Hello Forum Chums,
Gotta question regarding trying to reside this winter in my Pace Arrow 1985 that I recently acquired....aside from looking forward to fixing up this old beauty, I am breaking ground on a retirement home in the mountains in PA....If I leave the heat on and and open the access panels, will I still be subject to freeze ups...Being new to the game, I don't know how well they are insulated...anyone who has done a winter in a rig have any insight?...Thought maybe some hay bales around the perimeter might help....any thoughts!
Wintering in an RV is a challenge, But it has and can be done, Don't mind my wondering the subject matter a little,, But the KEY is, Blocking the wind,(wind is bad,especially COLD wind). Make sure your external access panels are well sealed,, Your water supply hose insulated and covered, (including the spigot).
Your most vulnerable areas are the kitchen and bath, (they are on the outside walls of every RV). Putting extra insulation around the pipes (as best you can), and it helps leaving the cabinet doors open if it rather chilly still inside, Wind blocks along the underside does help with the cold coming up through the flooring,
(you mentioned hay bails ) those will work,,, anything to stop the wind from howling and blowing underneath. Sectioning off your RV into sections will help with keeping you comfortable, Most space heaters are not designed to heat a large space and maintain it very well, Its tried and true with several veterans,, is to hang blankets like hanging walls between the front, middle and rear,. And the RV furnace will rip through a lot of propane in a short period of time,,, they are about 30% to 45% efficient. Also to conserve heat loss is to put coverings over the windows,, Bubble wrap,, Blankets, etc,, Use your imagination. With electric heaters, PAY ATTENTION to AMP, draw,, Most RVs are set up with 30 amp,, and with even 50 amp, you can strain the electrical system,,i.e. start melting wires or blowing breakers.
Anything to stop a draft,, Cold wind truly is an uphill battle,, With temps plunging BELOW freezing,, Turn your supply water OFF, disconnect and drain the hose (so it dont split).
And this is a must,,, Have a working *Smoke detector and,Carbon Monoxide detector.
Just a humorous F.Y.I. Most RV's are insulated about as well as a 2 car garage,on a regular house.
I hope I was wasnt to confusing,,, hope this helps a little,, L.W.
Lots of folks here have, at one time or another, roughed it through a cold snap or even a full season. I have traveled everywhere,In the summer, spring,fall and the dreaded winter, I have had to pull off the road and hunker down till a storm passed. You have to think on the fly and then think of the obvious. Its a common sense instinct. If it can get inside it will,, it it can leak,, it will.. You just have to be smarter then your average bear, so to speak. I have found,(over the years), that those cheap moving blankets at Harbor Freight make excellent window (draft blockers). At first they may look redneckish,, it will become common place,, and whats nice is,, you can take them down on nice days and let a little sunshine in.(Plus no one outside will really see them), unless you have a large group of people over for a tea party,, and if the Queen is to arrive,, then that will require bringing out your best TV trays and Red solo cups,
Just think of the obvious. Good luck with your new home build, and be safe while camping. Life is a journey,one mile at a time.
Good morning, Ed;
Over on the Classic Winnebagos forum, located at the www.classicwinnebagos.com URL, DR Mousseau has described how he fared and all of the things he did to live in his GeorgieBoy Cruise Aire up in Northern Michigan last Winter when he could not make his usual trek to Florida for that Winter. I think that it is in the Miscellaneous or the Fulltime RV Living section of the forum.
As others have said, the main thing seems to be to keep the wind away from the motor home, especially underneath. Trailer type skirting or something similar around it can help also. Sort of like those hay bales you mentioned. A black plastic sheet layer on the ground underneath helps to keep ground moisture away from the underside.
There really is not very much insulation on these motor homes. One of the limits that must be observed is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. That does include single pane glass windows and many other things to keep the weight down. Putting some kind of covering over the windows, including the outside too, will reduce the heat loss through them. Look at "Eco-foam" from your local hardware store. It is a very light weight silvered reflective bubble wrap type material which is available also in a two layer form. It will help in both the Summer and in the Winter. I have seen people make rather large coverings from Eco-foam using a sewing machine and wide bias tape along the outside edges to make it more durable.
There are many things you can do to make living in a motor home during the Winter a reasonable possibility. I just am not sure that I want to try this in a sub-zero climate. It is a reasonable effort here in the Pacific Northwest in the Puget Sound Region.
Latté Land, Washington
I didn't see it mentioned here, so I'll throw in a few minor bits. We wintered in mid-2000s two years in Class A in Denver.
It was actually fairly well-designed in terms of all our tanks and plumbing running through bays and cabinets we could keep easily warm - we got those remote thermostat setups, so we could put the sensors in our bays with pipes, and keep an eye on them. Those bays also got ceramic heaters (small, tip over shutoffs and ensured they were nowhere near anything flammable) and again kept an eye on the thermostats and checked them daily. The bays that were too small for those we put in a caged work light - can't remember if it was 60 or 100watt but I was surprised how much heat that would generate.
Sometimes things froze, but we never had busted pipes, just waited for the midday thaw or took a hair dryer to things. Oh, yes, we did have our water tank freeze and bust because I didn't realize I could leave the propane on when I left for a couple of days - and SHOULD have-or drained the tank :-)
Now I'm not saying you should put heaters in your bays - that was just a decision we made. And Lakota has a good point about the amps - we only had 30 amps and we discovered later (melting wires behind the fuse box) that we had obviously taxed our system. That said, those ceramic heaters, if you are hooked up to shore power, really go a long way to keeping things cozy even in miserable temps. When we didn't have free electric we had those large propane tanks tee'd in. Expensive, but we stayed warm.
Now this December is going to be a different story in the new rig - my gray and black tanks hang underneath and I can't see where I'm staying going to allow hay bales! But I can get a worklight into the one area I have plumbing that isn't in a well insulated area and going to see how well rv antifreeze will work in the fore-mentioned tanks.
Oh, and the water heater is drained and not in use :-) Don't laugh but we did that twice. The third year we stored the Bounder and I thought "he" drained it, and "he" thought I drained it (facepalm).