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Old 11-29-2018, 04:45 PM   #1
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How Cold is Too Cold...?

We pick up our new Escape 19'er in Chilliwack (for those who know, Sumas actually) on Thurs, Dec 6th and then will head down to Seattle and on to Port Washington before heading down along the west coast. As I write this the current forecast for Chilliwack & Seattle shows daytime temperatures around 40F, overnight(s) average 26F.

When we'd cold weather travel with our former Scamp 16'er, as long as the overnight temperatures didn't dip below about 28F, with daytime temperatures well above freezing, I didn't worry about freezing the water tank(s) figuring that it takes quite a while for water to actually freeze hard. Also, in the Scamp, the dump valve for the freshwater tank was inside the flooring, tho' not in the heated area.

When camping well below freezing, we wouldn't use the fresh water tank or system, and just use water from jugs. And when we'd run water into the gray or black water tanks we'd "chase" it with some pink antifreeze to keep the tanks from freezing up. That worked great.

My question is... Staying in the new trailer at down to 25 overnight temperatures, might it be safe to activate the fresh water tank, or maybe play it safe and do as we did in the Scamp in colder temperatures.

We do have the extra insulating foam & thermal windows, etc.

Thank you, in advance, for your thoughts.
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Old 11-29-2018, 04:54 PM   #2
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First question is whether you got the spray foam insulation, or whether your tanks are naked.

We spent two consecutive nights at 22F, with warmer in the day, of course, and no freezing, but we have the foam.
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Old 11-29-2018, 05:19 PM   #3
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second question is whether Escape has already winterized the trailer, if so, I'd keep it winterized for at least another day of travel south before dewinterizing.
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Old 12-01-2018, 10:44 AM   #4
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One of the nice things about the 19 is that the plumbing lines that go from one side of the trailer to the other are inside the trailer, under the bed, so with the spray foam, all you really need to worry about is your dump valves freezing. Safest way to play it would be as suggested to just wait another day of traveling south before throwing water in the system, but were I you, I’d just go for it. Oh, do watch out for outside shower fixtures though, if so equipped. I’d not prime those with water.
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:11 AM   #5
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Okay... Places to be concerned about... dump valves. External shower. There must be a exit valve for the fresh water tank hanging out somewhere. (On our previous Scamp, it was internal.) I wonder if packing a bunch of insulation in the external shower compartment (if that's possible) and putting some pink antifreeze in the gray & black water tanks would take care of each...? (Weather / temperature predictions haven't changed for next week.)

Oh... And we do have the 12v water tank heating pads. My guess is it's best to only use them when connected to 120v as I imagine they take a bit of power.
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:15 AM   #6
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How Cold is Too Cold...?

There are numerous threads about cold weather use of our trailers. Searching will turn up lots of info. For the night-time 26 to daytime 40 temps that you’re talking about, I wouldn’t worry about it.

You are correct about the heat pads - only use when connected to shore power. They will kill your batteries in a hurry.
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:16 AM   #7
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If ETI has already winterized the unit, then you will be okay. They normally hang a tag from the kitchen o/h or ask that it be done.
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Old 12-01-2018, 02:41 PM   #8
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We just (last night) arrived home after picking our new 5.0 TA on October 26. In Sequoia National Park it got down to 19 degrees a couple of nights, with daily highs in the 40's. Just about every night for the last three weeks was in the mid-high 20's. We have all the insulation Escape offers, and an outside shower. One of the nights it went below 20 the furnace sail switch decided not to work. It was a cold night in bed. That day I called Escape and they told me how to remove and reinstall the sail switch. We also had NO antifreeze until we were east of Teton National Park. Except for the 10-12 hours it took to remove and re-install the sail switch we weren't worried about freezing. Living my entire life in central-northern Minnesota I know how long it takes a bowl of water, outside, to freeze. Besides, moving water when your traveling, is hard to freeze.

At about 10 degrees I'll worry about my water freezing in our 5.0 TA. At that point we'll drain the fresh water, dump both the grey and black tanks, winterize by both using an air compressor and then running RV antifreeze through the system. Being the black tank is in the camper we first dump a quart of antifreeze down the toilet and then use 2-3 oz of antifreeze in the toilet after flushing. This is not our first camper, nor the first camper we've used in 0-30 degree weather. Have never had a freeze-up.

On the other hand, the last night at my sons, in Marshall, Minnesota, the furnace quit working, but luckily at 8 am when I was already awake. On Monday I'll be calling Atwood and, according to Escape, they will send me a new sail switch.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 12-02-2018, 02:42 AM   #9
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At 26 degrees, I'd definitely activate the tank heaters. You can probably get away without antifreeze to protect the dump valve, but it wouldn't hurt to pour a little in each tank right after you dump. We've used the full plumbing in ours with overnight lows as low as 4F one night, and a week or more of lows around 19-20F. You'll want to wipe up the condensation around the bed and behind the dinette cushions, too.

At 35F or so: condensation here and there starts
20-30F: More condensation. Might be good to put antifreeze in the tanks first to protect the dump valve area to be safe, but you might be able to get away without it. Definitely turn on the under-tank heaters. Fill freshwater tank and use that rather than leaving a hose full of city water connected.
5-10F: you're probably going to want electrical hookups. The furnace is going to burn through a lot of battery and a lot of propane (1 tank every ~2 days). Also probably leave the cabinets all open so the warm air can circulate a bit. Especially the under-sink cabinet if you have the exterior shower. You'll get ice forming around the doorframe from frozen condensation. Dump and fill in the afternoon when it's above freezing. Probably best to avoid long periods at temperatures like this.
<0F: Haven't tried it and don't plan to. I'd expect the furnace to keep the trailer livable down to at least -10F, but would worry a lot about the dump valve and especially the exterior shower piping. Plus, even if the main area is warm enough stuff like the window frames will still be around freezing. It makes dumping and filling tricky too, since it probably won't get above freezing during the afternoon.
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:06 AM   #10
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There's a dirty little secret about dumping with the pink stuff, at least in the 17b. The black tank and dump valve are connected by a 3' long 3" pipe all outside the heated space. Even with 100% pink stuff, it becomes so viscous below freezing that it won't flow down that pipe. Not sure if the larger trailers have the same setup. That said, so long as it gets above freezing during the day, I suspect you would be ok. Only robust way to make our trailers winter worthy is to skirt them and add some heat source underneath.
I'll bet we may have the record for cold temp dry camping. -23 degrees! Frost EVERYWHERE but we stayed warm (but had to replace the furnace the next year)
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:23 AM   #11
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At 26 degrees, I'd definitely activate the tank heaters. You can probably get away without antifreeze to protect the dump valve, but it wouldn't hurt to pour a little in each tank right after you dump. We've used the full plumbing in ours with overnight lows as low as 4F one night, and a week or more of lows around 19-20F. You'll want to wipe up the condensation around the bed and behind the dinette cushions, too.

At 35F or so: condensation here and there starts
20-30F: More condensation. Might be good to put antifreeze in the tanks first to protect the dump valve area to be safe, but you might be able to get away without it. Definitely turn on the under-tank heaters. Fill freshwater tank and use that rather than leaving a hose full of city water connected.
5-10F: you're probably going to want electrical hookups. The furnace is going to burn through a lot of battery and a lot of propane (1 tank every ~2 days). Also probably leave the cabinets all open so the warm air can circulate a bit. Especially the under-sink cabinet if you have the exterior shower. You'll get ice forming around the doorframe from frozen condensation. Dump and fill in the afternoon when it's above freezing. Probably best to avoid long periods at temperatures like this.
<0F: Haven't tried it and don't plan to. I'd expect the furnace to keep the trailer livable down to at least -10F, but would worry a lot about the dump valve and especially the exterior shower piping. Plus, even if the main area is warm enough stuff like the window frames will still be around freezing. It makes dumping and filling tricky too, since it probably won't get above freezing during the afternoon.
The tank heaters are thermostatically controlled, there is a switch to activate them but they will not come on until 30 degrees and then they stay on until 40 degrees. Because of the battery drain, you should be hooked up to electric to keep the converter charging.
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Old 12-02-2018, 10:11 AM   #12
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Good point about the battery drain. I have 500Ah of LiFePo4 crammed in, so an extra 20-40Ah of draw overnight isn't a big deal, but for the stock battery it might be. Especially paired with the furnace draw. I've found at 20F they kick in pretty infrequently, though, so still less of a concern than the furnace blower.

For the 19', I think the sewer pipe is less of a concern. The dump valve is basically right below the black tank. The gray tank has a longer run, but still pretty short and insulated, so the heaters should keep it a dumpable temperature most of the time.
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:36 AM   #13
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Heat tape on dump valve?

We pick up our E21 on January 14th. Out trailer will have both the foam insulation and heat pads. From reading this thread, it seem that the dump valve and outside shower are matters of most concern. Has anyone tried wrapping the dump valve with heat tape for keep it from freezing? Would that be a workable solution? I have no idea what to do about the outside shower freezing so will be watching this thread for suggestions.
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:41 AM   #14
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We pick up our E21 on January 14th. Out trailer will have both the foam insulation and heat pads. From reading this thread, it seem that the dump valve and outside shower are matters of most concern. Has anyone tried wrapping the dump valve with heat tape for keep it from freezing? Would that be a workable solution? I have no idea what to do about the outside shower freezing so will be watching this thread for suggestions.
I'm sure by then your trailer will be winterized so the o/s shower should be safe until you reach warmer climate.
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:56 AM   #15
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We pick up our E21 on January 14th. Out trailer will have both the foam insulation and heat pads. From reading this thread, it seem that the dump valve and outside shower are matters of most concern. Has anyone tried wrapping the dump valve with heat tape for keep it from freezing? Would that be a workable solution? I have no idea what to do about the outside shower freezing so will be watching this thread for suggestions.


Some people have wrapped their dump valve plumbing with heat tape. A couple even had Escape do it during the build, although I doubt they would do so today. But you never know unless you ask!

Regarding outside showers, I have been toying with the idea of installing a shutoff valve inside the trailer, so I can blow the air out of that line, close it, then refill everything else with water for some extended winter capabilities.
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Old 12-02-2018, 12:02 PM   #16
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Some people have wrapped their dump valve plumbing with heat tape. A couple even had Escape do it during the build, although I doubt they would do so today. But you never know unless you ask!

Regarding outside showers, I have been toying with the idea of installing a shutoff valve inside the trailer, so I can blow the air out of that line, close it, then refill everything else with water for some extended winter capabilities.
good ideas........
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Old 12-02-2018, 12:52 PM   #17
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Outside shower idea

So, heat tape solves the problem of the dump valve freezing, so that leaves the outside shower issue. On those nights when the temp is going to dip down into the low 20's, wonder if placing one of those Hot Hands chemical hand warmer packets in the outside shower compartment and closing the door might prevent a freeze up? Goofy idea, admitedly, but it might just work. They advertise that they heat for 10 hours. I like the idea of having shutoffs on the water lines going to outside shower as a more permanent solution.
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Old 12-02-2018, 01:15 PM   #18
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So, heat tape solves the problem of the dump valve freezing, so that leaves the outside shower issue. On those nights when the temp is going to dip down into the low 20's, wonder if placing one of those Hot Hands chemical hand warmer packets in the outside shower compartment and closing the door might prevent a freeze up? Goofy idea, admitedly, but it might just work. They advertise that they heat for 10 hours. I like the idea of having shutoffs on the water lines going to outside shower as a more permanent solution.
Hot Hands. Not a "goofy idea" at all. Especially for usin's who will be in 20 deg temperatures only for a few days. Not all winter.
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Old 12-02-2018, 01:58 PM   #19
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There's a dirty little secret about dumping with the pink stuff, at least in the 17b. The black tank and dump valve are connected by a 3' long 3" pipe all outside the heated space. Even with 100% pink stuff, it becomes so viscous below freezing that it won't flow down that pipe. Not sure if the larger trailers have the same setup.
A significant part of the run from the black tank at the front of the 21' is under the floor, too.
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Old 12-03-2018, 08:16 AM   #20
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The dump valve is basically right below the black tank. The gray tank has a longer run, but still pretty short and insulated, so the heaters should keep it a dumpable temperature most of the time.
Not necessarily. I doubt the liquid circulates once it is in the discharge pipe outside the heated space. Therefore it will eventually become viscous and impossible to dump if the temps remain below freezing for 24 hours regardless of the insulation.
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