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Old 10-30-2020, 07:34 PM   #1
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Location: Western Washingtom
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Winter in mild climate

I have some questions about winter use of an RV

I have never owned or slept in an RV, but today, I purchased a 2010 Forest River Flagstaff Classic Super Lite Model 831KRSS.

This unit will stay next to my house with a water supply and 120VAC within a few feet. It will be used by my family and friends who want to come visit for a few days to a couple of weeks; the better to be close, but not too close during the pandemic. Also, for my relatives who are city bound, meaning Seattle, a chance to get out of town.

I want it to be available year round. I live in a very beautiful area not far from Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest. We have mild winters. It can sometimes get below freezing for two or three weeks at a stretch. Once in a while it gets below zero F, but rarely for very long.

I have looked at this page https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...er-195723.html, which is great, but oriented to much colder conditions than I expect to face.

I wonder if the following is too optimistic a plan for those times the trailer will not be in use:


Antifreeze in the black water tank

Drain grey water daily during use

Keep fresh water tanks empty

Remove water hose when not in use.

Drain water from the system when not in use


No skirt, no heat tape.


What has me most concerned is the hot water tank. Iíd love to know if there is an alternative to repeatedly draining the thing. I wonder if having an oil filled space heater set up inside set on the lowest setting would work.

Iím going to leave the trailer plugged in at all times, but I donít know if that will protect from freezing. We do occasionally have short term (one day max) power outages during foul weather. We donít have a generator.

Any suggestions are welcomed.

This seems like a pretty great forum.
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Old 10-30-2020, 09:00 PM   #2
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All good questions - needing to winterize or not...

First, you do not have to drain the hot water heater unless you're expect freezing temps. When I'm staying in Florida, I leave water in the water heater for months. I would suggest that you prepare to winterize your camper whenever temps are expected to be at freezing or below. In that event I would pour some RV antifreeze in both the black and gray tanks (even though you may not be using them) as that will keep black and grey tank valves from freezing from residual moisture in those tanks.

If temps drop below freezing, I would do a full on winterizing of the RV. Some blow the lines out, some use RV antifreeze, I do the latter.

If the weather is ok I'd use the fresh water tank, let guests take showers, use the toilet etc.

Keep the rules for use simple

My .02
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Old 10-30-2020, 09:58 PM   #3
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Where in Western Washington are you and what is the lowest temperature you get in the winter.

If you have consistent days where it never gets above freezing, you need to drain the water system completely including the water heater. You could likely get away with just blowing it all out with compressed air between trip if you use it often in the winter
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:08 PM   #4
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tomob, I live on Camano Island and I just blow out the lines and put antifreeze in the traps and toilet. I also have a electric heater inside set for 40 degrees.
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Old 10-30-2020, 11:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomob View Post
It can sometimes get below freezing for two or three weeks at a stretch. Once in a while it gets below zero F, but rarely for very long.
Iím going to leave the trailer plugged in at all times, but I donít know if that will protect from freezing. .
First... welcome to the forum!
If you get below freezing temperatures (below 32 degrees) for two or three weeks at a stretch, you would be wise to winterize that rig. Take a look at the water lines in the rig and you'll realize just how little freezing weather it will take to freeze those lines. Many of the lines are in inaccessible locations so if they freeze and break, you'll have major repairs.
You can still let visitors us the rig. They can use bottled water for drinking, cooking and flushing and leave the RV antifreeze in the lines. Showering is a bit of a problem.
When you winterize a rig, you're putting RV antifreeze in the lines (not the fresh water tank or water heater which needs a bypass valve), so it really doesn't take much to drain it and flush the lines and put some back in before the next cold front.
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Old 10-31-2020, 02:26 PM   #6
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It's tricky

Quote:
Originally Posted by HangDiver View Post
In that event I would pour some RV antifreeze in both the black and gray tanks (even though you may not be using them) as that will keep black and grey tank valves from freezing from residual moisture in those tanks.
This is a little misleading. RV antifreeze is used at full concentration. if you have, say, 20 gallons of water in the black tank and dump a gallon of antifreeze in the toilet, you have diluted it to 1:20. Same for the gray. To make this work right, you would have to dump the tanks before adding antifreeze. And if you dumped the tanks, you wouldn't need to add antifreeze.

The way I deal with this is to have a sewage tote connected all the time, with the gray water valve open. I've let the black collect in the tank--maybe the saltiness of waste product has protected me.

I was stationed at Ft. Lewis WA in January-March 1971 for 70 days, and it rained, snowed, or sleeted 66 of them. But my recollection is that it never got seriously cold. Even the snow was wet and sloppy, not like the dry powder stuff we got in Minnesota. Many folks will tell you that winterization is not required with overnight excursions down to, say, 28F, as long as the daytimes are above freezing.
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Old 11-01-2020, 05:21 PM   #7
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thanks

Thank you all. I live at a place called Lummi Island, a bit North of Bikendan on Camano island, and will plan to follow his lead. We generally have warning if there will be an extended cold period, as the average Washingtonian is a complete wuss when it comes to harsh weather. I plan on draining the system with compressed air whenever it is not in use, so adding antifreeze will be possible if necessary.



Larry-NC gave a perfect description of a typical winter in Western Washington (and thanks for your service).



Thanks again.
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Old 11-02-2020, 09:05 AM   #8
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I wouldn't have a problem leaving it as you described EXCEPT for one thing. The statements below.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomob View Post
We do occasionally have short term (one day max) power outages during foul weather. We donít have a generator.
Your furnace will keep it warm enough to prevent freezing when it gets below freezing, and even if the power went out for a while the furnace would still run. BUT, if the power is out very long your battery(s) aren't going to last long so you'd be taking a big chance by not fully winterizing it in that situation. However, you could winterize it after the power went out if you're absolutely sure you'll always be there when it happens.

I'd most likely just do a full winterizing whenever it's going to be unused for a length of time. After some practice you'll get really good at doing it and it'll only take a few minutes. Just make a list and follow it every time so you don't forget something.
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