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Old 10-19-2013, 07:45 PM   #1
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Not Winterizing - water pipe questions

Probably a simple question for you long timers.
We have a THOR ACE that we plan on using at least once a month in the winter. We live in Southeast Arizona, and do see below freezing temperatures - down to the teens a number of times each year. If we turn the heater on the ducts will keep the tanks from freezing when the temperature falls. The question is will it also keep the coach's internal water pipes from freezing?
Thanks all.
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:47 PM   #2
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My partner is also worried about any pipes that run through the bottom of the coach, at the dump area, etc.
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Lisa W View Post
My partner is also worried about any pipes that run through the bottom of the coach, at the dump area, etc.
I do the same thing you are talking about although in not quite as cold temperatures. I bought the fitting that hooks onto an air compressor quick connect and then screws into the water line. I blow all of the water out of my lines by opening and closing the faucets several times until no more water coming out of any of them. I forgot that I first turn my heater bypass valve to bypass. After I have blown all the water out I then drain my hot water heater tank. I keep about 40 psi on the water pipes while I am draining the hot water tank. After the tank is empty I open the bypass valve back up and allow the air to blow all the water out if the bypass valve and any lines to and including the hot water heater. I then take a gallon of anti freeze and pour a little into each of the drains. This whole procedure usually takes me about 20 or 30 minutes to do but it allows me to have the water pipes protected and when I get ready to use the coach I do not have to run water until the pink stuff is out of the lines. It reduces the cost and to me is a bit easier than running the anti freeze through the lines.
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Old 10-20-2013, 08:21 AM   #4
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Lisa, My winter homebase is just east of you, outside Deming, NM. We have similar winter temps. I use my coach frequently during the winter, so prefer not to drain & refill each time I come & go. If you keep the furnace or other heat source on inside to maintain an above 40 overnight, you wont have any problem with the main pipes/tanks. Its the smaller lines that freeze first, so additional protection may be needed in your outside water bay. I simply plug in a corded portable trouble light with a 60 watt bulb and leave it on overnight inside the closed water bay. The other line to worry about is the small line to/from the frig ice maker, if you have one, Be sure to drain that line and turn off the ice maker.
Its your choice, either drain/refill and use the procedure Gemini described, each time; or use a heat source and light bulbs to protect the vulnerable areas.
Keep in mind its the daytime temps that are just as important as the overnight lows. In our areas, with normal winter highs up in the 60's, it takes most of the night to drop below freezing, and even when the overnight low hits the teens, its just a few hours in the early morning right before sunrise. If we get hit with an extended cold front, and daytime temps stay low also, then additional protections or draining may be required.
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Old 10-20-2013, 10:20 AM   #5
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...We live in Southeast Arizona, and do see below freezing temperatures... The question is will it also keep the coach's internal water pipes from freezing?
I live in NC, but we have similar winters. I installed a 50 amp box at my house and park my coach there. I keep my temp set at 60 on the winter. I don't use antifreeze in the lines.

Regardless, there is one additional thing I do when the coach is not being used.

Turn off the ice maker and the refrigerator inside the coach. In the outside access panel behind the refrigerator, there is a plastic line going to the ice maker. That line can freeze up fairly easily. I assume yours may have this as well.

Take the access panel off, unscrew that small plastic line to drain the water, then simply blow into the line to blow out the water. Then reconnect the line.

I then take a piece of house insulation that I cut to fit into that area behind the access panel and simply put it in there and put the access panel back in place.

This keeps that ice maker line and the refrigerator from freezing up. NOTE: Be sure to remove that pice of insulation before turning on the refrigerator or it can cause the refrigerator to overheat and burn up....
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Old 10-20-2013, 10:30 AM   #6
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Lowes sells a thermal plug that turns on when the temp gets to a certain temp. I connect a drop light to the plug and put it in my plumbing room. Remember if you use an alternate heating source (space heater) it will heat your interior but since you aren't using your coach heater the fan won't circulate the warm air to the tanks.
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Old 10-20-2013, 10:55 AM   #7
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Agree with the replies, only thing I add, in really low temps, I open the cabinet doors and the drawers under the counter to allow heat to get into those areas. My pipes under there are right next to the outside wall and could be vulnerable.
Luckily PEX tubing is pretty tolerant of cold temps.
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Old 10-20-2013, 09:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Lisa, My winter homebase is just east of you, outside Deming, NM. We have similar winter temps. I use my coach frequently during the winter, so prefer not to drain & refill each time I come & go. If you keep the furnace or other heat source on inside to maintain an above 40 overnight, you wont have any problem with the main pipes/tanks. Its the smaller lines that freeze first, so additional protection may be needed in your outside water bay. I simply plug in a corded portable trouble light with a 60 watt bulb and leave it on overnight inside the closed water bay. The other line to worry about is the small line to/from the frig ice maker, if you have one, Be sure to drain that line and turn off the ice maker.
Its your choice, either drain/refill and use the procedure Gemini described, each time; or use a heat source and light bulbs to protect the vulnerable areas.
Keep in mind its the daytime temps that are just as important as the overnight lows. In our areas, with normal winter highs up in the 60's, it takes most of the night to drop below freezing, and even when the overnight low hits the teens, its just a few hours in the early morning right before sunrise. If we get hit with an extended cold front, and daytime temps stay low also, then additional protections or draining may be required.
Jim,
Thank you very much this is what I think I have been looking for. Lucky/unlucky for us, we don't have an ice maker in this one.
Love the Deming area. We travel through there a lot.
Lisa
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Old 10-20-2013, 09:48 PM   #9
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Lowes sells a thermal plug that turns on when the temp gets to a certain temp. I connect a drop light to the plug and put it in my plumbing room. Remember if you use an alternate heating source (space heater) it will heat your interior but since you aren't using your coach heater the fan won't circulate the warm air to the tanks.
Thanks, that is a good idea. We'll head to our local Lowes and get a plug.
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Old 10-20-2013, 09:49 PM   #10
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Agree with the replies, only thing I add, in really low temps, I open the cabinet doors and the drawers under the counter to allow heat to get into those areas. My pipes under there are right next to the outside wall and could be vulnerable.
Luckily PEX tubing is pretty tolerant of cold temps.
Thanks, Hooligan. Very good idea we'll add that to our cold weather checklist.
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Old 10-20-2013, 09:50 PM   #11
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Thanks to everyone who answered. We appreciate all of the kind people and comments on this forum!
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Old 10-20-2013, 11:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Lowes sells a thermal plug that turns on when the temp gets to a certain temp. I connect a drop light to the plug and put it in my plumbing room. Remember if you use an alternate heating source (space heater) it will heat your interior but since you aren't using your coach heater the fan won't circulate the warm air to the tanks.
If I remember correctly, it's called a Thermo Cube. They activate at 35 degrees and deactivate at 45 degrees. They're capable of handling a space heater up to 1500 watts, heat lamps, and even heat tapes. Very useful tool.

Before we became fulltimers, I would use a couple of these to keep the coach above freezing during the colder months. I would always winterize in the coldest part of Winter.

Since we now spend the Winters near Yuma, haven't had to winterize for the past 7 years.
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:11 AM   #13
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Thanks, Rockbit. Can't wait until I retire, then hopefully won't have to worry about the cold weather. Yuma is toasty in the winter compared to the 5,000 feet winter temps we get in the Sierra Vista - Bisbee area.
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