Anticipating winter temperatures

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Well-known member
Jul 30, 2006
Alright, I've gone a month in the RV, taken my lumps, and learned a lot.  Now the weather is starting to cool and I can feel October chills approaching.  I live in Mississippi, where the temperature almost never gets below 30degrees F but I can see how even that can become a problem.  What should a full-timer anticipate living in an RV during the winter.  I've been scared by stories of waste tanks freezing and pipes bursting.  I wonder if the heat strip in the AC unit is enough or weather the 10gal Propane tank is enough to run the furnace.  How do you prepare an RV for colder weather without completely sacrificing it's mobility?
If the temp stays above 30F. freezing is not a problem. Put a light bulb in the water tanks compartment if you are worried that it may get colder than that. Many rigs have a heat duct from the furnace for that reason. There is a limit to this. Overnighting in Laramie WY one Nov. I got some mild freezing in my water compartment dispite the presence of a heat duct.

You may need more propane. Consider an extend a stay device to access a big propane tank installed next to your rig.

What electric service do you have? If 50 amp get one or 2 small cube heaters (ceramic are best). If 30 amp is all you can access, use only one and remember to use only it or one major appliance at a time.

WHo knows, maybe the heat strip in your AC will suffice. Think about insulating the wimdows.
In our basement we have a heat duct with a blower.  Also our tanks have heat pads with a switch for them in our bathroom.  This has worked for us in the mid 20s.  Have not been in any temperatures lower than that.  Driving to Arizona is our below 20 solution!  ;D
It takes 1 btu to raise 1 pound of water 1 degree F. By the same token, it must lose 1 btu to lower it 1 degree. Now here's the beauty of it: To change the phase, i.e. water to ice, it must lose 143 btu's per pound of water. That means turning one pound of water at 32 degrees F. (0 degrees C.) into one pound of ice at 32 degrees F. (0 degrees C.) It would take a long time for a temperature of 30F. to freeze any appreciable amount of water, and I'm sure that daytime temps. are much higher than that. Use Russ's suggestion about the light bulb (properly protected), and you shouldn't have any problems. Window shades or that air filled silvered insulating material you buy in rolls and cut to fit, should help a lot. Check and repair any leaks around doors with weatherstriping, and stuff 2,3, or 4" foam insulation into any unused overhead vents. The "Stay-a While' or "Extend-a Stay" kits will let you hook up to a large tank or a smaller portable tank that you can take and have refilled or exchanged. 
This might seem like a stupid question, but how do you get a lighbulb into the tank?

Flush it?

Then I'd be worried about getting electrocuted every time I use the toilet. BZZZZZ!
Don't put the light bulb in the tankl! Put it in the basement alongside the tank.

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