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Old 10-16-2018, 07:59 PM   #1
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Using RV in cold temperatures

New to RVing (have a Class A Journey) and my daughter is using while working as a medic out of state. What precautions do I need to take while she's using the RV in cold temperatures (Reno, NV area and has already seen temps around 32 and will get lower during winter)?

Thanks..Dan
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Old 10-16-2018, 08:17 PM   #2
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Need to heat with propane, set to at least 50 when below freezing even when the RV is not occupied., and also leave the water heater on. The floor ducts for the furnace have one or more small outlets that blow heated furnace air into the basement and it gets drawn back into the return air side of the furnace thru hole or holes in the floor, generally in the bathroom where the the lab and shower drains are passed thru the floor, and thru the hole or holes where the electrical and plumbing lines go thru the floor.

If heating with electric space heaters and not using the propane furnace then the only heat in the basement is what radiates from the hot water heater and hot water lines, and what little heat flows thru the floor down into the basement. Generally if it gets below about 28F for more than a few hours something in the basement is going freeze in particular around the water pump. It's real easy to crack or break the debris filter on the inlet side of the water pump if you don't have heat in the basement.

A lot of people put heat into the basement using electric devices like light bulbs, heat tape, or small heaters. You have to be careful to not create a fire hazard if you do this.
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Old 10-16-2018, 09:30 PM   #3
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As temps approach freezing, 1) fill the water tank and disconnect and stow the water hose, 2) only extend the sewer hose to drain the tanks - then stow, 3) consider a remote temp monitor in the basement near the water pump to watch temps ...

If temps drop below freezing and/or there's a snowstorm, 1) retract any slides possible (reduces footage that needs heating and protects slide out covers from collapsing/freezing due to snow load), 2) watch out for snow or freezing precipitation that may clog furnace and hot water heater vents, 3) leave the bay storage doors unlocked (if reasonable in the surroundings).

An electric blanket can be very helpful. Depending on propane usage an extend-a-stay valve and larger external propane tank may be needed.
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Old 10-17-2018, 12:20 AM   #4
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I have an indoor/outdoor thermometer in my coach. The outdoor sensor is in the wet bay and alarms if below freezing.
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Old 10-17-2018, 07:20 AM   #5
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Does the same advice given by powercat_ras pertain to the 24V???
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Old 10-17-2018, 07:22 AM   #6
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24V cold weather usage

Does the same advice apply to the 24V?
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Old 10-21-2018, 09:08 AM   #7
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Found this video for some ideas. Not sure they will apply to your area since the temps were pretty extreme.
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Old 10-24-2018, 05:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtfeetdan View Post
New to RVing (have a Class A Journey) and my daughter is using while working as a medic out of state. What precautions do I need to take while she's using the RV in cold temperatures (Reno, NV area and has already seen temps around 32 and will get lower during winter)?

Thanks..Dan
You will want to put a string of heat tape along your water hose and cover it with that black foam pipe insulation tubing. Use electrical tape every so often to hold it all together. Wrap your facet/ hose connection with fiberglass insulation and also the water pipe coming out of the ground. Put a 100 watt light in the water compartment. If temps get down to single digits at night, leave an inside faucet dripping or barely streaming during the night until the sun is out next day.
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Old 10-24-2018, 05:57 PM   #9
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You can leave your sewer line connected but keep the gray and black water valves closed until you are ready to dump. I have winter camped in middle Iowa using these techniques.
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Old 10-24-2018, 06:38 PM   #10
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What you do is going to depend on how long you plan to be in one spot and the facilities available .

If you're going to be long term then skirts around the bottom of the coach is a must. You can also get large propane tanks delivered to attach to the coach.

We normally stay at a campground in NY during the winter for the holidays. It's a year round campground so their water outlets are below ground. I just use a hose with heat tape covered with cheap black foam and leave it connected 24/7. Pull the waste hoses in until needed.

I have a temp monitor in the basement. I've done the light bulb thing, but the results are not good. So I ended up with a small electric space heater in plumbing area and that will disperse the heat in the basement and keep it well above freezing, even on a really low setting. IT doesn't run often and when it does it doesn't stay on long. FYI, I also have a portable smoke alarm near the heater and the heater is on large cooking pan just in case of melt down.

Our last winter outing was in March in Iowa, during a blizzard. During the storm we pulled in the slides as there was over a foot of accumulation.

We ran the fire place and 1 electric space heater during the day and that kept the main living area very comfortable in a 39' RV on low setting, with slides out the settings were at medium.

At night we turned off the Fireplace and kept the Electric heater by the front windshield on all night, sitting on a large cooking pan. We then turn on an electric oil space heater on over night in the bedroom on low setting. We were toasty the entire time in sub 20's temps and the propane furnace never came on during the 12 days we were there, except during the blizzard when the power went out for 2 hours.

If you want a few oil space heaters are quiet and do a great job, but you'll need a couple of them. The cheaper air space heaters do a great job, are a little noisy and can really crank through amps. When electric is included with the site's daily fee, we don't car if we're cranking 45 amps for an extended period of time.

Pick up some Vent covers to block the heat going out the roof vents. I have the type that are like square pillows and they do a great job.

Keep in mind propane is a wet heat and will introduce moisture into your coach, that's when you see frosty windows and get some freezing on the walls (been there done that). Electric is dry heat and I don't get frosting or freezing on the walls.
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Old 10-24-2018, 09:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
You will want to put a string of heat tape along your water hose and cover it with that black foam pipe insulation tubing. Use electrical tape every so often to hold it all together. Wrap your facet/ hose connection with fiberglass insulation and also the water pipe coming out of the ground. Put a 100 watt light in the water compartment. If temps get down to single digits at night, leave an inside faucet dripping or barely streaming during the night until the sun is out next day.
"You can leave your sewer line connected but keep the gray and black water valves closed until you are ready to dump. I have winter camped in middle Iowa using these techniques."


Isn't leaving a faucet dripping with closed grey valve asking for trouble? A dripping faucet with an open grey valve may very well cause an ice buildup in the sewer hose-again trouble.
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Old 10-24-2018, 10:25 PM   #12
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Cold temperature strategy

Hi,

Iím new to RVing as well, but have sought the advice of more seasoned veterans on this issue. I live in Colorado at 7000 feet elevation. Here is what I do.

I set my thermostat at 50 degrees. I donít really want to burn up the propane supply so 50 degrees is the failsafe.

I have an oil heated electric radiatior in the main cabin set to medium heat.

I have a very small ceramic heater in the lower water sewer dump cabin set to low. At low it kicks on at 40 degrees.

So far the old radiator electric heater keeps the main cabin at about 65 degrees. The lower compartments stay at 40+.

We have been at 28 to 32 degrees overnight for the last two weeks. Everything is good and I havenít burned any propane.

I am plugged into a 30 amp electric circuit.
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Old 10-25-2018, 04:14 AM   #13
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I use pool noodle floaties for F.W. hose insulation, and WD-40 for all my locks. WD keeps the moisture out. A 40 watt bulb with a cage (to protect the water pump plastic) If you're not a full timer, drain all your R.V. fluids. Don't forget to refill after cold. "A rolling stone is worth two in the bush".
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Old 10-25-2018, 08:34 AM   #14
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Consider roof mounted vent covers as well as interior vent insulated covers. Hail storm broke my factory stock covers and allowed water to enter the interior.
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