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Author Topic: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country  (Read 6801 times)

hpcmbw

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Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« on: October 07, 2010, 10:10:23 AM »
My 30" Salem 5th wheel with one slide worked out great as a summer weekend home at Lake Tahoe. We boondocked on a friends property and, once we sorted out solar energy and sewage and water issues, it worked out great.

We are now moving the 5th wheel to a trailer park in Tahoe for the winter (full hookups will be a nice change). As a new 5th wheel owner, what do I need to look out for? It snows quite a bit in the winter, big storms can dump up to 3 feet in a night. Plus, it's often a wet snow. The trailer park informs they've got people who you can pay to shovel the roof, when necessary. But what else do I need to look out for?

Is there a way to install a drain in the water lines, to avoid burst water lines from freezing? I don't want to run antifreeze in the lines, since I'll be at the trailer almost every weekend.

Do I need to close the slide out during heavy snow? How clear of snow and ice does the slide need to be to shut properly? I assume I'll close the slide when I leave on sunday and re open when I return on friday night.

Do I need to check my roof and repair any small cracks or slits?

Any other major concerns?

Thanks!
1997 Salem 30' fifth wheel; 2000 F250 7.3 diesel; 1996 Four Wheel Truck Camper
Northern California

woodhooks

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Re: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2010, 09:30:32 PM »
Well living full time last year in Texas but growing up in snow country I say,   Have bottled drinking water available because if your hose freezes which it will, you will have no water.  Stuff insulation every where in your camper because these things just arn't insulated well enough.

Jeff

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Re: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2010, 09:36:00 PM »
Doing a search for cold weather will show several threads on getting ready for cold weather. I would recommend using your hoses to fill your fresh water tank and then disconnect and drain it to be ready for the next fill.

utahclaimjumper

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Re: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2010, 09:48:00 PM »
I would NOT allow anyone to SHOVEL snow off my roof, and you won't have as much fun in winter as summer.>>>Dan
38' American Tradition/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63

hpcmbw

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Re: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2010, 04:31:42 PM »
I tried a search of "cold weather" but really didn't get much info. I still need to know if it's possible to put in a water drain to drain the water lines. How about the use of the slide out in snow?

Claimjumper - if I don't shovel snow off the roof, how do I get the snow off? I'm pretty sure that if I get over 3' or 4' of snow on the roof, there's gonna be trouble.

Should I cover the roof with a tarp, before it snows, so a shovel is less likely to damage the roof?

Anyone have experience with 5th wheel in the snow?
1997 Salem 30' fifth wheel; 2000 F250 7.3 diesel; 1996 Four Wheel Truck Camper
Northern California

FrontrangeRVer

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Re: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2010, 04:43:25 PM »
I do agree with the above poster that said NOT to let someone shovel snow off your unit.  I have done that myself and bent my satelite dish as it was covered....also it's easy to scratch your roof.  Next time I scrape off lots of snow, I'm going to be alot more careful and maybe just use a ladder and a snow rake and not try to get on the roof itself.

You should have some water drains in your water line.  I would be surprised to find out otherwise.  Our water lines are inside our unit and also in the basement where we put small electric heaters when the temps get below 0 degrees F and we are staying in our unit in Breckenridge CO at 9,500 feet.  Two years ago, we were in Breck during Christmas week and it snowed nearly 3 feet, and we put in the slides as the snow just weighs down the slide toppers, and it isnt good to try to scrape off that much snow.....plus it helped keep the inside warmer with the slides in.  ;)  We also use our fresh water tank, and when its empty, pull out the hose to fill it, then put up the hose. 
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2010, 11:57:42 PM »
You're talking about leaving the rig unattended during the week.   I'd be leery about leaving any kind of heat on while you're away for that length of time - it's too easy for something to go wrong, overheat and cause major problems.

And without heat you're forced to drain and winterize the rig every time you leave it.   Sounds like a lot of work to me.

rbell

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Re: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2010, 05:23:55 AM »
They can stand quite a bit of snow, but as it melts and freezes it gets heavier and harder to get off. I also wouldn't use a shovel. I've used a garage type broom to drag it off. Whats hard is to get around AC's, skylites etc. If you cover it put some large beach balls down the middle to get a slope to the cover. Them some will fall off by itself, plus it will help keep the ice from forming around stuff and make it easier to rake the snow off. Also get some of those square things to put in the skylite holes. They are the worst source of heat lose. A down side to a cover is it will freeze down to the roof from condensation freezing.

A better solution may be to get one of those temporary garage's to keep the snow off, plus it makes a good windbreak.

I solved my snow problem by taking it to Fla. before we get much snow.
Dick
2012 150 Ecoboost
2012 KZ Spree 323CSS

utahclaimjumper

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Re: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2010, 09:32:10 AM »
I solved my snow problem with a 40' by 45' garage.>>>D
38' American Tradition/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63

Marsha/CA

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Re: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2010, 12:19:51 PM »
To answer your original question, you can use compressed air to blow out your water line to keep them from freezing so you don't have to use antifreeze.  You can put a little antifreeze in the traps to keep them from freezing in your bath and kitchen area.  I'm wondering if you have small water drains under your RV where you can at least drain the fresh water out of the tank. 

I know your main concern was snow and keeping the slide pulled in; but you might need to make some arrangement to have a large stand alone propane tank set up by your 5th wheel so you will have good supply for heat.  You can also use light bulbs as heat sources in the bay areas.  Have you checked to make sure the campground will have water turned on?  Are they really providing full hook ups for the winter?  I live in Kernville and at the moment we are in Bridgeport, CA.  We had hoped to spend a few days in Mammoth and we found the campgrounds with full hook ups are closing or will be closed the end of this month.

However if you want to try it, here are some suggestions:

*Use only the campground facilities ie showers & bathrooms if they are open.
*use only bottled water and not your tank water
*set your furnace to 50 degrees and open all cabinets so that the heat circulates.  If you have drained all your lines, you might not need to do this.

Now the snow is another matter.  It sounds like the campground regularly takes care of other peoples RVs, so maybe they have a technique that works and doesn't do any damage to your rig or the ones doing it..... :D

As Lou mentioned, I'd be very concerned with leaving a rig unattended with things running.

Marsha~
 
Allegro Bus Diesel Pusher with Hyundai Tucson SUV toad. 
In case of necessity, alternate transportation is available in the form of 1 old horse.

Dusty1

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Re: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2010, 10:03:38 PM »
I have been watching this thread to see if anyone had actually spent a winter in their RV at Lake Tahoe before responding. Seeing none I'll offer my recommendation . . . NOT RECOMMENDED!

I live in Truckee (North Lake Tahoe) and when it snows the snow is referred to as Sierra Concreate - you will need to shovel it off - and it dumps in feet ???, not inches, and the sun has a hard time of melting it while trying to penetrate the shade of the pine trees.  Others have offered great suggestions for cold weather issues and a primary consideration is the large propane tank.

My recommendation would be to look over the hill to Carson City/Minden for a home base for the RV

Dusty

PhilsFrontier

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Re: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2010, 12:56:58 AM »
Wrap insulated tarps or something like that, around the bottom of the trailer like a skirt. Then place an electric heater down there to keep the water lines from freezing. It would also keep the floor warm too! To clean snow off the roof I would use a good quality push broom to avoid damage.

Jammer

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Re: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2010, 04:29:00 PM »
You need the No Freeze Water Hose (tm) (pat. pend.) (c).

http://www.nofreezewaterhose.com/

Guaranteed to -30 C. and made in the U.S.A.  (hmm?)


2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

rolling condo

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Re: Using my fifth wheel as a winter home in snow country
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2010, 05:52:50 PM »
Here's a link to a group that does camp in winter and snow with tips that you might find helpful.
http://www.4scf.com/viewforum.php?f=16&sid=6f88fb185a4aa88c98998d9985ff5da4

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