Archive for January, 2016

Using your RV in the winter

2015-11-30 07.48.10
With winter being upon us and things freezing (it was 4 here in PA this morning), I wanted to share some winter tips for you full timers who might be new to this.
 
First things first, most newer and even a lot of older trailers and 5ers have dual tanks, and you can leave both tanks open and it auto switches. DO NOT do this. In the middle of the night it your heat will drain both tanks and you will woke up frozen with no way to get warm. Instead, only open one tank that way if it runs out you can just go switch the to other and refill the empty one. I will even keep a spare tank handy in the winter just in case. If you are going to be gone from your rig all day, check your tanks before you leave. Coming home to frozen pipes or pets is no fun.
 
I recommend getting online or go to a truck stop and get thermometer with an alarm. Set it to like 40 degrees or something. That way in the middle of the night when propane runs out, the alarm will sound, you can get up and turn on the still full tank and save everything from freezing.
 
If you are parked for a long time, skirt the bottom of you rig with something to keep the cold air out from under it. Styrofoam insulation and 1x1" is cheap at any hard ware store. This will keep your rig warmer and pipes warmer.
 
For your city water supply, you can use heat tape and insulation on your hose, but be careful, stuff can melt. I instead recommend spending the money on a hose that has the heat strip built in. They seem expensive, but they are well worth the investment.
 
Throw rugs are cheap and easy way to keep your toes comfy in the cold months.
RVing-in-Winter
 
We insulate our windows, but this can cause a cave like atmosphere. So we usually cover them at night and open them during the day to pull some solar heat in.
 
Be prepared for an over load of moisture. We keep our roof vent cracked open and you may find you might need a small dehumidifier. In the winter months moisture will build quickly and cause mildew or mold. Keep buckets of damp rid stashed in bathrooms and kitchen. Use your bath room and kitchen fans when showering or cooking to help reduce the influx of moisture. Keep an eye on walls, especially around furniture and mattresses where moisture can become trapped.
 
Be extremely careful for electric heaters and fireplaces. You may have 50amp breakers in you rig, but only 15amp power outlets. The wiring in many rvs was never meant for that kind of stress. Some older rigs actually have aluminum wiring which can melt with current over load. We personally have had an outlet melt but it never tripped a breaker. If we want to augment our heat while parked, we use a heavy duty extension cord slid out thru the gasket of our slide out and plugged into the shore power box. We do no plug it into an outlet in the trailer. And this goes without saying, but always use caution in the small space. Fires can happen fast if you or your young ones are careless with a heater. DO NOT use a kerosene heater. There is no where for the fumes to go and you could suffocate. ALWAYS REMEMBER that in most rvs the pipes and under belly are warmed by the propane furnace, so if you are running electric heat it will make the furnace not run as much which could lead to frozen pipes and sad campers.
Loveland_Colorado
 
Keep a heat gun and bottled water handy. At some point, your pipes will probably freeze. Newer rvs use pex pipe and it can withstand a certain amount of abuse. Old rigs used copper pipe and will crack if frozen. Learn your rig, learn where the pipes go and what they are made of just in case. Our rig is fully insulated and the pipes still froze. I found out the pipe had rubbed a hole in the insulation while driving. I was able to fix it since I knew where the pipe ran.
 
Watch for ice and snow build up on the roof and slide outs. While it's never happened to us personally, I have heard of some campers having the roof collapse from an overload of snow. Remember that most roofs are just rubber, so don't try to shovel it off or you may damage roof. And be careful if you are up on it, they get very slippery.
2015-11-30 08.27.39
 
Check on things constantly as temperature drops, you can catch things before they happen if you pay attention.
 
ABOVE ALL, be safe and maintain a positive attitude, even in a bad situation. That can be the difference between having an adventure, and just being miserable.
 
* some images pulled from google images and copyright belongs to their respective owners.