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Old 07-05-2010, 05:35 PM   #1
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Winter Full-timing... How to????

I am getting started early with this post, though I think this is a good subject to plan ahead on. Live at 8000ft Colorado Front Range, winter temps down to 10ish, wind too. Questions... skirting?, water hose heater recommendations?, interior heat temp recommendations?, I see water lines and shut off valves in exterior storage compartment (under bed) that are not visually insulated, do I insulate?, can i leave gray water trickling into city sewer or intermittent dumping? any and all other suggestions to make this possible... or a thread you know of that addresses all of this. Thank you, Thank you for your time....
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:05 PM   #2
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I know id seriously look at getting a little wood stove installed.

You will want to leave your water trickling so it does not freeze up. Also heat tape and pipe insulation everywhere you can get it.

skirting isnt going to do as much as you would think, many have said it is a waste of time. I have full timed and I found that i t was better to just attack the trailer with a can of spray foam closing off anywhere air can flow in, that will do more than anything to stop airflow.

Also cutting pieces of foam to fit snugly in your vents will make a huge difference too, you would be amazed how much heat the vents will transmit out of your trailer. If you want to do them up nice you can cover the foam in fabric to give it a better look.

Also investing in a good set of curtains that have some insulation in them will help, or you can be cheap like I was and simply hang blankets over the windows.

If you have dual paine windows that will help a lot.

Positioning of your trailer is going to have a huge impact on how cold you are, if you can get it somewhere that it will be sheltered from the wind, the wind will be able to come up and suck your heat away like you wouldn't believe.

Also, if you can get your door pointed away from the prevailing wind. it will help keep the heat you make in, especially when you have to come in and out a few times during the day.

You will want to be sure you are able to get plenty of physical activity, there is nothing worse than being shut in all winter with out being able to get exercise, it can wreck your health.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:07 PM   #3
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BRRRRRR winter in the mountains

Quote:
Originally Posted by movin-in View Post
I am getting started early with this post, though I think this is a good subject to plan ahead on. Live at 8000ft Colorado Front Range, winter temps down to 10ish, wind too. Questions... skirting?, water hose heater recommendations?, interior heat temp recommendations?, I see water lines and shut off valves in exterior storage compartment (under bed) that are not visually insulated, do I insulate?, can i leave gray water trickling into city sewer or intermittent dumping? any and all other suggestions to make this possible... or a thread you know of that addresses all of this. Thank you, Thank you for your time....
Moving to Florida would be a good idea

But if you can't make sure the drain hose from the dump valves is a constant downhill, you do not want anything accumulating in a low spot at 10 degrees. Leave the grey water valve full open, some valves can freeze exposed to temps below 20 better open than closed and warm water coming down will usually keep on going. You will go through a lot of propane, if long term a larger tank would be a good bet. You'll soon figure out what mods will help keep you warmer. Believe it or not bubble wrap is a great window insulator and can be stuck up and removed but lets light in nicely so you don't get cave syndrom. Hard part will be the water line usually better to fill the main tank and use the pump and drain the hose than trying to rely on insulating and heating it. You'll get real frugal on water use. Heat must flow through the furnace as needed so it does it's thing heating everywhere you will not know about. A ceramic heater can supplement the furnace but I've heard of problems when you get carried away with auxilery heaters.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:35 PM   #4
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It's been said before, and it's bound to be said again: an Airstream is a three-season camper, and you will have to make extraordinary changes in its structure and your lifestyle in order to be able to live through a northern winter in one. (Notice I didn't say "comfortably")

However, if you really want to do it, you have posted right in the middle of a wide variety of questions and answers on the subject, the sub-forum called "Winter Living".

Read some of the threads, look particularly for the longer ones, there are some real sagas by people who have done it, and lived to tell us about it.

There is no lack of people talking about it though; a Google search from the "Search" button up in the blue bar on this page shows more than ten pages of responses to a simple "winter full timing" search.

Read some of it, movin-in, then tell us what you think...
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Old 07-24-2010, 04:58 PM   #5
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I am always on the look out for ways to improve my trailer's cold weather abilities as I want to use it all during the year. Here are a couple of links that you might find helpful. They include a T'Stat mod, retro fit storm windows, adding insulation, water line protection and other ideas.
RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Easy ways to improve insulation during winter camping?

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Travel Trailers: Winter Camping in Denver
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:26 PM   #6
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Here's some links I've collected on products that might help you.

Heat Trace Tape: Water Line Heat Trace Freeze Protection For Cottage, Home, Commercial Water Pipe Applications - Heatline
Ultra Heat: UltraHeat, Inc. - Home
Custom Skirting: 1 Day RV Skirting!,.. At YOUR Site!* We Go-N-Sew... ON Site RV Skirts* Call E Mail Or Text Us!
Reflectix: Reflectix Inc. | The World’s Largest Manufacturer of Reflective Insulation and Radiant Barrier Products
Radiant Barrier Fabric: Temptrol brand radiant heat reflecting insulating fabric.
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:19 PM   #7
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I am also in Colorado. I have been in the trailer full-time since May at Prospect RV Park in Wheat Ridge. Even with a Masters Degree and 30 years of experience I can't find a job at home, so I'm underemployed here for now. The trailer gives me a relatively cheap place to stay without a 12 month lease, so I can return home if/when I find a job there.

Back in May I was using two 30 lb LP tanks per week just to keep the trailer at 65 degrees. The insulation factor of these trailers is very poor. If the temps go below zero I suspect it might take two tanks of LP per DAY to keep warm. That would be very expensive!

I don't think it's economically viable to stay in the trailer all winter. Yet, I'd like to extend my season as long as possible, since the alternative is an extended-stay hotel. Perhaps I can last through November, maybe even December.

It is already getting cold at night. I have decided to use the heat pump for moderately cold temps, even though I pay for electricity usage here. Hopefully it won't be too expensive.

To improve insulation, perhaps foil bubble wrap or regular bubble wrap for the inside of the windows, maybe styrofoam too? Styrofoam for the roof vents? Electric heat tape with pipe insulation and duct tape for the water hose? How about the water pipe connection in the rear bumper area? I assume that needs something to prevent freezing. Also, the shower plumbing is next to an outside wall, I wonder if that will freeze? Will I need to keep RV anti-freee in the black tank to prevent freezing of the dump valve?

Anyone in the Denver area want to rent out an extra room December through March?
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:07 AM   #8
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I have wondered....has anyone figured out a way to operate the furnace fan only, without firing the burner in order to circulate electric heat through the duct work and holding tank areas? It seems to me that you could operate the fan, perhaps on a separate thermostat, have an electric heater near the intake and save a lot of propane.
Ideally both thermostats could be on at the same time. One for fan only and one for normal furnace operation.

Anyone done this? Is it possible?
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:50 PM   #9
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I have take a few steps towards winter living (survival?)...

- Reflective bubble wrap for the two roof vents and the rear window. I will do more, but don't want to live in a cave! Don't want to use the plastic shrink wrap with tape, the tape may not come off. Transparent bubble wrap?
- Pipe heater wire along the water hose, also ran along the bottom of the exposed waste pipes. Foam pipe insulation around the hose. Foil/foam insulation tape around the dump pipes. I currently have nothing for the slinky.
- I sealed up the edges of the belly pan under the rear of the trailer. It had come loose a while ago, and I reattached it, but it is a little wavy around the edges and was not making a good seal.
- I am concerned about the outside storage area under the corner bed. No heat in that spot, with water and shower drain pipes there. I bought a small fan-heater. I also bought a wireless thermometer, and put the sender in that compartment so I can monitor it. Pointed the heater toward the bathroom, hoping that some heat will pass through the opening for the shower drain pipe and keep the shower pipes from freezing.
- I hope the other areas will be okay, since the water heater warms up one area, furnace ducts pass through some, and air circulation for others.
- For now I am using the heat pump, as it appears to be less expensive to operate than the furnace.
- I bought a gallon of RV anti-freeze in case this does not work!
- I still need to arrange for larger propane tanks
- Have not figured out how to control condensation. Any experiences with the small dehumidifiers?

What else shoud I be doing? I really don't want to freeze!
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:57 PM   #10
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Dan have you skirted in the trailer? I lived year round in mine for seven years and experimented with different methods. The best was a skirt made from pink rigid styrofoam and covered in aluminium foil bubble wrap. I the put two 150watt halogen work lamps under the trailer. The conmbination of the skirt and the lamps kept my trailer toasty warm all winter even in -30 celcius weather.
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:59 PM   #11
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The RV park will not allow skirting unless it's "factory made". A couple RV's here have what looks like custom-made vinyl drapes that hang from snaps attached to the camper. I suppose they might have foam board and heaters hiding underneath. I don't want to spend that much or have snaps all over the trailer, so no skirt for mine.

Do you have trouble with freezing pipes? Condensation?
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:36 PM   #12
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The heat pump will become progressively less effective as the ambient temperature drops. You need to be prepared to light the furnace before the serious cold gets there. Air-source heat pumps are fine for TX, I'm thinking they won't do much good at altitude in a CO winter.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:29 PM   #13
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The heat pump is supposed to work down to about 30 F, then the system automatically switches to the furnace. The daytime in Denver is often warm, with cold nights. Perhaps the heat pump will handle the days, at least some of the time.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:24 PM   #14
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So last night it got down to 22 F. My efforts to attach heat tape and insulate the water hose with foam did not work... no water this morning. After it warmed up the water flowed again. I'm thinking the heat tape is defective. Ideas?
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