Freezing Weather

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by Sky bear, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. Sky bear

    Sky bear Novice

    We will be traveling through northern NM into west Texas the first part of March on our
    way to New Orleans and on down into Florida. We're concerned with freezing temps the
    first night or so before reaching more temperate climate. We won't be using the trailer
    at that point but was wondering if we drain the tanks if we should be alright without
    going through the anti-freeze routine. At this time projected low temps could be mid to
    high 20's. Any useful experiences would be appreciated.
  2. Handben

    Handben Novice Donating Member

    I just ordered a 550 without water in part for this reason (but also for other compelling reasons) but gather from previous posts and videos that it is not just the main water tank but also the pump and the hosing and spray head that can all be damaged by water freezing in the system. I'd say better safe than sorry on this one. Draining all the water that you can and using cheap vodka is one way to do it if you don't have easy access to RV antifreeze. It looks to be a pretty straight forward process though from the video posted a while back:

  3. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    Don't trust long range forecasts or average highs and lows. When we headed north this winter we aimed for a window where the forecast high would be 50 degrees. It didn't get above freezing, and at one point it was at least -4.

    I suspect overnight at mid-20 degrees is not likely to do much harm, particularly if the temps are above freezing throughout the rest of the day. If you have the Xenon lighting in the galley, you can leave that on with the hatch down and it will help keep the temperature higher so that the plumbing lines won't freeze (unless it is REALLY cold). It won't significantly discharge the battery since you will be keeping the battery fully charged with all the driving that you will be doing.

    If you get close to leaving and find that you will be traveling in temps below freezing for a few days, you may want to see the threads about winterizing with vodka, since it is easier to flush the tank and lines once you are ready to use the galley. And I can also add from recent experience to make certain you winterize the sprayer (if you have one) and unscrew it from the hose until you are back in warm weather.

    I would think that the mountains of NM are likely to be the coldest part of your trip. Staying overnight at lower elevations would likely mean temps that aren't as cold and thus the likelihood of problems would be less.
  4. Bear

    Bear Junior Ranger

    Howdy Sky Bear,

    I spend each winter hugging the 49th parallel---I have a deep admiration for the colder climate. I am not a fan of the RV/Marine anti-freeze, though, it was used during that first winter---it became the last. I find it difficult to accept the word of the manufacturers that it is safe for potable water tanks. For this reason, I'd empty the tank each autumn and blow pressurized air through the system to purge it of condensation, and I have never-ever had any problems with the water pump the following season or upon returning to warmer climate. To kill any bacteria that may have harbored in the tank during the cold period, I'd flush the system using Listerine Natural vice alcohol.

    There is my two-cents for whatever it is worth.

    Walk in Beauty,

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  5. Sky bear

    Sky bear Novice

    Great advice from all. Learned the "freezing sprayer" from last Fall I suppose. Cary just mentioned he had 3 folks with the same problem in the last few days. Unscrewing seems the prudent thing to do. I am interested in the vodka solution as with Bear I'd prefer not to go the anti-freeze way. I mean, how much flushing does one have to do to fully clear out all residue? Did it once bringing the trailer home a year ago. Anyway, how much vodka should one use to keeps things safe? Seems a waste to pour the entire bottle down the drain. Should only be in northern NM into west Texas for a day or two in early March and then back the end of the month so don't know yet what temps we will get. Just looking at norms now. If the tanks are "drained" as best we can without blowing them out would just a small amount of water left over freezing cause damage to the tanks? I would think we could drain the hoses and faucet
    enough to prevent a problem. I understand we are dealing with a lot of variables here.
  6. dustinp

    dustinp Novice Donating Member

    If I remember correctly it took about half of a 1.75 liter bottle to get the pump primed, and some coming out the faucet. We don't have the sprayer.
  7. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    The thin sheet of ice that might form on the bottom of the tanks won't harm them. You just need to have anti-freeze or vodka there in order to get the stuff into the pipes and drains.

    We don't sweat the anti-freeze issue because most of our drinking water comes from a 3 gallon Igloo cooler (boosting our total water capacity to 11 gallons, plus we have the 5 gallon jug that we bought in order to get fresh water in Mexico if we sometimes feel we need more water). And I suspect any residual anti-freeze in the water that we use for making coffee probably gets boiled off.

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