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Old 12-02-2009, 06:45 PM   #1
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Winter Camping/Potential Freeze Problems

I have a 2003 Winnebago Journey DL. We are full timers. This year, we will be camping in weather that is subject to freezing temperatures. I plan to purchase a heated water hose for fresh water supply.

My question is what else I should do to prevent freeze problems. I have not been able to determine if the holding tanks need additional insulation or if just running the heater/furnace will keep the tanks from freezing.

I have read one forum that said I should put a light bulb in the cargo bay with the water pump. For my unit, can anyone tell me if there are other equipment or lines that are subject to freezing that I need to protect.

Any help on this would be appreciated.

Dan Bowman
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:01 PM   #2
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Dan ...

I always run my LP furnace when I expect the overnight lows to be below freezing. I take no extra precaustions when the temps are in the 25 to 32◦ range.

When I expect the temps to be colder than that then I put extra souces of heat in two places: next to the water pump and in the sewer dump bay.

I use vinyl (non-metal) "trouble lights" with 60 W incandescent bulbs to keep two bays warm when I am in temps in the 10◦ to 25◦ range.

When I expect the temps to be below 10◦ I use ceramic heaters.

I learned from the school of hard knocks that I fill my fresh water tank and stow my water hose. I dump the holding tanks and stow the sewer hose.
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:16 AM   #3
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dan,
i installed 3 inside-outside wired temp gauges from harbor freight, about $5 each. 1 in the fwd water pump-tank-water heater compartment, 1 in the middle potable water tank compartment, and 1 in the aft water service-gray-black tank compartment. wireless gauges are available.
i found that the fwd compartment does not need supplemental heat as long as either the 110v or the propane water heater is on. when under way, the winne engine coolant to water heater heat exchanger keeps this compartment above freezing. otherwise, i use a 110v 100w trouble light. in the middle and aft compartments i use a 110v 100w trouble light when i am plugged in to shore power. when not plugged in to shore power or running the genny, the propane heater has kept both compartments above freezing.
when i am parked and expect the temperature to be below 32 deg, i disconnect the fresh water hose, blow it out with compressed air and stow it. i disconnect the stinky slinky, drain and stow it.
it is 37 deg now and going down to 26 deg tonight, 24 deg tomorrow night at my location in sw wash.
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:22 PM   #4
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We use the coach heater plus a ceramic heater, we always carry 1or 2 gallon jugs of water in the coach I have had the water line to the kitchen taps freeze up, that was in 0 degree weather and a strong wind.
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:12 PM   #5
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I've been into the teens many times with my 03 Journey. The only thing I do is put a trouble light in the outside refrigerator compartment. My inverter is right next to my water pump and that compartment as well as the holding tanks, water, and sewer compartments are heated by the furnace.

I have not remained in those temps longer than 24 to 36 hours.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skigramp View Post
Dan ...

I always run my LP furnace when I expect the overnight lows to be below freezing. I take no extra precaustions when the temps are in the 25 to 32◦ range.

When I expect the temps to be colder than that then I put extra souces of heat in two places: next to the water pump and in the sewer dump bay.

I use vinyl (non-metal) "trouble lights" with 60 W incandescent bulbs to keep two bays warm when I am in temps in the 10◦ to 25◦ range.

When I expect the temps to be below 10◦ I use ceramic heaters.

I learned from the school of hard knocks that I fill my fresh water tank and stow my water hose. I dump the holding tanks and stow the sewer hose.
Ski,
Thanks for the input. I have purchased two vinyl trouble lights and put one near the water pump and one in the dump value cargo bay. Whereas I have now experienced a low of 26 degrees, I did empty the holding tanks and stowed the sewer hose. I survived the first experience with below freezing temperatures.

Thanks,
Dan Bowman
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by DAN L View Post
dan,
i installed 3 inside-outside wired temp gauges from harbor freight, about $5 each. 1 in the fwd water pump-tank-water heater compartment, 1 in the middle potable water tank compartment, and 1 in the aft water service-gray-black tank compartment. wireless gauges are available.
i found that the fwd compartment does not need supplemental heat as long as either the 110v or the propane water heater is on. when under way, the winne engine coolant to water heater heat exchanger keeps this compartment above freezing. otherwise, i use a 110v 100w trouble light. in the middle and aft compartments i use a 110v 100w trouble light when i am plugged in to shore power. when not plugged in to shore power or running the genny, the propane heater has kept both compartments above freezing.
when i am parked and expect the temperature to be below 32 deg, i disconnect the fresh water hose, blow it out with compressed air and stow it. i disconnect the stinky slinky, drain and stow it.
it is 37 deg now and going down to 26 deg tonight, 24 deg tomorrow night at my location in sw wash.
Dan L.
I appreciate the input. I have taken your suggestions except that I used 40 watt bulbs instead of 100 watt. I was a little concerned about putting a 100 watt bulb in the compartment. It worked for the first couple of nights with the 40 watts. I may buy some higher watts if the low temperature drops below the 26 degree mark.

Dan Bowman
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:34 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bgsc View Post
We use the coach heater plus a ceramic heater, we always carry 1or 2 gallon jugs of water in the coach I have had the water line to the kitchen taps freeze up, that was in 0 degree weather and a strong wind.
Thanks for the input. We already keep bottle water in our coach simply in case the campground water has a strange taste. I am hopeful I can avoid the kitchen taps from freezing but I have covered the possibility with backup water.

Dan Bowman
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ernieh View Post
I've been into the teens many times with my 03 Journey. The only thing I do is put a trouble light in the outside refrigerator compartment. My inverter is right next to my water pump and that compartment as well as the holding tanks, water, and sewer compartments are heated by the furnace.

I have not remained in those temps longer than 24 to 36 hours.

Erneh,
I have not thought about the light in the refrigerator compartment. Have you had a freezing line in that compartment. I guess that would be the ice maker line. Makes sense. I will get out tomorrow and get a third light.
Thanks,
Dan Bowman
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:37 PM   #10
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Dunno how much more of this "Global Warming" our MH and 5er can take - temps just under zero nites - hover around 10 degrees during the day. Fortunately, both ours are done for the season and fully winterized, but guys in unexpected cold out on the road sure have potential problems!

I'd be sorta tempted to install permanent heat lamps of some relatively low wattage near the water pump/fresh water tank, and also in the black/grey water compartment, with either a thermostat control - in case temps take a drop while the rig is unattended - or at least on a manually switched circuit...
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:39 PM   #11
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I did purchase a heated water hose and hooked my water line back up. We are going down to 26 degrees tonight so hopefully this hose will work. I will let you guys know how well it works.
Dan Bowman
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jdanbowman View Post
Dan L.
I appreciate the input. I have taken your suggestions except that I used 40 watt bulbs instead of 100 watt. I was a little concerned about putting a 100 watt bulb in the compartment. It worked for the first couple of nights with the 40 watts. I may buy some higher watts if the low temperature drops below the 26 degree mark.

Dan Bowman
update on my basement compartment temperatures:
i ran my propane furnace for about a hour today. it was 20 deg outside.
my water pump-heater compartment was about 50 deg, the electric element was on. my aft svc comp with the 100w trouble light was 38 deg. in 1 hour, the center water tank compartment rose to 85 deg, not a typo, 85 deg f. the aft comp rose to about 54 deg.
there must be a very large heater duct vent in the center basement compartment. this compartment is open to the under sink kitchen cabinet area and has small access runs for water lines and electric wires to the fwd and aft compartment areas.
the temperature indicating gauges are worth the price and hassle of installation for the peace of mind that they impart.
the wireless gauges would have been much easier to install although more expensive. also, i did not realize i would need 3 gauges when i started.
a 100w bulbs puts out about 300 btu's of heat.
i have been using my B&D coffee maker to add to the humidity in my moho this week and last. it raises the humidity from the 20% range to the 45-55% range which makes it more comfortable.
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:21 AM   #13
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I did purchase a heated water hose and hooked my water line back up. We are going down to 26 degrees tonight so hopefully this hose will work. I will let you guys know how well it works.
Dan Bowman
We were in the Big Bend area last weekend. Low temp was 24 and 26. Didn't disconnect and didn't freeze up. We have had frozen hoses only once and that was when the temp was below 20.

Best to be safe, however.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:33 AM   #14
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I often take my coach to Ski Resorts. Just upgraded to the coach I have now and am learning the cold weather kinks in it but with a little forethought you can easily survive freezing temps with no problems.

As I often boondock at Ski Resorts and do not want to run my generator 24/7 I have rely on 12V and LP systems to keep the temp up. That pretty much rules out ceramic heaters and light bulbs at night.

At night I rely on battery to run the fan on the furnace and do not want to run any high amp systems (ceramic heaters) that will run the battery down. Good rule to remember, if it generates heat it uses amps, the more heat the more amps. Use your amp meter in the control board to monitor amp usage and know how much each appliance uses. This will also keep you from turning on too much and haveing nusance breaker trips.

If you have an engine block heater keep in mind it will pull a steady 12 to 18 amps, so if it is running, your daughter is watching tv, you turn on the microwave to heat up your coffee and your wife decides to dry her hair, bingo, you just popped a breaker.

The only time I had a freeze was one night I slept in a friends Condo and the batteries ran down so the furnace fan would not run. It got down to 9 below that night and my batteries really should have been replaced prior to the trip. If must have lasted most of the night because nothing broke but I had to spend half a day thawing pipes.

I keep temp sensors in the bays to monitor basement temp, I like the more expensive ones that keep track of high and low. So far the furnace has done fine, parked at home I set the thermostat at 60 and the bay where the pump is stays above 40.

If I find the bay with the dump valves freezes then I put a little pink stuff in the holding tanks right after dumping. Have had no problem with the new coach.

I only break out the hose to refill my fresh water tank and dump, then drain them and put them up. I try to fill and dump during the warm part of the day. Have streached out the hose in early morning sub zero temp and had it shatter in a number of places. In freezing temps anything plastic has a tendency to shatter.

I think the real key is to get remote temp sensors and monitor them, they will tell you what you need to do to keep from having freezups.

One other thing that is a matter of life and death. HAVE at least one Carbon Monoxide detector in your RV. Many older models do not have them as standard equipment. Test them every trip be sure they work. There are a number of systems that create Carbon Monoxide all of which are used to create heat in the winter. It is a sneaky gas that can kill you fast in a night or slowly over a year. Carbon Monoxide builds up in your system and it takes time to flush it out.

A couple in town here had a slow leak into their house, it took almost a year and they were getting sicker and sicker and did not know why. It finally killed them and did not show up until an autopsy was done.

My little sister went to a friends condo last Thanksgiving. They got in late started the furnace and went to bed. A duct had collapsed over the summer. A 30 dollar purchase at Home Depot and a 9 volt battery would have saved her life.

Sorry for the drama but this is important to me. Please make sure you have at least one detector in your home and RV. New furnaces can fail also, don't think that just because your furnace is new that something cannot go wrong.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:39 AM   #15
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Dan,
Where did you find the HEATED water supply hose? I would love to buy one as dear old Minnesota is one cold baby. Use our MH for winter fishing trips and other cold stuff. No, No, I don't drive the MH on the ice. That's what the toad is for.
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:43 PM   #16
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Dan,
Where did you find the HEATED water supply hose? I would love to buy one as dear old Minnesota is one cold baby. Use our MH for winter fishing trips and other cold stuff. No, No, I don't drive the MH on the ice. That's what the toad is for.
Pine Tree
Try this website http://www.pirithose.com
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Old 12-19-2009, 04:05 PM   #17
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Dan,
Where did you find the HEATED water supply hose? I would love to buy one as dear old Minnesota is one cold baby. Use our MH for winter fishing trips and other cold stuff. No, No, I don't drive the MH on the ice. That's what the toad is for.
Pine Tree
Pine Tree,
I bought mine online from Gempler's. It was a pirithose and cost $110.25 including tax and shipping. So far, it is working well. We have been down to 26 during the night on several evenings. It was above freezing the following day in every case. I have no reason to believe it won't work even if it does not get above freezing the next day.
Dan
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:10 AM   #18
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Pine Tree,
I bought mine online from Gempler's. It was a pirithose and cost $110.25 including tax and shipping. So far, it is working well. We have been down to 26 during the night on several evenings. It was above freezing the following day in every case. I have no reason to believe it won't work even if it does not get above freezing the next day.
Dan
Two weeks ago we were in Big Bend area and the temps were 24 one morning. The hose didn't freeze and we had full flow at 5:30AM on arising.

I have had a hose freeze one time with no bad effects. Now, how long it was frozen I don't know but it took until 10AM to get water. IIRC, the temps were below 15F.
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