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DFW winters & Winterizing

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DFW winters & Winterizing

Unread postby fratz on Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:02 pm

Hi All,
I got my first TT a few months ago. I store it in the driveway. We do not get severe cold weather often and when we do it might be in the 70's the next week. Anyone in the DFW area will understand.

I am wondering if I can use a space heater inside the trailer to ward off the freezing on the few days that our temps might dip below freezing? At most we might have about 3 days at a time.

If the waterheater is on and a space heater will it suffice? Should I need to run the Trailer's furnace instead? It is a 19' so it shouldn't take much to keep it warm. I don't want to take any chances, but I don't want to have to go through a whole winterize and flush and winterize and flush...if you know what I mean.

I searched the forums (not just this one) and didn't find anything that really addressed this issue.

Thanks in advance,

Fratz
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Re: DFW winters & Winterizing

Unread postby catmom on Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:25 pm

Welcome to rv-forums! :) We were just camping in your area and the CG had a flyer posted on their bulletin board about winterizing. We thought it was cute - it talked about the "Texas method" which basically was just to disconnect the city water hookup & bring in the hose, and be careful about the dumping hose, plus running the heater or furnace inside, vs. the "South Dakota" method (which is the one you want to avoid.) It will depend on what your weather brings - the flyer said the "Texas method" is good if the temperatures will be between 20 and 40 for a few days, but then going back up shortly.

At the very least, you should probably run the furnace and open the cabinets that contain your water system components. I'd detach any sewer or city water connections too, and stow the hose & slinky. If you'll be down in the 20s or lower for a week or more, sorry but you'll probably need to do the whole flush thing, bypass the water heater and run the pink stuff through.

Due to a glitch in our water system (broken accumulator) and a forecast for 28 degrees overnight tomorrow, we'll be opening cabinets & running the furnace, as a stop-gap measure, until we can get the replacement part put in and then be able to winterize. We've thought about de-winterizing and re-winterizing if we should want to use the trailer over the winter, but I think we'd just avoid using the water system - just use bottled water for drinking & dishwashing, take our portapotti along, and avoid showering. :) We'll see - if we have a winter like the last one, this will be a moot point, as there was no getting the trailer out of our driveway from December through April!
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Re: DFW winters & Winterizing

Unread postby Frank Henn on Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:01 pm

We are directly east of you kind of have the same weather pattern, except your snow and ice go to the north of us. What we do is drain the main water tank, open the low point drain points and the water heater drain. than I run a compressor and blow air thru the lines. this take about 15 to 20 minutes. We all ways drain and clean the black tank and the two grey tanks. I them put the unit in its parking spot. when it gets too cold I will add the anti-freeze to the holding tanks. If it get cold while we are camping, I have three ceramic heaters to are on in the unit, and on I have on in the basement. I open the cabinet doors for the heat to circulate. I will take off the fresh water hose, and the stink hose and close the valves. We camp all year
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Re: DFW winters & Winterizing

Unread postby fratz on Sun Oct 26, 2008 4:46 pm

Much Thanks for the replies.

I guess for my 19 footer that one heater with the furnace pilot on should get me through the short spells.
I was thinking about dumping as much of all fluids (fresh, gray, black) as possible. But I was thinking that if more takes longer to freeze, would it not be better to keep the tanks...oh, let's say 1/2 full? With the heat on in the trailer to keep the internal lines from freezing, would that work?

I don't know about what is exposed on the outside. I just went through the owner's manual again and still don't know what are the most critical areas are.

I saw a reference to the "Basement" ... just guessing, but is that the area under the trailer? Since mine is in the driveway, should I put a space heater under the trailer?

Last question... Does the electrical wiring in the trailer support a home type space heater? I know that there are a number of fires each year due to careless users of space heaters.

Thanks again for the input,

Fratz
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Re: DFW winters & Winterizing

Unread postby Frank Henn on Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:59 pm

A basement is the storage area under the front of the trailer. Fifth wheels all have these some travel trailers have small ones. I use the ceramic home heaters in ours you can purchase them from about 19.00 to 24.00 these are pretty safe
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Re: DFW winters & Winterizing

Unread postby fratz on Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:05 pm

Thanks, the storage area I have in the front of the trailer doesn't have any plumbing, so I guess I am good there.

It is just a dry storage. All of the plumging that I have, as best I can tell, is from the center over the wheels and back. It is a 19' trailer and the kitchen sink is about over the front of the duel wheels. The rest of the plumbing is in the rear where the bathroom is.

I really appreciate the feedback.

I am a kite flyer and we go to multiple kite festivals. Mostly during the spring and a few in the fall. I got this to save me some bucks on hotel rooms and be able to have what I need when I need it. We went to the Cloudbuster's festival in Perrin, TX earlier this year at Mitchell's Resort and RV Park in April this year and had a blast. Then we went back for Memorial Day weekend. They have cottages which we stayed in and started looking at the travel trailers that were there. We decided to get a travel trailer rather than spend the $85 per night for the cottages. A small return on the investment, but nice to have your own place.

I have made a few errors in judgement in the process. I didn't really understand the towing aspects or the fact that since my Durango towing hitch didn't mean that it was a towing vehicle. Lessons learned! I have spent about $3K beefing up the Durango to be able to tow this "home away from home on wheels". I really liked the idea that it has a walk around queen bed (we tested sleeping in a double...ain't gonna happen) and in our maiden voyage it was very comfortable.

On first day, however, we did get a thunderstorm roll in that took the electricity out in the whole park. Glad I got the surge surpressor:) But it was a long uncomfortable evening with 100 degree weather. The power came back on about 4:30am. The next day was much better, relaxing and reading. The following morning I learned another lesson. ANTS!!! Fortunately we were not far from a Walmart. When I jumped in the Durango it was swarmed with ANTS. My sweethart had spilled a smoothie and thought she had cleaned it up. NOT! So there I go driving to Walmart, swatting Ants and going to get some Ant Killer. We got threw the next day comfortably. Then the wind picked up to 20mph on the drive home. Fortunately it was only about 20 miles, but it was a long 20 miles. Never having towed anything before, it took me about 20 minutes to back it into the driveway.

OK, it was an experience, but it was FUN!

The wife wants to go camping on our Anniversary, Halloween. But I don't have enough miles on the new gears to put a load on it. So I think we might set it up in the driveway, add some blacklights and sit under the awning in costume waiting from "Trick or Treeters".

Thanks,

Fratz
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Re: DFW winters & Winterizing

Unread postby catmom on Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:05 pm

Love your Halloween idea! :) We thought of doing something similar (good use for the "scare lights," we figure :mrgreen: ), but probably won't, as it's likely to be too cold.

We have our trailer's furnace on tonight, cabinet doors open & slide out, as we are unable to winterize until part of our water system gets fixed. 28 degrees forecast for tonight, highs in the 40s or low 50s tomorrow and freezing again tomorrow night.

As far as space heaters, I think I'd be nervous leaving the trailer unattended with one going, but we have used a little electric "cube" heater for years with good results. Worked great for a popup and pretty well for our larger hybrid, but it will only work for the bathroom and/or bedroom of our trailer currently, by itself.
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Re: DFW winters & Winterizing

Unread postby fratz on Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:57 pm

Again, thanks for the feedback.

I am a bit concerned about the space heater also. I don't want to run it off the trailer's wiring, I just need to figure out how to get the "heavy duty" extension cord in the trailer. I can't find an opening that will accomidate it.

Will the furnace work properly if the trailer is not level? I know that the fridge instructions say you shouldn't run it if the trailer is not level.

It looks like I dodged the bullet for this week which will give me time to check it out more this coming weekend. And level the trailer. Since I haven't tried the furnace out yet, I may do that this weekend while I can watch it and make sure that everything does work properly.

All this new stuff to learn. I still have to find out if I have a water heater bypass and how to pump the pink stuff through the lines when I need too.

I have really learned that there is a lot more to it than just packing up and going camping.

Thanks,

Fratz
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Re: DFW winters & Winterizing

Unread postby skipnchar on Mon Oct 27, 2008 8:39 pm

fratz wrote:Again, thanks for the feedback.

I am a bit concerned about the space heater also. I don't want to run it off the trailer's wiring, I just need to figure out how to get the "heavy duty" extension cord in the trailer. I can't find an opening that will accomidate it. Might take a look at the outside shower compartment. With many trailers this is an easy access to get a cord inside if you remove the shower hose first.

Will the furnace work properly if the trailer is not level? I know that the fridge instructions say you shouldn't run it if the trailer is not level. There is no reason the furnace needs to be level to operate. The fridge has coolant that needs to circulate via gravity, thus needs to be level. Furnace just moves hot air via heat exchanger.

It looks like I dodged the bullet for this week which will give me time to check it out more this coming weekend. And level the trailer. Since I haven't tried the furnace out yet, I may do that this weekend while I can watch it and make sure that everything does work properly.

All this new stuff to learn. I still have to find out if I have a water heater bypass and how to pump the pink stuff through the lines when I need too.

I have really learned that there is a lot more to it than just packing up and going camping.

Thanks,

Fratz

Good luck with the winterizing and while I'm at it.....welcome to the forums / Skip
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Re: DFW winters & Winterizing

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:18 pm

Welcome to the forum.

Just to add to things:

1/ Is your trailer equipped with a "winter" package that you can tell of? Telltale signs are some insulation on the exterior floor (underneath) the trailer. If so, your plumbing should be safe so long as you run your FURNACE, not space heaters. Space heaters will heat the air inside the trailer and protect some of the exposed plumbing under sinks and in interior walls, but the pipes that run in the floor or winterized area of the trailer often depend on the heat from the furnace flowing through the heat ducts to ward off freezing. If you run a space heater the furnace may not run, hence no heat in the ducts, hence possibly frozen lines.

2/ Running a space heater (or two) in your trailer is no problem for personal comfort needs (but not for avoiding freezing pipes). Virtually all trailers have 30A service - if you have the "large" RV style plug on your unit as you probably do, then your trailer is equipped for 30A service which will support two space heaters with no problems assuming you are plugged into a 30A plug. When you are only on a 15A circuit (as you probably are at home) then you can only run one space heater since two will blow a 15A circuit. All that said, using your trailers interior wiring to run it is no problem at all - RV's are wired the same as your house, so no worries. When we camped into the fall I was running two space heaters (one in the kids bunk room and one in the upstairs bedroom) in our Fiver and we had no problems, although we did have to play around to figure out what plugs were on different circuits to avoid popping the breaker inside the RV.
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Re: DFW winters & Winterizing

Unread postby CHEROKEE GYPSY on Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:00 am

We live 90 miles east of you.In cold weather I put a drop light with a 100 watt blub under basenent.Has always worked,add a little pink stuff to p traps and we are winterized.Welcome we are new here too.
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