January 2022, this page is in chronological order, oldest first.
Some people avoid the cold (and I mean below 32ºF). Some seek it. We’re stuck with it. As much as we would like to disappear from our normal latitude between the end of November and the beginning of April, or maybe even a little later, we can get away a few weeks at a time, for now. So we have to deal with the cold.
There are two aspects to winter ops. Winterizing, as in storing the unit with it’s plumbing protected, and operating in it.
With some practice this can be done quickly. Now, ask 5 RV’ers and you will get 7 opinions about blowing out the lines VS using RV anti freeze. I’m not going to debate it here, all I will say is that if there is solid pink coming out EVERYWHERE, there is no water trapped anywhere. I’m an antifreeze man. Have been for decades of RV’ing AND boating. In fact we have a floating RV too, so I actually buy the pink in 55 gallon drums. (In July if I remember). Doesn’t save a whole lot, but saves schlepping and disposing of 55 one gallon bottles. Most pink is good to -50ºF. (There is some -100% out there) Some people dilute. I probably could, as single (positive) digits Frankenheit is all I ever see. But I don’t. I buy the -50º and don’t dilute. It will find some blobs of fresh out there in the system and some diluting is already unavoidable. We’re talking a $20 savings……. Sooooooo:
1 Make sure holding tanks are empty. I use a macerator pump to dump at home.
2 Bypass and drain the water heater. I have a small valve in the pass through to bypass. Drain by removing the plastic plug in your water heater. (15/16″)
3 Drain fresh water tank. Single tube with valve sticking out below the unit, driver’s side on mine.
4 Drain low points. Red and blue pipes coming out below the door side with two valves in it (on mine). Open ALL faucets upstairs to break vacuum suction and let as much water out as possible.
5 Close all valves, switch the selector valve to “WINTERIZE” and connect a short hose to the intake and the other end into a 5 gallon bucket with pink. Or in my case: (yes, running low……hopefully last one of the season)
6 Turn on the water pump. It should prime and run less than a minute to send pink in the system while compressing all the air in the lines.
7 Run the outdoor shower. Cold first, hot next. After it turns pink I let it run back in the bucket for a little.
8 Go upstairs and run all faucets, one by one, starting with the one furthest from the supply. I run long enough to KNOW there’s pink in all the lines and also sitting up against the gate valves in my waste tanks. If I have a washer I run a HOT cycle until I see pink coming into the drum then I stop and drain. If I have an ice maker I let it fill a tray with pink. Then I shut off the supply valve as I don’t use ice makers.
Don’t have a washer, yet. No ice maker either. 10G of pink is more than plenty. I have not yet decided whether the winterization procedure takes care of the city water line……. So far so good without putting a pink pressurized line on it.
EDIT: Don’t forget the faucet in the outdoor “kitchen” if installed. I did. And we de-winterized and went on a trip. Now, I never used the outdoor faucets and as we picked up the camper winterized in December the pink in the last feet of the pipes out there was never flushed out and still there, keeping it from freezing in between trips. Need some luck once in a while.
EDIT EDIT: Don’t forget the low point drains. Want to see pink out of them too.
TRAVELING IN FREEZING TEMPS.
The ultimate goal when heading South is to be able to warm up the camper, de-winterize and roll fully operational. On the way North roll all the way home and winterize. I’m not there yet; there’s some work to be done. I’ll be reporting here as I go along.
For now we travel winterized until we reach warmer temps with a few gallon jugs with pink in it by the toilets. Flushes fine, tanks stay protected. (I do dilute these to -25ºF as I am there in case the mercury goes single digits.) In the galley I have a few gallon jugs of fresh water. Based on how much I use I add pink to the drain. This setup works for a few days. I also want to keep the interior warm so you don’t walk into a meat locker during rest breaks. Again, some mods required, stay tuned.
But first, I want to get as much heat as possible in there, and be comfortable, during load in. In the 20’s electric is not enough so (for now) the furnace needs to be running. But, I usually top off my two 30 pound gas bottles (there’s room to fit 40 pounders in there but that is going to take some grinding and welding) and I don’t want to use any of that before we leave. So I got this extension hose that fits on the hose that’s on the bottles in there, and I run 20 pounders (plenty of those in stock)………
Here’s the Amazon listing:
So we tried rolling with the furnace running, and unlike our previous class A it works. Quite nicely in fact. Set it for 56-60 and every time we stopped it was about there and a quick burst of furnace and the firepace brought it up to livable in minutes. Very happy about that. Right now running a space heater in the garage (NOT underway) as the installed heat strip on the AC (the only one of the three) doesn’t seem to be doing a whole lot. Have some ideas there….. stay tuned. (again… lol)