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Old 08-15-2014, 09:17 PM   #1
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Winter Camping?

How cold and for how long does it need to be before the water and tanks start to freeze?
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Old 08-15-2014, 09:29 PM   #2
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What is the wind speed. Larger tanks should freeze slower.

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Old 08-15-2014, 10:07 PM   #3
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We are from the deep south Gulf Coast and are moving to Colorado. I am trying to get an idea of how cold we can go before winterizing. Will one night just below 32 do it? Or does it have to be colder for longer? My gray and black tanks are not insulated, my water tank is inside. Thanks!
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:21 PM   #4
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That is a hard question to give an exact answer to. There are factors involved. Blowing wind, altitude, color of you rig. Dark holds heat better, light color cools faster. We would not go past the first of Nov. Your going to have to watch the weather for how cold it gets and winds.

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Old 08-15-2014, 10:30 PM   #5
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That's a hard question to answer, because while fresh water will start to freeze below 32', the waste tanks will have liquid with undefined solutions of "other stuff" that will dramatically change the freezing temp of the tank.

Like pure urine freezes at 28'-30', but that's not all that will be in the black tank. And soap in the grey tank will also prevent freezing...as will any tank treatment chemical, if used.

It is safe to just plan ahead and put a tank pad heater on each tank. Or if you have an enclosed waste service bin, you can put a AC light bulb in the bin to produce some heat.

Best luck
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:31 AM   #6
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You did not say what type of rig you have? Some holding tank compartments are heated when the furnace is in operation so no heating pads are needed. If you plan to winter in your Rv there are many things you can do to make your stay more comfortable. There is a clear film you can apply to your windows that act as a vapour barrier and stop drafts, it simply peels off in the spring. Condensation will be an issue to consider so a dehumidifier is a good idea, you can find lots of help on line.

Good luck
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:37 AM   #7
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Winter Camping?

Freezing your holding tanks isn't that big a deal as long as they aren't full and frozen solid as the "stuff" can just expand. You can pour auto windshield antifreeze, etc to lower the freeze point. Some folks even add salt or snow melt, which seems to me to be a bit extreme. I've had half full tanks freeze with no problem. Full tanks may be another story😳😁

Water freezes at 32* and when frozen water expands - period! The concern is that your plumbing fixtures, pipes, etc when frozen will burst as the water therein expands. Thus, the interior temp, especially under the counters, inside walls, etc which have plumbing must be kept above freezing, or you will be in deep trouble! If you are using the rig with some form of heat inside you are generally ok. If it gets much below 32* inside you are risking big trouble.

This probably isn't exactly answering you question because it all depends upon how long the rig's interior can/will hold its heat...
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Old 08-16-2014, 11:03 AM   #8
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Usually several hours in the upper 20's can be tolerated. If you leave your water heater on it will be safe. If you have some heat in the RV you will do ok in the upper 20's, I set the furnace to 40 degrees.
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Old 08-16-2014, 04:24 PM   #9
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Thanks. We have a small class C with non insulated black and gray tanks. H2o is inside the coach. Sounds like the tank heating pads would be a good idea. I'm adding a small vent under the dinette so warm air can reach the h2o tank easier while driving.
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Old 08-16-2014, 04:52 PM   #10
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Winter Camping?

How cold did you say you'd anticipate? I live in NW Wyoming just south of a Yellowstone. I "winterized" my plumbing if it is going below mid twenties inside the rig, which means ten or fifteen degrees outside. This of course requires that the inside has been heated or warm during the day. I use a fast winterization set up so it takes only a few minutes to winterized, but then I'm stuck using bottled ester, etc until I can flush out the antifreeze.

If you'll be plugged in to shore power or have a really good solar system, but those heating pads will sure use up your available KWs. Pay more heed to your plumbing, those storage tanks can take additives to keep them from freezing until you drop below 20*F. I mean how much do you need to devote to keeping sewage warm? I had my black water tank freeze so it wouldn't empty. Scared me to death! An RV mechanic told me to drop in ice melt, drive around to mix it, park in a garage overnight and it flowed right out the next morning. Granted, ice melt or salt might not be so great to use regularly because it will corrode the sensors, etc, but it does work.

It is the faucets that will freeze and blow first, then the water lines, then the tank. As said you'll need to keep the hot water heater going too as that plumbing is outside and will freeze first.
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:55 PM   #11
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I have never stayed in the extreme cold with my rv past October. I will winterize it as soon as it starts getting below freezing. We will need to pull it out and head south in mid January so I guess we will use bottled water until we get further south. This will be new to me, but I'm sure I will get use to it. Thx.
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:15 PM   #12
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It isn't so mush the equipment inside the rig that is the problem, but what is outside the heated space
eg tank drain valves and associated pipework, low point drains, mains water inlet fitting, black tank flush piping, fresh water tank drain line and vent line -
all of which can freeze very quickly and which contain brittle materials which can crack when the water freezes
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