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Author Topic: Advice for wintering in a three-season trailer using ELECTRICITY for heat?  (Read 3245 times)

Jackie1776

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Hello, all! Clueless newb here.

I am researching what to do to prepare my home for winter, but so far all the information I've found has either been about winterizing an RV for storage (instead of for year-round living) or focused on propane conservation and propane-related issues (carbon monoxide, condensation, etc.).

Hopefully some of you experienced full-timers could please give me advice more relevant to my situation? I realize that it's a bit late in the year for this, but I've been too ill and broke for the past several months to get started any sooner. :(

Background: Seven months ago I purchased and moved into a 2006 Conquest 25RBS "three-season" travel trailer. Typical winter temps where I live are in the 20s F, with occasional dips below 0 F. Freezing temps are expected soon, so I need advice on how to winterize quickly and cheaply without any helpers and with very little experience or knowledge. Additionally, I can't make any "permanent" modifications to my campsite, and anything I add to my travel trailer can't impede its future mobility.

I am renting a 30 amp campsite with unlimited electricity included. Everything I need (hot water, fridge, microwave, space heater, etc.) runs off electricity so I have not been using any propane. I want to continue relying on this "free" electricity as much as possible this winter, and only keep propane on hand as a backup in case a major storm knocks out power for days.

Given my stated constraints and with my unlimited electricity in mind, how would you advise I approach the following projects?

  • Insulating the tanks, pipes, and other systems on the underside of my camper to protect them against damage from freezing temperatures
  • Insulating the interior of my camper to keep my cat and myself warm
  • Adding a removable skirting around the underside of my camper for insulation/stability and to create a semi-secure/protected storage area (perhaps with an electric outdoor space heater running 24/7 inside this new "basement"?)
  • Any other interior or exterior maintenance/protection tasks I should consider besides the obvious "CAULK ALL THE THINGS!"

Due to my poor health, small car, and remote location I prefer to shop online and have things delivered as much as possible (Amazon is my lifeline), so recommendations for specific materials and links to where to order them would be especially helpful.

Thanks in advance! :)

coal

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Well I got a lot of work ahead of you

Possible skirting around Trlr out of 1/4 plywood
Reflectix on all windows
Two ceramic electric heaters with settings for power
Heat trace line on incoming water, or use your fresh water tank if it is mounted in a warm area of the trailer
Setup your sewer hose so that it runs freely
Your gonna propane and then more propane
Keep out of the wind if possible
More batteries if your worried about a power outage, but will also need a Genny

So much more, hopefully others will add.  I full time in Ontario, it can be done and be comfortable

John From Detroit

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Winterizing a house is much like winterizing an RV.. You shut off the water, Blow out the iines (Multiple times) dry out the ice maker and prop fridge and freezer doors open less you leave them running,  Use PINK STUFF in the toilet (you will likely need about a full gallon) and drains,    I would put a small heater where the water comes into water comes into the house less you can cut it off outside.

But the process is simular.  Make sure a nieghbor picks up mail and such so it looks lived in, arrange for driveway cleaning and give next door permission to use your drive for his car #2 so he gets to use off-street parking (Makes house looked less inviting to undeserables)   You want it to look lived in  Have neighbor clean walks for you too.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Water Dog

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I would suggest, if you haven't already got one, consider purchasing a small generator. If you loose power at the RV park, you will need 12 volt power to run propane heat. Your battery will not last if you don't have a source for recharging. I wouldn't worry so much about extra batteries as I would about the ability to recharge what you have, and the ability to provide a little 120 volt power in the event of an outage. As coal mentioned, plywood skirting would be a good idea. and you might want to pick up styrafoam panels or fiberglass insulation at a home center to cut and place around any exposed tank surfaces. You can use heat tape for your water hose. I don't think I would leave a heater running under the trailer.
Dennis

"Heart is where the home is"
---------------------------------
Dennis & Vici Bernhard
2000 Bounder
1999 Jeep Wrangler
Home: Sumner, TX

Jackie1776

  • Posts: 2
I apologize that my original post was not clear -- I am living in this camper year-round. So I need advice on how to retrofit it to be livable in the winter, since the original construction is for three-season temporary camping.

John From Detroit

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Re: Advice for wintering in a three-season trailer using ELECTRICITY for heat?
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2012, 09:03:34 AM »
One thing I noted yesterday and meant to post.....

If you have a "Winter" type trailer, with enclosed tanks and plumbing so they do not (normally) freeze as quickly as exposed plumbing........

The problem is that often the heat for those "Wet" compartments is provided by the propane furnace, there is very simply a heat vent in the wet bay... You will need to add some aux heat to those bays, (They may a 150 watt electric heater, Or you can use some light bulbs,  I suggest you run them via a thermostat plug adapter,  You can get those at Lowes, Home Depot (BUt they may be hard to find) or Farm type stores like Tractor Supply or Farm & Fleet.  They have 'em for stock tank heaters.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Advice for wintering in a three-season trailer using ELECTRICITY for heat?
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2012, 09:17:18 AM »
Coal gave some brief but good advice.

30A power does not give you much to work with because a small electric space heater take 15 amps on its "high" setting. Ergo you will probably need to use propane as well. Consider running the fridge and water heater on propane so you have enough amps left to run two space heaters if needed. RVs are not well insulated, so you will probably need two at times.

Also plan on blocking off skylights and maybe some windows too - they lose a lot of heat. Add skirting around the bottom outside to reduce heat loss through the floor too.

I would plan on bringing in the sewer hose except when dumping the tanks, and dumping only on relatively warm days (so the gunk doesn't freeze). Ditto for the fresh water line - fill the rv tank and then bring in the hose. Or wrap with heat tape that is plugged into a power pedestal outlet.

There have been numerous conversations here about cold weather/winter camping.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

DearMissMermaid

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Re: Advice for wintering in a three-season trailer using ELECTRICITY for heat?
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2012, 06:59:31 PM »
For under skirting that is cheap get bales of hay delivered to your campsite.  On 30amps you are limited to running one ceramic heater 1500 watts at a time, if you are running the usual hot water and fridge on electric too. However, you can move the heater around  to where you are, moving to bed area at night and living area by day.

I have discovered that the overhead AC set to fan only with the vents aimed away from you, will stir the heat up and make it seem a lot warmer. If the vents are aimed at you, it seems colder, but just having them on (fan only) does a lot to move the heat all around.

These mail order items might help your situation:

This will keep your water from freezing from the spigot to your RV:
Drinking Safe RV Heated Water Hose 1/2 x 25ft - Auto on/off - Made in the USA
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006NAN2M4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B006NAN2M4&linkCode=as2&tag=motorhomeandrvstore-20

I have one of these and it keeps you toasty warm at night. I can't live without mine. Your cat will love it too! You can keep it on the bed year round and just turn it on in the winter. You spend at least a third of your life in bed anyhow and this will keep you and kitty warm.
Sunbeam Warming Heated Electric Mattress Pad
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004P59ESK/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B004P59ESK&linkCode=as2&tag=motorhomeandrvstore-20

Energy Window Film 36-by-48-Inch, this is EASY to apply, I have applied it and it is very easy to do with just water and a squeegee which comes with it.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001LCIKRQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001LCIKRQ&linkCode=as2&tag=motorhomeandrvstore-20

200 Watt Ceramic Heater, get 2, one for your bathroom and one to move around to warm your feet or add extra warmth where you need it, at 200 watts it won't trip breakers, I also use mine for quickly defrosting the freezer when needed. 
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003XDTWN2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B003XDTWN2&linkCode=as2&tag=motorhomeandrvstore-20

Pipe Wrap, you can use this to wrap plumbing pipes underneath the trailerhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002GKC2WG/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002GKC2WG&linkCode=as2&tag=recreationalvehicles-20

Wool Rugs on top of your carpet will help, if you can afford a WOOL  runner or Sheepskin, that will give you the most added warmth.  Otherwise consider cheap throw rugs from Dollar General.  It adds insulation in a decoartive way.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0044TXOJC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0044TXOJC&linkCode=as2&tag=recreationalvehicles-20

Not sure what kind of window treatments you currently have, but most RV's have wooden valances above the windows. While heavy drapes are your best bet for insulating the windows, you can always do the spring clamps and blanket method. Many synthetic blankets can be cut to size without unraveling, then you just clamp them up over the windows at night, by day you can take them down and be able to look outside.  You can also attach velcro under the valance and velcro "winter curtains" that you can take down the rest of the year. These spring clamps some in handy for so many different things around an RV anyhow. I now have metal ones, plastic ones, big ones, medium ones, the small ones aren't very useful but the medium and large one sure are.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003VPAEU2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B003VPAEU2&linkCode=as2&tag=recreationalvehicles-20

I hope some of this helps you out! 


http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

Conquest aka Robert

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Re: Advice for wintering in a three-season trailer using ELECTRICITY for heat?
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2012, 07:59:20 PM »
Miss Mermaid covered it pretty GOOD. My only question/advice is can you get to another 30 amp plug and use it as well. Then you get past the limit issue for the 30 amp. Use the second one to run one heater and small stuff and use the main one for the other heater and the rest of your needs.
1996 GulfStream Conquest Ultra 102  04-19-2011.
2009 Honda Ruckus
1984 Southwind for 6 years.
1 Wife
6 Children who needs pets

Water Dog

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Re: Advice for wintering in a three-season trailer using ELECTRICITY for heat?
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2012, 12:57:47 PM »
You could also run a heavy duty extension cord to the 20 amp outlet on the pedestal to run a second electric heater if needed.
Dennis

"Heart is where the home is"
---------------------------------
Dennis & Vici Bernhard
2000 Bounder
1999 Jeep Wrangler
Home: Sumner, TX

DearMissMermaid

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Re: Advice for wintering in a three-season trailer using ELECTRICITY for heat?
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2012, 01:56:36 PM »
It's true most electrical posts come with the extra 110 outlets. I use mine to plug in outdoor lightings or a heavy cord to run over to my table to have electricity there.

But if you add a 110 heavy duty cord for the 2nd electric heater...  how do you get that cord inside your RV without compromising more heat loss?

Also, I don't understand how you can plug into two 30 amp sockets at once.

Besides, I am pretty sure most campgrounds would frown on that.

I understood from her post that she is trying to max out the electric since it's included in her monthly rent. I must admit, I do the exact same thing.  But I fear if you are too brazen.... the campground might take notice and then the "electric included" goes away.
http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

Water Dog

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Re: Advice for wintering in a three-season trailer using ELECTRICITY for heat?
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2012, 02:19:38 PM »
But if you add a 110 heavy duty cord for the 2nd electric heater...  how do you get that cord inside your RV without compromising more heat loss?

May have to get creative on this one....maybe run it into the frig compartment and just use it to power the fridge to free up extra amps on the 30 amp circuit.

.

I But I fear if you are too brazen.... the campground might take notice and then the "electric included" goes away.

I thought about that when she talked about running a heater 24/7 under her rv.
Dennis

"Heart is where the home is"
---------------------------------
Dennis & Vici Bernhard
2000 Bounder
1999 Jeep Wrangler
Home: Sumner, TX

 

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