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Basement Hatch vs Single Digit Temperatures


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I have been reading on the Oliver Forum about people camping with their Ollie down south last winter and this winter and getting caught in single digit temperatures at night and what they have or are doing to keep their water pipes from freezing.

I have the Lagun table mount on the front of my vanity so I do not have a basement hatch. I am thinking of removing the table mount and installing a hatch in its place as well as installing installation board on the outside basement door hatch and the outside shower door. 

Question: Are there water pipes under the basement floor? Does opening a interior basement hatch during freezing temperatures help keep any pipes or even the outside shower pipes warmer? 

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If you had a cellar hatch and you opened it, it would allow for cabin air to enter the cellar area. But, you really need a way to force air into this area as it won't enter easily. Placing a small forced air heater in front of the open hatch would work. Although there are technically no pipes beneath the cellar floor (that would place them outside), there are some cellar pipes that run across the rear of the trailer, coming from the outside fittings and going to the pump and valves. Those pipes are right against the outside hull and are subjected to near outside temps and are the most likely to freeze if not kept above 32 degrees. This is also where the back-flow preventers are located and if they freeze they will most likely crack and leak upon thawing. The cellar area is not physically connected to the area where the plumbing for the outside shower is located, so that becomes an additional area of concern. 

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We are in cold single digit temps last night, tonight, and tomorrow night.  Our daytime high was 25 today. Winds 20 to 40mph.  I have our propane furnace is set at 67 tonight, our nightstand basement door is open to the basement with our electric Vernodo heater is set up to blow heated air into the basement.  We also have a small 3 inch battery operated fan set up just inside the basement nightstand door to aid circulation.  We pumped 1/4 pump of antifreeze into the water inlets.  I disconnected the outside shower head and drained some water from the hose and shower head.  I placed some bat insulation into a plastic garbage bag and placed just inside the outside basement door to help insulate the basement.  We have the Trauma on eco mode all day and night.  We are only using water from our tank.  So far so good.  I know some of my neighbors have frozen water pipes and drain pipes.  The remote bathrooms in this park are closed due to frozen pipes.  It is supposed to get to 50 on Sunday so I will flush our water systems and refill our water tank as we leave early Monday to go to White Sands National Park then on to a Harvest Host winery in Deming for one night on our way to Karchner Caverns State Park in AZ.

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Too bad there there isn't a way to isolate and drain only those pipes coming from the water fittings. Our house is like that. We can shut off and drain the pipes leading to the outside faucets, leaving the rest of the house plumbing operational. In a camper, you're not using the city water and water fills when well below freezing anyway. Or maybe some 12v heat tape on the last foot of each of those pipes. 

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So far so good!  Knock on wood!!!  Our basement was warm this morning.  My battery temperature was 4 celsius so about 40 degrees.  The furnace is running a lot. We have the fan open in the ceiling but not running so we have air and no condensation.  We also leave our blinds pulled down but leave about 2 inches open at the bottom so we have no condensation on windows we leave the bathroom and closet doors open.  Our bathroom gets very good heat from the vent.  We went to Roswell yesterday so I flipped the gas to the 100 percent full bottle.  I didn't want to run out while we were gone.  I will refill the partially used bottle this morning before we leave for Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Park.  One more night of single digits before we moderate to the 20s at night.  We are using water off our fresh tank as none of the antifreeze made it into the tank.  Thanks for all of your support!!!!

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  • The title was changed to Basement Hatch vs Single Digit Temperatures
21 minutes ago, Mattnan said:

We have the fan open in the ceiling but not running so we have air and no condensation. 

If you have the vent fully open, you are losing a huge amount of heat through natural convection. If the winds are not strong, you can crack the vent hatch an inch or two using the manual knob. Leave the fan off, as you have been doing. Cracking the bath vent the same way and leaving that door open is also helpful. Do NOT leave the Maxx Fan vent partially open if the wind is strong or gusty, it will stress the rain cover and maybe break something. The only time that cover is secure (not flopping around) is when it is fully closed or fully open. If you have the vent cracked and hear loud rattles, that is what is going on, and you need to open or close the vent fully. Video: …. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=k423UiXa7h8

Stay warm.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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1 hour ago, Steph and Dud B said:

Too bad there there isn't a way to isolate and drain only those pipes coming from the water fittings.

Actually, Overland has done exactly this when he re-worked his plumbing in his Elite 2.  

If interested, do a search of Overland's posts.


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