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Old 05-11-2015, 01:01 AM   #1
ddoright
 
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Default Winter Unity Experiences

I am seriously considering downsizing and buying a Unity TB. I am coming out of a Bigfoot 29' class C which is made for winter camping. We certainly never camp below Zero F but do winter camp where the temperatures dip into the 20's and occassionally low teens (F). I know the Unity is not really made for winter camping and am worried about freezing the holding tanks, valves and macerator.

Would Unity owners share their real life winter camping experiences, especially using the holding tanks?

I know there is a heating pad option. Does it run on 12v and would it last all night on the batteries or does it require 120v to run?

Thanks! I'm looking forward to your real life experiences.
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Old 05-11-2015, 03:37 AM   #2
triguy2001
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Default Re: Winter Unity Experiences

We ordered with the heating pads, be interested these responses as I'm wondering the same things!
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Old 05-11-2015, 03:45 AM   #3
Denis4x4
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Default Re: Winter Unity Experiences

We bought our '13 Unity TB in August of 2013. First big trip after a couple of shake down runs was to Steamboat Springs at the end of September. My wife was attending a quilt thingie and staying in an upscale condo at the ski slopes. The dog and I were at a great campground with a site right on the Yampa river. Woke up on the third morning to a foot of snow from a storm that shut down I-70 and I-25 into Wyoming. Even though it was in the mid-twenties, nothing froze except me as I only had boat shoes and no socks!

The TB has the tanks tucked up into the unit where the Unitys with slides have tanks that are more exposed to the elements. The heater worked like a champ and by the end of the week, I was back flyfishing in the Yampa.

While this experience only lasted about 48-72 hours, it gave me confidence that cold weather is not a problem. If this were going to be something I was going to encounter on a regular basis, I would probably install some heavier weight window coverings as the glass is single pane. Other than that, the Unity TB passed the cold test with flying colors.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:21 AM   #4
Jeff Treiber
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Default Re: Winter Unity Experiences

We've done some camping in the cold by necessity - this winter was tough in a lot of places - and our 2015 Unity TB handled it like a champ. Handles well in snow. The heater mats for our tanks run on 13V, a bunch of amps. We were told they won't last long on battery power. We usually winterize when we're headed into cold areas. One of the best "add on" we made was buying a cheap reflective windshield protector and putting it up behind the shades at night. This helps with the TB beds being close to the windows. We also use a small liquid filled space heater, as well as a small fan to help circulate the furnace heat from up front.
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Old 05-11-2015, 05:07 PM   #5
aljimenez
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Default Re: Winter Unity Experiences

We spent two days in the 20's in freezing rain in of all places Pensacola, Florida two winters ago. Since we did not expect this, we found out all the problems in our Serenity in this type of cold. Of course the outside water hose connection was frozen, in fact no water was flowing out of the water faucet. I brought the water hose into the RV and put it in the shower to thaw. I thought we'd have water from our fresh tank, but no such luck. Using hair dryer, went outside and heated up the water inlet and soon we had water from our fresh water tank. I then hair dried the faucet at the post and got it to thaw. After all this I thought I was through for awhile, at least. However I noticed the puddle in the shower from the thawing hose which meant the drain was frozen. I tried thawing it with the hair dryer, but it did not release until temps increased in a day.

After getting home, I worked under my rig to insulate the shower drain so it does not happen again. I have also added insulation cover to all the water lines under the rig. I also have insulation to place on the water inlet when I know it's going to be cold. I think I feel confident now that we can stay down to around 20 degrees OK... Al
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:15 PM   #6
Chip D
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Default Re: Winter Unity Experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by aljimenez View Post
We spent two days in the 20's in freezing rain in of all places Pensacola, Florida two winters ago. Since we did not expect this, we found out all the problems in our Serenity in this type of cold. Of course the outside water hose connection was frozen, in fact no water was flowing out of the water faucet. I brought the water hose into the RV and put it in the shower to thaw. I thought we'd have water from our fresh tank, but no such luck. Using hair dryer, went outside and heated up the water inlet and soon we had water from our fresh water tank. I then hair dried the faucet at the post and got it to thaw. After all this I thought I was through for awhile, at least. However I noticed the puddle in the shower from the thawing hose which meant the drain was frozen. I tried thawing it with the hair dryer, but it did not release until temps increased in a day.

After getting home, I worked under my rig to insulate the shower drain so it does not happen again. I have also added insulation cover to all the water lines under the rig. I also have insulation to place on the water inlet when I know it's going to be cold. I think I feel confident now that we can stay down to around 20 degrees OK... Al
I have made two winter trips in my LT Serenity in the last two years. 2014 it was in January and this year in March. Both to the Pacific NorthWest from Omaha to Wyoming to Ogden to TwinFalls to Boise to Pasco to Spokane to Seattle to Portland to Medford to Sacramento and then home. In both cases the night time temps were usually below freezing. But no real problems. The first day I could not put water into the unit from the outside as the outside inlet was frozen. But I wasn't worried as I knew during the 2nd day it would be above freezing in Twin Falls. Sure enough, it had thawed and I had no problems.
Coldest was overnight on the way back in Rawlins, WY where it was 5 degrees above zero. No problem next am turning on the water for cooking or washing. I do think you want to make sure though that when you dump at the end of the trip, that the temps will be above freezing.

As long as you keep the inside above freezing - which it always is in my case- it's fine. I sleep at night with the thermo at say 60 degrees when I'm dry camping at a Walmart. But I was fine.
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Old 05-12-2015, 03:08 AM   #7
co-kid
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Default Re: Winter Unity Experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddoright View Post
I know there is a heating pad option. Does it run on 12v and would it last all night on the batteries or does it require 120v to run?
FWIW: Our pads are 12v and they definitely would drain the batteries if left on overnight. I don't use the heating pads on the gray/black tanks to prevent freezing. Rather, I run the pads to thaw the tanks if necessary. We've camped in below zero temps and didn't have problems with this approach. (We predominately boondock and, if necessary, run the heating pads when we're driving.)

Regards,
Alan
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Old 05-12-2015, 04:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: Winter Unity Experiences

This is all very helpful, Thanks! The more that chime in the better. It sounds like a Unity will survive the cool nights I will encounter. Has anyone frozen and damaged a macerator, and what where the circumstances?
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Old 05-13-2015, 12:01 PM   #9
Peter Tourin
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Default Re: Winter Unity Experiences

This is only a guess on the macerator question... Since it sits underneath, it's going to get cold! But if you make sure to get all the water out when you dump (run till motor sound changes, turn it off, close gate valve, then run again for a moment), there shouldn't be enough liquid left so that it gets blocked with ice. When you next run it, you'll know - if the motor spins up, you'll hear it - if you don't, you may have to wait until it thaws. The only way I could see damaging it would be to leave it running with a frozen impeller, but I'd expect a fuse would blow before you damaged the motor.

Here's a question for you winter people - suppose you lose the gamble and some part of your water system freezes - what's likely to get damaged? I'd expect that pex lines wouldn't get damaged by ice pressure, and I wouldn't expect tanks to get damaged either. Aside from the nuisance of not being able to use the system till it thaws, where are you likely to see damage? Will traps crack? - etc.... I'd be much more willing to risk lower temp trips if I knew that I'd just have to thaw out if something froze - but less willing if the freeze was going to get me into repair hassles. With a nice down quilt and the LP furnace, the RV is certainly comfortable enough when it's cold...
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Old 05-13-2015, 12:37 PM   #10
rdvan@sbcglobal.net
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Default Re: Winter Unity Experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddoright View Post
I am seriously considering downsizing and buying a Unity TB. I am coming out of a Bigfoot 29' class C which is made for winter camping. We certainly never camp below Zero F but do winter camp where the temperatures dip into the 20's and occassionally low teens (F). I know the Unity is not really made for winter camping and am worried about freezing the holding tanks, valves and macerator.

Would Unity owners share their real life winter camping experiences, especially using the holding tanks?

I know there is a heating pad option. Does it run on 12v and would it last all night on the batteries or does it require 120v to run?

Thanks! I'm looking forward to your real life experiences.
Oh the irony, a motorhome built in Canada, the Unity, is not really set up for winter camping and is considered a three season coach, yet, a motorhome built in Florida, the Coach House
is safe for winter use and is considered a four season coach! Go figure. But, we have spent five days in our 2014 MB model in 18-25 degree temps with no problems. The little furnace has no problems heating the coach. The only problem was forgetting to put the murphy bed down well in advance of going to bed. The murphy bed mattress being stuck against that outside wall and partially down in an unheated hole was absolutely freezing when lowered. You learn. HAPPY TRAILS.
R. D. Vanderslice
2014 Unity MB
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