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Author Topic: Winter Living  (Read 5094 times)


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Winter Living
« on: October 15, 2012, 11:13:54 AM »
Hi, new here. We're headed into a two-month stay (minimum) in our 30' TT. We've taken the normal precautions of heat tracing/insulating a water hose, plastic on windows, reflectix on windows, etc. But what are your top recommendations for someone living in central Illinois for a couple of months. Thanks! Mark.

Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: Winter Living
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2012, 03:13:12 PM »
Welcome, Mark!

There are any number of previous discussions on this subject in various threads and some information in the library link.

Some considerations are moisture buildup (use a humidifier), propane use (deliver a bigger tank), and the overall expense of heating something that always needs more insulation. Another cool trick I like is the infrared thermometers to find those pesky cold air leaks.

We have been down to 10 degrees in the motorhome, and all your preparations are a good start.

Biggest problem we had was being in a small space on a gray day and wishing we were on the beach! It's survivable and there are some hardy souls here who will put their two cents in and do it on a regular basis. It's just not something I want to do for any length of time.  8)

Good luck, and welcome to the Forum.
Kim & Christi Bertram
SKP 106183
FMCA 420913
2012 Thor Damon Tuscany 42RQ
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
Trailer Ranch RV Resort, Santa Fe, NM


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Re: Winter Living
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2013, 10:14:46 PM »
I spent two winters in central Illinois, and if anybody ever makes me again, I'll get myself thrown into either a jail or a hospital to stay warm.


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Re: Winter Living
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2013, 10:33:59 PM »
I am going into my second winter in Missouri. You can make it with no problem as long as you prep everything now. Best to prep everything now and not when it is cold and wind blowing. If you wish I can PM you lots of information I do for the winter.
Terry & Kathy Weller
Direct Sales Jewelry
It goes where you are.


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Re: Winter Living
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2013, 07:55:19 AM »
In the winter months, you'll want as much solar heat any window can generate to help keep the inside warm. Putting anything that reflects sunlight off the glass degrades any solar heating the glass can produce.

You'd be better off fabricating some storm windows that fit on the inside of the window frames. Make a cardboard template and take them to some place that can cut you some thin plexi in that shape. Add some vinyl edging to help make them fit snug then slip it into the frame. These would even help in the summer with the inclusion of something that does reflect light and heat. In essence creating double pane windows.
Neenah, Wisconsin
'04 Holiday Rambler Ambassador 38PDQ



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Re: Winter Living
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2013, 02:11:33 PM »
Head south? 8)

Kidding aside windows, skylights, and slides are the biggest heat loss areas. If you trailer does not have a heated basement some kind of skirting will also help. For two months I would buy the plastic window kits you install on the inside with double back tape and shrink to fit with a hair dryer.


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Re: Winter Living
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2013, 06:49:24 PM »
Elliott & Vicky and copilot Hanna, the GSD

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From the great state of Maine


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Re: Winter Living
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2013, 02:01:45 PM »
A DEhumidifier would be a good thing.
We Have Hung Up The Keys!
Washington State


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Re: Winter Living
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2013, 03:59:05 PM »
I got the insulation for the vents. they have them at walmart for about $10.
Consider skirting with plywood or styrofoam if the basement isn't very well enclosed.
2018 Thor Miramar 35.2
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Mickey & Jayco (yorkies)


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Re: Winter Living
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2014, 03:20:40 AM »
At the risk of opening a proverbial can of worms, I must ask for advice.  Temps here in south central NY are expected to be 5 below zero on Friday 1/3/14.  Wind chills to -25 degrees, and maybe a foot of new snow starting this morning.  Then Saturday will be 25 degrees (above) followed by mid 30s on Sunday and Monday. 

This is my first Winter with any kind of RV.  I am living in my motorhome full time.  I have not winterized because I don't want to take pink showers!  My furnace is ducted under the floor and basement compartments have some heat going to them.  In addition, I am running a small ceramic heater in the rearmost bay that goes across the full width and holds the fresh water tank.  The bay with the waste tanks also has the 50 amp electric cord and is open enough to allow that to be hooked up, so even though it is on the south facing side, wind can be a factor.  I do add antifreeze to the waste tanks as they fill and so far they have not frozen and I have been able to drain them weekly.  But the lowest temps we have had up to this point maybe 10 above and not for very long.    The fresh tank is 3/4 full now and the waste tanks maybe 1/4 full.  I have a water heater bypass if I can figure out how to do it.  Propane should hold out for the duration. 

With the forecast I described, what should I do?    Should I drain tanks, add pink stuff?  I don't think I have access to any way to blow out lines.  Would it be foolish to just keep heat cranked up for the next 2 days and hope for the best?

I need a quick decision before the snow starts piling up or I won't be able to move.  I hope you all read this and chime in to help me think this through.  I appreciate all replies.  The plan WAS to be well south of here by now but here I sit! 
1994 Winnebago Vectra w/ Ford 460
Co-pilots Martha My Dear & Josephine


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Re: Winter Living
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2014, 06:05:24 AM »
The best advice I can give you is to head to Florida. It got down into the 60s last night. ;D
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Re: Winter Living
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2014, 06:27:47 AM »
Thanks Tom  ::)
I will be heading south next week
IF I survive this weekend
1994 Winnebago Vectra w/ Ford 460
Co-pilots Martha My Dear & Josephine

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Winter Living
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2014, 07:26:41 AM »
At -5 things can get iffy.

The water heater will be ok if turned on - the thermostat will keep it hot. And the rest of the interior too, since you are residing in it.  You may want to leave cabinet doors open to insure good heat circulation near the outer walls behind cabinets -  sometimes those areas are isolated enough to get cold.

The areas of concern are where water lines are exposed, e.g. at the fresh water fill inlet, waste tank valves, and ice maker water lines (if your fridge has an icemaker). I would add some potable antifreeze to the tanks, put some insulation around the water hook-up access area (even some old carpet or rags), and partially block off the external vents for the fridge to increase the temp around the ice maker valves & line.

The fridge actually has two issues. First, at -5 the cooling unit may stop working. It depends on a cycle of vaporization and condensation and at those extremes it may be too cold for the normal cycle to work. Second is the exposed ice maker water control solenoid/valve and 1/4" water lines, which run behind the fridge at the outside access panel. The solution to both is to mostly block off the air inlets in the access door and maybe also partially block the roof vent as well. However, be very sure to re-open those when the temperature returns to 30+.

An alternative for the ice maker is to drain the water lines and  valve, but that requires a shut off at the inside source for the fridge water line. Your coach may or may not have one, and it may be difficult to find if it does exist.
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL


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Re: Winter Living
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2014, 07:51:51 AM »
Thanks Gary
No icemaker - plenty of ice right outside the door!
So that is a relief
All else that you mention I have done or will do
Leaving the water heater on is not a problem yet ...
I guess I am about to find out how quickly propane burns in sub zero temps
At normal winter useage/ temps in the past month or so a tank lasts 10 days.  I had it filled on the 28th so we shall see
I don't know if my worrying is warranted
But i don't think I can know till I see if my set up survives

1994 Winnebago Vectra w/ Ford 460
Co-pilots Martha My Dear & Josephine