Freezing Cold Weather RV Winter Living Tips!

Freezing Cold Weather RV Winter Living Tips!
just trying to help other rvers out this winter!

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The Deprey’s

  • Here's a friendly advice from hardy Canadians spending harsh winters in RV's at oil and gas sites throughout northern BC and Alberta:

    1) To winterize your windows, use special bubble wrap with flat surfaces on both sides (not the regular one with bare bubbles sticking out on one side) and attach it really tightly to the window glass while also covering metal frames surrounding it all the way to the wood trim. Keep it in place by running scotch tape all the way around it sealing it as best as you can. There's also bubble wrap with one sticky side which is absolutely ideal for that: it doesn't leave much air between the wrap and the glass/metal frame, thus eliminating condensation and frost. This material is also great in letting the sunlight in during the day (unlike reflectix/astrofoil) while providing good privacy at night (you can only see people's silhouettes inside even with blinds open). It's fairly easy to peel off in spring, but you might need to use a bit of rubbing alcohol to remove any adhesive residue from the glass.

    2) You can also attach pieces of bubble wrap to the vent and skylight openings to let the light in without loosing the heat. I recommend keeping them in place using self-adhesive velcro strips attached around the perimeter of both the opening and the bubble wrap cover – that way they're easy to remove when needed.

    3) Glue a large sheet of sticky bubble wrap over the top of your bed board under the matress to reduce condensation there.

    4) To insulate the walls and roof use penoplene (look up either that word or 'foamed polyethylene'). This is a fairly cheap but amazing material very popular in Europe and sold on amazon/ebay in form of soft and flexible 1/4''-thick tiles with one self-adhesive side and another having various 3D decorative patterns and colors (some really nice). You simply glue them onto your internal walls and ceiling like you would regular tiles, and they boost your rig's insulation immensely. They are also fairly easy to peel off and/or replace with a different design when the old one feels too old.

    5) Use self-adhesive astrofoil with one sticky side to insulate the walls inside all the cabinets (top and bottom) as well as all the basement storage compartments (including the inside of all storage hatches). Check the condition and sealing quality of the hatch seals (especially in an old RV) and replace it or beef it up using residential self-adhesive door insulation strips if necessary.

    6) Use penoplene to cover the inside of your rig's entrance door, and put sticky bubble wrap on the door window.

    7) To insulate the floor, you can use thick carpet or area rugs, but nothing beats 2''-thick interlocking closed-cell floor tiles sold in any hardware store (some sport equipment stores also have them under the name 'tatami mats'). They're also super comfy to walk on.

    WORD OF CAUTION: Generally speaking, any extra insulation layers you put inside your rig MUST be attached to your rig's walls/windows/ceiling/floor tightly with minimal air gap (and not just covering loosely or being simply hang on the wall), otherwise the gap will fill up with condensate which will ruin your rig. Condensation and frosting around window sills are the main reason why all these other ideas like closing the shades or covering the windows with astrofoil or blankets just don’t work, not to mention they will turn your rig into a depressing everdark cave.

    8) The biggest sources of heat loss (especially in the newer, better insulated 4-season RV's) are the slideout perimeter seals. Buy thick self-adhesive door seal strips (or cut 2"-wide strips from thick and soft closed-cell foam mats sold in hardware stores or on ebay) and glue them around the perimeter of the slideout behind the decorative wood trim where it connects with the external slideout walls so that when the slide is fully out these foam strips will be somewhat compressed against the internal wall providing a good seal. Unfortunately, this cannot be done at the bottom of the slide, so you have to identify the main routes of draft penetration on some cold windy day and improvise the ways to block them.

    9) Avoid using propane heaters (unlike propane furnace or electric fireplace, they produce a lot of moisture).

    10) To further reduce moisture, use microwave or electric toaster to cook/reheat your food instead of propane cooktop or stove, and if you absolutely must boil or cook something using propane then turn on the exhaust fan or crack your roof vent open to drive away the vapours.

    11) Be very careful with electric heaters of any kind (even oil radiators – they can also cause fire if they trip).

    12) Avoid showering in your rig as much as possible (use a workplace, gym or campsite shower).

    13) Avoid drying loundry, wet clothes or sports gear inside your rig on really cold days when you can't air it.

    14) Buy a good dehumidifier if you cannot reduce moisture by the above steps – it's well worth it. Remember: excessive moisture in the rig breeds mold and mildew which will slowly kill not only your rig but also its occupants, and once it's there it's almost impossible to get rid of.

    15) Watch closely the inlet and outlet vents of your fridge (especially if you ever run it on propane in freezing cold): icicles tend to grow inside the space behind your fridge blocking these vents.

    16) Don't bother clearing snow banks around or under your rig (it's a typical rookie mistake to think that they might accelerate freezing of your tanks and piping). Conversely – as soon as there's enough snowfall, pile as much snow as you can around the rig to attract even more snow in the next snow storm thus growing the snow barrier around your rig untill ideally it will completely close the gap between the bottom of your rig and the ground (this is especially important if you don't have a skirt). Also do not remove snow cover from the top of your rig and slide roofs.

    17) I'd definitely recommend using a heat-traced water hose for hookup. In a modern 4-season rig with heated underbelly and tanks you may not need to keep the water running all the time to prevent the internal pipes from freezing, but I'd recommend to do this in extreme cold or if the park where you're staying doesn't have heated water hookups. If it does, it may be better to use it periodically to fill up your tank and run off of it using your water pump most of the time. In such case, as well as if you're boondocking, I'd also recommend to turn off your water pump and leave all the taps (hot and cold) fully open if you leave your rig without furnace running for any length of time e.g. before going to work or ski. Do this also before going to bed on extremely cold noghts even with furnace running. Do it as often as you can if your rig is not 4-season rated.

    Good luck and keep warm!

  • Got very tired of seeing both of you. SHOW what you're talking about… the heated hose, the hose with a heat strip, the AC with the heat pump, the tag on the RV showing that it's got the Arctic Package, etc. You showed the Styrofoam, and the thing the woman called a "foam insulated thingee" come on, give me a break… what is that? Where do you get it? How does it help? Don't make up names for things.. they have names and descriptions such as the CONTROLS for the electric blankets, the ELECTRIC FIREPLACE, not "one of these."

  • Very informational thanks for your help. Just one comment about your wind chill statements. Wind does not actually lower the temperature on inanimate objects. It does however effect cooling them easier and faster, thus a cars radiator. I know, I a stickler for facts.

  • New to full time RV life…2017 27ft Winnebago travel trailer in Silverthorne, CO 34° F right now at 2am. All windows sealed off with 2" polyethylene insulation board and same for a skirt. I even took off the ac ceiling vent to stuff 2 layers of 2" foam and refletix inside.

  • Wind chill=nothing to do with actual temp. 45 degrees with 30mph wind might FEEL like 30 degrees but it's still 45 degrees. The only effect wind has on inanimate objects is more rapid cooling

  • We're camphosts in Lee Canyon outside Las Vegas, NV. It's getting down to 16 and things are freezing today high of 32 We have wrapped all pipes and winterized all windows with plastic shrink. 40 foot alpha we stay 65 to 70 inside.

  • Before you talk about windchill. Learn your facts. Windchill only affects warm blooded creatures ie us and animals. Your trailer truck only feel air temperature. Not windchill it only will super cool to the air temp that’s it. Info below from national weather service.

    The only effect wind chill has on inanimate objects, such as car radiators and water pipes, is to more quickly cool the object to cool to the current air temperature. Object will NOT cool below the actual air temperature.

  • 12 above tonight in Redmond Oregon, but we've seen -22 when we were living in the house. Now that the house burned we'll be in an Alpenelite 5th wheel for the winter. Skirted it with 2" foil backed foam, hope to dig up the power line, put up a temporary metered box and be off the generator soon. Some really good tips here, thanks guys and gals!

  • Currently in a 26' Heartland trailer. In Sutton, QC, Canada January and February can stick around 5F to 40F.
    The only way or making this possible is by having a Cubicle wood burning stove, 2 propane powered space heaters, the furnace (30 000 BTUs) and a dehumidifier. It takes loads of energy but I manage to keep the trailer at 78F.
    The dehumidifier is as must! The difference in temperature from inside to outside creates so much condensation that I risk water damage if I don't<to keep the humidity level at 30%/
    Enjoy your winter, stay warm!

  • Great video guys! I’m in Vegas. It’s December 22nd and it in the 60’s. I’ve always wanted an RV since I was 4 and my mom bought me my first Tonka Winnebago. I’m getting close to the purchase probably in the next year. I’m going for a Leisure Serenity. Great on space and lots of storage. Do you know how easy /hard it would be to keep an RV as opposed to a trailer heated in cold weather ? Not Vegas weather but maybe Alaska? (Worst case scenario) 😂😂 and also I plan on getting solar.