Things I have learned about the cold

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Freezers-full-in-Alaska
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2011/11/15 19:39:14 (permalink)

Things I have learned about the cold

For starters sub freezing temps are not well liked by food trailers What I have learned this week. It was -15 the other day and little drain on the instant hot water heater does not drain all the water out Turned the water on the next morning and "BAM" water shooting everywhere. apparentley the copper tubes on top do not drain. split it open like a small bomb exploded that was a $250 dollar learning curve. Since then and $250 more later for a new water heater. This is what I have done crossing my fingers and toes so far so good. I installed quick disconnect for both the water lines and the Lp line on the heater so at the end of the day I just dissconnect and carry it in the house. I also put  a Rv heating blanket under my water tanks and so far so good. I forgot to add I put a valve in front of the water pump so at the end of the day before I take the WH out I turn on the sinks blow air thru the line to clear out all water. Yes this might empty the WH out but its a $250 chance I do not want to take. Hope this might help someone else out that is trying to stay open in the minus temps like me. On a lighter note takes about 5 min to get the trailer hot enough at -15 to have to open up a window when the griddle is turned on high.
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    lornaschinske
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/15 22:18:48 (permalink)
    You might want to put anti freeze (the pink RV stuff) down your drains... enough to fill the p- traps with a little extra in the waste tanks. Waste tanks and p-traps will freeze. A frozen p-trap is a PITA to thaw! A p-trap can freeze even in South Georgia during the winter.  It's not something that I want to repeat. My p-trap wasn't damaged... but we had to replace the valve on the "black" waste tank. Yuk!
     
    We used the Eccotemp L5 tankless water heater which is made to use outside. It has a drain on it to drain the water out. We've been hitting freezing temps overnight even here in NM.
    post edited by lornaschinske - 2011/11/15 22:24:31
    #2
    Freezers-full-in-Alaska
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/15 22:47:54 (permalink)
    I have the L5 inside  and That little drain does not get all of the water out of the line. Not only did the pipe split but the brass flange that the drain plug screws into split wide open. My gray and black water tanks under the trailer have a heater pad on them along with the fresh and gray water tanks inside now. Other then that I added a few more heater vents close to the floor for the furnace because from the waist above was sweating and the feet  cold, Not any more :)
    #3
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/15 23:17:52 (permalink)
    Good post and a lesson I also learned the hard ($$$$) way. I have never worked in -15 degree weather but during the winter I crank up my two propane heaters and just pay the bill every week for more propane. It sucks but it's better than replacing equipment.
     
    And your right first thing in the AM turn everything on high and it warms up pretty quickly.
     
    Jack
    PS where is BackAlleyBurger? I miss his post.
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    Barry Digman
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/16 17:25:23 (permalink)
    I just finished disconnecting the inlet and outlet and blowing them out with compressed air on my L5. I hope that will take care of it for the winter or until the next time the trailer goes out.
    #5
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/16 17:46:44 (permalink)
    You can always use a shop vac to suck water out of lines. Sometimes we use ours for that and if you let it run for awhile it even sucks out the p traps. So you end up with completely dry lines.
    Jack
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    Chicnscoop
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/16 17:57:58 (permalink)
    Good tip Doc.
     
    Is it possible to put a heat blanket or heat tape around your water heater? Sounds like a real pita to drain and empty the lines and water heater every day. If you leave the pilot on for the cooktop will that keep the trailer from freezing?
    #7
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/16 18:35:15 (permalink)
    A pilot lite wouldn't put out enough heat to keep a trailer or truck warm enough around here anyway. But you don't really have to take a water heater out every night in the Midwest. In the extreme cold in Alaska I don't know.
     
    But I just leave a Big Buddy heater running all night, (if it's really cold two of them), and I have the attachment (Electrical) that runs the fan on it blowing under my sink. My water heater is right above the sink and so the warm air blows onto my plumbing and up the wall to the water heater. I had a water heater freeze up once but only because I ran out of propane on a long weekend and that was my fault. I also have heat tape on my supply line that comes into the trailer and on my drain line. It's my impression that water will first freeze in the lines coming into a trailer and then the lines inside the trailer as the cold moves through the line.
     
    Figuring out how to prevent freezing pipes is one of the things I'm working thru now on my step van build.
     
    Keep lines off outside walls helps unless the walls are well insulated. And making sure you have fairly easy access to plumbing and gas lines or valves is another good idea. Nothing worse than having to remove a water tank just to get to a pump, or the other way around. And that's especially true if it's cold outside and or in the trailer. I don't like cold weather.
    post edited by Dr of BBQ - 2011/11/16 18:42:22
    #8
    Freezers-full-in-Alaska
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/16 21:34:44 (permalink)
    It was -45 today yep you read that right The quick connects are working like a charm. I also wrapped all lines in pipe insulation. I only run our trailer FRI-Sun so I empty everything Sun night. As far as the heat blanket I thought a bout that for the water heater but only takes less then a min to disconnect the water heater and carry it into the truck for the ride home
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    lornaschinske
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/16 23:26:32 (permalink)
    Freezers-full-in-Alaska

    It was -45 today...

    " />I think 45 is far too cold! I can't go barefoot for long periods of time at those temps! Although I have been known to run out to our mailbox at the end of the driveway (back when we had a mailbox and a driveway) in the snow. Minus 45 is inconceivable! That's just... wrong! We're hitting freezing temps at night here. I think it's time to head south! Unfortuantely we can't just yet (David & his heart doctor). So we'll head East for a couple of winters, save up some $$ and then head south! I'd like to see Alaska but hard to hit it during warm enough temps. I've heard we can get the bus on the Alaska Ferry (to "hop" around Canada)!
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    Southernsmoke
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/18 07:15:50 (permalink)
    @ Freezers Full---How's your sales on those cold days?
    Being here In Labrador we experience much the same weather, athough we don't have any snow to speak of yet, which is unusual.
     
    I took Dr of Bbq's advice, got 2 of those heaters, they put out a lot of heat and use a lot of lp..leary of leaving them unattended though, I think I'll use them when out, but at home o'nite I'll plug in some sort of heater, doesn't have to be warm warm, just above freezing will do. 
    I purchased a heated 3x4 outdoor mat and put it under my two water tanks and water heater, not sure how that will be in the - temps, soon gonna find out. lol
    Still concerned with my exhaust fan sucking out the heat, I run a deep fryer and a griddle so the fan is on whenever those units are on, which is always..Anyway, keep the ideas coming..
    #11
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/18 09:51:51 (permalink)
    Southernsmoke got 2 of those heaters, they put out a lot of heat and use a lot of lp..leary of leaving them unattended though, I think I'll use them when out, but at home o'nite I'll plug in some sort of heater, doesn't have to be warm warm, just above freezing will do. 

    I purchased a heated 3x4 outdoor mat and put it under my two water tanks and water heater, not sure how that will be in the - temps, soon gonna find out. lol

    Still concerned with my exhaust fan sucking out the heat, I run a deep fryer and a griddle so the fan is on whenever those units are on, which is always..Anyway, keep the ideas coming..

     
    I think the heated mat is an excellent idea.
     
    On your exhaust fan.....can you turn it on and off as needed? Otherwise it's going to suck all the warm air out as I'm sure you know. Heck I'd drop some food items off the menu (during the winter) if I had to in order to stay warm. I'd think your customers would understand about the weather and heat issues.
     
    When it gets really cold here I have had ice form on the floor near my sink if someone spills water. It sucks lol.
     
    By the way the big buddy heaters have a power cord that runs an internal fan that helps keep the warm air moving into hard to get to areas. And mine run all night and Ive never had a problem with them. And don't try to run them on the small gas bottles that will cost you a fortune. Big Buddy makes a hose that will hook the heaters to regular propane tanks which are much more efficient.
     
    In the summer during August I hate doing anything on my Panini Grill because it puts off so much heat but during the winter months it's the first item I turn on LOL.
     
    Post some pictures of your trailer or have you and I just missed them?
    post edited by Dr of BBQ - 2011/11/18 09:59:27
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    Southernsmoke
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/18 10:47:39 (permalink)
    @Dr of Bbq
     
    I hear ya, it's hard to drop off fryer or griddle items, I cook on my Lang quite a bit in the cold too, works great uses a little more wood..
    there's a exterior pic in the restaurant pic thread..How's the step van coming?
    #13
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/18 11:45:31 (permalink)
    I understand on the Lang, I use my Cookshack more and more in the winter. My Klose Smoker uses a ton of wood in the winter but even when I'm not cooking on it I burn some wood so there is always some smoke it keeps reminding everyone that drives by about BBQ. LOL
     
    The step van project is going slow for two reasons, first I keep changing my mind on how I want it laid out, and 2nd I have an idea about how I'm going to wire it but still need to finalize some details. So I keep doing research on generators, and high output alternators. In fact I'm watching one on Ebay right now. I have a chance to do a bunch of events next summer all over the midwest thru one promoter and as long as the SV is done by early spring I'll be ok.I probably research and plan and change plans and do more research than most people.
     
    Found your pictures nice rig buddy, stay warm.
    #14
    Freezers-full-in-Alaska
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/18 13:56:51 (permalink)
    Southernsmoke

    @ Freezers Full---How's your sales on those cold days?

    Right now I'm working out the bugs just running trial runs . Still not enough snow up here  for everybody to get out and ride. We only plan on using the trailer in winter. We live in a place where all the snowmachiners come to play on the weekends. Last year we went up there every weekend to count people a talk to some of them. On Average about 1000 + people a weekend. And the only place to get food is 40 min away. We did a survey to see what people wanted to eat and drink. Since most of them just pack up at the end of the day and head home.
    #15
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/18 14:57:06 (permalink)
    And your going to leave us hanging? LMAO A true Richard Dawson your not. LOL............ SURVEY SEZ!

    #16
    Freezers-full-in-Alaska
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/18 15:33:10 (permalink)
    Dr of BBQ

    And your going to leave us hanging? LMAO A true Richard Dawson your not. LOL............ SURVEY SEZ!



    Sorry computer locked up again. This what we gathered from talking to everybody.
    They all wanted something easy to carry and eat as they would be driving and eating most of the time.
    They wanted.....
    BBQ sandwich
    Hot dogs(reindeer) & Burgers
    A massive breakfast burrito (Smile)
    Surprised but Grilled cheese was popular
    French bread pizza (Easy,Quick and cheap to make)
    Chili
    Out of the 1000 people over last winter we talked to these were the most popular.
    HOT BLACK COFFEE & Hot Coco
    #17
    Freezers-full-in-Alaska
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/18 15:48:28 (permalink)
    Forgot to add. About the survey, We went down every other weekend with hot coco and cookies and just told everyone free if you answer a few questions while you enjoy. Cost a couple hundred bucks but worth it .
    #18
    FriedTater
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/18 16:02:45 (permalink)
    Freezers-full-in-Alaska

    Surprised but Grilled cheese was popular

     
    A food vendor friend of mine, who recently passed on, discussed with me about grilled chz sandwiches. He did them. I, like you, thought not much call for them, yet he told me that was one of his best food items to sell. And believe me, he sold lots of different stuff.

    #19
    Foodbme
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/18 16:43:45 (permalink)
    There are food trucks operating that sell nothing but Grilled Cheese sandwiches and soup!
    http://www.thegrilledcheesetruck.com/
    And restaurants too!
    http://www.chedds.com/
    Power to the Cheese!!!
    #20
    Barbeque barn
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/18 23:52:29 (permalink)
    Doc you'll want to have your conduit for your wiring on the outside andup high on the walls. You can't or won't want to cut or drill into the side ribs on the sidewalls in the van, Also if there a problem with the wiring its a lot easier adding to or taking care of a problem,as if you want to add a new plug'in. Up high for being able to put equipment up against the wall close. I was helping a friend with a build and this is a old Snap-on tool truck and having to replace wall ribs because there spit in half from them putting the wire behine the plywood. All the shaking going down the road and a short in the wire could be dangerous years down the road.
    post edited by Barbeque barn - 2011/11/18 23:54:30
    #21
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/19 00:15:50 (permalink)
    Mike I think your right on target with your assessment on not cutting into the ribs of the SV.
     
    But I have 1/2 inch plywood already attached to the ribs and a very high quality oak paneling glued to the plywood. First I'm going to shoot insulation into the open space between the ribs.
     
    Then I'm going to leave all of that in place and cover the walls with aluminum or stainless steel.
     
    My current thought is to run all of my conduit behind counters and cabinets so that it's completely inclosed inside of the cabinets, and won't be a hassle to keep clean. And when I say behind I mean completely inclosed in side of the cabinets so that it will never see the light of day.All of my outlets will most likely be built into the stainless steel counter top.
     
    I'm also planing on running over sized conduit so that if down the road I need additional outlets I'll be able to feed new wire and add additional outlets.
     
    I'm not sure that this is written well enough for you all to get my mental picture but as I start doing the build I will post step by step pictures.
     
    But in the mean time if you guys think my plans are wrong for any reason please post a reply. If I'm not headed in the right direction I want to know now not after I'm done. LOL
    Jack
    #22
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/19 00:22:46 (permalink)
    PS I'm a BIG believer in way more outlets than you can ever use. You never know when your going to change a menu and add a piece of new equipment. LOL
    #23
    biker jim
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/21 09:25:52 (permalink)
    Okay, so where is Sunshine Alaska?  I grew up in Anchorage and have never heard of such a place.
    How far is it from Anchorage and you are of course going to be selling reindeer dogs aren't you?
    #24
    Freezers-full-in-Alaska
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/21 18:31:13 (permalink)
    biker jim

    Okay, so where is Sunshine Alaska?  I grew up in Anchorage and have never heard of such a place.
    How far is it from Anchorage and you are of course going to be selling reindeer dogs aren't you?
     

    3 hours North  of L.A (Lower Anchorage) between Trapper Creek and Talkeetna
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    biker jim
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/22 09:18:42 (permalink)
    Yup, well enjoy.  After growing up in Ak. I'm not minding the fact it going to be almost 70 this Thanksgiving.  Kinda feel like I put in my time.  If you see my buddy M.A. (M.A.'s Gourmet Dogs in front of the Federal Building in Anchorage)  say howdy.  But he won't be out until either the Iditarod or Fur Rendezvous, or spring.
    #26
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/22 14:10:01 (permalink)
    Freezers-full-in-Alaska It was -15 the other day and little drain on the instant hot water heater does not drain all the water out.

     
    I still can't get over the -15....Brrrrr I wouldn't even open in those kind of temps.
     
    But for others in a more moderate temperature zone I'd advise a drain valve on the water supply line below the level of the water heater and after the water pump. After turning the water off open all the sink faucets. When you open the faucets you stop the vacuum and that should allow all of your water lines to drain.  But there are two areas that tend to freeze very quickly and those are water pumps and water heaters. Water pumps especially if your always hooked up to a water supply like I am, and water heaters because they contain copper lines and retain some heat. Hot water will freeze faster than cold water.
     
    But for the most part keep your trailer interior well above freezing and at least some circulating air  so that the warm air gets into all areas of the trailer.
     
    Good luck.
    Jack
    #27
    lleechef
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/22 14:38:19 (permalink)
    Freezers should be glad not to be in Fairbanks where the temps have been -35 to -40 the past couple of days. 
    The all time record low for AK is -80. 
    post edited by lleechef - 2011/11/22 14:44:22
    #28
    Chicnscoop
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/22 16:04:35 (permalink)
    That's just insanity. In CT we get single digits below zero but I cannot imagine how fast your nostrils will freeze at -40.
    #29
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Things I have learned about the cold 2011/11/22 18:07:22 (permalink)
    "your nostrils will freeze" Hell at that temp all your good parts would freeze.. I'm with you I just can't imagine those temps....you'd have to drink a cup of coffee quickly or it would be cold. Wow makes me feel better about our weather.
    #30
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