Winterization Question - Fiberglass RV

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Old 12-05-2008, 11:12 AM   #1
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Name: Eric
Trailer: Bigfoot 17 ft Gaucho
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I live in the Pacific Northwest where subfreezing nights are few. I've winterized by blowing out all the lines and emptying all the water. I use dehumidification crystals (Driz-Air) while Bigfoot isn't in use in the winter months. Is there any reason to leave an electric heater on at a very low setting (say 40 degrees) -- either for
1. prevention of freeezing residual moisture somewhere in the lines?
2. further dehumidification?



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Old 12-05-2008, 12:30 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1975 13 ft Trillium
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Eric, I'm even further North than you are and stow away our r/v's for the non-usage month, LOL.

With regards to the heater option, we DO it, just for the added peace of mind(?) Set a SMALL electric heater on a low or low to mid range area. I guess this issue factors around how much precaution(s) one wants to take to protect their investment(s),, but I feel, better to take more precautions than less. One must also factor in the cost involved in leaving heat on. One could also use the old 'leave a light on' idea too, but I've found it just isn't as effective as heat (ANY heat is better than none at all). It would STILL be wise to check and empty the accumulated water in the de-humidifier as often as you can.
When we had our 'Stickie' parked up [at] Lake Tyee, we winterized, (drained everything, blew air, etc.) used dri-zee air and also left ALL water taps open, including the hot water tank and expansion pop-off valve ....this allows the possibility (in event of power failure) of ANY freezing ice to expand without damaging any conneections or fittings.

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Old 12-05-2008, 12:55 PM   #3
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Name: Per
Trailer: 2000 Burro 17 ft Widebody towed by Touareg TDI
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I'm a little further north than you are and here is what I have done: one year I used compressed air to blow out all the water. Another year and this year I have pumped antifreeze through the pipes.
Mine did not have a water heater bypass system, so I installed one at the price of some skinned knuckles. I now have three little valves to turn and a clear plastic pipe hanging there ready to be dipped into the antifreeze bottle. I find this just a little easier to do, and if you unexpectedly get into a hard freeze overnight while camping (as I did) it is quick to do, most of the process takes place inside the trailer where it is warm, no compressor is necessary, and one person can do it quickly.
When the Burro is stored in the back yard I leave it plugged in (guest house). Some years ago I installed a little electric heater permanently in the wall and connected it to a conventional digital thermostat (with a relay). I leave it set at 45 degrees. The wattage on this unit is variable from 250 watts to 1500, and the fan is so quiet nobody notices. I leave the little kitchen window cracked and the overhead vent likewise and have never had any problem with mold, excessive humidity, etc. I think the slightly higher temperature inside is enough to lower the relative humidity enough to avoid problems. An additional point: our refrigerator does not have a drain but empties into a plastic condensate pan under the fins. Before I realized this I routinely did not check it, so moisture was available for mold inside the frig. I now empty and dry off this pan after every camping trip and leave the frig door cracked when in storage. Problem solved.
You will probably have to adjust your remedies since you are further south than we are.
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:47 PM   #4
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Name: Roger
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Eric, if you've blown out the lines well, including the commode lines, the pump, and any kind of filter trap you may (or may not) have between the tank and pump, then you ought to be good to go. A single night of sub-freezing temps likely won't even be enough to cause damage even if the system were still full. Drops of water left in the system won't cause problems, nor will the water left in the fresh water tank even after it's drained even in a hard freeze. Where you have problems is leaving the system charged with a hard freeze, and the expansion of the freezing water has nowhere to go.

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Old 12-05-2008, 02:55 PM   #5
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Name: Eric
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thanks Roger, Per and Doug for your thoughtful replies.
I wish you all a happy holiday season and warm springtime travel dreams.

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Old 12-05-2008, 04:49 PM   #6
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Name: Anne
Trailer: Escape 17 ft 2006 / 2005 Honda Pilot
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I leave a little electric heater on low - just for peace of mind.

Because I'm really paranoid, I also use one of those cheap dual temperature gauge deals (I got mine at Camping World on sale for about $10) - I leave the remote in the egg and the main one in my house. Gives me a readout of the current temp in the Egg, as well as max/min between resets.

Now, if it could just tell me whether a mouse has gotten in and is wrecking havoc, I'd be all set!!
Anne H and Fay Wray, the cat | Portland, OR
en Plein Air (2016 19' Escape; 2016 Honda Pilot )
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Old 12-05-2008, 05:04 PM   #7
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Name: Darwin
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I use a very very low wattage heater that is advertised to dehumidify a camper or boat during storage. I think preventing humidity is one of the most important things that you can do to perserve your camper. I run a house dehumidifier in the unit all summer long.

The problem with BLOWING the water lines out vers the camper antifreze: If you have the wrong kind of air compressor, you can introduce OIL in the lines. The camper antifreze protects and once flushed out will not leave a bad taste in the water and the oil residue will.


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