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Old 03-30-2022, 07:39 AM   #1
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De-Winterized Early For Our Trip ... Then surprise freezing temps

2022 Forest River Wildwood - 273QBXL - Will we be okay? I drained the water heater and blew the water lines out with air afterward, thinking that it would be an outside possibility that temps would drop below freezing.
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Old 03-30-2022, 08:00 AM   #2
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A quick dip below the freezing mark won't hurt you. You only need to worry if temperatures stay low over a several hour period. If you are worried, open all your lower cabinet doors and turn on your campers heat. That should more than protect you for the brief period of below freezing temperatures.
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Old 03-30-2022, 08:24 AM   #3
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If you've thoroughly drained and blew the system with compressed air then I'm not sure what your concern is?

There are lots of folks on this forum that only drain and blow out for the entire winter with no issues. Then there are those who have sub-freezing temps for months that also add antifreeze as a guarantee that there was no water left in the system.

A few hours of overnight temps below freezing are typically of no concern if the temps rise above freezing during the day. Things don't freeze solid the instant it gets to 32º. The mass keeps things warmer for a while. If below freezing for more than 24 hours straight, then it's time to take a different plan.

If you still have doubts, (and you shouldn't) are you able to run your furnace?

Welcome to the forum, I see it is your 1st post!
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Old 03-30-2022, 08:31 AM   #4
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If you've thoroughly drained and blew the system with compressed air then I'm not sure what your concern is?

There are lots of folks on here that only drain and blow out for the entire winter with no issues. Then there are those who have sub-freezing temps for months that also add antifreeze as a guarantee that there was no water left in the system.

A few hours of overnight temps below freezing are typically of no concern if the temps rise above freezing during the day. Things don't freeze solid the instant it gets to 32º. The mass keeps things warmer for a while. If below freezing for more than 24 hours straight, then it's time to take a different plan.

Welcome to the forum, I see it is your 1st post!
The concern was: This is really the first TT that I've had to deal with winterizing. The last Travel Trailer we had lived in Southern Arizona and never had to be winterized. In all honesty, it went to the County Fair for two weeks a year and nothing else.
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Old 03-30-2022, 08:45 AM   #5
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The concern was: This is really the first TT that I've had to deal with winterizing. The last Travel Trailer we had lived in Southern Arizona and never had to be winterized. In all honesty, it went to the County Fair for two weeks a year and nothing else.
Thanks for clarifying.

Again, some folks only winterize doing what you've already done, drain the water heater and blow out the lines. (with the fresh tank deained, you'll need to run the pump a minute or so to to address the water in the suction strainer/pump head)


Since you are well on your way to a full blown winterization, why not make sure the water heater lines are in bypass and add antifreeze?

Does your unit have a winterization port making it easy to add antifreeze?
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Old 03-30-2022, 09:44 AM   #6
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Thanks for clarifying.

Again, some folks only winterize doing what you've already done, drain the water heater and blow out the lines. (with the fresh tank deained, you'll need to run the pump a minute or so to to address the water in the suction strainer/pump head)


Since you are well on your way to a full blown winterization, why not make sure the water heater lines are in bypass and add antifreeze?

Does your unit have a winterization port making it easy to add antifreeze?
We do have an injection port, and the heater is back in bypass. In all honesty, we're going on our first practice trip this weekend to Lums Pond in Delaware, and I was trying to get a jump on flushing the lines for this weekend so I don't have to do it at the campground as they take serious issue with dumping effluent on the ground - fresh water or not. Our fresh water tank has a drain on it, but I don't want to do it by the bucketful.
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Old 03-30-2022, 10:05 AM   #7
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Winterizing is easier than replacing broken water lines. I have winterized three times this year due to our travels and weather. Just blow out the lines and drain the water heater.
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Old 03-30-2022, 10:20 AM   #8
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As many have said, blowing out your lines is sufficient. In my part I’m of the country we have freezing temps almost every winter night, often in the 20’s and below. The service manager of a large RV sales and service facility told me they just blow out the lines with air and do not use antifreeze. I will, admit though, I do both in the coldest part of winter.
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Old 03-30-2022, 10:28 AM   #9
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If you have access to 110, use the old water well trick. Place a 60 watt light bulb in the basement of the TT close to the hoses and you should be good. Safe travels!
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Old 03-30-2022, 10:49 AM   #10
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Your rig is designed to handle some cold temps. But 24 degrees F is COLD. And those overnight temps tend to endure for a few hours...from around 4 AM to a bit after sunrise.

Sadly, the exceptions to freeze-"safe" are:
1) Low point drains;
2) Fresh tank drain;
3) All dump drains.

Each of these hangs out in space unprotected, and they are typically capped by hard plastic fittings...e.g. the quarter-turn ball valves on the fresh tank drain and the low point drains (perhaps just screw caps?)...and thin wall PVC plumbing on the dumps.

And the dump drains are really vulnerable, because they stick out like a sore thumb.

On the dump drains, you can offer additional protection by starting with a gallon or so of RV antifreeze in the black and grey tanks after you dump. This antifreeze will naturally drop to the lowest point...up against the gate valves...and filling the dump pipes. Put enough in each tank to be sure the pipes are full...the black tank dump plumbing will hold a gallon or more all by itself...and any dilution that happens during travel or when filling the tanks with waste water will be minimal. Given the WX prediction calendar, be sure to add more RV antifreeze after each dump. If you have abundant shore power available, you might add a heat blanket around the dumps.

But the potable plumbing vulnerable points are harder. If you have shore power overnight...when it's coldest...you can add any number of heat pads below and around these valves. A thin layer of insulation below the heat pad can be added to conserve energy and retain the heat better...tape it in place, because it's temporary.

Your furnace, tank heaters if you have them, opened cabinet doors, and so on can handle the rest. But you will quickly learn that your rig will struggle to stay warm at 24 degrees F...especially if there's wind. Your furnace will run a LOT, because your "extralight" rig is NOT an energy efficient design. So that cabinet door tip suggested by "timfromma" is very important. Plumbing up against outside walls...pretty much all the plumbing in the rig...is vulnerable to freezing without cabin heat penetrating the cabinets.

I've "winter" camped in a popup, but I don't think it got down into the mid 20s'. Our dogs' water bowl had a thin skim of ice on it in the morning, but 24 degrees F will freeze that solid. The pic is in March, high in the Rockies, a few years ago. We may have seen 29 or 30 degrees overnight...not 24.

P.S. Keep your hot water heater running, and it won't freeze. If you are moving from one site to another on a particularly cold day, you'd be wise to dump the fresh tank and low point drains and leave them open while you travel. Bypass the water heater...and leave it "hot" from running...it will be fine. If it's going to be REALLY cold on a travel day, consider using a pancake compressor to "air-winterize" for the trip. Why? Wind chill is not a "thing" for inanimate objects, but drafts will drive cold air into closed spaces that might otherwise be protected...like under that coroplast below the floor...and around any penetrations in the coroplast...such as at the fresh tank drain and the low point drains.
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Old 03-31-2022, 07:33 PM   #11
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We camped last weekend and the low temp was 17 degrees... no problems but we had the furnace on. This week temps will be below freezing for more than 12 hours. So we have the furnace set at the lowest temp. Not worried about anything freezing. May need a little more propane but that is easier than a plumbing repair
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Old 04-04-2022, 07:51 AM   #12
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Turned out that everything was fine. Blowing out the pipes, leaving the drains open, draining the water heater, and overall keeping freezing water from being under pressure seemed be enough to keep us from having any trouble. The only thing I might have done differently is dump a little RV antifreeze down the drains next time.
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