that you'll never add enough heat to keep the lines from freezing. In that case, if it were me, I'd blow the lines out using the on board air and run pink antifreeze from the pump through the drain valve on the cold water manifold. (Unfortunately there is no easy way to blow out the water in the pump and cross over line between the pump and cold water manifold.) Then once you get to your overnight area you could flush the pink and recharge the system, fairly quickly. Had I not traded the Berk, my next project was to plumb an air fitting into the water bay. That way I could easily blow out the water system each morning.
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