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Old 12-24-2007, 05:07 PM   #1
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We just started on our fulltime adventure and left a very cold South Dakota (about 9 degrees) for a warmer climate last week. I mounted a couple of wireless thermometer sensors in the water bays so I could monitor the temp from inside and found that they would drop below freezing even with the coach furnace on. I ended up putting a trouble light with a 60 watt bulb in each compartment (suspended so as not to touch anything) and this did the trick (about 44 degrees). The furnace kept us nice and warm inside.

Not sure if this is the best way to handle this and I hope we can simply avoid such temps in the future, but if you have any other ideas, I would like the hear them. Overall, I think the coach did well.
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Old 12-24-2007, 05:07 PM   #2
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We just started on our fulltime adventure and left a very cold South Dakota (about 9 degrees) for a warmer climate last week. I mounted a couple of wireless thermometer sensors in the water bays so I could monitor the temp from inside and found that they would drop below freezing even with the coach furnace on. I ended up putting a trouble light with a 60 watt bulb in each compartment (suspended so as not to touch anything) and this did the trick (about 44 degrees). The furnace kept us nice and warm inside.

Not sure if this is the best way to handle this and I hope we can simply avoid such temps in the future, but if you have any other ideas, I would like the hear them. Overall, I think the coach did well.
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Old 12-24-2007, 05:32 PM   #3
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Hi Rick, is there a difference if you park on cement, snow or dirt? Right now I'm in a campground in Platte City, Mo. and parked on dirt. When I first arrived the campground wasn't plowed and it seemed to be colder but I don't have a way to measure and compare.

I think it would make a difference. What do you think? I live in California and don't have that much experience camping in the cold.

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Old 12-25-2007, 02:12 AM   #4
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The trouble light is a common solution and likely the best. I do have a small heater with freeze-proof setting that I've used in the water compartment.

I am frankly disappointed that the water bay gets so cold even with the LP furnace on. On my old 1997 Adventurer, heating of the critical utility compartments was much better.
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Old 12-25-2007, 02:35 AM   #5
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Where is your fresh water tank located? On my Meridian, it's located between the frame rails. But then, I ain't going north in winter, so I don't worry about it! <G>
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Old 12-25-2007, 04:05 AM   #6
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We own an '04 Journey (39W) ... it has the water tank between the rails ... on my rig there is a "hose looking" heat duct that goes down into the insulated water tank area ... it is right beside the green and white water filler hose.
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Old 12-25-2007, 04:37 AM   #7
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That's what we had to do as well, except we had to use a 100 watt bulb to keep the bay above freezing. I found that a little fiberglass insulation on the bay bottom dramatically improves the situation.

The very best fix is to head south as you are doing

Good luck with fulltiming! We did it for over a year and loved every minute of the adventure!
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Old 12-25-2007, 11:41 AM   #8
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Rick,
You failed to mention what heater you used. Was it the heat pump or the propane heater? The propane heater is the one that heats the water holding tank areas and not the heat pump as that comes out of the ceiling duct.
Also when it gets too cold I use a ceramic cube which has a thermostat you can set. It runs on AC though. There is also the motoraide heater which should heat the compartments while running down the road.
I have used my Rv with temps in the negative range and always had water however I used the cube.
Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 12-25-2007, 05:09 PM   #9
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We were using the propane heater at night while parked and then I used the inverter to power the trouble lights while driving. I did find the rear compartment (where the water input is) was heated a bit from the engine, especially at low speeds. The trouble lights worked great and we had no problems down to the 10 degree range we experienced.

That said, I will try to make sure my next coach has some sort of direct heating of these compartments.
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Old 12-26-2007, 04:09 AM   #10
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Good idea on the wireless thermometer sensors in the water compartments. I don't know why that water & sewer compartment isn't better insulated. How far below freezing did it get? Until just the other morning, I have never had anything freeze in there. I have been in below 15 degrees, with no hoses out, compartment shut & never froze. But I did have it freeze the other morning, with hoses out! No damage but the shower hose was froze. Too bad a person couldn't spray on some type of insulation on the whole compartment to make up for a bad design!
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Old 12-26-2007, 05:10 AM   #11
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It got down to 16 degrees & now has warmed up to 19 here in Tombstone Territories RV Park near Tombstone, AZ. Elevation- 4000 ft. Hoses out & connected, covered with rugs. No freeze up. I don't know if the outside shower hose is froze & I won't try it for fear of breaking something brittle. No wind, so it is easier to keep things from freezing. I am running my furnace off a 30 lb. LP tank. Just ran out of LP! I've got to go fill it!
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Old 12-26-2007, 06:53 AM   #12
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Last night in Pahrump, my outside water hose froze solid. Fortunately I had a spare hose, so I switched over this morning so I could have my coffee. My neighbor has his hose wrapped in those split foam insulators--I'll copy his idea and make a trip to the local hardware store this morning. No internal pipes or the pump froze, so I think it only got below freezing for a few hours.
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Old 12-26-2007, 09:21 AM   #13
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Dave from Mn,

We were in that same campground exactly a year ago(well, + a day). We were on our way back from Cal and stopped there for a night. When we got there(at night of course) the compartment door for the utilities would not open. It was 26F, dark,and windy, had to give up trying to open it for the night. Ran the gen until 10pm, then slept lightly as I hoped the batts would last the night running the furnace.

In the morning, had to take one catch assembly off, as the plunger had broken jamming the door shut. We'll always remember waking up in Tombstone on Christmas 2006.
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Old 12-27-2007, 03:17 AM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by rv rick:
I will try to make sure my next coach has some sort of direct heating of these compartments. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

YEP, and also better wall, floor and roof insulation. Winnie's insulation is severely lacking!!!!
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Old 12-27-2007, 03:27 AM   #15
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In very cold weather, most of us only use our fresh water tank and when it gets low, re-fill it, and empty your hose, and store it.
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Old 01-01-2008, 05:13 AM   #16
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We are living in our RV fulltime in Virginia Beach, VA (for work purposes). Our setup during the winter months is a large cooler with our fresh water hose & two outside filters (water quality is poor at the KOA) in it. Wrapped around the hose in the cooler is a pipe warmer plugged in which really keeps it warm. Any hose outside is wrapped has a pipe warmer and then wrapped in foam insulation and duck-taped. This way nothing freezes even when it goes down to 20 degrees. We also have a light for the dump compartment just to ensure nothing gets too cold in there as well.

If I was on the road truly, I would likely keep the same setup if temperatures drop as I very confident with the solution even though it is bulky.

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Old 01-01-2008, 11:47 AM   #17
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Derek and I are on our third full-time winter, 2 of them being cold ones. This is our first cold winter with the Winnie.

We have our outside water hose wrapped with a heat tape, and insulated. Also put wireless thermometers in the water bay and the water heater bay. So far we haven't had to use any external heat in the bays, but it has been close. We have never had a freeze problem with our hose plugged in.

Our last unit was a 34 ft crossroads trailer. The belly was wrapped, and we did have a problem once with it, the dump valves froze, which I was able to thaw quickly with a hairdryer. That incident was in NYC, and was a week of below freezing weather.

Comparing the two units... The trailer had more insulation in it, but the floor of the Winnie does stay significantly warmer. I think the major heat loss in the Winnie is the windshield and slide.

We heat mostly with 2 electric oil filled radiators, and supplement when it drops below 32 with the LP furnace. Use caution when using space heaters, as they will keep the temp at the stat up, and not allow your LP furnace to kick on it heat the bays.

We did install an extend a stay fitting, and right now are running off a 100lb tank, mostly since propane is a real pain to get here, and I don't like having to un-set-up to go get it.

Last month we did go through 100#'s of propane, which is the most I have ever used in a month since we full-timed.


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Old 01-01-2008, 05:28 PM   #18
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So I am thinking my florescent drop light is going to warm zero. Just to think I bought that light to finally get rid of backing my arm/hand into the bulb shield and singeing myself. So after reading the above posts it looks like for very cold weather to keep my water / sewage bays above freezing I'll need to have a traditional 60 to 100 watt drop incandescent drop light per bay?
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