New to RVing...freeze protection?

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by dart451, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. dart451

    dart451 New Member

    Hi, I'm new to RVing and have a couple questions on freeze protection on my 5th wheel. I plan on moving my 5th wheel onto my un-improved property that has no facilities at present. I will be staying in it off and on. I am wondering if I keep the thermostat heat on (propane)to keep it semi warm inside along with my water heater running...will it keep the pipes from freezing? The temps have not been too cold in southern New Mexico but it does get in the low teens before sunrise. Is there anything else I should do? I do know that I will have to run a generator (external) occationally to keep my batteries up. Any helpful info would be appreciated. Thank you.

    Thought I'd add some additional info...my fresh water tank is inside, both black and grey water are outside under the trailer. Thought it might also help by adding some RV antifreeze in the black and grey water tanks to help.
     
  2. USMC

    USMC Member

    New to RVing...freeze protection?

    Hi Dart,
    Well If you have heat in your 5th wheel the lines will not freeze as most trailers and 5th wheels have all the water lines running inside the RV,however I did run into one problem this winter with my trailer water line freezing I have a cold water supply that runs from behind my shower down under the trailer and crosses across about 4 feet and comes back up into the trailer, this area under the trailer is where they connect up the lines with plugs so you can drain your fresh water lines in the winter and mine were covered with sheet metal for access, I took the access off and there was very little insulation around the pipes so I insulted them better after I added a heat tape for extra protection and all has been well since then.
    If you have your hot water heater on gas or electric it will not freeze.
    If you are not living in it, I would just shut it down and drain everything and save the propane and generator being run.
    Personally If I winterize mine I don't like to use antifreeze in the fresh water tanks and lines I just drain everything and open up all the faucets and blow some air through them to get out any excess water and open up he drain plugs that I have under my trailer and that works fine for me.
    If you are going to be using your black and grey tanks then you need to add some anti frreeze to keep them from freezing.later jim
     
  3. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    New to RVing...freeze protection?

    Hey Jim,
    We replaced at least 6 water pumps last spring because they were just blown out with air. If you do that, you need to run the pump and clear the water out of it. The water pump has a check valve so city water won't back into the tank and that check valve prevents air from clearing water out of the pump.
    I don't put antifreeze in the fresh water tank either, but we do use the pump to fill the lines. After that, I know I'm protected.
     
  4. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    New to RVing...freeze protection?

    There are two problems as I see it. Even if you leave the furnace on, how many batteries do you have? If the battery voltage starts to fall as the battery runs down, the furnace will not work and no heat will be supplied. If you have not electricity, and only one or two batteries, you will have two to four days before that happens, depending upon how cold it gets at night.
     
  5. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    New to RVing...freeze protection?

    You are absolutly correct Kirk, I have seen a furnace kill a battery in one night and empty a 30lb. bottle in 2-3 nights.
     
  6. USMC

    USMC Member

    New to RVing...freeze protection?

    Hi Grandview,
    Yes you have to disconnect your water line from the pump to blow out the lines, I just took for granted that would be the way to do it, however I suppose you could blow them out from the drain plugs or at the faucet, which would probably damafe the pump, but I always pull mine loose from the pump and stick the air hose on the line. later Jim
     
  7. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    New to RVing...freeze protection?

    You are right as long as you do it your way. Most people will purchase a blow out plug that goes where the city water comes in, and that does not do anything for the pump.
     
  8. voyager20

    voyager20 New Member

    New to RVing...freeze protection?

    Hello all,

    What about putting some Solar Panels on the unit to charge the batteries daily. This will help on the need for running the generator to re-charge.

    Also, as far as draining the water lines, I blew out my system whenever we put it to bed for the winter and I dump all the water in the water heater however, I lost my water heater one winter in spite of all of that. There was still enough water that apparently found it's way into the tank to explode it with a giant ice round (it wasn't a cube...). Of course that was a nasty winter we had here that it didn't come out of the 10's and teens for about 2 months. What I learned was in spite of the blow out, it may have been better to use the antifreeze even tho I'm not sure about getting it all out....

    I haven't done either one since however as we haven't put it away for the last couple of winters.

    Also, depending on how long it will be left unattended a larger external propane tank may prove to be useful.... I'm still not sure about leaving an RV on propane unattended for more than a shift or two..... Might be better to drain everything as best you can each departure, open the faucets (kitchen, bath, tub and external shower) diconnect the pump and then count on the low temps not being long enough in duration to really freeze and expand enough to damage anything.....

    Just a thought or two..... IMO
     

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