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> Winterization Of Rv, Help please!!!
kjb3stop
post Jan 11 2010, 08:18 PM
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Hi, We are planning renting an RV in March the rental companies are winterizing their RV's until April for a a number of destinations.

Winterization means no water can be used in the RV. ie "This will include the water pipes, toilet, fresh water tanks, sink, shower, external shower, hot water heater and holding tanks. Winterization requires that water be drained from the fresh water tank, hot water heater and both waste tanks.

Once the vehicle is winterized, no water can be put into the fresh water tank and it cannot be hooked up to the city water supply anymore. Therefore, no water at all is available in the motor home"


What is the minimum temperature it is safe to take an "un-winterized" RV? We are mainly concerned about water pipes bursting or damaging the hot water service as we do not want to have to deal with the hassle and pay additional fees to fix them.

With a family of 5 our view is if the RV is winterized then it almost defeats the purpose of renting one if we cannot even wash dishes in the RV. Or have we got this wrong?

Thanks,
Glenn
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Texasrvers
post Jan 11 2010, 08:49 PM
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Pianotuna is an expert member on this topic and can give you much better advice than I can, but I will tell you that we have been in "teen" degree weather with our class A, and had no problem. Being from south Texas we do not ever winterize our coach when we are not using it, but when the temps drop below freezing (as they just did this past week) we do drain the water lines and tanks, and we run a small space heater inside to keep the lines from freezing. It got down to 18 degrees here this past week; unfortunately two pipes in the house burst, but the RV is fine.
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pianotuna
post Jan 12 2010, 01:22 AM
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Hi kjb3stop,

As Polonious said: Know thyself. For an RV'er this means they need to know what type of equipment they have before venturing out in bad weather in the winter (i.e. Size of the battery-bank; type and amp-hour rating of their converter/charger; and the current state of charge of the battery-bank). To do otherwise may be foolhardy.

Some of these suggestions only work for motorized units.

If the grey and black water tanks are enclosed and heated then the RV is a big step towards being able to be used in harsh winter weather. If the waste tank area is not heated consider adding a thermostatically controlled heater. I use a 500 watt interior car warmer with a mechanical thermostat. There are also specialized tank heaters some of which work on both shore power and twelve volt power.

It is prudent to know how low the temperature may be. Check the weather history for a year ago for the week in the location you may be heading to. It won't be perfect but at least you may have some idea of what to expect.

The water system may be quite robust and usable so long as there is sufficient propane available to keep it thawed. I have used my RV at -37 C (-34 F). I've also boondocked for 5 days where the daily high was -24 C and in blizzard conditions so my solar panels may not have contributed much electrical charging. Do leave the cupboard doors open to allow warm are to circulate. I have another thermostatically controlled electric heater beside my water pump.

If there is access to “shore power” then adding a radiant heater (or two) may lighten the load on the propane furnace. Do keep the heaters further away from the thermostat at night. Do not add so much electric heat that the furnace doesn't run at all. That is an invitation to freeze the fresh water pipes.

If no shore power is available then a generator system may probably be needed. Most of the systems in an RV need reliable 12 volt power for their control systems—no power translates into no heat from the furnace. When running the generator, use as many electrical heaters as you can. I suggest 3 hours in the evening before bed, and 2 hours in the morning. Don't forget to have enough capacity to run the engine block heater, too.

I have a load divider which allows me to run a heater as well as the block heater at the same time. It alternates between the two. Some folks use one timer on a heater—and another on the block heater so as to not overload the electrical outlets the RV is plugged into.

Some folks have an additional outlet added through the wall of their RV. This is powered by a #12 cord plugged into a 15 or 20 amp outlet on the power pedestal. They then plug in a 1500 watt heater to help keep the RV warm. This is particularly useful to those of us who have only a 30 amp service in our RV's.

On a temporary basis, while you are awake, it is possible to use the stove top as a blue flame heater. Do not run them full blast, and never leave them unattended. DO NOT SLEEP WITH THEM ON. This may lessen the load on the batteries.

Be aware that battery capacity drops as temperatures become lower. Some enterprising folks do have heated battery compartments. These heaters operate from the generator or from shore power. Running such heaters via an inverter is a zero sum proposition at best and at worst will decrease the total run time of the system.

If the RV will be used often in harsh conditions I suggest considering a vented catalytic heater such as the Platinum Cat. ( http://www.ventedcatheater.com/ )

If there are not dual pane windows, or if the RV will be used in extreme cold it may be prudent to have blankets that can be placed over them at night.

I also block off the cab area of my Class C with a thick woolen blanket. This reduces the heated area and reduces propane consumption.

I have another blanket that I hang over the entry door.

Park with the nose of the RV into the wind. Wind direction may change direction overnight—but at least start out that way.

If the floors are linoleum purchase some carpet “runners” to keep your feet warmer. Don't block off the floor heating vents.

The RV stores often sell vent pillows that help to keep the heat in (and in summer time keep the heat out).

Twelve volt mattress pads and heating blankets are a lovely addition to cold weather camping and allow the furnace to be set back to a lower temperature in the evening. They usually draw about 7 amps each.

Always carry enough RV antifreeze, and the necessary tools, to rewinterize should something prevent use of the furnace. It is far better to have an ounce of prevention than a pound of cure.

Keep the fuel tank nearly full—the dash heater can be used as a temporary back up to the furnace should the propane supply fail.

I find that my dash heater works best for heating the rear of my RV if I set it on defrost while I trundle down the road.

I do not have a slide on my RV. If possible I'd recommend not putting the slide out. It will go out fine—but the next day it may be difficult to retract it.

I'm sure others will have additional suggestions for you! Have a great trip!


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Don
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pianotuna
post Jan 12 2010, 01:50 AM
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Hi kbj3stop,

Have you used an RV in summer time? (Summer time, when the living is easy).

If the tanks are enclosed and the furnace is on, then the safe zone may be about 27 F. Below that temperature, special attention may almost certainly be needed. YMMV

If the tanks are not enclosed then don't go below 32 F unless lots of windshield washer antifreeze is used.

Don't stint on using the propane furnace. That's an invitation to disaster. Do use it while trundling down the road.

I suggest flushing the toilet by using bottled antifreeze--the type for windshields is OK to use.

For the gray water tank add a gallon of windshield washer antifreeze. Repeat as necessary depending on water use.

Consider not using the water heater. Particularly if it has a bypass valve. If there is no bypass then by all means use the heater.

If you are afraid of the fresh water system freezing up, carry bottled water with you and use it for washing, cooking, drinking and etc. Heat it on the stove for washing. It is a bit of a pain to do so.

It may be wise to use bottle water for drinking and cooking, rather than water out of the taps.

If the fresh water line does freeze up, do NOT panic. Just turn up the heat, way, way up. (see the boot?) {from the Friendly Giant} Open the cupboard doors and use a fan to move air into them.

If the RV is winterized when you pick it up, return it winterized.

I'm sure others may have additional suggestions.

QUOTE(kjb3stop @ Jan 11 2010, 08:18 PM) *

What is the minimum temperature it is safe to take an "un-winterized" RV? We are mainly concerned about water pipes bursting or damaging the hot water service as we do not want to have to deal with the hassle and pay additional fees to fix them.

With a family of 5 our view is if the RV is winterized then it almost defeats the purpose of renting one if we cannot even wash dishes in the RV. Or have we got this wrong?

Thanks,
Glenn



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Regards,

Don
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kjb3stop
post Jan 12 2010, 06:17 AM
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"As Polonious said: Know thyself. For an RV'er this means they need to know what type of equipment they have before venturing out in bad weather in the winter (i.e. Size of the battery-bank; type and amp-hour rating of their converter/charger; and the current state of charge of the battery-bank). To do otherwise may be foolhardy.

It is prudent to know how low the temperature may be. Check the weather history for a year ago for the week in the location you may be heading to. It won't be perfect but at least you may have some idea of what to expect.

The water system may be quite robust and usable so long as there is sufficient propane available to keep it thawed. I have used my RV at -37 C (-34 F). I've also boondocked for 5 days where the daily high was -24 C and in blizzard conditions so my solar panels may not have contributed much electrical charging. Do leave the cupboard doors open to allow warm are to circulate. I have another thermostatically controlled electric heater beside my water pump. "

Wow there is so much fantastic information I do not know where to start.

We are from Australia and have our own caravan which is used mainly in summer. We intend to keep away from bad weather on our trip to the USA but unfortunately our travel will be between March 16 - April 2. Had originally planned to travel from LA to Nashville but then discovered the RV rental companies insisted we need the vehicle winterized. We then changed tack and are planning a trip from Miami to Dallas and then a separate trip from Las Vegas to LA. we expect to stay in RV Parks.

Along the Miami to Dallas route we have plotted average temperatures and then record lows. For when we will be in Dallas for instance it has an average low of 50 F but a record low of 25 F. It seems we might be ok but I don't want to damage a vehicle as we have limited time.

You need to excuse my ignorance but what / how is the propane used? I assume it must be for a heater but I do not understand?

I have not idea as to whether the tanks are enclosed. The vehicle we plan to rent is a Class C V-31S from Moturis. I would appreciate it if anyone can shed any further light as to whether we will be OK with our rented RV on the intended route

Thank you very much for your assistance,

Regards,
Glenn
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kjb3stop
post Jan 12 2010, 06:38 AM
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"Being from south Texas we do not ever winterize our coach when we are not using it, but when the temps drop below freezing (as they just did this past week) we do drain the water lines and tanks, and we run a small space heater inside to keep the lines from freezing. It got down to 18 degrees here this past week; unfortunately two pipes in the house burst, but the RV is fine."

Thank you for the information. Out of curiosity where are you based in South Texas? And do you think we will be ok going to Houston, San Antonio and Dallas from the 3rd week of March?

Regards,
Glenn
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pianotuna
post Jan 12 2010, 09:12 AM
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Hi kjb3stop,

99.9% of North American RV's have a propane powered furnace. Think of central heating. 99.9% have a propane powered hot water heater.

Tx would be the one to talk about Houston.

To check weather history I use weather underground.


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Regards,

Don
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abbygolden
post Jan 12 2010, 09:36 AM
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QUOTE(kjb3stop @ Jan 12 2010, 06:38 AM) *

"Being from south Texas we do not ever winterize our coach when we are not using it, but when the temps drop below freezing (as they just did this past week) we do drain the water lines and tanks, and we run a small space heater inside to keep the lines from freezing. It got down to 18 degrees here this past week; unfortunately two pipes in the house burst, but the RV is fine."

Thank you for the information. Out of curiosity where are you based in South Texas? And do you think we will be ok going to Houston, San Antonio and Dallas from the 3rd week of March?

Regards,
Glenn


Glenn,

At that time of year, you will be sweating in San Antone and Houston. Dallas should also be fine as it will be past the average normal freeze date. That time of the year is a good time to be visiting Texas. I'd advise also adding a 2-3 day visit to the Hill Country of Texas and a day visit to Austin. I would do these in lieu of either Houston or Dallas as they are just another big city - nice, but I'm sure you're seen big cities before. You might also want to add a visit to Galveston (near Houston). There are many more places, but your time is limited so I just hit a couple of the highlights.
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Texasrvers
post Jan 12 2010, 11:57 AM
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QUOTE(kjb3stop @ Jan 12 2010, 06:38 AM) *

Do you think we will be ok going to Houston, San Antonio and Dallas from the 3rd week of March?





Absolutely! There may be a little cool weather then, but nothing to worry about. Like abbygolden said, you will probably be sweating more than shivering.

I also agree with the Galveston suggestion. It is a very interesting city, but it may not have gotten quite back up to par since hurricane Ike. It will be fine to go there, but you may still see some damage. Moody Gardens is a wonderful place to visit while there. Also farther down the coast Corpus Christi and Port Aransas are two other nice coastal towns.

In Austin go to the Texas State History Museum and the State Capitol. The Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library is interesting also.

Mar.-Apr. is an excellent time to visit the hill country (around San Antonio and to the north and west). There are many quaint towns, unique shops, and places to explore, but the best thing will be the Bluebonnets. They should be in full bloom in March and April. They say we are in for a good show this year because of the cold wet winter. But even in bad years they are still beautiful.

Keep in mind that San Antonio has its 2 week long Fiesta celebration in late April. There are lots of parades, food, and other fun events. If you like this type of entertainment it would be a fun time to visit. But if you don't like crowds you might want to pick another time.

Like abby I just tried to throw in some highlights because there is so much in Texas. If you are interested in these areas I can make more suggestions. You will have a great time here.

TX
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Robie
post Jan 12 2010, 01:02 PM
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QUOTE(kjb3stop @ Jan 11 2010, 09:18 PM) *

Hi, We are planning renting an RV in March the rental companies are winterizing their RV's until April for a a number of destinations.

Winterization means no water can be used in the RV. ie "This will include the water pipes, toilet, fresh water tanks, sink, shower, external shower, hot water heater and holding tanks. Winterization requires that water be drained from the fresh water tank, hot water heater and both waste tanks.

Once the vehicle is winterized, no water can be put into the fresh water tank and it cannot be hooked up to the city water supply anymore. Therefore, no water at all is available in the motor home"


What is the minimum temperature it is safe to take an "un-winterized" RV? We are mainly concerned about water pipes bursting or damaging the hot water service as we do not want to have to deal with the hassle and pay additional fees to fix them.

With a family of 5 our view is if the RV is winterized then it almost defeats the purpose of renting one if we cannot even wash dishes in the RV. Or have we got this wrong?

Thanks,
Glenn


Glenn

I have never rented an RV so I am not sure how they handle cold weather storage but I can see why there units would be winterized when not in use. I live in South Alabama near the Florida border and I always winterize when our 5th Wheel is not in use during cold weather and yes it dose get down to 32 and below here in south Alabama. Most modern RV now have enclosed and heated tanks for black,gray, and fresh water. This means that when in use with heating system on and hot water heater on and in use there are no problems in cold weather camping. You will have to disconnect from fresh water hook-up and go on internal water tank at night when the temp is down to 32 or below or your fresh water hose will freeze. We just came back form a Christmas trip with our unit. I dewinterized on leaving and winterized the unit again on return. It would seam to me that a rented unit would be dewinterized for your trip and then winterized again on your returning it, by the renting agent, if needed. If this was not the case it would not make much sense to rent a unit during winter time if you could not use any of the systems. I would add that it is not a difficult task to winterize a unit by draining the water lines at the low-point drains, draining the hot water heater, and draining the fresh water tank. Also most units today have winterizeation kits installed that allow you to bypass the drained hot water heater tank and pump water line antifreeze into the fresh water lines with the RV fresh water tank pump. This requires about 2 to 3 gallons of RV Waterline Antifreeze. I hope this will help you in your decision making on renting a unit. Please let me know if you found this helpful.


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Rob Robinson
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kjb3stop
post Jan 12 2010, 08:57 PM
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QUOTE(Robie @ Jan 13 2010, 06:02 AM) *

Please let me know if you found this helpful.


Very helpful indeed Rob.

Thank you.
Glenn
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kjb3stop
post Jan 12 2010, 09:07 PM
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QUOTE(Texasrvers @ Jan 13 2010, 04:57 AM) *

Absolutely! There may be a little cool weather then, but nothing to worry about. Like abbygolden said, you will probably be sweating more than shivering.

Like abby I just tried to throw in some highlights because there is so much in Texas. If you are interested in these areas I can make more suggestions. You will have a great time here.

TX


Thank you for the feedback. Believe it or not we have been convinced to change our trip to arrive in Dallas pickup RV and end up tracking back to Los Angeles via Houston, Galveston, San Antonio, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

We have 18 days for this trip so any suggestions are welcome as to what to see in Texas or other parts of our intended journey.

Thank you,
Glenn
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pianotuna
post Jan 12 2010, 09:37 PM
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Hi,

By the fastest route that is 3351 kilometers. Speed limits are about 100 kph. There are 379 museums, 743 Galleries, 206 campgrounds, and about 4560 restaurants along the route.


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Don
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Texasrvers
post Jan 12 2010, 09:49 PM
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One thing I can tell you is if you are going from Phoenix to Las Vegas take a little longer, less direct route (Phoenix to Flagstaff to Williams, AZ) so that you can go to the Grand Canyon. It is spectacular and should not be missed.

In San Antonio you will want to see the Alamo and the Riverwalk. There is a Sea World and Fiesta Texas amusement parks, but I'm not sure about their schedules that early in the spring. They may be open only on the weekends.

Also if you would tell me what types of activities you like I can probably come up with a few more suggestions. And if you already have some places in mind that you would like to see let me know, and other forum members and I will tell you what we know about them.

TX
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