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Pre Launch De-winterization


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Towards the end of February, I’m thinking of de-winterizing our Ollie so that we can launch out of snow country when we get a good weather window to head south..  I’ll hook up the Truma on the road, so that isn’t involved.  We keep our trailer in an unheated,  insulated and enclosed RV barn.  My question is, how do we protect the water system if we get another very hard freeze?  I would prefer to not run the furnace in the enclosed space.

Steps I’m considering are:

  1. Blow the pink stuff out of the lines with compressed air.
  2. Use the boondocking feature to partially fill the FW tank.
  3. Sanitize the tank and lines repeatedly to clear associated bad tastes, then leave about 10 gallons in the FW tank.
  4. Drain the gray water, we have a composting toilet, so no black water worries.
  5. Leave an electric heater running inside when there are freezing temps.
  6. Hook up and head south like a scalded cat when possible.

Am I overthinking this, or have I left something out?  Better ideas, including just doing it on the road?  Inquiring mind needs to know.

Oops, another question, freeze protection while driving… in the Airstream, we left the furnace running at lowest setting.  Thoughts on this practice?

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I run an electric space heater in the trailer when we get freezing temps.  We had several days in the teens this week and the heater worked fine.  I open everything up so air can circulate between the hulls.  I also frequently use a small electric cube heater in the back curbside corner.  This has worked for years.

I have occasionally traveled with the furnace on with no issues.  We always run the fridge on propane when traveling, so the propane is on.  Mike

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IMO, I would drain the FW tank and lines completely after sanitizing the tank and lines. Only fill the FW tank when you are south enough to not have freezing temperatures. Use bottle water until that time. The electric heater, although it might keep the cabin warm, may not keep the FW tank and lines above freezing unless you can get heat down in the area of the tanks and lines.

Also, keep in mind that a larger volume of water would not freeze as fast as a small volume.

Edit: The above statement is not suggsting to fill the FW tank during freezing temperatures. A full tank would not leave room for expansion and could crack the tank. 

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We're very risk-averse, so I would wait until we reached Southern climes before dewinterizing and use bottled water and campground bathrooms/showers until then.

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

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6 hours ago, Wandering Sagebrush said:

Steps I’m considering are:

  1. Blow the pink stuff out of the lines with compressed air.
  2. Use the boondocking feature to partially fill the FW tank.
  3. Sanitize the tank and lines repeatedly to clear associated bad tastes, then leave about 10 gallons in the FW tank.
  4. Drain the gray water, we have a composting toilet, so no black water worries.
  5. Leave an electric heater running inside when there are freezing temps.
  6. Hook up and head south like a scalded cat when possible.

Oops, another question, freeze protection while driving… in the Airstream, we left the furnace running at lowest setting.  Thoughts on this practice?

I think all of this is acceptable. We just spent 4 days in sub freezing temps including a cold night on the I-210 bridge 140 feet above Lake Charles in Louisiana. I don’t recommend traveling with zero water in the fresh tank. We started out with clear water lines and nothing in the fresh but a full water heater tank. I was a little concerned about the WH but we filled up with water yesterday and fired it up with no problems. 
 

If you’re concerned about the water freezing in your fresh tank, study up on the thermodynamics of water freezing. I’d be more concerned with a full tank than a half tank. 

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Steve, Tali and our dog Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie, Lucy and Reacher (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

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In Minnesota,  back in the day, we'd just camp winterized. 

Some of my friends who routinely travel south in the winter just leave their trailers winterized, and work with  water jugs. Dewinterize when way south of the Mason-Dixon. 

That would be my (risk averse) choice. Plus, easier to work on sanitizing/flushing in the warmth, in a comfy campsite with full hookups.

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This is our second year of striking out during the freezing season. After going through a similar discussion last year considering  the risks of freezing and the associated  subsequent  potential grief verses the benefits of just staying winterized until reaching the non-freezing part of the country, we decided the stress wasn't worth the benefit of being de-winterized for the journey. 

That said...

This year we de-winterized in southern Florida at which time we discovered a significant problem with our Truma Aqua go on-demand water heater, which, had we de-winterized before the trip, may have been discovered prior to leaving Colorado (although the problem may have occurred from the jostling during travel...so...who knows, in any event, the WH is now repaired and working as expected, we did however have to go over a week without using it)

Bottom line, I don't think it's worth risking freezing one elbow or pipe etc. given the grief that would ensue after finding water dripping out from between the shells so we opt to use bottled water and only de-winterize once reaching warmer climates. The only exception for us is IF we plan to stay in a cold location long enough to justify de-winterizing for the stay (say a week or longer) and then re-winterize for the next leg of travel. That's a personal.

The Ollie is fine to be de-winterized in the cold while being used and heated on site. It's questionable at best however to be going down the road in sub-freezing temps as to whether the furnace will be able to keep enough heat between the shells to prevent EVERY valve, elbow, connection, pipe etc from freezing.

My Advice:

Bottled water

Scramble south ASAP

If you need a shower before your arrival to warmth the added expense of a night in a motel will pale to the cost of fixing a frozen water line.

 

Albertt

 

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Albert & Terri Sterns

Paonia, Colorado

Elite II Hull #1125 Standard Floorplan / 2017 Ford F250 gas

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