Insulating for -40 weather in Manitoba

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Crazy jo

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Is it possible to winterize a 32ft travel trailer if I add foam board insulation and spray foam to the walls. As well as foam board skirting with a small heater underneath and heated housings. Also a pellet stove on the inside? In Manitoba we get some frigid cold winters and I plan on living in my rv full time throughout the winter months.
 

darsben

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What do you plan to do for water, sewer etc
You might exist but you will not be living.
If you do try it let us know if you make it through the winter without baling out.
Over the years many people have come to the forum attempting to try living through northern climates winter none has ever returned to tell us they made it through.

BTW -40C = -40F
 
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donn

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Is it possible? I guess so. The question should be how cold can you stand it? Adding anything to existing walls is only going to invite mold. Adding a pellet/wood stove inside is inviting a fire. Your biggest concerns should be water in, water out. Insulating under is a no brainer.
 

Utclmjmpr

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Just another attempt to re-invent the wheel..when are these folks going to look at other peoples experiences and learn...>>>Dan
 

Roy M

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In one word fuggedaboutit! You will never be warm and keeping water and sewer lines clear will be a problem. What are you going to do when you run out of propane (which you will use a LOT of) at 3 am?
 

Rene T

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Adding a pellet/wood stove inside is inviting a fire.
Apparently you are not use to burning wood or pellets. This is no different than a house. As long as the stove is installed per the manufactures specifications, it meets all codes and gets inspected by the Fire Dept. he’ll be just fine burning pellets. Now whether the stove can keep up with the cold is another question.

Oh and to the OP, welcome to the forum.
 

donn

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Apparently you are not use to burning wood or pellets. This is no different than a house. As long as the stove is installed per the manufactures specifications, it meets all codes and gets inspected by the Fire Dept. he’ll be just fine burning pellets. Now whether the stove can keep up with the cold is another question.

Oh and to the OP, welcome to the forum.
Oh I totally understand the dynamics of it. RV=350 SQFT. 8 feet wide unless he has a slide room. To make a wood stove legal your needing to A, put it on a fire proof foundation, then B, it must be located somewhere around 18 inches from any combustable walls. By my calculations that is going to put even a small stove in the middle of the floor. Now lets talk about walking around a hot stove. Oh what happens when a blanket or something accidentally falls onto the stove?
 

Rene T

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Oh I totally understand the dynamics of it. RV=350 SQFT. 8 feet wide unless he has a slide room. To make a wood stove legal your needing to A, put it on a fire proof foundation, then B, it must be located somewhere around 18 inches from any combustable walls. By my calculations that is going to put even a small stove in the middle of the floor. Now lets talk about walking around a hot stove. Oh what happens when a blanket or something accidentally falls onto the stove?
My stove has 4” clearance at the back but can be as little as 2” and about 12” on the sides with side shields per the manufacturers installation specs. The stove is made by Hartman Stove Company and it’s model P61A-2. Check it out. Mine is actually inside a closet with no door and it was blessed by the Fire Dept. for the installation I did.

You totally lost me when you said it had to be on a fireproof foundation. Do you mean the floor it’s sitting on or the foundation my house is sitting on. If you mean the floor, I have 3/8” thick tile under mine on a plywood subfloor. You can buy pre manufactured hearths which is about 2” high and can sit right on the floor no matter what the floor is except carpeting of course. The hearth has to go beyond the stove 6” on the sides and the front. So you see a pellet stove, depending on the manufacturer, takes up very little space.

My stove pipe is a 4” pipe and is made especially for pellet stoves. It’s a pipe inside of a pipe made by EXCELPellet. The clearance to combustibles is 2”. When the stove is running, I can put my hand right on the pipe. very safe.
 
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Crazy jo

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Thank you for all the feedback. So the main issues would be the water freezing, and mold. I wouldn't want to use propane very much.
 

IBTripping

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When it gets below freezing, you may need to open the cabinet doors so that the water lines don't freeze. There are some videos on Youtube of how RV dwellers in Canada prepare for the winter. I've seen -40 F. That pellet stove will be working hard as will the heater under the trailer.
 

steveblonde

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it can be done im in Alberta and i see people doing it here. Would I do it? No not a cat in hells chance, as others have said trying to keep water in the lines would be brutal trying to empty a black or grey tank - impossible - if your going to try you need to look for something like this

they are actually designed for our winters and the guys up on the rigs use them
 

turkeylady

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Having spent 2 winters in my RV, weathering -20ºf in Idaho and Montana, I have a bit of input. My 5th wheel is 24', true 4-season Northwood.

The first winter I went unskirted. No added interior insulation on windows, etc. Floor was crazy cold, I had a lot of rugs and mats. I relied mostly on electric heat. Using propane heat, a 7 gallon tank would last 3 days in the worst cold and the furnace ran near constantly. I fell back on electricity mostly because it was less wear and tear on the RV's systems and also it was nearly silent. I could barely sleep when the propane heat kicked on. To keep nighttime heating at a minimum, I closed the overhang bedroom off (there's a panel "door" to the bedroom) from the rest of the 'house'. This kept the heat in the main body of the RV instead of it all floating up into the bedroom. I slept with sleeping bags, blankets, and warm 4-legged space heaters. Mornings in the bedroom were cold, but the rest of the 'house' was warm, and this method kept my power bill down. A simple 750/1500 space heater worked just fine. The one I had was even a mock fireplace with fake flame aesthetic, the ambiance was a huge morale boost.

To handle the water, I kept the water heater running, of course. On the coldest nights I let the faucets dribble. If it got below 10ºf I had to heat the pump or it would freeze up. So I bought a water-proof rubber heated "work mat", it was made for relief from standing on cold floors, so it was rugged. I laid this over my water tank and turned it on when it got below 20º. I couldn't put it too close to the pump or it would overheat the pump. But draped over the water tank, it worked perfectly.
Edit: To keep drain lines from freezing in the worst temps, following up with piping hot or near-boiling water is a really good idea. Once, in my first winter, I accidentally left a grey water line closed and it froze. My kitchen water line was backed up and frozen. All water dumping had to switch to the bathroom grey water line until it warmed up enough to melt the kitchen grey line.

Yes, a few nights my pipes froze regardless, both winters. I had to be prepared to deal with hauling and conserving water.

My grey water flowed freely into a gravel-filled hole. I don't use anything chemical or toxic, it's all garden-friendly waste water. My first winter, my black water had to be manually emptied into 5 gallon buckets and carried about 150' to the septic tank access. I'd open the cap to the septic tank and dump the buckets in. That was always bath day. It was gross, but I had no choice. Got really good at not sloshing the buckets. It never froze on me that I can remember. I only had to empty it once every 4-6 weeks though. It might have frozen during the coldest stretches and I just didn't notice because I didn't have to mess with it at the time.
My second winter, I let pee drain with the grey water. One person's worth, mixed with water, into a drainage trench wasn't a big deal. Still perfectly garden-friendly. I pooped in a nearby building with a proper toilet. Made the septic situation hassle-free.

My second winter, I was smarter, and it was colder. I skirted with straw bales. It took nearly 2 tons to do, $300. The floor was so much warmer! I composted the hay the next year. I insulated all of my windows with 1 or 2 layers of bubble wrap. This allowed light to come in but kept the cold drafts out completely. Mild mold crops, nothing too serious. The window frames needed a good deep cleaning in the spring. I also insulated around the door, and even bubble-wrapped the screen door so I could leave the front door open without all the warmth gushing out. I bubble-wrapped my sky lights. Etc etc. The RV was much more comfortable, and it was a much colder, longer winter with way more snow (Montana winter). I kept my roof shoveled every 12" of snow or so.

Of course before my first winter even hit, I re-caulked EVERYTHING. I did not want to deal with leak issues in a rough season, or ever.

The biggest issue both winters was moisture. Condensation. Humidity. The first winter I was doing laundry in my RV and attempting to also dry it in there with the electric heaters. It was a swamp on those days! I ran the vent fans a lot and line-dried whenever I could.

I'm about to do a 3rd winter in the same RV. In a much milder climate this time though, it won't be as tough. This year I'm intending to install a wood stove. I agree that with proper, mindful installation and shielding, there's not a lot of risk involved. Shield above, below, and all around it, and mind your chimney pipe. Know what to do in case of a chimney fire.
I personally want a wood stove to keep it dry, cut heating costs and be more independent, and have the ambience of the fire, the familiar roar of the flames. It does a lot for the morale in a long, cold winter. Chopping wood is good exercise, and it's also a good way to produce free hot water and cook without using propane.

This year I will be skirting with greenhouse plastic. 6-mil heavy stuff, it's pretty cheap at $0.12-$0.14/sq ft on ebay. Skirting will cost less than $100 this year, and the skirting will be reusable and won't take up much room once folded up and stored for the summer. Hopefully it's a good experiment!
 
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Memtb

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Consistent -40 would be a challenge in most any rv. Doable with “really good modifications.....but, not a great existence!

If the RV was of really good design it coild be done much easier. Teton Holmes and Excel both had below zero wintering capabilities with factory guarantees/warranties! Teton once offered a minus -30 F guarantee and Excel had a minus -20 guarantee.

We lived in our 1990 Teton for 2 winters without any special modifications.....seeing many -20’s F and a few -30’s. Our only condensation issue was in the front bedroom closet, which was my fault as I closed the closet sliding mirrored doors. The Tetons came with a vented attic.....similar to a house! However, seeing constant temps colder than a -20 F would be a pretty difficult challenge! memtb
 

NY_Dutch

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This year I will be skirting with greenhouse plastic. 6-mil heavy stuff, it's pretty cheap at $0.12-$0.14/sq ft on ebay. Skirting will cost less than $100 this year, and the skirting will be reusable and won't take up much room once folded up and stored for the summer. Hopefully it's a good experiment!
Don't expect the plastic sheeting to be anywhere near as effective as the hay bales. It isn't the material that insulates, it's the dead air the material traps that minimizes the heat transfer to the cold side. The plastic will stop wind and moisture of course, but not the heat loss. Even bubble wrap would be a better choice.
 

Kirk

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My grey water flowed freely into a gravel-filled hole.
You must be well out where people like the EPA never go and have no close neighbors either.

You may live like that but it doesn't sound like fun to me. I have wintered in both Idaho and Wyoming but wouldn't want to do it in any RV available today. If I did so it would be in something like the Ice Castle trailers that are built for cold.
 

Memtb

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You must be well out where people like the EPA never go and have no close neighbors either.

You may live like that but it doesn't sound like fun to me. I have wintered in both Idaho and Wyoming but wouldn't want to do it in any RV available today. If I did so it would be in something like the Ice Castle trailers that are built for cold.

Many places welcome “grey” water being “recycled back into the soil! However, not all views are the same throughout the nation!


Black water.......a totally different animal! memtb
 

IBTripping

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There are people in Canada who live in their RVs. There are a number of modifications that allow them to do so. I live in mine in the Virginia winters which is relatively easy for me because the temperature only gets down to the high teens at the coldest. However, there are number of YouTube videos that go into detail on modifications that can be done. Here are links to just a few of the many on YouTube:
 
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