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Author Topic: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver  (Read 5655 times)

Bonnie

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Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« on: August 29, 2006, 08:47:31 AM »
Do any of you have advice for fulltimers situated in winter extreme temps?  We're still struggling with "homeowner thinking" and must constantly remind ourselves that this is not like managing our house/home's seasonal issues.  How do you keep your "waste pipe" from freezing?  I mean that bottom part of the black tank where it goes into the "exit chute," and ultimately to the slinky hose.  We have the slinky hose inside of a looong PVC pipe with elbows at the ends,  just to keep the dang thing in place.  (The wind here is so strong at times, that the slinky hose would fall off the expandable thingy we bought and anchored for it.)

Obviously with fulltiming, the galley tank and bath gray tank are both kept open until the black tank says it's 2/3 full.  Then we shut the 2 gray tanks so we'll have that water to follow the black tank dump.  Oh, and by the way, I picked up the old original Dawn blue dish liquid, and use it in all 3 tanks;  we now have NO trouble with the sensors.  Prior to learning this tip (somewhere?) we couldn't rely on the sensors AT all.  ARGH!!  So if I read that tip here somewhere - thanks!  (Or "TANKS!")

I'm working up some anxiety about freezing temps up here at the top of Texas, as we'll be here through the winter.  If any of you have advice regarding products, techniques or anything at all, I'll listen.  We know about insulating the water source hose, but it's the areas of the tanks and that exit chute (for lack of proper terminology,) that makes me wonder how to prepare.

Thanks much!
Bonnie

Karl

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2006, 10:51:55 AM »
Bonnie,
Short of driving to Arizona, there are a few things you can do. Assuming you're on shore power, you can wrap the water hose and spigot with heat tape. Get as close to the ground as you can. For the sewer and fresh water bays, people have used 60-100 watt light bulbs to keep them warm; some even used strings of Christmas tree lights. Insulate the bays as best you can with a material such as fire resistant double-sided fiberglass batts, and try to seal out the drafts. Polyurethane or rubber foam strips can be taped or glued in place, but keep well away from the lightbulbs. It may be a PITA, but try capping your sewer hose when not in use and store it in a warm compartment. Any water left in an exposed hose can freeze and thaw, eventually causing it to crack.

Modified: As per Ned's escellent idea, place empty 35mm film cans (you remember those, don't you?) filled with moth crystals in the heated bays to keep the mice and moles out. They would love to nest in the fiberglass insulation.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2006, 10:56:24 AM by Karl »
Karl (Cheesehead) Kolbus   Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy cow ...what a ride!"

woodartist

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2006, 03:37:48 PM »
Heat tape is a good idea and skirting the RV is a big help. I'd caution against "light bulbs" because we know of several people who had their trailers burn down as a result of cheap engineering....

Tom

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2006, 04:07:12 PM »
Although I've used light bulbs (with care), you might consider buying one of the basement heaters that are made for the purpose. Mine (installed at the factory)  is a relatively small electric fan heater operated by a combination of a switch inside the coach and a thermostat in the basement. Turn on the switch and the fan/heater comes on when the basement temperature gets below the set point.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2006, 04:08:49 PM by Tom »
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woodartist

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2006, 04:09:56 PM »
Good point and a thermostat with a heater is a lot safer than having a "light bulb."

Tom

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2006, 04:26:12 PM »
I consider the light bulbs in our house and our coach to be much safer than a fan heater. I've seen too many of those heaters cause fires even though they had a thermostat. I have no qualms about leaving a light bulb on all night, but I worry about a fan heater. Unless it's very cold, I'll usually turn off any fan heaters.
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woodartist

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2006, 04:30:39 PM »
Might be, but my paranoia is knowing many folks who have lost everything in fires caused by bulbs and heating lamps. One poor family was burned out on Easter :o That was personal because I took the kids around to several grocery stores to get them food, impliments, etc. Happy to say the stores responded greatly to the needs. The family was at the bottom of the income ladder.

Tom

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2006, 04:40:01 PM »
I'm paranoid about anything that can cause a fire   :'(
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Ned

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2006, 09:25:52 PM »
The rare occasions when we have used a light bulb in our fresh water tank bay I used a drop light which has the bulb enclosed in a cage.  This is much safer than a bare bulb laying on fiberglass.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Jim Godward

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2006, 12:17:55 AM »
Tom,

Do you know who made the basement heater that you have?  I'm adding one that will use the coolant loop while we are driving as the heat source and has a 2 speed 12 volt fan but I have room for another that runs off AC but didn't know one like you describe was available.  G
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Hillsboro, Oregon

Tom

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2006, 01:51:08 PM »
Jim,

The coach is in storage right now, but I just looked at the Monaco owners manual I have at home. It shows a photo of the basement heater with the name "Cargo Heat" on it and that's what I seem to remember is on the front of ours.
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woodartist

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2006, 02:50:14 PM »
Good idea Ned...in the cases I am familiar with they didn't have the wire cage.

Smoky

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2006, 07:02:40 PM »
Tom can likely relate to this ... for a decade we used a pair of "caged" lightbulbs in the engine hatch of our boat to keep the 460 Ford going in the cold Maryland weather.  Though maybe Tom did not need to do that in California <g>

We used a pair of bulbs as a safety factor in case one of them burned out.  We made bi-weekly checks.  Also had the Marina call us in case of any power failures.  These are the frailties of the light bulb system.

But Karl gave the best winterization solution, driving to Arizona which is what we do these days.   ;D
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Tom

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2006, 07:44:11 PM »
Smoky,

I still use a pair of caged bulbs in the engine room of the boat during the winter. It's not because of frost though; Since it's below the water line it doesn't freeze down there. We can see the boat from our living room, so we know when the power goes out  ;D  But the inverter would run that pair of bulbs for a long time anyway.
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Smoky

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2006, 06:03:27 PM »
Unfortunately in the winter on the Chesapeake, the freezing does take place below the waterline, even in saltwater.  My 460 was saltwater cooled and no antifreeze, so I had to be careful.
Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

John From Detroit

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Re: Winter preparation-fulltime fiver
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2006, 07:01:01 PM »
If you are full timing the best way to winterize is, as someon else suggested, the Arzonia method  I had no freezing problems in Arzonia last winter,  Surprisingly I did in Texas, just not in Arzonia :-) And I'll be using that method this coming January as well

However if you must stay in "The great white north" (And to be honest, I do like snow) there are a few things you can do.. IF, for example, your rig features an icemaker, winterize it as per the directions, also turn off your water pump, open a low point drain (Cold water) or, if you have it, the dog shower. (Again cold) and disconnect the supply line, leave the petcock open till the draining slows to a drip, dirp, drip and close the petcok, then the low point drain (The idea is to have AIR in the line to the icemaker) Allow the ice maker to cycle for a while then turn it off internally (Drain water out of the solonoid)

Heat in the "Wet" compartments helps, there are peal and stick tank heaters (Run around 150 each) but I just put a string of c-9 christmas lights (The big outdoor type) in my fresh water compartment, an a 100 watt bulb in the other compartments that are "Wet"  This may not be needed if you are occupying the rig however, depends on the insulation on the compartments.  The sewer (and fresh water hose) can be treated to heat tape (Pipe anti-freeze tape) just like any other water pipe, though some sewer hoses may object to this treatment, Alternative, hook up when you need to dump and DRAIN the hose into the sewer when finished so it only has air in it (Leave all dump valves closed save when dumping)  Since my rig is occupied only for a few minutes per day average in November and last year in December I used electric heat.  A thermostatic oultet (Freeze plug from Lowes or Home Depot) controls the lights and heaters
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