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Old 10-07-2013, 06:16 PM   #1
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Beginner Questions

Hello;

I am the new owner of an older motorhome, and am looking for some basic guidance. My family and I bought this 1994 Tioga C 29ft about 3 months ago. It hasn't given us any troubles yet. We have never owned a motorhome or anything like it. We are true beginners. We've had a great summer with it, but it's getting colder here Washington State.

My family and I will be using the motorhome most weekends throughout the winter. I've read about how to winterize for long term storage, but I am hoping there are simple steps to keep it safe between weekends. The weather is rarely below freezing, but it can bounce up and down from night to night, and dip into the high 20's without much warning.

During those cold weeks, will keeping the heat on inside keep the water lines safe? How about the fresh water tank?

What is the best way to keep the holding tanks safe? Antifreeze?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

BHB
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:59 PM   #2
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There is no simple answer for occasional use in cold weather. There are water lines that are exposed where heat is not available, e.g. the waste tanks drains, city water inlet, etc. In some RVs the fresh & waste water tanks are also exposed underneath. And you also need to keep the water heater warm, and sometimes water lines run close enough to the outer skin that they can freeze even if the inside is heated. Tough to know what problems like that may exist in a given RV until you try it a few times in the cold.

To be a problem, temps would have to go below freezing and stay that way for several hours. If your area isn't very cold, that may not happen.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:10 PM   #3
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I agree with Gary. I never winterize our MH but keep it plugged into AC all the time when at home. I installed small 200 watt electric heaters controlled by thermo-cubes in the wet bay, tank bay, and the equipment bay where the water distribution manifold is located. I really don't worry about it unless the temp is going to be 25 degrees or less. JMHO!
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:27 PM   #4
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We live in NE Florida and use our MH year round. We can see winter lows in the twentys several times a year. If we are between trips at home, I put a small space heater inside and open all cabinets, I then hookup the city water and turn my outside shower hot and cold on real slow and let it run. About the same as we are advised for exposed pipes around the house. Had a low in 1983 of 15 for 6-7 hours with no damage.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:29 PM   #5
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There aree various options including using heat tape and tank warmers... UltraHeat, Inc. - Before You Buy an RV UltraHeat, Inc. - Easy to Retrofit The consequence of frozen busted pipes makes me shudder as I went through a bunch of contortions finding a couple of leaks in our very simple system. You can do a lot blowing out the system using compressed air and a fitting that goes in the city water inlet. BUT the prospect of fining all the places water can hide...
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:23 PM   #6
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I'm in the Atlanta area and have had similar questions around winterization. But honestly, a lot of the ideas posted around here sound a little more difficult than just blowing the water lines out with compressed air, which is what I was planning on doing, and pouring a bit of antifreeze down the draines. I think most people have (or have access to) an air compressor.

Am I missing something?
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:18 PM   #7
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BHB,

There are a whole lot of answers that are required here to make you question complete.
Will you be keeping the unit where it has DEPENDABLE electric power?
Do you have separate gray and black tanks?
Is the potable tank already in a heated space?
Do you already know how to protect the potable and waste systems from freeze damage?

We live in southern Michigan and use the coach well into the cold weather. Sometimes I blow out the potable system and we live out of jugs. We still have to keep the coach warm and wait fro a warm day to dump the black (we only have the one) tank. Lots of times we park the coach next to the barn and leave the electric heat on.

Matt
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Old 10-08-2013, 02:08 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone. Very helpful.

Matt: Answer to your questions.

Yes, I have pretty dependable electric power at the house. If it does go out, I have a small Honda generator that I can use for emergencies.

I have separate gray and black tanks. Both are exposed under the chassis.

The potable tank is inside under the dinette seat.

I don't think I know the right way to protect the potable tank and waste systems. Any help would be appreciated.

I do have a good air compressor and can certainly blow the system out if that's the best way to do it.

Thanks for the advice.

BHB
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Old 10-08-2013, 02:22 PM   #9
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Winter

We camp year round--live in Western N.C. and camp in this area--we just winterize it and use bottled water to drink,etc.., we have a couple gallons of RV antifreeze we mix a little with a gallon of water(carry 4-5 jugs) to use for flushing--we shower at the campground, dump when needed later in the day when its warmer.- only de-winterize in the spring-Just the way we do it--works well for us. --Vince
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Old 10-08-2013, 02:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDI-Minnie View Post
I'm in the Atlanta area and have had similar questions around winterization. But honestly, a lot of the ideas posted around here sound a little more difficult than just blowing the water lines out with compressed air, which is what I was planning on doing, and pouring a bit of antifreeze down the draines. I think most people have (or have access to) an air compressor.

Am I missing something?
I don't have access to compressed air so I use antifreeze in all the lines. I do have a question about compressed air, though. will compressed air clear the water pump? If not you at least to run some antifreeze through the pump, right?
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:39 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bondad View Post
I don't have access to compressed air so I use antifreeze in all the lines. I do have a question about compressed air, though. will compressed air clear the water pump? If not you at least to run some antifreeze through the pump, right?
From what I've seen, the pump and water heater get drained seperately with anti-freeze or air.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:58 AM   #12
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Drag,

I work (or more accurately did) on both both boats and RVs in Michigan. It gets cold here, but not that fast.

If the potable tank is inside the heated spaces and you can dependably heat the unit (that is why I asked about electric power) then you can leave everything ready to go until you are going to get several days below freezing. The gray tank is an issue, but it does not take much "red pop" to keep the water there from getting to a hard freeze. The black tank is really not an issue until it gets real cold for five or six days solid.

Get the adapter so you can blow the water out of the system. It should already have all the drains it needs, but finding them is sometimes a trip. The water heater will blow out well, but the toilet and the potable pump are always a bear. That is just a problem with their location and manufacture. So, be very sure you get all the water out of the flush circuit. The pump should be separated and run until it is very dry.

In the last decade, I don't think I have used 2 gallons of red pop in my coach or boat, but I was rushed one time and did not the the flush water valve on the pot clear (35$).

Matt
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:13 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bondad View Post
I don't have access to compressed air so I use antifreeze in all the lines. I do have a question about compressed air, though. will compressed air clear the water pump? If not you at least to run some antifreeze through the pump, right?
I run my pump till it just runs out of water, then disconnect the inlet side. I don't put any chemicals (other than a chlorine shock at the beginning of each season) in my potable water system.
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