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Old 03-06-2007, 01:54 PM   #1
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Bob asked me about cold weather camping and so I don't mess up a current thread I'll answer here.

Over all I am rather impressed with the performance of our Horizon, sure it could be better but it wasn't designed for this cold I would assume.

We arrived in Lake George, NY on Feb 27. They had 3 feet of snow around Feb 14 so most of it was still around. Then on March 2 we had another 7 inches. Last night it got down to -9 with winds up to 20mph. I grew up in Sydney so that is a little colder than I was used to. If we got a frost to stay till 9am it was considered to be really cold, how little did we know. Now it is 2.5 at 18:20.

I had a 75 watt bulb in the water bay and added a second one. We have 2 small electric heaters to run off the free electric and take a lot of the load off the propane. I added an outlet under the bed with a new breaker on the secondary leg because all the outlets are on the one leg and we were tripping breakers last year. So now I have one heater on each leg and do not have to worry about tripped breakers.

Because of the extreme cold I will not be able to use the heat pump for a while so I cut a piece of 1/2" plywood to replace the filter in the floor and cut out some of the cold coming up from the A/C which did freeze the washer lines till I added the plywood.

I did find that the side and top corners of the bed slide do condense or, now frost but did not find it anywhere else. Today we had a lot of frost on the inside of the windshield and drivers side window even though we had that silver bubble wrap type insulation on the inside of the front and drivers side windows.

As far as improvements are concerned for the cold this is what I would do. I would insulate the underside of the entrance steps. I would insulate the outside of the water bay if I can figure out what I can use that would be serviceable being outside and subject to the rear wheels etc. I would put the silver bubble wrap on the inside of the entrance door under the inside skin. Also as I have a rattle between my door skin and the door frame so I hope to insert some thin carpet to stop the rattle and also add some extra insulation value to the door. Hopefully this summer I will get a lot of this done if my fulltime job doesn't get me too tired.

We fill our water tank then take the hose off and open the grey drain daily and the black drain weekly. We are trying to live as normal as possible, not sure how it is working out but my wife isn't complaining too much so that sure is a good sign.

Sorry this is a little long but tried to be as informative as possible because I also was very interested in how the MH (and us) would perform in cold weather. As it is March I did not expect it to be this cold. We will not turn the water back on in the park till well into April because the frost is so deep.

Stay Warm,
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Old 03-06-2007, 01:54 PM   #2
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Bob asked me about cold weather camping and so I don't mess up a current thread I'll answer here.

Over all I am rather impressed with the performance of our Horizon, sure it could be better but it wasn't designed for this cold I would assume.

We arrived in Lake George, NY on Feb 27. They had 3 feet of snow around Feb 14 so most of it was still around. Then on March 2 we had another 7 inches. Last night it got down to -9 with winds up to 20mph. I grew up in Sydney so that is a little colder than I was used to. If we got a frost to stay till 9am it was considered to be really cold, how little did we know. Now it is 2.5 at 18:20.

I had a 75 watt bulb in the water bay and added a second one. We have 2 small electric heaters to run off the free electric and take a lot of the load off the propane. I added an outlet under the bed with a new breaker on the secondary leg because all the outlets are on the one leg and we were tripping breakers last year. So now I have one heater on each leg and do not have to worry about tripped breakers.

Because of the extreme cold I will not be able to use the heat pump for a while so I cut a piece of 1/2" plywood to replace the filter in the floor and cut out some of the cold coming up from the A/C which did freeze the washer lines till I added the plywood.

I did find that the side and top corners of the bed slide do condense or, now frost but did not find it anywhere else. Today we had a lot of frost on the inside of the windshield and drivers side window even though we had that silver bubble wrap type insulation on the inside of the front and drivers side windows.

As far as improvements are concerned for the cold this is what I would do. I would insulate the underside of the entrance steps. I would insulate the outside of the water bay if I can figure out what I can use that would be serviceable being outside and subject to the rear wheels etc. I would put the silver bubble wrap on the inside of the entrance door under the inside skin. Also as I have a rattle between my door skin and the door frame so I hope to insert some thin carpet to stop the rattle and also add some extra insulation value to the door. Hopefully this summer I will get a lot of this done if my fulltime job doesn't get me too tired.

We fill our water tank then take the hose off and open the grey drain daily and the black drain weekly. We are trying to live as normal as possible, not sure how it is working out but my wife isn't complaining too much so that sure is a good sign.

Sorry this is a little long but tried to be as informative as possible because I also was very interested in how the MH (and us) would perform in cold weather. As it is March I did not expect it to be this cold. We will not turn the water back on in the park till well into April because the frost is so deep.

Stay Warm,
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Old 03-06-2007, 02:35 PM   #3
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Sounds like you are dealing fairly well with some seriously cold temps. I've wondered if you could inject expanding foam into the interior of the door of the water bay??
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Old 03-06-2007, 02:50 PM   #4
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The door is about 1" thick with foam. It is the other 3 sides and the bottom which are just plastic and with lights on in the bay I can see a strong glow outside at night. That gives you an idea of how thin the plastic is, you should have about the same thing.
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Old 03-06-2007, 03:25 PM   #5
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Actually, on my Journey, the water bay is all steel but very thin. I have intended to insulate it from the inside but we don't normally stay in seriously cold areas so not in a hurry to do it. I will say the 'underbelly' areas, including the wet bay, of my old '97 Adventurer were better heated by the LP furnace than this DP. I also miss the extra auxilary heater in the back of the rig. You could really get that Adventurer toasty while going down the road.
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Old 03-06-2007, 03:43 PM   #6
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We had a '96 Vectra 454 before this one and it had the bedroom heater which ran off the engine while driving. I can not understand why Winnie does not put these in the diesels as they are normally bigger anyway.

Our travels up to here were comfortable with just the dash heat but the back end was always cool. Still don't think I'll go back to the Vectra.
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Old 03-06-2007, 03:43 PM   #7
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Another area to consider is under the sofa/dinette slide-out. There is room for
1 1/2" to 2" of rigid foam insul. You may want to consider an additional foam gasket around the inside perimeter of the slide-outs.
The furnace does a fair job of kickin' out heat but not much comes out of the front register.
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Old 03-06-2007, 04:58 PM   #8
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Lots of good info thanks. Did your washer lines break
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Old 03-07-2007, 05:03 AM   #9
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This winter we stayed below freezing for three days or so and that is the coldest camping experience we have had; thankfully it wasn't in the teens or lower - I believe we were in the low 20s. Some observations:

- Of course the heat pump won't work

- Propane furnace ran for probably 30-40 minutes out of every 60 and at this rate of consumption, we would have emptied our tank in 7-10 days

- Plumbing bay would easily stay just above freezing until we got into the multi-day below freezing event. Then we needed a 100 watt light bulb (75 watts wasn't enough with no added bay insulation)

- A 1500 watt electric heater in our bedroom worked great for keeping us toasty at night while turning the furnace down to conserve propane

- We could have really reduced our BTU loss by pulling in the LR slides - in fact we tried to pull in the street-side slide but due to a layer of ice on the topper, we couldn't

- I have since insulated our plumbing bay with some leftover R10 Fiberglas from my shop construction - this replaces some towels we previously used

I have decided that camping in cold weather takes special preparations and that our coach really isn't optimum for that type of use. Hats off to those who make it work
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Old 03-07-2007, 05:40 AM   #10
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Since most of my motor home usage is in the snow to go skiing, I have found the winne to be very good. I do have a couple complents, 1, I don't get alot of heat out of the front heat vent, with the furnace in the back it's a long way for the heat to travel I guess. That plumbing bay is a big concern, no insulation. so far I have had no problems, I have not had to use a trouble light yet but most of the temps I get into are only down to 15 to 20 degrees F. Also the dual pane windows are great but we get alot of frost on the frames, I wish they would put a therma break in the frame to avoid some of that.

On my last trip I was gone 9 days, got back a week ago. We were on MT hood and it snowed about 2 feet and was really windy for 2 days. after digging her out I was doing my final walk around before leaveing and I found that the engine exhaust pipe had been filled/packed with snow from the wind. I had to get the awning rod out and dig the snow out before I started it up.
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Old 03-07-2007, 05:42 AM   #11
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by the way ARKAUSSIE you said it got down to -9. Was that degrees F, or Degrees C?
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Old 03-07-2007, 03:55 PM   #12
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-9 deg F was the night before last and last night was -15deg F. Tonight is forecast to be a balmy -2.
This morning the toilet was not getting water and then this afternoon we lost all our water. The coach was in the high 60's all night and day but I feel the bays were too cold. I believe the line from the tank to the water bay froze and the toilet line is in the same area. The hot water goes the other way and it had froze also. I added a heater by the water tank pointing along the water line and a heater under the sink going directly into the water bay.

We have electric heaters inside plus the furnace runs some but I guess it was not enough to keep the water running. We had to shower elsewhere tonight and have our fingers crossed that the pipes don't break. I have tried everything I know to do so will just have to sit and wait.

The plumbing diagrams are not the best to read but I believe there are no fittings hidden and they are the usual weak point.

Normally the weather in March is not this cold, just our luck to be here this year, hopefully it will be better next year.

Until we get the water back on I won't know if the washer and its lines have a problem. My guess they run the same route the water heater lines run.
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Old 03-08-2007, 03:40 AM   #13
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Lindsay - frozen water is nature's way of telling you to go farther South
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Old 03-08-2007, 04:27 AM   #14
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Ark,
You mentioned that water lines froze. I assumed that the water lines from the water tank to the pump are from compartment to compartment but from there they are they are in heated area of basement. I think something else is happening and that is when you have electric heaters running you are satisfying thermometer which is not allowing propane furnace to keep temp level above freezing down below in hesated compartments.
We have camped in Lake Placid,NY and Mt Snow, VT with 20 below temps in a Minnie Winnie and never had a problem except once with a water pump and as soon as I woke up I solved the problem.
When in cold climates I would put a ceramic heater in water tank area and run extension cord up to bedroom. I had a remote thermometer in bay also and when temp got down to freezing I plugged in heater and in no time was up to about 60 degrees and unplugged it. Watched it during the night and repeated process.
In those days we didn't have thermopane windows so I used the shrink type windows you buy for houses. The plastic frame attaches to metal frame and then the film. Then you use wife's hair dryer to shrink. It does a great job and no condensation. The only place I had a problem was bottom of entry door and driver/pasenger area.
Hope all goes well with you and no broken pipes, Good Luck.
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