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Old 10-22-2013, 06:56 PM   #1
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winterizing? while i'm at it...

well, i arrived in the mountains just in time to get prepared for the very cold and snow. i've been doing research about winterizing but most of what i'm finding is for when the camper is stored.

what do i need to do while i'm living in the camper to have it ready for the cold and snow? i already learned that i need to skirt it and cover the windows with something.

thank you!
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:19 PM   #2
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Hi Noralee,

If you are planning on camping below freezing there are few things to work/think through.

Any on board tanks with water in them that are on the bottom outside of the camper is a starter. These are most susceptible to freezing.

The fresh tank, if you are still using it and it is “outside” the camper will be an issue unless you have a tank heater system strapped on. The bails of straw around the outside helps however I have no experience on how cold you can go for how long on this one for just using the straw. We have a heated tank compartment that I added extra insulation too and I can go down to 10 degrees maybe 0F as long as I use the furnace and drain the tank or be above freezing when towing.

The black and gray tanks, again ours are enclosed however I have seen some winter campers with tank heaters and or flush with antifreeze on the black tank. This is more to get through a weekend and not to camp for weeks on end as flushing with antifreeze can get expensive. For the gray tank, in your case leaving the valve open to drain may help.

If your fresh tank is inside, this helps. For internal water piping you can leave the cabinets open on very cold night to allow heat to get to them.

Things to look out for:

Pipe traps, see where yours are and some may be below floor level and the only thing separating the trap from the outside is the vapor barrier on the bottom of the camper. This area may need some extra insulation and be open to the heated inside space.

If you have an outside shower, insulate it from the outside or better unhook it and cap off the pipes.

The hot water heater, the outside is exposed to the weather only protected by the metal cover. You may have to keep the heater on to prevent long term freezing or turn it on during very cold temperatures.

You will need to work on in some fashion the topic of; internal moisture when heating the camper and it is very cold outside. Here are some things we do when we winter camp,

Heat shrink plastic film on the windows for added insulation. This is the same kind you can buy for the home. It really helps insulate and helps on the water moisture on the glass surface. We do all the windows and doors except the 1 window next to the stove.

Venting the camper. Cracking a roof vent at night while sleeping open a good 1” helps greatly let the moisture out. It is dying to get out, so let it go… However you do get some heat loss from this. Again camping for a weekend is easier then weeks on end as you are loosing heat with the venting.

Get a dehumidifier. This takes the moisture out of the air to start with. Need one big enough to do the job yet not so big and loud you cannot live with it. If needed I can look ours up for you.

When cooking on the stove, crack the window next to the stove to let the excess moisture out.

When showering, crack the roof vent before starting the shower. Let the excess moisture out.

We do all the above items to control moisture. If not the walls will run sweat if you do not address it.

Hope this helps. We have some other winter campers who may have some tricks I did not mention.

John
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:27 PM   #3
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I'd say simply put all water lines and tanks need to be in a heated space or heated by some other means such as heat tape with insulation. That would include incoming hoses and drains (yes, drains can freeze too as water trickles down the piping).

Campers that are prepared for cold weather have water lines within an enclosed area with heat vents and the tanks have heaters.

Your water heater is exposed to the outside so keep that turned on and I'm not sure if there is any problems with the fridge exposure to cold air.

Most campers set up for three seasons have R7 insulation while a house for 4 seasons would have R18 to R21 or more and thermal pane windows.

You may want to skirt the under side and put insulation in the roof vent opening. If you have drafts around the windows, use plastic around them. (kits at Wally World)

I'm thinking in terms of teens and twenties. Any thing else?

EDIT: I see John B and I were answering at the same time. I think you're well covered!
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:33 PM   #4
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How cold does it get where you are? Is it above freezing during the day?
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mainah View Post
How cold does it get where you are? Is it above freezing during the day?
Yes, I meant to ask that too. My post was in reference to central Ohio where temps can be slightly below 0 to 85F in the dead of winter....

And it snowed big flakes on the way to work this AM... Let's see what month is it now???
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:22 PM   #6
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Do you have electricity? Maybe you could use electric heater pipe wrap and wrap it around pipes, tanks etc.?????
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:48 AM   #7
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thanks for this good info!

i should have mentioned originally that the temperatures are only going to be below freezing during the night and probably mostly 20-30s. maybe some teens? this will be my first winter in N. Carolina...during the day i'm told though it will still be fairly warm 30-50s. probably when a storm comes through those numbers change a lot and i could be looking at nights easily in the teens. and since i'm in the mountains, it'll get a bit colder than in asheville/city.

all my tanks and piping is internal. i'm plannin on skirting around the bottom and this should keep the black /grey tanks safe. i also read somewhere that some people put a lamp underneath to add some warmth there too and i liked that idea. i'll also put clear plastic around the windows for draft. my main water hose obviously is partially outside but i can insulate that, and the propane is mostly underneath and inside. i can leave my water heater on and that will help a lot.

should i do something with the back of the fridge for warmth? although it does produce heat...

is it safe to have my awning up in the winter w/light snow?
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:23 AM   #8
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I think when underpinning is used that some venting should be added to help with moisture control. Get wet under there and rust could build fast on the frame. Also might consider putting down some sort of vapor barrier like plastic sheets. Maybe someone else will know more about that.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:14 PM   #9
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If your day time temps are above freezing likely as not nothing will freeze. Your incoming water line might over night but I don't think any thing inside would. the Fridge won't freeze even if it's off. The water with just the pilot light will keep the hot water more than warm enough. All of your water piping is inside f it's really cold open the cabinets I'm thinking your biggest concerned is keeping you warm! I have camped in Canada in early winter with temps near freezing even during the day and have had no problems. We have had overnight temps in the mid teens all ready and nothing more that a slight skim of ice on standing water in the rain barrel. Putting some thing around your campers base will help, ground temps will keep it warm enough. No way you would get away with any of the above where it really gets really cold like Maine in January! If there is a chance of snow close the awning same goes for high wind. I think you said you have power buy a electric heater leave it on.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:51 PM   #10
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noralee,

A ways back you posted a picture of the view your trailer was in or near. I noticed it seemed to be a open area.

One of my concerns is wind and if you are in a sheltered area or out in the open.

A berm or skirt is very important IMO as the wind shear is across all surfaces. The bottom having the tanks and much of the plumbing drainage, etc. A sheltered area of evergreen trees, shrubs, etc. can help give a windbreak if blocking the winter prevailing winds.

Another question I have is how is the spring water getting to your trailer and is it flowing in the winter months?

One "trick" to keep pipes from freezing is to keep the faucets running a small volume of water. Moving water doesn't freeze as readily as static water. This movement would only be possible if the spring water was directly connected via plumbing to your tank. Any outside lines would have to be below the frost line or very well insulated.

I think I would opt for heating pads and strips over the lamp.

When covering your windows with the plastic shrink kit. cover the aluminum frame. the aluminum is very conductive to the cold entering the camper. The plastic gives some thermal break here. The joulise (spelling) windows are great for rainy weather, however lousy during winter. The plastic window kit will help. I would actually do the kit on the outside as well. Keep a small bunk window free for venting moisture, or the kitchen if you don't have the bunk window.

I have been camping in my T-1550 with shore power and a 1500 watt ceramic heater and with just one small bunk window slightly cracked open. I have had no vapor problems. I'm not in the trailer 24/7 however nor cooking, showering, etc.. Just during the night hours sleeping. Temps down in the high 20's. I'm not using nor storing any water though. I'll have to set a couple small dishes of water in a few places and see if they freeze. I also have an aluminum underbelly on my trailer. I don't know if it is insulated and if so how well.

You may think about Storm King plastic sheeting to cover the straw skirting. It will help keep the straw dry as well as help with thermal break and finally giving added protection from infiltration.

Keep at it....as well as we all here will. We are with you....well you know what I mean!

Oh. When looking for online answers. Instead of "winterizing trailer", try searching "winter camping in TT" or along those lines. It may provide some useful info. See link below.

http://www.bing.com/search?q=winter+...sp=1&qs=AS&sk=
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Old 11-01-2013, 07:39 PM   #11
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What about putting bales of straw underneath the camper (behind the skirt) to help insulate it?

Perhaps you could make some insulated shades to cover the windows in the winter?
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Old 11-01-2013, 07:59 PM   #12
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I also thought about straw underneath. If she can get under. Foam insulation sheets would be good also. Straw may equal rodent nest??

Heavy drapery for widows, esp. the larger ones would be very good also, as those windows are just draft hogs. As bad a window for winter as there is. The newer TT may very well have a vinyl coating on the frame, which gives a barrier (thermal break).
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