Cold climate RVing tips

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Tom

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I've learned a few things during our brief visit into cold country and I also received some useful tips from forum members, both publically and privately. I thought I'd combine this stuff into a file for our forum library. So, if anyone has any tiips for RVing in cold climates, please reply to this topic. Don't worry if you think you might duplicate (or contradict) what someone else said; I'll consolidate it all into the final version.

If you have any photos, they would also be welcome; I like to illustrate files for easier/lighter reading. But, info without photos is equally welcome.

Thanks for any and all inputs.
 

Terry A. Brewer

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Tom

After I had my gate valve for my water line freeze up I purchased a extension plug-in that activates at 32 deg. It has 3 outputs that I ran to the refrigerator vent opening, water pump & gate valve. I mounted porcelain insulated sockets with 60 watt bulbs.

Don Miller noticed the Refrigerator one was on during our cold spell at the QZ rally.<G>

 

Tom

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Terry,

Is that something you buy at the electrical department of Home Depot or Lowes?
 

Tom

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John In Detroit said:
... Plumbing is more likely where you will find them..

Thanks John. Looks like I mis-read Terry's message. Thought he was talking about something that turned on his light bulbs when the temperature got down there. Anyone have a photo of this device?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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This is not quite what Terry described, but is a similar concept. It's a thermostatically controlled power cord that turns on at a given temperature. This model has an adjustable t-stat and a single outlet, but I gather Terry's is preset to 32 degrees and has three outlets.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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HERE is the primary cold weather RVing device.  You mount it on the dashboard, start the engine and put transmission is "D". Turn the steering wheel until the dashboard indicator shows "S" and then drive for one full day.  Repeat as needed until you no longer need a jacket.
 

Karl

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A few years back I purchased a small version of a 'milkhouse' heater for space heating. At about $20 apiece, you could easily remove the heating element and replace it with a lightbulb of your choice. The built-in fan will help circulate the warm air to places it might not otherwise reach in the bay. 
 

Tom

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Thanks for the link Gary. Looks like I correctly read Terry's message.

As for the compass, ours didn't work too well this trip, although we've finally found above-freezing temperatures in Las Cruces on our return to the west. Last time we were here (a few weeks ago), we awoke to snow and ice.
 

Terry A. Brewer

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Tom

>>Is that something you buy at the electrical department of Home Depot or Lowes?<<

I got it on line about 5-6 years ago.  It only has two outlets instead of three, see attached pic.  The other one is located on one of the bay 110 receptacles.
 

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ArdraF

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Tom, don't forget to include your stalagtite/mite photo!  ;D

ArdraF
 

Tom

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LOL Ardra, I won't. I actually took another one a couple of days later when it had grown even larger.
 

Ray D

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Our first year with our previous MH, we used it through the winter in Boise, to below zero. (91 Allegro, 28'.) We parked it with full hookups, in an RV resort, sandwiched between three parks, off of the Greenbelt, downtown. DW - Dani, simply loves camping out, and that means if we can?t move it, she?ll camp out - wherever the RV happens to be, at that time, whatever the weather, and she loves thunderstorms and snowstorms.

Being an utter novice, I didn?t know all the things that couldn?t be done. Not being utterly dense, I figured that interior heat and the threat of freezing the water lines would be the challenge. (I hadn?t discovered the RV Forum, at that time.) Anticipating that, I bought some aluminum ?bubble? type, insulation at a builder?s supply and cut and taped it to the lower sides, surrounding the RV, closing off the space between the RV and the ground. I cut holes for the exhaust pipes for the engine and Gen set, so we could run them from time to time for the health of each.

We dumped, as necessary, through the winter. We did not keep the sewer hose connected. We did not keep the water hose connected, but filled the water tank as needed, instead. We did use the electrical hookup, continuously. Finished the winter with the same tank of gas I started with. The furnace? Heat? ? ? ?

We ran a 1500 Watt electrical heater, continuously, with the permission of the park management. (When I would stop by, to warm up and have a cup of soup or a sandwich, DW had made, I parked my marked police unit outside. The management loved it, and reduced our rent, to keep us there!) (Yes, I told my supervisor that and he approved.) Oh yeah - heat. I had to move it to buy propane, four times during the winter. Couldn?t get a supplier to deliver. Reinstallation of the insulation took about half an hour, after the propane refill.

It worked! It was a kick in the pants! Had a great time.

Improvements: I noted that shortly after I ?winterized? using that method, several other units started installing custom made ?skirts.?  They worked better than mine, and looked better by far, attaching with snaps rather than duct tape. They used a vinyl fabric, custom fitted for the units. Someone else ?invented? this method before I did! Several already had them, color matched to their RV! I watched, as tenting and awning companies fabricated and installed the rest of the park. Cost - about $1,200 for a thirty foot unit.

Down-side:

1. Gotta take the skirts off to drive - exposing everything to the outside temperature. Don?t know how to go anywhere, and avoid freezing lines, while moving. Driving down the highway, while skirted, not recommended!  :-\

2. Storage - When not using the skirt, it takes a heap of storage space! Skirting for a 30' unit - ours at that time - measured 12 cubic feet!

After our second winter, we upgraded to our Challenger. We?ve used them through the winter, parked, for the most part. (Different system for the Challenger.) We enjoy it, but would like to be able to ?go somewhere? 12 months of the year, and do it easier!

I?ll post more, if I see any interest. Would love to find out other ?secrets!? I know this can be done!

Ray D.  ;D
 

Tom

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Thanks for those inputs Ray. Feel free to add more because I'll be collecting all the inputs into a file for our forum library.
 

Alaskansnowbirds

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Ray D said:
Would love to find out other ?secrets!? I know this can be done!

Ray,

One thing you could do as far a propane goes is install an Extend-A-Stay and have a local propane company set 100# bottle next to the coach. They should fill their bottle on site.
 

Ray D

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Alaskansnowbirds: Thanks. I'll check that out, next time it matters. I did, at the time, but was a  novice and the one company I found wanted more to rent the tank than the winter was worth. Must be somebody here, doing business in the 21rst Century.

I examined the vinyl fabric skirts on a couple of RVs. Those could be custom made by anyone who could sew, for a whole lot less than the awning companies were charging. I think I could do it! I would have done it this year, but I haven't decided I want all those snaps on our RV. Gotta be better than cleaning off the masking tape in the spring. That's a job! Once made, installation is about a half hour job.

Oh yeah, they made the vinyl skirts in 8' to 12' sections. Sections were held together by Velcro. Again, an improvement over my first attempt. 

The key, here, is the dead air space under the RV. The ground really never gets all that cold. If the RV is kept at a decent temperature, the "crawl space" is quite acceptably warm. I crawled under there at the coldest, to check it out. The skirting held up, even against pretty strong winds.

I haven't figured out how to make it reasonably mobile, yet.

Ray D  ;D
 

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