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Old 11-12-2019, 07:17 PM   #1
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Travel trailer winterization

We are new to owning a travel trailer and wanting to know about winterizing it. We live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, average temperature during the days 32-40 degrees. We would like to use the trailer during the winter months, however would like to know what we need to do to keep that opportunity open to use during the winter months. We’ve heard a few things such as, using a ceramic heater, winterizing it with antifreeze, putting a cover over it, leaving the heater on. The trailer is a 2020 Imagine Grand Design. Given that we plan to use it during thewinter what are the do’s and dont’s for winterization?
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:22 PM   #2
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Are those temps highs or lows? If lows then you may not have a lot to worry about but if it gets below freezing and stays there you will have a problem. Being from Florida we obviously have no experience with this so far. My understanding is theoretical. I'll avoid the temptation and let someone who knows what he is speaking of reply with real experience.
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:26 PM   #3
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My advice would be to winterize your TT so you don't have to worry on nights the temp gets low. It is easy to winterize your TT after a couple of times you can do it in 15 minutes or less. Basically drain the water lines and water heater, and fresh water tank. Blow them out with 20psi compressed air and leave the drains open. Put a little RV antifreeze in the sinks and toilet, disconnect battery and you should be done. Prop open the refrig door.
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:45 PM   #4
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What if we want to use it?
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:42 PM   #5
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Is your trailer built for cold weather use? Does it have insulation under the tanks? Going to be really difficult to do what you want if the trailer wasn't built for it.
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Old 11-12-2019, 09:01 PM   #6
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If the day time temps are above freezing and the lows are in the upper 20's you won't really have anything to worry about. You need a hard freeze at lower temps and or extended temps of below freezing to do any damage.
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Old 11-12-2019, 09:40 PM   #7
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Drain water tank and empty holding tanks. Drain your hot water and turn the valve for your by-pass. Open your low point drains. Using a special air adaptor (from your RV supply store) blow out all your lines with a compressor. Air should work fine unless your temps will be into the teens with highs in the 20s. Put a healthy splash of pink stuff in your drains. Don't forget your outside shower. If you anticipate temps that are low, use the pink stuff and circulate it through all your lines. If you have an unexpected cold night predicted, you will need to put some heat in there if you haven't used the pink stuff. Plan on keeping a couple gallons of the RV antifreeze on hand just in case. After the first time or two you should be able to winterize in about 15 minutes or less.

TIP: When you summerize, put water in your holding tank and circulate it through each faucet to force out the pink stuff before you change over the by-pass for the hot water heater. That will keep the pink stuff out of your hot tank. If you are a super Newbie, you drain the hot water by removing that big nut. It is your sacrificial anode and protects your hot tank from corrosion. After the anode is out, open a faucet inside to allow the tank to drain easily.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photoguyor View Post
What if we want to use it?


If you want to use the TT, just close the valves and turn the water on, connect the battery, close the refrig and you should be good to go. Just re-winterize the TT when you get back home again.
In Mich, we would sometimes camp in 20F temps for a weekend and we would not fill/hook up the water system. We would dry camp, using a water jug and min use of the bathroom and no showers (use campground facilities)
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:39 AM   #9
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I have a Kodiak Cub TT and live in Wisconsin. So, below zero nights to above freezing days. I plan for two or Three winter camping trips and one or two from WI to TX every year.

Using the TT and using the plumbing are different issues. When temperature drop below freezing even for a few hours, the plumbing must be winterized.

You can use the TT in freezing conditions. Electric space heaters and/or built in propane furnaces will keep you warm if you have constant shore power. Electric can be more convenient as long as the plumbing is winterized.

Using the plumbing is a different issue. If water in the system freezes, it will burst your water pump, break faucets, valves, and fittings. It may or may not damage dump valves. Some types of internal water lines will burst. Do you feel lucky?.

There are two methods of winterizing plumbing. Both require RV anti-freeze.

1) RV-antifreeze method. Drain all tanks including water heater. By pass the water heater. Use the water pump to pump RV anti-freeze into all valves, faucets, and water lines, flushing out all water. Make sure a couple of cups of anti-freeze goes into each sink and shower P-trap. Many people add a gallon to each dump tank to protect the dump valves and keep the bottom of the tanks wet.

2) Blow-out method. Drain all tanks including the water heater. Connect an air compressor to the "city water" connection. Pump a good volume of air at no more then 40 pounds pressure into the system. Open each valve and fitting one at a time including the water heater drain plug until only air comes out. Add a couple of cups of RV anti-freeze to each p-trap. Many people add a gallon to each dump tank to protect the dump valves and keep the bottom of the tanks wet.

Returning to use:
Returning the system filled with anti-freeze to use takes flushing with clean water until the pink color is gone. Then flushing more to get rid of any bad taste. I usually use more than 50 gallons of water to flush out the taste.

Returning blow out system to use is easier. Just add water and vent air.

Some RV manufacturers require first flushing with anti-freeze, then blowing out the anti-freeze.
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:03 AM   #10
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Using TT in below freezing weather

Using the TT and the plumbing when temperatures drop below freezing:

This is a much more complicated issue. A few of the best TT's are built to be used in winter conditions. Most of these high quality TT's require the propane furnace be used to heat plumbing spaces. High end RV's have other better systems.

There are many different designs and many owners modify them to prevent expensive damage. Details of your system matter.

Many more TT manufactures advertise "All Season" or "Four Season" use. They may advertise enclosed and heated underbelly like my Kodiak Cub. Still, if you read the user manual, it will say the plumbing system must be winterized when temperatures drop below freezing. No exceptions are allowed. Any freeze damage is the owner's responsibility.

Usually the issue of frozen plumbing is side stepped. No clear message is provided to prospective owner. Salesmen avoid the subject, often with great skill. There is no truth in advertising in the TT business. To my knowledge, no successful law suits have been prosecuted.

My Kodiak Cub required $2300 and a couple of months of work on my part to make the plumbing safe for use in winter. I still cannot dump the waste tanks unless outside temperatures remain above freezing for hours. Both belly and in cabin water lines froze. One belly line froze when the outside temperature dropped from 34 degrees to 29 degrees for 4 hours. The 50 gallon water tank in the enclosed and heated underbelly lasted for two days.

Now I use the plumbing as long as temperatures are forecast to be above 32 degrees on the day I plan to break camp and dump tanks. The propane furnace must be on and set to 60 degrees or more inside. Belly temperature stays above 45 degrees.
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:46 AM   #11
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We winter camp and keep the TT winterized. We use the left over gallon jugs from the antifreeze filled with water to flush the toilet. We use
regular bottled water to brush our teeth. At the end of the trip I dump the tanks, splash more antifreeze in the p-traps and poor antifreeze into the black tank and a little bit in the toilet once done. We use the furnace to break the cold but an electric heater from there. We just went out over Veterans Day weekend to Cape Cod using this method. We only dewinterize the water lines, etc. when we go South or spring finally comes.
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:58 AM   #12
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Water Bottles from used Antifreeze Bottles
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:03 PM   #13
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Cape Cod winter camping === no crowds, no traffic!
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:05 PM   #14
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