How cold, and for how long, can you go? Using an Escape 21 in the winter - Escape Trailer Owners Community
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Old 12-02-2021, 05:31 PM   #1
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How cold, and for how long, can you go? Using an Escape 21 in the winter

I have a 2015 Escape 21 with factory foamed tanks. I'm in Central NY and have been using the trailer as a tiny house at a construction site as I renovate a house. I'd like to continue to use the trailer as a lunch room/office into the winter.

With the factory foamed tanks and the furnace and an electric space heater running, how low can the outside temp get before I have to worry about the freshwater tank or water lines outside of the heated space starting to freeze? Other than anti-freeze is there anything I can do with my black and grey water tanks?
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Old 12-02-2021, 06:12 PM   #2
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I have a 2015 Escape 21 with factory foamed tanks. I'm in Central NY and have been using the trailer as a tiny house at a construction site as I renovate a house. I'd like to continue to use the trailer as a lunch room/office into the winter.

With the factory foamed tanks and the furnace and an electric space heater running, how low can the outside temp get before I have to worry about the freshwater tank or water lines outside of the heated space starting to freeze? Other than anti-freeze is there anything I can do with my black and grey water tanks?
You'd better skirt and insulate your Escape. It can get well below 0 F in central New York and over time if you don't skirt and insulate your camper will freeze.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 12-02-2021, 06:37 PM   #3
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Up here in the ADKs …it gets minus F every year. Minus 28 has been our coldest! I would definitely skirt and winterize. If you don’t..and the black/gray tanks freeze..you’re gonna have problems. You can still stay in it..but you’ll have to change a few habits. Your propane regulator may also freeze up….our house propane tanks have a different mixture during the winter…the tanks on the trailer..maybe not!
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Old 12-02-2021, 07:07 PM   #4
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I recall someone here skirting their Escape from these guys https://ezsnapdirect.com/products/rv-skirting/
No idea how this company compares to others??
Good luck with this and your house renovation. -Bea
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Old 12-03-2021, 10:05 AM   #5
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Freezing?

I am just down the road from you and we have used the camper a couple of times during the cold season. Even with the skirting and heat, I think you would still have issues with the components outside of the shell, specifically the outside faucets, Shower drain, and water heater. If you winterized your water system, you could still use the camper during the winter, but you would need to be cautious of condensation buildup.
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Old 12-03-2021, 12:35 PM   #6
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Perhaps a silly notion, but could one install a line and valve to allow recirculation of heated water to the fresh tank in order to forestall freezing of that freshwater supply?

In essence using the propane-fired water heater as a freshwater tank heater, limiting the recirculation rate to the least-required to prevent freezing by modulating the recirculation valve, or perhaps by 'batch processing' a slug of hot water at intervals.

That in conjunction with anti-freeze in the grey and black systems a way to get through limited duration periods of very cold weather camping?

Just brainstorming ....
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Old 12-03-2021, 03:07 PM   #7
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Sustained temperatures below freezing will present problems eventually...underbelly foam or not. This is just food for thought if using trailer just as lunch room/office. This assumes you only have an electrical connection and don't need hot water. I would winterize the plumbing (especially if you have outside shower/ spray port plus the 21 has a set of hot/cold lines that run across the bottom of the trailer). This includes antifreeze down any drains you don't intent to use (i.e. bath sink, shower) in case they are trapped individually. Keep a heater running for comfortable temperature during the day and maintain temps above freezing at night. Keep some containers of fresh water inside the heated space that can be used for your needs at the galley sink. Dig a hole outside under the tank outlet. Use biodegradable soap for hand washing and keep the gray tank valve open so any water you use runs right out of the tank and infiltrates into the ground. If you are worried about the trap then pour a little antifreeze down the sink before you leave for the day. If you need to keep the toilet in use just flush with antifreeze from a container. Disposing of the blank tank contents will be the biggest hassle. Would be easier if you had an onsite port-a-john during your project that has anti-freeze additive and is serviced once or twice a week. The trailer can be used year-round in very low temperatures with modified strategies/behavior.
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Old 12-03-2021, 05:31 PM   #8
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Sustained temperatures below freezing will present problems eventually...underbelly foam or not. This is just food for thought if using trailer just as lunch room/office. This assumes you only have an electrical connection and don't need hot water. I would winterize the plumbing (especially if you have outside shower/ spray port plus the 21 has a set of hot/cold lines that run across the bottom of the trailer). This includes antifreeze down any drains you don't intent to use (i.e. bath sink, shower) in case they are trapped individually. Keep a heater running for comfortable temperature during the day and maintain temps above freezing at night. Keep some containers of fresh water inside the heated space that can be used for your needs at the galley sink. Dig a hole outside under the tank outlet. Use biodegradable soap for hand washing and keep the gray tank valve open so any water you use runs right out of the tank and infiltrates into the ground. If you are worried about the trap then pour a little antifreeze down the sink before you leave for the day. If you need to keep the toilet in use just flush with antifreeze from a container. Disposing of the blank tank contents will be the biggest hassle. Would be easier if you had an onsite port-a-john during your project that has anti-freeze additive and is serviced once or twice a week. The trailer can be used year-round in very low temperatures with modified strategies/behavior.
AndyF, Since you are just using the trailer as an office during the day and if you decide to winterize all the plumbing (as Rubicon described so well), you may want to also consider a temporary porta potty (such as https://www.amazon.com/Thetford-Whit...%2C516&sr=8-25 ) to eliminate having to deal with frozen dump valves over the winter months. We used a porta potty like this in our tent trailers for many years. Easy to use and clean and simple to dispose contents in a standard commode. Just a thought....

Rubicon, love that picture!! Curious where it was taken? Looks like that storm caught you by surprise. -Bea
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Old 12-03-2021, 07:07 PM   #9
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Rubicon, love that picture!! Curious where it was taken? Looks like that storm caught you by surprise.
Just off the shore of Lake Erie in the small town of Ripley, NY. We knew some snow was coming but it’s difficult to predict the amount when there is lake-effect.
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Old 12-03-2021, 07:22 PM   #10
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Perhaps a silly notion, but could one install a line and valve to allow recirculation of heated water to the fresh tank in order to forestall freezing of that freshwater supply?
...
Just brainstorming ....
Back in the good-old-days, when Reace was in charge, I added a request to my build sheet to exactly that. I have a valve and "T" on the outlet of my water heater and a tube going back to a "T" into the fresh water vent line. Turn the valve and hot water goes directly into the main tank to warm it up a bit - using propane energy.

Great idea - never used it.
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Old 12-05-2021, 06:22 PM   #11
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Back in the good-old-days, when Reace was in charge, I added a request to my build sheet to exactly that. I have a valve and "T" on the outlet of my water heater and a tube going back to a "T" into the fresh water vent line. Turn the valve and hot water goes directly into the main tank to warm it up a bit - using propane energy.

Great idea - never used it.
Two thoughts…
What would keep pressurized hot water from coming out the vent line to outdoors?
Also is the standard vinyl vent line rated for hot water?
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:15 AM   #12
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Two thoughts…
What would keep pressurized hot water from coming out the vent line to outdoors?
Also is the standard vinyl vent line rated for hot water?
1. Gravity.
2. No, not rated for hot water. But only used for a few gallons and under very little pressure (wide open at the outlet end - the "T" into the vent line.)
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Old 12-08-2021, 11:33 AM   #13
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We are close to you in terms of weather just north of Toronto, Ontario. Our grey and fresh tanks are winterized but we flush with antifreeze to use the black tank. Very comfortable inside at -15C using a space heater/furnace or 2 space heaters. So I think your winter office will work fine. We have tank heaters but -15C seemed too risky not to winterize. We use reflectix to protect outdoor shower hatch and front window. Also have hypervent under mattress and dinette cushions to prevent moisture buildup.
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Old 12-08-2021, 02:39 PM   #14
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Here in the land of 6 months long winters, I usually winterize my Escape in mid-October and bring it back to life again in April or May. I have no desire to stay in my trailer during the cold winter temperatures we get in Northern Alberta.
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Old 12-08-2021, 03:10 PM   #15
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Howdy-- if at all anyone in cold temps and fresh water tank-- no one seems to mention the drain valve which i had icicles hanging down-- and like a outside house faucet will freeze and bust then you are in trouble-- i will be replacing mine with brass and used the outside styrofoam faucet covers (used for house) and more foam to hang off the drain valve when parked--- also you might want to open the hatch covering the water pump as mine did freeze up-- so also looking to insulate that as well....
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Old 12-08-2021, 10:25 PM   #16
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I would ring the outside with straw bales 2 or 3 high leaving space around the hot exhaust areas . Some sheet metal under them would help . That's how we kept the chickens and pigs warm and a heat lamp over the water bowls.
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Old 12-08-2021, 10:49 PM   #17
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I would ring the outside with straw bales 2 or 3 high leaving space around the hot exhaust areas . Some sheet metal under them would help . That's how we kept the chickens and pigs warm and a heat lamp over the water bowls.
This is giving me ideas. A heat lamp, straw bales, some chickens - fresh eggs under the trailer every morning?
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Old 12-09-2021, 08:16 AM   #18
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This is giving me ideas. A heat lamp, straw bales, some chickens - fresh eggs under the trailer every morning?
Just leave the rooster at home unless one has designs on chicken n dumplings or a chicken pot pie for supper when he wakes you from a deep sleep n a wonderful dream 😴 lol

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Old 12-09-2021, 08:27 AM   #19
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I would ring the outside with straw bales 2 or 3 high leaving space around the hot exhaust areas . Some sheet metal under them would help . That's how we kept the chickens and pigs warm and a heat lamp over the water bowls.
Be careful about using anything that would encourage rodents.
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Old 12-09-2021, 12:57 PM   #20
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Be careful about using anything that would encourage rodents.
You mean like shelter from the weather and a (relatively) warm place under a trailer?

(If you build it, they will come .... )
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