While it’s true that most people buy RVs to chase the sun and enjoy the unit’s creature comforts, others pursue rugged outdoor adventures. Some even pursue winter destinations. Such people go where they want and that doesn’t necessarily mean the Florida Keys. People use the RV to visit relatives over the Christmas holidays often in cold climates. In truth, many people enjoy winter camping and discover few if any people or bugs are around in snowbound but totally open-for-business RV parks. Such people must live in the RV in snowbound January, and here are some insights about the demands that winter makes on RV units.
Pipes and Hoses
The most urgent problem that arises in cold weather in your RV is the water inbound and outbound pipes freezing. The frozen fresh water hoses and pipes not only stop water flow but can actually burst when water freezes and expands. One solution is the use of insulation for fresh water hoses preferably a pipe sleeve and electrical heat tape that can be purchased and placed around pipes to prevent them from freezing. Waste hoses also need attention if only to make sure they’re running downhill. If the weather gets too cold, the wise RVer shuts off the grey and black tanks exits to the outside.
The next thing to think about is the water closet in the RV. Does the furnace system include a vent to heat the water closet? Is there any way to gauge the temperature of the water closet from inside the RV? Such additional features would be good selling points if a buyer wants to go winter camping.
The problem with radical temperature changes inside the RV is that it causes condensation to collect on the inside of the walls. To keep moisture down in RVs, consider cracking open a window or two. Moisture results from more than just showering. For example, food preparation adds moisture to the air. The presence of breathing people in the RV creates moisture. A sign that moisture is present in your unit is the foggy condensation on the inside of windows or windshield.
The RV is designed to survive climate extremes. In truth, many RV manufacturers compete to create the most worthy winter RV unit. To that end, every RV has insulation. The insulation comes in three forms:
- Fiberglass Insulation is the most common insulation found in RVs.
- Rigid Foam Insulation is moisture resistant and sturdy.
- Spray foam insulation is the least expensive and easiest to install.
Of the three, rigid foam is the insulation recommended by experts for climate extremes. Rigid foam works best in winter camping because it prevents condensation from forming.
While RVs may fall short of the quantity of insulation found in a home, RV insulation is good and snug. When exploring an RV or making RV sales, get acquainted with the insulation of the RV.
In addition to people who deliberately seek cold climates to camp in, some summer destinations at high altitudes can actually see significant snowfall by late September, so RVers occasionally get caught flat-footed by winter and need RV heat. They logically turn to the furnace.
In order to live in your RV during cold spells, you’ll have to ensure that the heating and furnace system of the RV is up to par with the demands of winter living. RV manufacturers install propane furnaces and tanks in RVs. A larger tank may serve Winter RV enthusiasts longer than a smaller tank. The winter camper may want to spend less time filling the propane tanks and more time enjoying the RV. It might be worth knowing that propane furnaces run anywhere from 50-percent to 150-percent more fuel efficient than electric space heaters that are purchased aftermarket.
Some people are nervous about propane furnaces burning in an enclosed space, so it might be a good idea to install a CO2 detector. If you’re buying or selling a used RV, check for leaks in the propane tank lines. Get it repaired if it’s leaking. On the furnace system, check that all heater vents are clear and the air is circulating properly.
Here’s a helpful tip you can share with winter Campers: At night, you can turn the furnace down low and use heaters in the bed to keep warm. A pre heated mattress pad on the bottom of the bedding and an electric blanket on top in addition to a down blanket and flannel sheets will keep campers snug in the bed. That way, campers don’t have to heat the entire RV at night, so turn the heat down and save energy. Don a nightcap like a stocking cap at night if you turn the heat down.