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Old 11-01-2015, 02:43 PM   #1
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Top suggestions for winter living

Circumstances are leading us to remain in the Vancouver BC area possibly through the entire winter. Our plan originally was to get ourselves far south in the next couple weeks and travel for the next couple years following the nice weather, so I haven't really thought about winter living. We are full time at this point, having prepared to leave, sold the condo, etc. So now I am starting winter prep research, and thought I'd ask about top suggestions. The only real winter prep we have is a heated water hose.

Fortunately Vancouver rarely freezes, rarely snows, but it can happen. I'm hoping el nino keeps it mild. It does however rain a lot.

I normally keep the grey tank open, should I get in the practice of closing it?

We keep vents open but I wonder about humidity still.

Trying to figure out a combo of electric heat and furnace, would like the furnace at lower temps to keep the tanks heated. It seems the electric heater could keep the temp high enough to prevent the furnace turning on.

I'm sure there are lots of suggestions and approaches throughout the forum, but was wondering if there is a sticky thread for top suggestions, best practices, etc.
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Old 11-01-2015, 02:44 PM   #2
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Of course, the first thread I see after posting is a sticky "Winter Modifications". Face/Palm. /me goes to read.
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Old 11-05-2015, 01:03 PM   #3
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Do not make it a habit to always leave your gray valve open. You need the quick flow of the gray water to wash out the sediment in the tank; that sediment will also clog the blade of the valve. I learned this the hard way - I was camped with full hookups for 3 months and had left the gray valve open on my previous AS ('94 LY moho). I had to have the valve replaced. As well, the gray water is used as part of the flushing of the waste.
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Old 11-05-2015, 06:19 PM   #4
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An electric space heater should keep things comfy on all but the coldest nights. Leave your propane fueled furnace for use only when things get really cold. Your biggest concern might be condensation inside your windows. Keeping a roof vent cracked open slightly will enable warm moist air to escape, but you'll also lose some heat. Position your space heater where it does the most good. Also, if you can insert some additional insulation behind the galley and bath sink cabinets, and any other out of sight areas, it will help in keeping out the cold. If you're planning to stay in one spot and you can put an insulated skirt around the underside that helps too. There are some good threads here from others who have done this in very cold environments with good results
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:36 AM   #5
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@blkmagikca my typical pattern is to close the grey tank a day or so before I need to dump the blank tank (usually I dump it at half to 3/4 full), do extra cleaning/etc., it is usually nearly full. That is roughly every 7 days. Do you think sediment becomes an issue at that point?
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:52 AM   #6
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When I lived in a cabover camper in Anchorage for 3 years I bought some 3/4" pink Styrofoam insulation and added that inside all the closets, cupboards and hidden places.
Measure closely and cut with a sharp utility knife. Then you can friction fit the pieces so they don't fall out. It made a huge improvement in comfort level and decreased propane usage.
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:41 AM   #7
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Food for thought. I'm not an electrician but talking to a RV repair man in Georgia recently I was told never to use an electric space heater in my Airstream. He said the amp draw on those heaters may heat and melt the wiring in the trailer and that he had many calls where this had happened. I've never used one but had thought about buying one to save on propane use. ?? Anyone care to comment on their use?
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:10 AM   #8
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Have used one for 13 years, and never had a problem.

To the OP, and anyone else traveling or camping in the cold......micro fleece, micro fleece, micro fleece.

Keeps you warm and toasty, and Cuddl Duds at WalMart are very inexpensive.

Wear them during the day, sleep in them, whatever....if you don't like to be cold, they are the best.


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Old 11-06-2015, 11:42 AM   #9
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We use a "Vornado" space heater on LOW only; very quiet and only draws about 800 Watts on LOW. (HIGH uses 1,600 Watts.)

In above freezing weather, it will maintain 68 to 72 degrees overnight; but it takes a long time to warm up our 19' Bambi when used alone.

When entering the cold Bambi, we use the air conditioner heater strip or propane furnace to quickly warm up the inside. Then, those are switched OFF, and the Vornado is turned on with HIGH/LOW temperature switch set to LOW and HIGH/AUTO fan switch set to HIGH. Vornado thermostat is set to about 2.5 (range = 1 to 7).

Very comfortable and quiet!

==========

Our Vornado looks similar to this, but they no longer make the model we have:

http://www.amazon.com/Vornado-Vortex.../dp/B000GLHVZA

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Note: I have no association with Vornado or Amazon.com other than being a satisfied customer of both. Above link is for reference purposes only.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:57 AM   #10
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Top suggestions for winter living

The good news is winter does not effect the lower mainland much and when it does its for a sort period of time.

The first thing I would do is go down to your local hardware store and buy an insulated tarp. Then cut it into strips wide enough to go from the bottom of the trailer to the ground. One tarp should give you enough material to create skirting for the complete trailer. The advantage of creating an insulated skirt is it will help to keep you floors and tanks warm. Further these insulated fabric panels can be just rolled up when you want to move or when warm weather arrives again. Once skirted, you can even place a small heater under your trailer if you want. As It will make a huge difference to the warmth inside the trailer and you plumbing and tanks.

Next I would cut a piece of SM insulation and put it into your sky light. This will help your heat loss in that area.

Next go to your local hardware store and buy enough clear sheet plastic to cut inserts for each of your windows. While your there also buy enough bubble wrap to cut panels for each window. Now you want to install the bubble wrap against the inside of the window glass and then the sheet plastic after that to hold the bubble wrap in place. The reason for buddies wrap plastic sheeting is it has insulation value but still allows light into the trailer. This of course compared to something like SM that does bit let much light through it. If you cut the sheet plastic and bubble wrap correctly you will end up with thermal window without much effort.

Hope this helps

Cheers
Doug


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Old 11-06-2015, 12:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedpuppy View Post
@blkmagikca my typical pattern is to close the grey tank a day or so before I need to dump the blank tank (usually I dump it at half to 3/4 full), do extra cleaning/etc., it is usually nearly full. That is roughly every 7 days. Do you think sediment becomes an issue at that point?
I keep both my valves (waste & wash) closed except for when I do the actual dump and flush.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:03 PM   #12
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I have a new Flying Cloud cloud out of Canada and the receptacle wiring is #14 CU2, or copper 2 wire 14 gauge. The circuit is protected by one GFIC in the toilet area. This is the wiring that is used mostly in houses for 15 amp circuits. I have checked the wiring for surface heat after running our Noma ceramic tower heater all night and no problem. Some trailers may not be wired as per code or added to by an inexperienced owner. This may be where these scary stories come from.

happy trails

Norrie
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Norrie46 View Post
I have a new Flying Cloud cloud out of Canada and the receptacle wiring is #14 CU2, or copper 2 wire 14 gauge. The circuit is protected by one GFIC in the toilet area. This is the wiring that is used mostly in houses for 15 amp circuits. I have checked the wiring for surface heat after running our Noma ceramic tower heater all night and no problem. Some trailers may not be wired as per code or added to by an inexperienced owner. This may be where these scary stories come from.

happy trails

Norrie
We have the same situation with our 28' 2013 FC that we purchased out of Seattle. So my guess it this wiring is now standard in both Canada and USA models.

Cheers
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:08 PM   #14
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I have a small "ceramic" heater which does a good job of keeping the AS warm & cozy. However, since we boondock, electricity to use the ceramic heater isn't always available (or is not as cost efficient) - so we have a Procom blueflame heater as well. I have never had any issues relating to the gauge of the shore-power wiring.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:26 PM   #15
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If you need to use an external propane tank, check with a propane specialist re: hose length and connections. RVGeeks.com has a couple of good videos re: winter rving:


You searched for Propane use in winter - TheRVgeeks
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:33 PM   #16
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Just saw your post and understand the problem. We currently on Van Island are going South but have noticed a big problem with condensation while we are here.
We came over from TOR ON where it is a lot drier. One thing I noticed on all the West coast trailers are vent covers that allow your vents to be open travelling or static. That I would say is the first and easiest to install. Ventilate as much as you can. Fantastic Fan make a cover recommended for their fan called Ultrabreeze. You will also experience moisture under your mattress at the back of the trailer if you have the rear bed. We have a locker at the back of the trailer for hoses tools and leveling stuff. This was open to the back bedroom when we lifted the bed to access the storage under the bed. Lousy design from Airstream. I insulated the back locker and sealed off any air flow to the underside of the bed.
Yesterday, I just installed a moisture avoidance pad under the mattress. Can be purchased in a marine store Used a lot on boats where there are similar problems. You may hear it called Dry Mesh.
Next on our list is a small dehumidifier, New Air 250 to keep down cooking and living condensation.
We were heating with gas because the electric heat pump is too noisy to sleep with but found this was getting expensive so we bought a Noma Ceramic tower 120 v heater which works really well. Not the best for controlled temp but I am getting used to it's idiosyncrasies.
We won't be here for the Winter but what we have done would probably cover us for a normal Victoria BC Winter. As you said El Nino may make it a non event.
Another thing to consider is what RV park you stay in. The inland parkland ones keep you away from the cold sea winds that are common at the shoreline sites.
Hope this helps and happy trails

Norrie
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guyel View Post
Food for thought. I'm not an electrician but talking to a RV repair man in Georgia recently I was told never to use an electric space heater in my Airstream. He said the amp draw on those heaters may heat and melt the wiring in the trailer and that he had many calls where this had happened. I've never used one but had thought about buying one to save on propane use. ?? Anyone care to comment on their use?
Our breaker/fuses are 15 amp. Our Honeywell space heater draws 12 amps on high. We've used it for years.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:53 PM   #18
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Good points Norrie, I never thought of the vent covers, but with all the rain you guys can get out west, that might be a life saver. Also thanks for the tip on the Dry Mesh pad. We have a rear bed with the storage under and even with us spending most of the winter in the south, we still get some cool weathers when we are in higher elevations or coming home in the spring. I will try to locate one of these....
Thanks again

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Old 11-06-2015, 01:16 PM   #19
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This is probably obvious to most here but being from southern California, I'd never owned a wool blanket. this past fall we saw and purchased a Pendleton 100th Anniversary Glacier NP blanket in Whitefish. It wasn't cheap ($250) but we wanted something for memories. It has proven to be worth it, at least in our eyes...er toes, as it and a cheap flannel sleeping bag on top have allowed us to sleep comfortably in temperatures around 35-40 degrees F without using the furnace at all.
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Old 11-06-2015, 01:35 PM   #20
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This is probably obvious to most here but being from southern California, I'd never owned a wool blanket. this past fall we saw and purchased a Pendleton 100th Anniversary Glacier NP blanket in Whitefish. It wasn't cheap ($250) but we wanted something for memories. It has proven to be worth it, at least in our eyes...er toes, as it and a cheap flannel sleeping bag on top have allowed us to sleep comfortably in temperatures around 35-40 degrees F without using the furnace at all.
Yes the Pendleton Blanket are wonderful. Many in the Airstream community buy them while attending the National Rally in Pendleton every year. I actually find them to warm, but thats just me......
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