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Old 11-12-2018, 02:49 PM   #1
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Question Newbies Need Info on Protecting From Freeze

We are still newbies, living in a used 5th wheel full-time in Central TX. Been living in it for about 5-6 weeks now. Gonna freeze 3 nights in a row starting tonight (28-32 degrees). It's a 2000 Travel Supreme 5th Wheel, we're absolutely ignorant about our systems, what all we have in it, etc. We're unsure how to know what our water pressure is, if that has any bearing on how we need to protect our water supply/pipes.

Also, is "winterizing" only for people NOT staying in their RV in winter, or do we need to do something to get ready? I figured I'd wrap the outside water supply, put a space heater in the underbelly near the water pipes, & maybe drip water from faucet overnight, whenever temp drops below freezing. Any ideas, suggestions, corrections? Thanks!
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Old 11-12-2018, 05:43 PM   #2
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Joe-n-Stef --


Welcome to the forum and the many fun RV adventures you will have! While freezing temperatures are expected across all of Texas the next three nights (including the Houston area!), the biggest concern I think you have is your water hose and any exposed plumbing you may have. There are a couple of choices for your water hose:


1) "Wrap" the hose using the gray foam insulation "tubes" for household pipes. Get 3 or 4 "tubes" for 3/4" diameter pipe from Walmart, Lowes, etc. Put the foam insulation on your water hose and secure in place by wrapping with duct tape ever couple of feet.
2) Since you are living full time in your RV, purchase a water hose that has electric heat tape from Walmart, ACE Hardware, Camping World, etc. to use all winter long --> https://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-229...Free/187720396 During very cold weather (i.e. 0 F) this heated hose can be wrapped with the gray foam tube insulation


For any exposed water lines on your fifth wheel, wrap them with the foam tube insulation or even wrap them with an old towel. Secure in place using duct tape.


Hopefully your gray and black water tanks are heated and enclosed, If not, leave the drain valve on the gray water tank open. For the black water tank, make sure it is empty so that you can still use it if the drain line freezes.


Hope this info helps!
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:15 PM   #3
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Thank you, Mike & Cindy! I appreciate your help. I had not even thought about the white water hose being exposed (& on the ground!!). We bought some of those insulation tubes yesterday, so will put them on now! Our gray & black tanks are enclosed, so I assume they are probably insulated. Both tanks are empty; we are draining both gray & black through a PVC pipe into septic tank.

Stay warm & dry in Katy; we'll do the same here in Del Valle. Take care.


Stef/Joe

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Old 11-12-2018, 09:02 PM   #4
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Newbies Need Info on Protecting From Freeze

Fill fresh water tank and take fresh water hose in, run off of the fresh water tank until it warms up. Dump both waste tanks, put drain hoses away until it is warmer. Put a drop light in the wet bar if it isnít heated by the furnace. Open door under. Kitchen and bathroom sinks to let warm air surround pipes.
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:06 PM   #5
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That is correct, Winterizing is for storing an RV that won't be used in the coldest months.
I think you are going the correct direction with heater and wrapping your hose coming into the RV. Is your unit winter ready? You mentioned it is an older one but some are considered winter ready which means the inside is protected from freezing. But still need to take precautions. Also watch the black and grey tanks. if you are hooked up to an outside dump then you would be ok to run some water dripping at night. But otherwise your tanks will fill up fast. Check out this link for RV information. www.rvingforlife.com - RV Life Style
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Old 11-13-2018, 12:33 PM   #6
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Joe-n-stef --


BarbaraOK has a good suggestion regarding your water hose / fresh water supply if you don't want to insulate your water hose. While I was on a project assignment in the Texas Panhandle for two years, I used the "heated" water hose I mentioned for two winters when temperatures are routinely below 20 F at night and never had a frozen water hose.


If you plan to stay in Central Texas through the winter, I'd suggest taking time to insulate your water hose or invest in a heated water hose.


Also, since you stated you are still "newbies" I hope you do not leave your black water tank continually open to the RV park sewer. Doing leads to a huge mess as "solids" accumulate in the black water tank and lead to tank/drain plugging. Your black water tank valve should remain closed until the tank is nearly full. Then when the black tank is drained, there will be plenty of water to carry the "solids" out of the tank. You likely will only need to drain your black water tank once per week.


Also if your black water tank does not have a spray bar, I highly suggest purchasing a "back flush" connector so you clean "stuff" from your black water tank --> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BUQOAE...c-c954e2f69b5e


During my two year project assignment I back flushed my black water tank every other weekend.
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Old 11-13-2018, 12:50 PM   #7
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One more "winter" thought. How are you heating the inside of your fifth wheel and heating your hot water tank? If you are using propane having to disconnect empty 25 or 40 pound tanks and taking them somewhere to be refilled can be a frequent, big hassle and expensive during winter months.


While I was in the Texas Panhandle, I leased a "120 gallon" propane tank from a local propane supply company. About once a month I'd have and the tank refilled by their bulk delivery truck. Purchasing the propane "in bulk" was hassle free and at least 50% lower price per gallon versus the price charged for filling the small 25#/40# propane tanks.


This website has a nice image of a 120 gallon tank --> https://eastern.com/wp-content/uploa...nk_options.pdf


Several electric space heaters can be used to heat the inside of an RV. I chose not to do so for my RV due to safety reasons as I had low trust in leaving space heaters "on" and unattended while I was away.
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Old 11-15-2018, 01:16 PM   #8
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Mike/Cindy: Thanks for all the thoughtful info. We're on a private lot, not in park. Yes, we are actually continually draining into the sewer as opposed to letting black tank fill. We will correct that right away!

I am not sure what a spray bar is or if we have one (clueless in Texas). We have to get an RV plumber out here soon since water heater doesn't work either (& we're sick of bathing using hot water from an electric kettle and/or cold showers). So I will pick the brain of the plumber when he's out here.

We're heating with furnace; when it stopped working, realized were out of propane, so got another tank. But after 3 days, furnace (& stove again) stopped working. Does a 30-lb tank of propane really get used so FAST??? We used our electric space heater for sleeping last night. I'll check out the larger tank leasing options you mentioned.

Again, thank you!
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Old 11-15-2018, 09:55 PM   #9
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Something to help keep the underbelly of the RV warm while parked will be helpful. Foam boards cut to fit between the RV and the ground, bales of straw if allowed (many parks won't allow this because of the mess and the volume they take up in the dumpster).

Don't leave your black sewage valve open all the time, or you'll get a pyramid of solids that will be hard to get rid of. Let the black tank fill then dump when it's full.
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Old 11-16-2018, 12:17 PM   #10
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My procedure if it gets below freezing in FL:
- I have a quick-disconnect (Lowes) on my waterline and always keep some fresh water in the RV holding tank. Turn off city water and disconnect hose and let it drain out. The toilet then uses the holding tank overnight. If I need the shower and it's still freezing, I reconnect the water which will be flowing and not freeze.
- I let my sewer hoses out and just make sure there is no liquid in them. I only dump tanks when they are full (gray and black).
- The holding tanks on my 5er are enclosed and are in a heated area which of course needs the furnace to run now and then. If it's that cold out, it will be anyway, we don't let our interior get below about 58-60 at night
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Old 11-16-2018, 02:45 PM   #11
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If we were ever mistakenly 'stuck' in cold weather we always filled our fresh water tank and just ran off it. No need to bother with a hose. Same goes for the sewer hose. Even if there's no water running through it, they are very fragile in freezing temps and can crack easily. It's simple just to pull it out and connect it to drain the tanks and then put it away.

A catalytic propane heater made especially for RVs is much more economical to run than a RV furnace. We used ours for 16 years. It's a constant heat; not the cold blasts that a furnace gives. Of course, if you staying the winter in cold temps you'll need to run the furnace to keep the bay plumbing from freezing.

Why are you staying there, anyway?
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Old 11-16-2018, 04:32 PM   #12
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Joe-n-Stef --


It will be easier for forum members to provide help if you develop a "signature block" that contains your names, the type of RV you have, year it was made, manufacturer, model, etc.


Also, when you close your black water tank valve, start using a black water tank chemical that will control odors and break-down solids in the tank. I use Camco TST "orange" ultra-concentrated drop-ins (pods) available from Walmart --> https://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-TST...41183/54307393. The pods are much more economical that the liquid version.


Where in Central Texas are you staying?
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Old 11-16-2018, 06:37 PM   #13
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A furnace is like a race horse when it comes to using propane - it sucks it up....

Go buy a couple of elec ceramic heaters... we use two to warm our class A.... our furnace hardly ever turns on now....
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Old 11-17-2018, 09:36 AM   #14
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Thanks, all, for the advise/suggestions. Two Gypsies, we're here because we don't own a truck/tow vehicle, & because hubby has full-time job in Austin area (& our only grandchild is here!!). We'll hit the road one day!!
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