Keeping Our Camper Warm by Keeping the Cold Out
Posted in Cold Weather on December 7, 2013
We’ll be spending our first winter as full-timers in our home state, Virginia. Our camper is not 4 seasons – heck, the waste tanks aren’t even enclosed. Our adventure this winter, will be keeping ourselves warm, our tanks un-frozen, and everything as comfy cozy as possible. In the process, we’ll be listing all of our modifications here, and all of our repairs as posts. Enjoy!
Do What You Know. Reflectix
Following the advice Laurie read of [someone] in a forum (please speak up, I would love to give you credit), we also cut a piece that would fit between our outer and screen camper doors. This made an incredible difference, and there is no longer that radiating cold feeling as you pass by the door.
After a lot of debating on what option to go with, we posted the the ever helpful Full-Time RVers Group (and a few others) on Facebook concerning what others have sealed their hatches with. The overall consensus is to use bubble insulation here as well; Reflectix it is.
The Exhaust Vent
When it comes to the exhaust vent, Laurie has read about items which can be purchased, how a pillow can be stuffed in the hole, and more. Being we like to re-purpose our trash into new usable items and spend as little as possible, Laurie used her sewing safety pinning skills and fashioned the perfect vent-hole-filler.
Here we are still weighing costs and benefits here. We are currently using electric heat when needed. Our original heater was an electric oil hybrid radiator, which decided it wouldn’t shut off when the set temperature was reached. After a couple nights of waking up to 90+ degree temperatures, we replaced it with a loaner, generic alternative. We are also trying out a small space heater, but it alone does not fully warm the camper when it drops below freezing.
Warm inside + Cold Outside + Moisture = Condensation
As you may already know, condensation is an issue in an RV. With the Reflectix in, we get a little more than normal. To handle our condensation issues, we are running a dehumidifier. Alan had a large one he ran to keep his collectibles safe a few years ago and we hooked that up. His is an old version, the new model is the Whirlpool 70-Pint 2-Speed Dehumidifier, it is also available at Walmart. Between the microwave, Alan’s beefy computer, the electric heater, and the dehumidifier, it is an ongoing game to find the right combination and not trip the breaker.
Both Snow and Rain Find Leaks
We seemed to have a small leak issue on our slide, and didn’t want to have more. So, while it was still somewhat warmer weather, Laurie decided to seal up the camper. With all of the things learned during this process, we will soon be making a separate post on re-sealing your RV / Camper.
On those cold, cold nights, we do not want our water lines and the hose we are connected to freezing. With about 75 foot of water hose between us and the spigot, heat tape wasn’t really going to be an option. Luckily, Alan likes manual labor and his dad also wanted power to his shed.
After a bit of Googleing, we found out the frost line in the Richmond, Virginia area is 18 inches. Allowing for pipe width and a little safety buffer, Alan went with 20-22. PVC pipe was purchased to run standard white water hose through, and the project was on its way.
Heat Tape was added on each end, long enough to go partially in to the pipe, to prevent the above the frost line portion from freezing.