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Author Topic: Considering stationary fulltiming in PNW  (Read 1537 times)


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Considering stationary fulltiming in PNW
« on: July 13, 2019, 02:10:14 AM »
Hello, I'm relatively new to the concept of living in an RV fulltime for myself, and am considering trying it out. I'm absorbing whatever information I can find, but want to reach out to experienced people more directly to get an idea of what it's like so I can make a definitive decision.

I'm considering going with a 5th wheel or TT, 24-28 feet max, year 2010 or newer. I'm 26, single, with only one pet; a small-ish (pigeon sized) bird. I'd be more-or-less stationary, staying in an RV park/resort for several months or a year or more, as I have a stable job I don't want to leave. The primary reason I'm looking into it is twofold; I've considered tiny home living for a little over a year now and the portability appeals, and I'll be needing new housing in the next 2 1/2 months, and from what I can gauge around this area, it ends up being the same footage and potentially cheaper for what I can afford if I go with a trailer/5th wheel instead of an apartment.

My biggest obstacle is that I live in the Seattle area (Washington State), which runs the risk of colder winters, and is often rainy. Generally this area doesn't get below 20 and little snow, but this past winter was more extreme, with several rounds of 1-2 feet of snow. I know most RVs are not designed for winter use, and I'm worried about it losing power and heat while I'm at work and killing whatever is inside. The rain I am less concerned about as long as I mind the seals. I've previously spent a summer in a 5th wheel, though I was in a place where I only spent the night in it, and didn't have to prepare food or use the bathroom in it so I'm not sure how reflective that is.

So, a few questions on it; Is RV insurance mandatory even when it's stationary and not traveling? What are some of the ways an RV can the insulated against these sorts of weather conditions? I know straw bales are often used to skirt, but would that be a good option in a chronically rainy area, or would it be very likely to pose a mold risk to the underparts and tires? Are trailers really that prone to fires?
Any information will be a great help, thank you.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 02:18:25 AM by Ambassador »


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Re: Considering stationary fulltiming in PNW
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2019, 06:43:49 AM »
I would consider a park model or "destination trailer" for your situation, with full skirting. Straw bales work but will likely not be allowed in most parks, and can encourage intrusion of mice etc
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Re: Considering stationary fulltiming in PNW
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2019, 08:17:39 AM »
Birds, especially tropical birds need a relatively warm enviroment.    Except for possibly an older Teton there is not a trailer made that will be warm in the winter.  Lack of insulation, single pane windows, small inefficient heaters and I can see your poor bird dieing the forst cold snap. We wintered one year in Portland area.  Besides space rent we paid close to 200 a month for electricity and burned at least 25 gallons of propane a week.  And with all that we still need sweaters to keep warm.
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Re: Considering stationary fulltiming in PNW
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2019, 08:22:58 AM »
Our son lived in an RV full time here in Delaware. It gets fairly cold here, sometimes hovering around zero and we do get some snow. He was required to insulate his water hose. With the lot rent, utilities and upkeep it might end up costing you in the long run. A 24-28 foot RV will give you about 200, maybe a bit more, square feet. Not much room. Straw bales will get moldy and weeds will grow from them. Some parks will not let you use them because they are unsightly. Donít get me wrong. My wife and I lived in an RV for five years. A 37í, triple slide 5th wheel. And we enjoyed it. I think you can do it. But donít get discouraged when you come home and the water heater doesnít work, a window is leaking, the fridge went out. These are things you will either have to know how to fix or be willing to pay a mobile RV tech $115 an hour. And by all means, buy some insurance.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Considering stationary fulltiming in PNW
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2019, 08:57:27 AM »
Others have commented on keeping an RV warm, so I'll address your other questions:

1. There is no "mandatory" insurance for a trailer, unless perhaps you finance it and the lender requires it.

2. Trailers are no more fire-prone than any small building that has heat & electri, but they burn hot & fast if they do catch fire.

3. Straw bales work well as far as skirting capability but have the drawbacks of mold and a home for mice and such. Most RV parks won't allow them anyway, and some won't allow skirting of any kind.  Mobile home parks, on the other hand, may require skirting.

4. Loss of power is a concern about the RV park, not the trailer. There is nothing inherent in an RV electrical system that makes it more likely to have a power outage, but anything that is plugged into an outlet provided by someone else has that risk.

5. Heat is a problem in any tiny space. Every sq ft of the interior is near an exterior wall and often a window of skylight as well. Mid & High end RV models can be fairly well insulated, have dual pane glass windows, etc., but those aren't cheap and often not available in smaller sizes. The good news is that an electric space heater or two can usually heat the whole thing.

6. I think a bird will not fare well in the uneven heating of any RV.  You would be better off in a park model RV or better yet, a "manufactured home" (aka mobile home).  Look around the mobile home parks - there are often ones available for sale.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 09:08:12 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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Re: Considering stationary fulltiming in PNW
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2019, 06:11:34 PM »
I also think you should look at mobile homes which are basically trailers designed for permanent living, as opposed to travel trailers and fifth wheels that are meant for vacationing.  My nephew lives in what we used to call a "trailer park" in West Virginia which can have pretty harsh winters.  He said they've been quite comfortable over the last few winters.  He also doesn't have to contend with emptying waste tanks because there aren't any; they're on regular city sewer service, as well as water and electric.  Much less hassle than an RV-style trailer!

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Lou Schneider

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Re: Considering stationary fulltiming in PNW
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2019, 11:32:59 PM »
I second the idea of looking for a mobile home in WA.  Their manufactured home standards are quite strict when it comes to insulation.  When we were looking at our options for our lot we went into one mobile home on a 20 degree morning.  It was 60 degrees inside,  the only heat was from the incadescent lights that were left on in each room overnight.


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Re: Considering stationary fulltiming in PNW
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2019, 06:07:42 PM »
About the temps in Seattle, WA.  Here is a link to Weather Underground's Calendar view website:  https://www.wunderground.com/calendar/us/wa/seattle/KSEA/date/2019-1 for Jan 2019. 

The temps are within the range for most well built travel trailers or 5th wheels.  January highs in the 40's and 50's with lows in the 30's.  February was somewhat cooler, but not like in the low teen's.   Yes, there was a 3-4 day period with the lows down to about 20*.  With some planning most trailers can handle this. 

It is going to take a lot of electric or propane to keep the trailer inside temps in the upper 60's through the winter, but it is doable. 

Lots of people live in RV type trailers in these temps and colder all over the country.  It does take some planning for below freezing weather.

On the Weather Underground calendar you can check the temps for any month for most any year going back 20-30 years with just a couple of clicks and then to click on "view".
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