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Old 11-04-2019, 06:51 AM   #1
scottkeen
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Camping in below freezing temperatures. What do I do?

I'm going to be camping for 4 days in below freezing temperatures. Besides head for warmer weather, what do I do?



I'm taking my 2011 Montana Mountaineer 347THT out for 4 days and for a couple of nights it will be below freezing, around 18 degrees at night. It's supposed to get up to the low 40s during the day. I already paid for the reservation, so don't want to cancel...


I have a couple of questions:


1. How do I tell if my RV (I purchased it used) is insulated for 4-seasons?


2. Are my holding tanks insulated, heated, or heated by running the LP furnace?


3. What can I do to prevent freezing to the holding tanks and the water pump?


4. Would leaving the 12V 60W incandescent light on in the water hookup panel be a good idea to keep that area warm? Fire hazard?



5. Do I leave the gray tank valves open or shut? If the valves are frozen shut, how do I unfreeze them?



6. Do you advise to put water in the fresh water tank and use the water in the tank, and disconnect the water supply hose? I don't have a hose heater tape and don't plan on camping in cold weather like this again.


Also, any other advice on RVing in these sub-freezing temperatures for these couple of days is much appreciated!
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Old 11-04-2019, 07:45 AM   #2
AZ Traveler
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Unless you are in temps of single digits and never above freezing you will be fine just running your furnace.
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Old 11-04-2019, 08:15 AM   #3
beeje
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#1- 4 season insulated is just a gimmick
#2- Tanks are most likely not heated other than by running the furnace
#3- Run the furnace. Put a ceramic heater in the basement (safely)
#4- I have used a drop light behind the panel and it worked fine.
#5- Leave the valves closed. The more water in the tanks the better (takes longer to freeze.
#6- Defiantly fill the fresh tank and use the pump. Do not hook up to city water.
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Old 11-04-2019, 08:23 AM   #4
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4 seasnons insulation....just a big joke.
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Old 11-04-2019, 09:28 AM   #5
McIver
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Why not to hook up to city water? Because the hose will be frozen solid in the morning! Been there, done that!
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Old 11-04-2019, 09:33 AM   #6
DQDick
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On our 2010 we camped for weeks in that type of temps without a problem other than having to make a lot of trips for propane. Never used anything but the furnace and nothing ever froze. Kept the valves closed except to dump. Enjoy your trip, run the furnace and don't worry about it.
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Old 11-04-2019, 03:54 PM   #7
team bradfield
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we always use our local forest preserve CG until it closes (next weekend) it gets down in the teens at night, high 30's in daytime. we only use the furnace, never an issue
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:12 PM   #8
scottkeen
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Wow, thanks everyone for the replies! OK, sounds like it's not that big of a deal because it's not staying in the sub-freezing temps all day, so I'll just have to run the LP furnace.


Question about running the LP furnace to keep the underbelly warmed up -- is it warmed up because the rest of the rig will be warm, or is there actually a vent that blows into the underbelly?


I wouldn't know where to look for such a vent if there is one. The bottom of my rig has some kind of sheet material to cover up the tanks and everything else.


Great tips on leaving the tank valves closed and put water in the fresh tank and use the pump. Will do!


I like the idea of putting a little ceramic heater in the water/storage area but should I be concerned about a fire hazard with leaving that on unattended? I see that Best Buy has a small desktop 600W ceramic heater for $19 which has an auto shutoff switch if it's knocked over. Would that work? Also, I don't recall seeing a 120V AC outlet in the pass-thru storage area.


Interesting comments that "four-season ready RV" is a marketing joke!
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottkeen View Post
Wow, thanks everyone for the replies! OK, sounds like it's not that big of a deal because it's not staying in the sub-freezing temps all day, so I'll just have to run the LP furnace.


Question about running the LP furnace to keep the underbelly warmed up -- is it warmed up because the rest of the rig will be warm, or is there actually a vent that blows into the underbelly?


I wouldn't know where to look for such a vent if there is one. The bottom of my rig has some kind of sheet material to cover up the tanks and everything else.


Great tips on leaving the tank valves closed and put water in the fresh tank and use the pump. Will do!


I like the idea of putting a little ceramic heater in the water/storage area but should I be concerned about a fire hazard with leaving that on unattended? I see that Best Buy has a small desktop 600W ceramic heater for $19 which has an auto shutoff switch if it's knocked over. Would that work? Also, I don't recall seeing a 120V AC outlet in the pass-thru storage area.


Interesting comments that "four-season ready RV" is a marketing joke!
Of coarse I cant be sure on your unit, but most Montanas have a 2" flex line from the furnace into the underbelly to help keep the tanks warm.

A ceramic heater should not be an issue if you use common sense. Place it in a spot that is not close to any combustibles. I would check on it 1/2 hour after you place it, just to make sure.
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:53 PM   #10
BuilderBob
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We camp and Travel all year long in the winter and cold. Fill your water tank and use that water, Leave your valve close till you dump, Run the furnace at night you will be fine.
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Old 11-04-2019, 07:35 PM   #11
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If the campground has bath and shower facilities use thiers then add a couple gallons of antifreeze to each tank (grey/black) that will also lower the freeze point.

Here in the NW most campgrounds shut the water off during freezing weather. You may need on board water from home. If they have city water you can buy a heater water hose.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:39 PM   #12
JamesD
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I've been living in my 5th wheel for 4+ years in temps even lower than -20, and wind chills almost -50.
For 0+ temps, run off your tanks, run the heat, use tank heaters if you have them, etc...
When temps are in the 20s at night, you won't notice much.
Teens, not a problem unless it doesn't get above freezing for days.
So you should have no problems for a short trip like that.

It's when you get high winds, and sub zero temps for days, things really like to freeze.
Dump valves, low point drains (where did my water go?), water filters, the fresh water line... I've seen all that freeze.
Put salt or RV anti-freeze in the waste tanks if you are going to be in temps like that for days, put insulation in your water station if it's not heated, dump daily if you can (trust me on this), and leave room in the fresh water tank for expansion.
I tried adding alcohol to the fresh water tank one year. The water tasted funny but it didn't freeze. (everclear)
The next year I rigged a hose from my outside shower connection to the water fill opening. Running a small amount of hot water through it kept the water line from freezing. I forgot to turn the water back on one night, so the water filter froze, and broke.
The fresh water line has frozen several times, and the ice pushed the hose back on the connector until it could suck some air.
Last year I couldn't dump the black tank for over a month, and had to use a portable toilet.
And last but not least, be prepared to use a lot of propane.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:30 PM   #13
whutfles
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I have a 2011 Montana Mountaineer 326RLT. It has a heated underbelly. If it's above freezing in the day, connect your city water hose and fill your fresh tank. Then turn the city water off at the faucet. Disconnect your fresh water hose from the RV, drain the hose and stowe it if you don't want it frozen when you want to use it again.

If your RV is winterized, leave it that way till you get to where you are going. If you are not winterized and are traveling in freezing temps, your pump and lines will freeze. Mine did in 20+ temps so I had to stop every hour and run the furnace for about 15 minutes to keep the water pump thawed. If temps are freezing when you return home, winterize or blow out the lines before the return trip.

Here is a link to the brochure for the 2011 Montana Mountaineer. On the Options page under STANDARDS it says "Fully Enclosed and Heated Underelly".
https://library.rvusa.com/brochure/2...r_Brochure.pdf

At night when it is the coldest, open your cabinet doors to your washer/dryer so those pipes get some heat. If you have a fireplace, run it to help suplement the heat. But if the fireplace keeps the temps too high so that the furnace doesn't run - remember that the fireplace heats the area it is in, but if the furnace is not running then the underbelly is not getting any heat.

You'll do fine. Surprisingly when the furnace is keeping the RV warm the culprit is moisture inside the RV, especially inside closets and cabinets where there is no air movement. This is more of an issue with longterm RV'ing.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:17 AM   #14
beeje
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesD View Post
I've been living in my 5th wheel for 4+ years in temps even lower than -20, and wind chills almost -50.
For 0+ temps, run off your tanks, run the heat, use tank heaters if you have them, etc...
When temps are in the 20s at night, you won't notice much.
Teens, not a problem unless it doesn't get above freezing for days.
So you should have no problems for a short trip like that.

It's when you get high winds, and sub zero temps for days, things really like to freeze.
Dump valves, low point drains (where did my water go?), water filters, the fresh water line... I've seen all that freeze.
Put salt or RV anti-freeze in the waste tanks if you are going to be in temps like that for days, put insulation in your water station if it's not heated, dump daily if you can (trust me on this), and leave room in the fresh water tank for expansion.
I tried adding alcohol to the fresh water tank one year. The water tasted funny but it didn't freeze. (everclear)
The next year I rigged a hose from my outside shower connection to the water fill opening. Running a small amount of hot water through it kept the water line from freezing. I forgot to turn the water back on one night, so the water filter froze, and broke.
The fresh water line has frozen several times, and the ice pushed the hose back on the connector until it could suck some air.
Last year I couldn't dump the black tank for over a month, and had to use a portable toilet.
And last but not least, be prepared to use a lot of propane.
My wife would love to have the fresh tank full of vodka. Mixed drinks out of every fixture. LOL
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Old 11-12-2019, 06:18 PM   #15
DebNJim B
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We have lived all winter in our current Monty and a previous SOB for 6 years in NW GA where the temps often drop to the teens and twenties. He have a heated hose now but in the past were in a CG where they shut the water off if it dropped below 20 so we would keep fresh water tank half full to use on those nights. We run the fireplace for weeks on end and find when freezing is an issue the furnace will still run enough to keep the basement warm. The fireplace will take the chill off but can't fully heat your rig when it's below freezing. I leave the grey tanks open and the black tank closed. Concerned with valves freezing shut but it is very unlikely in the black tank as you have a fairly saline content there. Big difference we've noticed in the Monty is this one has dual pane windows and it is much more comfortable in the cold. Last year we added a 100# propane tank that makes life better. Others have mentioned high usage of propane the it is a fact of life in cold weather and you will be filling those tanks every couple of days.
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:14 PM   #16
Daryles
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JamesD.
"The next year I rigged a hose from my outside shower connection to the water fill opening. Running a small amount of hot water through it kept the water line from freezing."

Great idea. What about running a hose from the outside shower hot water line to the freshwater drain hose via an insulated heated hose?
Overkill?
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