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Old 11-08-2020, 01:45 AM   #1
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Default Protection from freezing while in use

I have a 2018 Mercedes Winnebago Era 70A and want to know if there is anything I need to do to protect the pipes/holding tanks from freezing while in use (on the road or camping)
Thx! Steve
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Old 11-08-2020, 04:02 AM   #2
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I have a 2018 Mercedes Winnebago Era 70A and want to know if there is anything I need to do to protect the pipes/holding tanks from freezing while in use (on the road or camping)
Thx! Steve
I'm a poor source on this issue. Living in deep S. Texas and traveling in mostly mild weather, I'm never had to winterize yet.

But from advice I've seen on this forum, keep a gallon or two of rv specific antifreeze with you if you're camping where it might dip below freezing for more than a few hours. Tank heaters (if your model has them) will get you through mild freezes, but for more severe cold, pour a gallon of antifreeze in your toilet and sinks. You can also use it in your fresh tank, but the thought repels me and flushing it out seems a mess I wouldn't want to undertake.

For the fresh tank and fittings, I'd suggest draining water and blowing out lines with an air tank.
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Old 11-08-2020, 05:00 AM   #3
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You will find your limits over time. For me keeping the interior at 55F will keep everything functional except the dump valves down to mid teens F. Maybe lower but I haven’t been there. If you plan on using the shower you will need antifreeze in the trap. The exterior water tank is kept empty.

A shower in a B in freezing temps leaves a high humidity mess. Don’t expect to drive off for awhile. You will not be able to dump if things don’t get well above freezing during the day.

You will make your own adaptations. Bags in the toilet and such, PTA baths. You must have propane and a way to charge your batteries to full daily if you don’t have shore power.
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Old 11-08-2020, 06:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
I'm a poor source on this issue. Living in deep S. Texas and traveling in mostly mild weather, I'm never had to winterize yet.

But from advice I've seen on this forum, keep a gallon or two of rv specific antifreeze with you if you're camping where it might dip below freezing for more than a few hours. Tank heaters (if your model has them) will get you through mild freezes, but for more severe cold, pour a gallon of antifreeze in your toilet and sinks. You can also use it in your fresh tank, but the thought repels me and flushing it out seems a mess I wouldn't want to undertake.

For the fresh tank and fittings, I'd suggest draining water and blowing out lines with an air tank.
Thank you for your reply! Very helpful.
Regards Steve
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Old 11-08-2020, 06:30 PM   #5
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You will find your limits over time. For me keeping the interior at 55F will keep everything functional except the dump valves down to mid teens F. Maybe lower but I haven’t been there. If you plan on using the shower you will need antifreeze in the trap. The exterior water tank is kept empty.

A shower in a B in freezing temps leaves a high humidity mess. Don’t expect to drive off for awhile. You will not be able to dump if things don’t get well above freezing during the day.

You will make your own adaptations. Bags in the toilet and such, PTA baths. You must have propane and a way to charge your batteries to full daily if you don’t have shore power.
Thank you for your reply. We are new to this - we purchased our B class in January and have been on the road for 4 months so haven’t experienced a winter on the road.
Regards Steve I
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Old 11-13-2020, 12:40 AM   #6
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First, It's good to hear that you plan to use your rig after some colder weather arrives. I usually enjoy a trip to Michigan's UP every January so our B's can be year around fun machines. Be sure you are familiar with your heating and your water/sewer systems. I have a propane furnace that works very well but carry a 1500 watt electric heater that I use if in a campground with electric plug-ins. B's are not built to handle freezing temperatures. Our Roadtrek 210 has an inside fresh water tank and it's supposed to be OK in overnight temperatures down to the mid twenties as long as it warms up during the day. But personally, I don't like living on the edge so I winterize when forecast temperatures are approaching the low 30's. If traveling, I don't get concerned with overnight upper 20's for a night if it'll warm up the next day but why push it. I buy RV Antifreese on sale for $2.50 and can winterize with a couple gallons. I've gotten pretty efficient at winterizing so if traveling, I carry a few gallons of RV antifreeze and can quickly winterize in any rest area. We switch to bottled water and flush the toilet with anti freeze. Some campgrounds have showers throughout the winter or we will do a sponge bath. Have fun...
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Old 11-13-2020, 02:13 AM   #7
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First, It's good to hear that you plan to use your rig after some colder weather arrives. I usually enjoy a trip to Michigan's UP every January so our B's can be year around fun machines. Be sure you are familiar with your heating and your water/sewer systems. I have a propane furnace that works very well but carry a 1500 watt electric heater that I use if in a campground with electric plug-ins. B's are not built to handle freezing temperatures. Our Roadtrek 210 has an inside fresh water tank and it's supposed to be OK in overnight temperatures down to the mid twenties as long as it warms up during the day. But personally, I don't like living on the edge so I winterize when forecast temperatures are approaching the low 30's. If traveling, I don't get concerned with overnight upper 20's for a night if it'll warm up the next day but why push it. I buy RV Antifreese on sale for $2.50 and can winterize with a couple gallons. I've gotten pretty efficient at winterizing so if traveling, I carry a few gallons of RV antifreeze and can quickly winterize in any rest area. We switch to bottled water and flush the toilet with anti freeze. Some campgrounds have showers throughout the winter or we will do a sponge bath. Have fun...
Thank you for your reply! I’m reluctant to put coolant in the freshwater tank. So if I emptied the fresh water while I’m traveling will there be residual water in the pipes/tank and pumps that could freeze?
Regards Steve
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Old 11-13-2020, 02:17 AM   #8
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B's are not built to handle freezing temperatures.
That's a pretty broad statement. There are numerous Bs that are specifically designed for four-season use and they work just fine down to sub-zero temperatures. Even vans like ours with outside tanks and plumbing can be converted to four seasons. ARV invented the trick of using the hot glycol loop of a hydronic heating system to keep exposed tanks and plumbing warm enough not to freeze. I retrofitted our van using this technique plus a lot of extra insulation and it works great for cold weather use.
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Old 11-13-2020, 02:21 AM   #9
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Thank you for your reply! I’m reluctant to put coolant in the freshwater tank. So if I emptied the fresh water while I’m traveling will there be residual water in the pipes/tank and pumps that could freeze?
Regards Steve
Depending on the nature of your fixtures and the configuration of the plumbing, just draining the water isn't really safe in most cases. But, there is absolutely no reason to ever put that stuff in your fresh system. Just learn to blow out the system properly with compressed air. Takes less time than antifreeze and if done properly is just as safe. You do need a bit of antifreeze for your traps and dump system, though.

P.S. -- it isn't "coolant" that is being referenced, it is RV antifreeze, which is non-toxic (although still noxious).
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Old 11-13-2020, 01:19 PM   #10
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A shower in a B in freezing temps leaves a high humidity mess. Donít expect to drive off for awhile.
Not necessarily. With strategic influx of cold air to be warmed and exhausted, I can have everything dry, including towels, in half an hour.
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Old 11-13-2020, 01:58 PM   #11
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Thank you for your reply! I’m reluctant to put coolant in the freshwater tank. So if I emptied the fresh water while I’m traveling will there be residual water in the pipes/tank and pumps that could freeze?
Regards Steve
As Avanti mentioned, RV antifreeze is different than engine coolant. RV antifreeze is non toxic but it leaves a bad tastes so it must be flushed out of the system with clean/fresh after you use it.

Yes, just emptying the tanks is not enough. You have to get the water out of the lines. There are a couple methods. First, empty the fresh water tanks then, as Avanti mentioned, use compressed air to force the water out. A small portable air compressor would work. My neighbor uses that method and it works fine for him. I thought about using air but am concerned about a low spot in the ling that might collect water and freeze. The other method uses a bypass that allows pumping RV antifreeze into your lines without adding it to the fresh water tanks. I'm going to go with this method.
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Old 11-13-2020, 02:13 PM   #12
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I thought about using air but am concerned about a low spot in the ling that might collect water and freeze.
If you have a low-spot in your plumbing configuration, it is easy enough to add a low-spot drain. My previous Airstream Interstate came with two such valves, one that was used as the main drain and another for the hot water line. If you leave these valves open all winter, any accumulated residual water will weep out.

Also, note that Pex pipes themselves are robust against freezing. The problem areas in the fresh system are fixtures, pumps, filters, etc.
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