Winter RV'ing in extreme cold - best practices, tips, etc?

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chuckster
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:53 pm
Location: Meridian, ID

Winter RV'ing in extreme cold - best practices, tips, etc?

Post by chuckster »

Hello Safari friends!

My wife and I are going to take a winter excursion where temps get 10-5 degrees farenheit at night. My '01 Safari Zanzibar with the Magnum M-Series "Blue Max" chassis looks to be completely covered underneath...I do not see ANY exposed plumbing of any kind and even the sewer connection looks to only protrude a couple of inches from the covering that runs the length of the coach.

My concern is there risk to pipes freezing, black/fresh/gray tanks freezing in this kind of weather? I was going under the coach to see if it would be easy to add those 12v heating pads that adhere to the outside of the holding tanks but there is no access to do so. Same with plumbing...nothing seems exposed. What has been your experiences with this type of weather where the coach has no exposed pipes to the outdoors?

I do not have a heated water hose outside (yet) so I will be filling up the coach with fresh water as needed. I plan to keep my gray water tank open to prevent the tank from freezing. I will keep the black tank closed as I normally do until time to leave. I am considering turning off the fresh water pump at night and letting off the pressure by opening the kitchen faucet to relieve pressure so that the pipes don't burst when we go to bed. Is that a good precaution?

Any other tips RV'ing in extreme cold weather other than keeping the coach warm inside and maybe shutting the water pump off at night? I have never camped in this kind of weather and have only had this coach since early August.

Thanks in advance for your winter RV'ing tips!
Chuck in Meridian, ID
'01 Safari Zanzibar 3646 (side entry)
Cat 3126B / Allison MD3060
Magnum M-Series "Blue Max" chassis
Owner since 8/2020

05wingrider
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:26 pm
Location: Spokane, Washington

Re: Winter RV'ing in extreme cold - best practices, tips, etc?

Post by 05wingrider »

Chuck,
I don't know about later models (I have a 1996), but in my basement is a heater duct with a slide cover on it that can be opened up so that heat from the furnace goes into the basement helping keep it warm. The other option would be to buy one of the newer quartz style space heaters and put in the basement (if yours isn't ducted from the furnace) and keep it warmer that way (you could put it on a timer so that it only ran for certain hours if you were concerned about it). As long as the doors aren't left open, I think any heat source in the basement would keep the pipes from freezing.
Duane
96 Sahara 30', 250hp Cat 3126
Allison 6spd MD-3060
Spokane WA

stuplich@ymail.com
Posts: 988
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:51 am

Re: Winter RV'ing in extreme cold - best practices, tips, etc?

Post by stuplich@ymail.com »

[quote=chuckster post_id=224501 time=1603479875 user_id=845
My concern is there risk to pipes freezing, black/fresh/gray tanks freezing in this kind of weather?
Any other tips RV'ing in extreme cold weather other than keeping the coach warm inside and maybe shutting the water pump off at night? I have never camped in this kind of weather and have only had this coach since early August.
[/quote]
chukster
I use use an inexpensive 120VAC 1500 watt electric space heater, controlled by a TC-3 ThermoCube, in the basement to prevent cold weather freeze-uos: Image :
https://www.amazon.com/Farm-Innovators- ... 2233&psc=1
Mel
'96 Sahara 3530, mine since '01
250 hp 3126 Cat, MD3060 Allison

chuckster
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:53 pm
Location: Meridian, ID

Re: Winter RV'ing in extreme cold - best practices, tips, etc?

Post by chuckster »

05wingrider wrote:
Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:14 pm
Chuck,
I don't know about later models (I have a 1996), but in my basement is a heater duct with a slide cover on it that can be opened up so that heat from the furnace goes into the basement helping keep it warm. The other option would be to buy one of the newer quartz style space heaters and put in the basement (if yours isn't ducted from the furnace) and keep it warmer that way (you could put it on a timer so that it only ran for certain hours if you were concerned about it). As long as the doors aren't left open, I think any heat source in the basement would keep the pipes from freezing.
Hi Duane,

I am in a campground that claims 50A hookup and indeed has a 50A outlet for my '01 Zanzibar and I can run two 750w/1500w heaters on the low (750w) setting but if I try to run anything else significant like coffeemaker or microwave, will pop the lower breaker on the inverter outside. I'd run a third in the basement if I could with one of the doo-hickeys that Mel talks about in the next thread. In the meantime I keep our water hose disconnected and manually fill the fresh water tank when needed. Even with the 2 little ceramic heaters running, the furnace is running almost non-stop. The gray water valve is kept in the open position and so far, its working okay. I guess we'll keep the fingers crossed for now!
Chuck in Meridian, ID
'01 Safari Zanzibar 3646 (side entry)
Cat 3126B / Allison MD3060
Magnum M-Series "Blue Max" chassis
Owner since 8/2020

chuckster
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:53 pm
Location: Meridian, ID

Re: Winter RV'ing in extreme cold - best practices, tips, etc?

Post by chuckster »

stuplich@ymail.com wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 12:33 pm
[quote=chuckster post_id=224501 time=1603479875 user_id=845
My concern is there risk to pipes freezing, black/fresh/gray tanks freezing in this kind of weather?
Any other tips RV'ing in extreme cold weather other than keeping the coach warm inside and maybe shutting the water pump off at night? I have never camped in this kind of weather and have only had this coach since early August.
chukster
I use use an inexpensive 120VAC 1500 watt electric space heater, controlled by a TC-3 ThermoCube, in the basement to prevent cold weather freeze-uos: Image :
https://www.amazon.com/Farm-Innovators- ... 2233&psc=1
[/quote]

Handy-dandy little gizmo. Thanks for the tip. See my reply to Duane.

Chuck
Chuck in Meridian, ID
'01 Safari Zanzibar 3646 (side entry)
Cat 3126B / Allison MD3060
Magnum M-Series "Blue Max" chassis
Owner since 8/2020

ProCycle
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:28 pm

Re: Winter RV'ing in extreme cold - best practices, tips, etc?

Post by ProCycle »

chuckster wrote:
Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:57 am
I am in a campground that claims 50A hookup and indeed has a 50A outlet for my '01 Zanzibar and I can run two 750w/1500w heaters on the low (750w) setting but if I try to run anything else significant like coffeemaker or microwave, will pop the lower breaker on the inverter outside. I'd run a third in the basement if I could with one of the doo-hickeys that Mel talks about in the next thread. In the meantime I keep our water hose disconnected and manually fill the fresh water tank when needed. Even with the 2 little ceramic heaters running, the furnace is running almost non-stop. The gray water valve is kept in the open position and so far, its working okay. I guess we'll keep the fingers crossed for now!
On my Serengeti there are a couple of circuits that are not powered through the inverter. They only have power when plugged in to shore power or running the generator. I'll bet your Zanzibar is the same. Plug your heaters into those outlets and you won't be tripping the inverter breakers and you'll probably be able to run that third heater (on one inverter circuit). If you identify which inside breakers protect each outlet you can make sure each heater is running on a different circuit.
Jeff
1997 Serengeti Ivory 3740 Cat 3126 Allison

chuckster
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:53 pm
Location: Meridian, ID

Re: Winter RV'ing in extreme cold - best practices, tips, etc?

Post by chuckster »

ProCycle wrote:
Mon Oct 26, 2020 10:35 am
chuckster wrote:
Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:57 am
I am in a campground that claims 50A hookup and indeed has a 50A outlet for my '01 Zanzibar and I can run two 750w/1500w heaters on the low (750w) setting but if I try to run anything else significant like coffeemaker or microwave, will pop the lower breaker on the inverter outside. I'd run a third in the basement if I could with one of the doo-hickeys that Mel talks about in the next thread. In the meantime I keep our water hose disconnected and manually fill the fresh water tank when needed. Even with the 2 little ceramic heaters running, the furnace is running almost non-stop. The gray water valve is kept in the open position and so far, its working okay. I guess we'll keep the fingers crossed for now!
On my Serengeti there are a couple of circuits that are not powered through the inverter. They only have power when plugged in to shore power or running the generator. I'll bet your Zanzibar is the same. Plug your heaters into those outlets and you won't be tripping the inverter breakers and you'll probably be able to run that third heater (on one inverter circuit). If you identify which inside breakers protect each outlet you can make sure each heater is running on a different circuit.
Hmmmm. Seems like mine are all going through the inverter. It's too cold to go outside and check in the basement for a plug. Maybe this afternoon when it warms up. :D
Chuck in Meridian, ID
'01 Safari Zanzibar 3646 (side entry)
Cat 3126B / Allison MD3060
Magnum M-Series "Blue Max" chassis
Owner since 8/2020

ProCycle
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:28 pm

Re: Winter RV'ing in extreme cold - best practices, tips, etc?

Post by ProCycle »

On mine the outlet next to the dinette, behind the passenger seat and on either side of the bed all run through the 110v breaker panel in the bedroom. These outlets are only powered when plugged in to shore power or running the generator. The refrigerator circuit is the same way. Everything else runs through the inverter circuits. There should be a label at the breaker panel that identifies what each breaker protects. If you don't have a label or access to a wiring diagram just unplug from shore power and go around and plug a lamp or something into every outlet. I'm betting you'll find a couple that have no power.
Jeff
1997 Serengeti Ivory 3740 Cat 3126 Allison

chuckster
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:53 pm
Location: Meridian, ID

Re: Winter RV'ing in extreme cold - best practices, tips, etc?

Post by chuckster »

ProCycle wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:18 am
On mine the outlet next to the dinette, behind the passenger seat and on either side of the bed all run through the 110v breaker panel in the bedroom. These outlets are only powered when plugged in to shore power or running the generator. The refrigerator circuit is the same way. Everything else runs through the inverter circuits. There should be a label at the breaker panel that identifies what each breaker protects. If you don't have a label or access to a wiring diagram just unplug from shore power and go around and plug a lamp or something into every outlet. I'm betting you'll find a couple that have no power.
That's what I will do to identify those. Thanks!
Chuck in Meridian, ID
'01 Safari Zanzibar 3646 (side entry)
Cat 3126B / Allison MD3060
Magnum M-Series "Blue Max" chassis
Owner since 8/2020

chuckster
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:53 pm
Location: Meridian, ID

Re: Winter RV'ing in extreme cold - best practices, tips, etc?

Post by chuckster »

So, I owe some closure on this trip. We went and never saw 5-10 degrees. First night was 16 degrees. That was the coldest night. The rest of the nights were 22-30 degrees; all below freezing. I topped off water and disconnected hose because didn't have time to get a heated hose before trip. When I went to bed, I turned water pump off and opened kitchen faucet a bit on hot and cold side each for 15 seconds or so to relieve pressure on pipes for ice expansion if it were necessary. I left gray water plugged in and gate open but went outside before bed and made sure the gray water drain hose was clear of water. I never had an issue the entire trip but boy did the furnace run and run to try to maintain 62-65 degrees!
Chuck in Meridian, ID
'01 Safari Zanzibar 3646 (side entry)
Cat 3126B / Allison MD3060
Magnum M-Series "Blue Max" chassis
Owner since 8/2020

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