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Old 12-26-2010, 08:48 PM   #1
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Freeze protection question

Hi, y'all. This is our first "A" ('03 Fleetwood Southwind) and we're needing some advice on winter. We want to use it during the winter and early spring because we'll have some nice weather, so the all-out winterizing is right out if I can avoid it. We can get outdoor storage with electric power, but I don't know for sure if we have electric heat in the coach (haven't picked it up yet), but I don't believe so. I've seen lots of advice on this very subject, and it seems that if we had one of those oil-filled space heaters in the coach, it should keep things warm enough to not freeze, right? Or wrong? do we need heat in the basement as well, and if so, where? Our normal daytime temps are in the 40's to 50's, normal overnights down in the 20's, but we'll be down in the 'teens for a few days end of the week, so I need to get this sorted out right quick.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 12-26-2010, 09:35 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by SAMCUDNEY View Post
Our normal daytime temps are in the 40's to 50s, normal overnights down in the 20's, but we'll be down in the 'teens for a few days end of the week, so I need to get this sorted out right quick.
Since you have electric, you may want to consider blowing out the fresh water system with compressed air.
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Old 12-26-2010, 10:25 PM   #3
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Using a space heater will not keep pipes that run through the basement or bays from freezing. It will only keep the inside of the coach from dropping too low. If you must not winterize & you won't be around to run your propane heat, DriVer's suggestion to blow out the lines with compressed air is your next best bet. You can also put trouble lights in the service bay, water pump bay & any bay with pipes running through them.

Even with outdoor storage w/electric hook up, I would not want to leave a space heater on in my RV in storage when I'm not around. To me, that's just not safe.

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Old 12-26-2010, 11:06 PM   #4
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Agreed.. drain the pipes and water heater and blow them out..
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:48 AM   #5
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This is what I do. I neither recommend it or know if it will work for you.

We have low temps of 20 for maximum of two or three hours. I place one 150W heat lamp in the plumbing bay on a heavy duty timer. It comes on around 6PM and off at 6AM. I open the cabinet doors under the kitchen sink and both bath sinks. There seems to be enough heat in the basement that radiates through the floor to keep the inside warm enough not to freeze anything. Last year this worked for me with overnight temps down to 15 degrees.

Like you, we use our MH all during the year and I don't want to go through the hassles of winterizing every few weeks. Its currently 26 and will be 58 by noon and we're leaving tomorrow for a week to bring in 2011.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:22 AM   #6
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We also use our MH year round for short trips and don't want to winterize it. I dump the water heater and open all the low point drains and faucets. I place a heater inside the MH set to 56 and three 100w lights on greenhouse thermostats from Lowes in the basement to keep it warm down there. The lights come on at 36 and off at 45 no problems in over two years. Here is a pick of my easy HW heater drain.
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:26 AM   #7
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This is what I do. I neither recommend it or know if it will work for you.

We have low temps of 20 for maximum of two or three hours. I place one 150W heat lamp in the plumbing bay on a heavy duty timer. It comes on around 6PM and off at 6AM. I open the cabinet doors under the kitchen sink and both bath sinks. There seems to be enough heat in the basement that radiates through the floor to keep the inside warm enough not to freeze anything. Last year this worked for me with overnight temps down to 15 degrees.

Like you, we use our MH all during the year and I don't want to go through the hassles of winterizing every few weeks. Its currently 26 and will be 58 by noon and we're leaving tomorrow for a week to bring in 2011.
We use our coach full time and camp in areas where the temps get into the mid 20's at night for some nights. We put a trouble light in the water service bay and the space behind the refrigerator to keep the pipe to the icemaker from freezing also.
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:24 AM   #8
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If the temperature "could" get below 32 I would recommend either blowing out or filling with antifreeze.

Then again, if you want to gamble............
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:31 PM   #9
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And how do you LIVE in a coach with the water blown out!
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:51 PM   #10
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And how do you LIVE in a coach with the water blown out!

If you're asking that in regards to the OP, they didn't say they were living in it. They stated they wanted to use it when they have nice weather. They were asking advice for what to do during the times it was in storage plugged into electric, having below freezing temperatures & without using antifreeze.

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Old 12-27-2010, 10:37 PM   #11
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We want to use it during the winter and early spring because we'll have some nice weather, so the all-out winterizing is right out if I can avoid it.
No, they said they wanted to use it during the winter in nice weather. That doesn't mean that it's not cold, it's just nice weather.

I watch these discussions with interest. I sit and look out my window while commercial Prevost buses drive down the highway with passengers on board. The buses have bathrooms, and heated basement storage. These buses do not have an on board generator. The temperature is -20.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting here wondering how I can get my coach out of the storage shed, and drive two or three days south until I hit warm weather, and be able to even heat the thing at all, not even considering being able to use the water system.

I think that our coaches are made for summer weather. There must be a way to solve this.
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:49 PM   #12
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And how do you LIVE in a coach with the water blown out!
The point is to winterize the coach and not live in it. You also could not winterize a coach with RV anti freeze and live in it if you expected to use the water systems.
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:13 AM   #13
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The main issues for the OP are the water heater tank, the bay with the water inlet & drains & pump, and the icemaker water line. None of those are well-protected even if the interior is heated with an auxiliary heat source like an electric heater.

I'd bypass & drain the water heater - not a big deal to reactivate if he wants to use the coach again. Put a 100W light bulb in the wet bay, using a Greenhouse plug to turn it on/off when it's cold at night. Or a simple timer.

The icemaker water line is a bit of a nuisance. If it has a shutoff under the kitchen sink (most do), I'd shut it off and drain it for the winter and forego the ice. If not, and the fridge is turned off, just wrapping the valve area in the back of the fridge with insulation may be sufficient. Or put a 60W light bulb in there and block off the access door vents with tape or cardboard. That should keep it above 32 in there, even though the top vent is open.

Last, drain the fresh and waste tanks and add some RV antifreeze to the waste lines to keep the residual water from freezing up.
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:40 AM   #14
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This is helpful. Love the water heater drain! I see a quick trip to Lowes in my future. Ditto shutting down the icemaker for the winter. Both will make winterizing much easier. Gonna go with Gary, shouldn't take me more than a cup of coffee to winterize or de-winterize (Is that a word? should it be "spring-ize?)

Thanks all.
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