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Freezing tonight. Should I worry?


saflyer

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This is the first time I have camped when there will be a hard freeze overnight. Expecting 24°. It should be around 40° until nightfall and warms up again tomorrow into the lower 50s. Of course we have the heat on so I’m not worried about any lines above the floor. I plan to open the cabinets just to be sure. 
My main concern is in the wet bay and behind the water heater. I’ll unhook and retract the water hose. Will also disconnect the sewer hose so I can plug the big hole in the wet bay floor. Saw some clamp on utility lights at Walmart that I could put 150 watt bulbs in and place in those two bays. Do I need to bother with that? 
Like I said, this is a new experience so guidance is appreciated.

Ed

’05 HR Ambassador

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Since you have a water heater, I'm assuming you also have propane furnaces, not an Aquahot.  Leave the water heater on - it will provide some heat to that bay.  Also, one of you propane furnaces should have a vent that "dumps" air into the Service Bay to help fend off the cold.  You are doing right by disconnecting all hoses.  I think a 60 watt bulb would be enough, but I don't think you can buy them (in incandescent) any more, so 100 is good.  Make sure it's positioned so it won't melt or damage anything from the heat.

  -Rick N.

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I spent 3 months living with night time temperatures a low as 5 degrees. I found I was fine without any heat in the wet bay as long as I was running the furnace to heat the motorhome. The duct work in the floor seems to add enough heat to everything to prevent any freezing.

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I would either leave the hot water heater on electric overnight or drain it. As far as the wet bay I would indeed put a heat source in the wet bay either the 150 bulb or I have a small ceramic heater that works on thermostat and blows heat. One or the other to get you through the night. 
as far as the water source if you disconnected the hose will drain by itself. And as far as the sewer line there is nothing in it to freeze.

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I use a 100 watt light bulb on one side and a very small cube heater on the other side.  The 100 watt light bulb actually deformed some plastic so I dropped back to a 75 watt bulb.  I also keep the cube heater on low with the thermostat set around 40-45.  

It took a little bit of time to route the heavy extension cord from the adjacent basement compartment.  This has worked well down to the low 20 degree range.  

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If you are at  FHU campsite you could leave your gray tank open and run a small stream of water in the kitchen sink.  We're in Arizona, but had some freezing temps in Northern California on our trip down and also a few 30 degree temps here in Mesa in December and January.  Turn on your tank heaters and use your furnaces you should be ok as long as those temps don't stick around for several days.

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1 hour ago, saflyer said:

This is the first time I have camped when there will be a hard freeze overnight. Expecting 24°. It should be around 40° until nightfall and warms up again tomorrow into the lower 50s. Of course we have the heat on so I’m not worried about any lines above the floor. I plan to open the cabinets just to be sure. 
My main concern is in the wet bay and behind the water heater. I’ll unhook and retract the water hose. Will also disconnect the sewer hose so I can plug the big hole in the wet bay floor. Saw some clamp on utility lights at Walmart that I could put 150 watt bulbs in and place in those two bays. Do I need to bother with that? 
Like I said, this is a new experience so guidance is appreciated.

Ed

’05 HR Ambassador

Hello Ed, I haven't seen a heat vent in our service bays. The water heater is in the service bay, only on the other side, so it will be ok. Reeling in the hose is smart because if left disconnected from the faucet and laying outside, the water in the hose will freeze. If you fill your water tank completely, that would make it a huge heat source in the service bay and help keep the temp up.

Gary 05 AMB DST

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3 minutes ago, Larry Maida said:

And as far as the sewer line there is nothing in it to freeze.

I just remembered I have a ceramic heater I think will fit.

BTW, I think the wet bay and water heater compartment are directly opposite each other with the potable water tank between them. If so would some heated air from a heat source in the wet bay find it’s way to the water heater compartment?

As to the sewer hoses my thinking was to disconnect so I can put the cover over the big hole in the floor they feed through. But since heat rises this probably doesn’t change much except keep the wind from blowing cold air in.

A side point. Couldn’t they have come up with a better method of putting that cover in than a threaded fitting? It’s really hard to get it on without cross threading. I’ve considered putting one or two screen door type handles or knobs on the top of it to get a better grip. Same thing holds for the cover of the hole the electric cable goes through. Of course putting a mark on the cover and one on the hole where the threads line up would help. (Tomorrow, maybe the next day, I’ll do something about this procrastination.)

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1 hour ago, Tom Wallis said:

I spent 3 months living with night time temperatures a low as 5 degrees. I found I was fine without any heat in the wet bay as long as I was running the furnace to heat the motorhome. The duct work in the floor seems to add enough heat to everything to prevent any freezing.

Good to know. Fortunately this should be a short term event.

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I put a remote temp sensor in the passenger side of the wet bay and monitor for it is either in the kitchen or next to the bed.  I check it periodically during cold nights to make sure it staying heated. 

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Just the big stuff...

I have a trouble light in the wet bay that has a thermal outlet that automatically comes on at or around zero. Never had a problem with the wet bay freezing yet in 5 winters. If you want to keep the fresh water flowing from the pedestal you will need a heated water line or...you can leave the water on with a slow drip. I have never had an issue with the fresh water tank or black tank freezing. My unit has no underbelly heat, having said that, if the furnace is on, the heat will leak into it anyway keeping it warm (ish). As for the water heater, never an issue, as long as you are actually using it.

The biggest issue I run into is keeping the incoming water flowing. The heating cables from Home Depot etc are junk - they usually last one winter. Next one will be a residential roof heating cable. 

I do prepare for the winter though, fill fresh tank to the top, flush black tank, get trouble light set up, fill propane, etc. It's not uncommon for the park to loose water for short periods during a prolonged freezing period.

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3 hours ago, Larry Maida said:

And as far as the sewer line there is nothing in it to freeze.

Trust me there are remnants of liquid left in the grooves of the collapsible sewer hoses that will freeze and cause little pin holes.

When we were working for Amazon in Fernley NV the RV Park where we stayed in Reno warned everyone to fill their water tanks then remove, drain the hose and put it away where it will be warm. Then if needed, dump your tanks and put the sewer hose away also where it will be warm. 

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On 3/11/2022 at 1:01 PM, jacwjames said:

I put a remote temp sensor in the passenger side of the wet bay and monitor for it is either in the kitchen or next to the bed.  I check it periodically during cold nights to make sure it staying heated. 

I think that might be my next purchase. I have a Govee wifi temp sensor for my storage building but didn’t think to bring it. It will send information over the internet to my phone.

Related question. I have lithium batteries that should be protected from charging below freezing temperatures. The built-in BMS and Magnum inverter/charger should shut off charging at that temperature. But being the paranoid type, especially with such expensive batteries, I wondered about another option. If I turn the battery disconnect switch off will the twelve volt items in the coach including the propane furnaces still work from the inverter/charger?

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Ed, I don't think our inverters/chargers shut down. I leave my MH plugged in all winter in NE Ohio to keep things "normal". When I go into the MH to check it, the batteries, chassis and inverter, are at their normal full charge voltage (13.6?) all winter. 

Gary 05 AMB DST

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2 hours ago, jacwjames said:

I don't think anything will work if you shut off your battery disconnect switch.

I believe I read an article in the last two weeks that said everything will work with bad or no batteries when you are plugged into shore power or generator. Of course I can’t remember where I read that.

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33 minutes ago, saflyer said:

I believe I read an article in the last two weeks that said everything will work with bad or no batteries when you are plugged into shore power or generator. Of course I can’t remember where I read that.

Found it:

https://www.doityourselfrv.com/will-an-rv-converter-work-without-a-battery/

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14 minutes ago, jacwjames said:

This the case for a converter but I believe his coach has an inverter. 

I know on mine when the battery disconnect switch is OFF nothing works that is power through the inverter.  Some of the 120 volt circuits may.

It’s an inverter/charger. I’ve read articles where they don’t make a distinction between converters and chargers but in my mind they are the same but different. In terms of powering 12v devices they might operate the same, though. Not perfectly sure.

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On 3/11/2022 at 1:01 PM, jacwjames said:

I put a remote temp sensor in the passenger side of the wet bay and monitor for it is either in the kitchen or next to the bed.  I check it periodically during cold nights to make sure it staying heated. 

Here is a remote sensor I use that I am completely satisfied with. 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AEQ9X9I/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

A bit pricey, but it keeps an onboard running memory of the temperature every minute for up to 20 days.  Bluetooth connectivity, also Wi-Fi with additional gateway, expandable with more sensors, unlimited data storage on the cloud.  It even has limits that will alarm on your phone.   Using this sensor while in storage I know that that when temps get up to 50's during day and down to 20's at night the wet bays stay well above 40's.  So I have no concern of freezing inside of wet bays under these conditions.   I can mount with Velcro, and move to different locations to get more data.  See pic below of my phone readout as an example.

 

 0?ui=2&ik=5f768fc5ad&attid=0.1&permmsgid=msg-a:r-7031289015053862090&th=17f85596231185ba&view=fimg&fur=ip&sz=s0-l75-ft&attbid=ANGjdJ-SkSamJJxALcDAOxWYxU6vGSot6H9fd874DrFLxFGSOQnZaWzR7i9byotlru1kKkgKJJeaoV-Mc6UI5bDYtWXTX5UI1JkmZ0Zp8fmNPCHX5mCfNsx8t4j2zRU&disp=emb&realattid=17f855958193b7f4b251

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