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Old 04-14-2019, 11:06 AM   #1
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Escape 21 Cold Weather Achilles Heel

We have a 2016 Escape "classic" we picked up new in June 2016. We are close to retirement and thinking about more extended trips during spring and fall. When I was poring over the build sheet, I opted out of the under body spray foam (ugly, harder to get to maintenance items.... YMMV I know), but am now having regrets. My intent is NOT to start a back-and-forth about pro's and con's of the spray foam.

We are not necessarily wanting to camp in freezing weather but we may find ourselves in situations where it dips below freezing at night or maybe for a day or two and then rises above freezing again. My thinking at build sheet time was that in such instances, I would keep the trailer heated with the furnace, drain the fresh water tank and then use jug water for drinking and jug/antifreeze for the toilet. After we picked up the trailer I noticed the CW/HW water supply lines leaving the body of the trailer below the bed to serve the sink (see pic where they exit and then run along two sides of the gray tank to the sink). Yikes!

Are there any 21 classic owners who have thought up a solution to this freezing "achilles heel?" Seems like a real pain to have to keep winterizing and de-winterizing while on the road. I do have the winterizing valve option and water heater bypass, but still would be a hassle to keep repeating the winterizing/de-winterizing song and dance. One possibility would be to install extra shutoffs under the bed and then exterior drain valves so I could drain just this one section of CW/HW lines. The sink faucet would act as a decent air release but thinking I might have to add an extra set of valves or some kind of plugs for air release under the bed. Another solution is never hit the road before May or after September

BTW I looked at a Lance yesterday where all the tanks and dump valves are in a heated space. Nice solution. I know..... a totally different kind of trailer.
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:29 AM   #2
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While I have considered adding an insulated "cover" for the cross over piping, I have camped with overnight temperatures as low as 22°F and not had the pipes freeze (furnace set at 59°F). Daytime temperatures were in the 50's...
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:37 AM   #3
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If you have the winterizing by pass then drain and winterize the trailer with antifreeze. You can then use the toilet using antifreeze if need be. Use bottled water otherwise. Another option is a heated water supply hose if water is available, but the water lines are exposed, so the foam option would have taken care of that.
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:42 AM   #4
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As an initial measure you might add foam insulating sleeves, available at any hardware store. Not a complete solution by any means, but should help some.
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:46 AM   #5
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..... Another option is a heated water supply hose if water is available, but the water lines are exposed, so the foam option would have taken care of that.
You seem to be implying that by having the foam option one need not worry about their pipes freezing. That is simply not the case as the foam adds a fairly low R value that would merely delay but not prevent freezing of water lines in the event of any prolonged freezing temperatures.
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:48 AM   #6
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I am not familiar where everything is in a Classic, but could you not run the hot and cold water lines inside all the way down the drivers side, across the back along the wall and forward on the passenger side to the sink? Yes it is a long way for the hot water line but if you insulate it, it can’t be much worse than the hot water line outside in the cold.
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:58 AM   #7
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The water line run is definitely one thing the 19 has over the 21 being that they are all inside runs. Seems to me Escape could run it all inside the 21 and then forward of the step up to the dining area- or integrate it into the step somehow.
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Old 04-14-2019, 12:18 PM   #8
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I am not familiar where everything is in a Classic, but could you not run the hot and cold water lines inside all the way down the drivers side, across the back along the wall and forward on the passenger side to the sink? Yes it is a long way for the hot water line but if you insulate it, it can’t be much worse than the hot water line outside in the cold.
A 21 without the lounge seating setup has no direct means of crossing the inside of the cabin from the driver to passenger side. Running exposed across the bath then across the top of the door then down to the sink is a possibility but it would look pretty horrible.
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Old 04-14-2019, 12:19 PM   #9
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While I have considered adding an insulated "cover" for the cross over piping, I have camped with overnight temperatures as low as 22°F and not had the pipes freeze (furnace set at 59°F). Daytime temperatures were in the 50's...
Well that is encouraging. BTW... love your photo / travel blog site. Lots of good fodder for trip planning. Thanks for that.
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Old 04-14-2019, 12:24 PM   #10
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A 21 without the lounge seating setup has no direct means of crossing the inside of the cabin from the driver to passenger side.
Would probably need to put in a raceway. I think that's what it's called in a Scamp and Casita. Basically a two-sided block on the floor against the wall, from side to side, that the waterlines run through.
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Old 04-14-2019, 01:01 PM   #11
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At some point in the Fall we come to the realization that it’s no longer Summer and we are rapidly heading into winter . We stop pretending and winterize our trailer and if we go camping we just don’t use the onboard plumbing . Easier to work around the water issues than to fix frozen / damaged plumbing IMHO
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Old 04-14-2019, 01:34 PM   #12
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In December 2017 I took my 2014 Escape 21 to the Camping World in Gulf Breeze, FL to have the fridge serviced. They had to order a part, so the trailer sat on their lot, unheated, for several weeks. During this period we had a record-breaking cold snap (for us) where it got down to 23 degrees in Gulf Breeze. The trailer was unheated, remember. I figured I was screwed, so when I finally picked the trailer up in February 2018 (!) I had Camping World pressure-test the plumbing. To my surprise it passed. When I got the thing home I tested it myself. The only problem I found was a drip in the kitchen faucet, which I eventually replaced. I was amazed and relieved. I've been told that PEX lines expand when frozen, and I guess that's what happened.
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Old 04-14-2019, 02:08 PM   #13
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Would probably need to put in a raceway. I think that's what it's called in a Scamp and Casita. Basically a two-sided block on the floor against the wall, from side to side, that the waterlines run through.
Yup...run them flat against the wall behind some mouldings or in an abs or pvc tube between the seats.

Does your floor step up at the rear? Maybe you could just extend the step forward an inch and hide it there. They make some 1.5 inch aluminium step edging that would cover the top part of the floor and no one would know there was not flooring underneath.

The edge in the picture is 7/8 inside.
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Old 04-14-2019, 02:20 PM   #14
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You seem to be implying that by having the foam option one need not worry about their pipes freezing. That is simply not the case as the foam adds a fairly low R value that would merely delay but not prevent freezing of water lines in the event of any prolonged freezing temperatures.
It seems to me that if one keeps the inside of the trailer heated that it should keep the pipes from freezing, as long as you have the foam. When we're using the trailer int he winter we leave the heat on even when on the road although it's to keep things in the trailer from freezing. I dry camp instead of worrying about freezing pipes.
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Old 04-14-2019, 02:23 PM   #15
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You could even extend the step with some dock bumper. There is a separate chamber for each run of pex.
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Old 04-14-2019, 02:29 PM   #16
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In December 2017 I took my 2014 Escape 21 to the Camping World in Gulf Breeze, FL to have the fridge serviced. They had to order a part, so the trailer sat on their lot, unheated, for several weeks. During this period we had a record-breaking cold snap (for us) where it got down to 23 degrees in Gulf Breeze. The trailer was unheated, remember. I figured I was screwed, so when I finally picked the trailer up in February 2018 (!) I had Camping World pressure-test the plumbing. To my surprise it passed. When I got the thing home I tested it myself. The only problem I found was a drip in the kitchen faucet, which I eventually replaced. I was amazed and relieved. I've been told that PEX lines expand when frozen, and I guess that's what happened.
Wow. That is also encouraging.

Living in Nebraska I do always winterize before the first hard freeze. The scenario I'm envisioning is taking off on a 2-3 week trip down south to TX-NM-AZ in Feb-March. I'd stay winterized till I got far enough south that it would be above freezing. Then, de-winterize and enjoy snow birding.

Now suppose I'm 14 days into our trip and find myself somewhere in AZ with a 2-3 day cold snap followed by mild weather again. From what a couple of you have said... "don't worry, be happy" as long as I keep the inside heated, the exterior PEX line and fresh tank are ok.

Thanks for all the feedback.
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Old 04-14-2019, 03:30 PM   #17
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Running an inside line to the kitchen will not help unless you have a source of water. The fresh tank is exposed in addition to the lines underneath.
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Old 04-14-2019, 04:10 PM   #18
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Yes...but it is easy to drain the tanks in a flash of cold and not have to worry about that line freezing.
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Old 04-14-2019, 04:29 PM   #19
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Yes...but it is easy to drain the tanks in a flash of cold and not have to worry about that line freezing.
And, there is far more mass in the fresh water tank to get you overnight without freezing. Still, even with a couple of 22°F overnights, the water always ran to the kitchen in the morning, so heating the trailer, even to only 59°F helps.

I don't think I would use the foam pipe insulation, at least all the way around the pipes - I'd want the side at the floor open to the heat inside the trailer. Maybe cutting it in half lengthwise & gluing it to the trailer might help.
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Old 04-14-2019, 04:31 PM   #20
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Yes...but it is easy to drain the tanks in a flash of cold and not have to worry about that line freezing.
Yes. That's what I had envisioned doing when I ordered the trailer. Again, its just the pair of exterior located CW/HW lines that messed up my "best laid plans"

As far as running the CW/HW lines some other way across the back side through the dinette: You'd have to run HW line all the way back to the the driver side dinette seat from the HW heater under the bed. Definitely doable. ETI just went with the easiest path given the location of the rest of the domestic water system.
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