RVing in winter/early spring without re-winterizing?

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clalso

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Hello.  New to RVing and this website.  Great advice I've read.

My wife and I will be taking out our newly purchased 1995 24' class C Ford Jamboree Searcher a bit early since it is still March and I'm in Colorado where freezing temps will return again every now and then before spring is fully in bloom.  The RV is currently winterized.  We plan to un-winterize (flush the anti-freeze from the lines with fresh water is all I guess I need to do) for a trip this weekend. 

My concern is that upon my return I don't want to have to re-winterize the RV.  My hope is I that if I see freezing weather on the way I can hook up 110 from the house to the RV, run a space heater to keep the RV warm through the night (instead of running the RV furnace to save my LP), shut off the space heater the next morning when warmer temps arrive. My thought is if I keep the RV warm enough for any freezing nights yet to come this spring I'll avoid having to re-winterize. Just to be safe I could stay in the RV during this time to make sure the space heater doesn't create a problem like a fire.

Is this is an acceptable idea or should I re-winterize before freezing weather returns?

I figure all the RVs I see passing through my town in winter or boon docking it at the local Walmart avoid freezing problems by maintaining temps inside the vehicle so I hope my theory here is a good one.  I assume once I run through the process of winterizing my RV the first time it will not be as long and painful process as I expect, but for now the anxious new RVers (me and my wife) can't wait to get out, use the RV water system and not have to re-winterize upon our return. 

Thanks in advance for your help here...

Cliff
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Basically your plan is fine, but it depends to some extent on how cold you expect it to get and how long it remains that cold.  It takes awhile for water lines to freeze, so an hour or two around 30-32 degrees during the night won't bother anything, even without heat, if it has been substantially above freezing much of the day.  Heating the interior to 40-45 degrees is generally plenty to keep water lines OK if the sub-freeezing temps are likely to be several hours or dip into the 20's for awhile.  Open cabinet doors and drawers to let the warmer air circulate closer to the wall/floor areas where the lines run.

There is, however, one area where interior heat generally won't reach and which is exposed to outside temps: the water inlet and sewer drains.  If these are in a closed compartment, I suggest putting a 75-100W light bulb in there to keep the area slightly warmed. A light bulb in an mostly enclosed space produces plenty of heat (be acreful the bulb doesn't rest against anythng flamable or meltable). If not enclosed, I suggest wrapping the area of the drain valve and any exposed pipe above it with an old towel of some such for insulation.  This should prevent the valve area from freezing and cracking. The other area of risk is the icemaker water line if your fridge has an icemaker. Newer fridges have an electric  heater built in, but I suspect a 1995 model does not.  If you have an icemaker, you could cover the fridge's exterior vent in the side of the coach and put a small light bulb in there too, maybe 15W. If it isn't too cold, operating the fridge may be sufficient to provide heat in the outside wall, since that's where the cooling units vents its heat. Unfortunately, the fridge doesn't run much when its cold, so it produces less and less heat as it gets colder and colder.
 

Smoky

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I think RV Roamer's idea on the light bulbs will work.  I would like to offer one caveat to that idea.

When I was active running a charterboat on the Chesapeake, our fishing season extended well into late November and early December.  Freezing temperatures came and went during that period.  You can imagine how difficult it would be to winterize and dewinterize over and over a fishing charter boat.

We would run a small heater in the cabin and light bulbs in the engine hatch.  In my boat I placed a 100 watt bulb in the upper bilge area on either side of my 460 Ford engine.  Captains who only used a single light bulb often ran into trouble if the single light burned out.

The lesson here that can be carried forward to your situation would not be to use double bulbs, as likely you would not have room in the small compartments involved.  But this means frequent (daily) checks to be sure a bulb has not burned out thus exposing the water fittings to freezing.
 

Ron

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Good point about having two light bulbs Smoky just case one fails.  I like our way of winterizing better.  Very little chance of freezing up here in Yuma. ;D ;D
 

Jim Godward

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I live in MT and usually do not head south till about Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I do not winterize.  G

That said, I use remote sensing thermometers in the MH in the water bay and in the house portion.  I do use my propane as my basement heat only works with the furnace.  I have heaters n the tanks and put a light or 2 in the bays depending on how cold it will be.  Last November it got to -30 many times with no problems other than the excessive use of propane.  :-((  I do keep 110 on the MH all the time except summer when the solar will keep the batteries up.

Furnace is usually set to 40 degrees except in cold spells, - anything.

Traveling in the cold is a whole nother story.  Learned a bit about that too!  :-((
 

clalso

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Thank you for all your replies. We never would have thought of the light bulbs. We really appreciate all your responses.This is the best website!!!!!!!!!!!!  :D
 

Smoky

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Ron:

I no longer am in the light bulb racket.  I winterize the same way you do now that I got rid of my fishing boat!!

Jim:

Gary made an interesting point about water lines located outside the bays... such as the refirgerator icemaker line.  I have one inside a little door on the side of my coach.  Do you have anything like this and do you do anything about it?
 

Ron

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Smoky said:
Ron:

I no longer am in the light bulb racket.? I winterize the same way you do now that I got rid of my fishing boat!!

Sure is easier and much more enjoyable.  I seem to have developed my first allergy as I got older.  Allergic to that white stuff called snow. ;D
 

Wendy

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Ron said:
I seem to have developed my first allergy as I got older.? Allergic to that white stuff called snow. ;D

I am going to spend the next 4 weeks praying for a late April snow in Moab..... :D
 

Smoky

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Me too! ?I found myself this week hoping I could make it through the second half of my life without ever being exposed to it again.
 

Ron

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wendycoke said:
I am going to spend the next 4 weeks praying for a late April snow in Moab..... :D

Now just why would you want to do a thing like that??? ??? ??? ???  That white stuff could really hinder installing Mikes roof mount.  ;D ;D ;D ;D

Better ask for nice warm dry weather.
 

Wendy

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You, Mike, Terry, and Tom, on the roof, in the snow, installing the roof mount......there's a great photo op there and as a scrapbooker, it would be hard to resist. However, as a motorhome owner, with visions of Tom's 3.5" drill poking a very large hole in my Winnie's roof and snow softly drifting down into the bedroom, I think I'll resind the snow prayer and ask the weather gods to give us lovely dry 70-degree days with nights cold enough for cuddling.
 

Tom

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LOL wendy, I see Ron knew which button to press.
 

Wendy

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Could we maybe just have a soft sifting of snow for, say, 10 minutes, while you guys are on the roof???? Just long enough for me to get a picture????
 

Tom

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I'll bring some styrofoam chips and a leaf blower so we can pretend it's snowing.
 

Ron

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wendycoke said:
Could we maybe just have a soft sifting of snow for, say, 10 minutes, while you guys are on the roof???? Just long enough for me to get a picture????

If it is snow at Portal the only photo you will get this ole boy in would be taken inside the Eagle.
 

Wendy

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It'll only work if you guys can look. Did you see that picture of Terry at Agueberry Point in the snow, in shorts?? Does he ever look cold???? It was 47 today at 4 pm so I'm not counting on any Moab snow. But you never know........
 

Wendy

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Ron said:
If it is snow at Portal the only photo you will get this ole boy in would be taken inside the Eagle.

No guts, eh?

As for cleaning up Tom's styrofoam mess, if it ain't in a national park, it ain't my responsibility LOL
 
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