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Old 11-12-2018, 04:22 AM   #1
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Model: Freedom Elite 23H
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Tips for Winter RV Usage

My son is a college athlete and we recently purchased a 2017 Freedom Elite 23H to follow him around the country during his season. However, many of the places we'll be traveling to will be below freezing and we'll be boondocking. We had our first experience this past weekend and we had a couple of failure points.

Our freshwater line froze somewhere between the tank and water pump. Our generator is just below this area, so we turned it on and it seemed the thaw out the issue. After that, we were all clear until it was time to dump the grey water and the valve was frozen shut.

Does anyone have any tips for RV-ing in below freezing weather? Should we consider tank/line/valve heaters, etc? I also assume we should get dual batteries, currently there is only 1. Should we consider vent insulators, heated hose, etc...
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Old 11-12-2018, 11:07 AM   #2
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Actually the best thing is to leave your system winterized and carry bottled water for consumption. Bring along RV antifreeze jugs and use that to flush the toilet.
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Old 11-12-2018, 12:43 PM   #3
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Actually the best thing is to leave your system winterized and carry bottled water for consumption. Bring along RV antifreeze jugs and use that to flush the toilet.
100% Agree! Bottle water for Drinking, Brushing teeth, Cooking, Coffee, etc. Get some Hand Sanitizer and Wipes for Kitchen areas. Flush with a little RV Antifreeze. I keep a Gal. bottle in the shower. Switch to all paper cups plates etc. Take a stack of wash clothes with you, pour bottled water on them, place in microwave 40 sec. Wipe face hands etc. Feels Great! We travel all winter! Great Luck to your Son!!!
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:02 PM   #4
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Forgot about this video, haven't posted it in a while:
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:11 PM   #5
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All are great points from experience. View your MH as a metal tent on wheels and you will be fine. Winterize, keep propane full...use Camco Extend-A-Stay if necessary and forget running water. If you must, you can heat up water on the stove and "navy bathe" but make sure you add enough proportionate antifreeze to the grey tank to offset the volume of fresh water you put in it.


Those people in the video have a MB with no slides. Putting slides out in the winter is like a bird with no feathers...spreading his wings at -40F.
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:37 PM   #6
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I would opt. For the second battery. I believe in cold weather conditions Max. battery power is a must. The cost of a second battery IMO is a lesser cost than being stranded in cold weather waiting for road service. I do have tank heaters, using the stay winterized method. I have never used them and not sure of the energy drain if I did. I Travel with "a little buddy" as backup heat incase unit goes dead.
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Old 11-12-2018, 02:18 PM   #7
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GREAT video, Mike!!!! Thank you for all of your advice for winterizing tips!
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Old 11-12-2018, 03:20 PM   #8
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Coaches like mine duct the furnace heat around the tanks and plumbing to keep everything from freezing. If you chose to use an electrical space heater in the coach to keep it warm (saving propane), then the factoriy's carefully designed heating system is defeated. It amazing how well the heating system works when used as intended.
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Old 11-12-2018, 04:36 PM   #9
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generally, the running of your furnace should maintain heated levels in your basement/storage and wet bay areas, for your water lines...

Also, keep your water heater on, and run hot water at each faucet and shower each several hours during the overnight, especially. Your propane should work just fine to keep your water hot in it's tank...

A small electric heater, especially one with a thermostatic control, might fit easily into your wet bay, if you can find a way to run it to an outlet within the coach(or an outside one if you have any). Sometimes a slide seal is an easy place to fish an extension cord.
You'll have to run your generator, of course, but it doesn't have to run 24/7, just an hour or so each several hours.

Your furnace should run easily off your 12v battery, at least for most of the overnight if it is fully charged when you go to bed and turn off the generator, but adding another battery would certainly extend your 'off - generator' time. Finding the place for another battery is sometimes the issue, or making sure you have them run in PARALLEL with each other.

A separate small generator might be handy. It might be quieter, can be set farther away from the bedroom, and can run all night/day for a possible cost savings. If it charges your battery and allows the furnace to run most of the overnight, you might find it very effective.
Most folks tailgating at games, I would think, are used to generators, even those running 24/7.

You don't want to try to 'winterize' your coach while you are living in it... you need the water running thru the lines, and the use of the shower, etc. It's not camping, it's using the RV for what it's built for - comfort.
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Old 11-12-2018, 04:56 PM   #10
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The OP States; ***However, many of the places we'll be traveling to will be below freezing and we'll be boondocking.*** Giving what they are using it for and it being the Model it is. I would Highly recommend using their unit winterized.
I do like the idea running a small Honda type generator while away outside of unit keeping it energized while watching the game. Keep in mind their model and what they are using it for, would be foolish not winterizing.
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Old 11-12-2018, 04:57 PM   #11
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Could he transfer to a College in Texas?
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Old 11-12-2018, 05:32 PM   #12
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I would be quite surprised if the 23H has cold weather or 4 seasons design considerations for freeze prevention. If the tank dump valves or other plumbing is exposed, it is not a 4 seasons RV so travel dry (winterized).
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:43 PM   #13
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As you can see...lots of geniuses here. Winter freezing weather is not good for a motorhome. Thin walls, minimal insulation, unprotected water lines. Take you pick from above menu and good luck.
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:34 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the great feedback... it's a bit of a catch-22 for me since one weekend we might be in the south and warm, then the next weekend we're in 20 degree weather. Most of the travel would be in the southern part of the US like Virginia, Tennessee, NC, Maryland where it could get cold, but not sub-zero type temps like a Minnesota.

Looks like a spare battery is a must, along with some standalone water and ceramic heaters... AND blankets!

Regardless, looks like we'll have some fun and learn along the way!
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:36 PM   #15
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Could he transfer to a College in Texas?
We tried for the warm weather, but he ended up at Duke, so I can't be too mad at him!
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Old 11-12-2018, 10:05 PM   #16
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Well when he turns Pro you won't have to worry....He can buy you a New Aria! But for your situation carry a small compressor and air chuck, a small rig like yours can be air winterized in 10 min. Safe Travels!!
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Old 11-12-2018, 10:26 PM   #17
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We tried for the warm weather, but he ended up at Duke, so I can't be too mad at him!
You are very lucky, and should be very proud!
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Old 11-13-2018, 03:12 AM   #18
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I agree with Bob. Have him transfer to College Station.

Newbie question. I have a new Thor Outlaw. When the furnace is on it blows air into the storage bays to heat them and therefore does not have tank warmers.

Effective enough to prevent freezing? And how long can I go on a tank of propane? I know the formulas (95000 BTU per gallon) but in moderately cold weather I am not sure what that really translates to. Currently the oscillating heater is holding the coach at 65 degrees and it is just about 37 degrees outside with wind chill bringing it to 23 degrees.

I did buy a small ceramic space heater and have it in the bay where my water tank. I also opened all the sink cabinets like I would in a cabin. I did not set a small drip in a sink though. It should be only for one night this time of year.

My concern is all the pipes not insulated and exposed on the underside of the coach. I plan to wrap those, if they are not insulated, as soon as I can figure out what goes where.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-13-2018, 11:28 AM   #19
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Our Axis furnace burned through a tank of propane in a weekend camping in 32F weather.

Your Outlaw is larger (and likely has a larger tank) so it could go either way.
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Old 11-13-2018, 12:25 PM   #20
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I have a Chateau 31E, and here was my experience camping in sub-freezing weather last year.


The RV was not winterized. I figured that if the coach was kept a comfortable temperature for humans then the plumbing would not freeze. We had no plumbing issues, even with temps in the teens.


We used a small electric heater to augment the heating, but still used a lot of propane. We can normally go most of the year without refilling propane, since we use just a little bit for the fridge and water heater and almost never use the propane stove, but in sub-freezing weather we had to refill every 2-3 days.


The 31E has heated holding tanks inside of a compartment, so those were fine. However, the piping at the dump valves froze so we couldn't dump the tanks until the weather warmed up. If I do this in the future I would put some anti-freeze in the tanks first and that might prevent this problem.


Overall, it was very comfortable. There was just the hassle of having to refill the propane often and not being able to dump the tanks. I think some more/better electric heaters and putting some anti-freeze in the holding tanks might help mitigate these issues.
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