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Old 02-03-2013, 07:02 PM   #1
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Advice on living in 1997 Winnebago Adventurer full time.

We are considering purchasing a 1997 Winnebago Adventurer for a friend that needs a full time home. Does anyone have experience living in this model of a motor home full time? The motorhome will be on our property and connected to electricity. What we don't want to do is purchase the motorhome and find out the cost to live in it full time is more than what she would pay for renting an apartment. We are total newbies to the RV world and don't want to make a mistake of buying something that isn't going to work for her. Besides insurance and electricity costs, what other expenses should be expect to incure. We are considering putting straw around the edge of the mobilehome to keep pipes from freezing. We live in Colorado, so the temperatures vary greatly. A couple of weeks ago, we had temps of -12 degrees, and this week they are in the upper 50's. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:16 PM   #2
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No way would I live in or recommend trying to live in an RV thru the winter in sub-zero temps. Below freezing is difficult enough. My brother lives in a trailer in Missouri and is miserable all winter.

He tried the bales of straw but he's a smoker and fire was a real concern.

I would go with the apartment.

You would have significant propane bills for heat and still be cold. All plumbing would be susceptible to freezing, including plumbing inside cabinets and walls, not to mention grey and black water, sewer and fresh water hoses, condensation on inside of Windows would freeze.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:49 PM   #3
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full time living in an RV in colder climates

With enough preparation of both inside and outside of motorhome, this can be accomplished.

The only thing both you and your occupant need to remember is that this is not a permanant structure, so don't expect things that just are not going to happen.

There are people living in trailers in Alaska, google them, read what they've done to prepare their 'homes' for LOTS rougher winters than you'll have in CO.

As far as heating is concerned, I would only consider having the motorhome propane units as backup only. You'll be much better off having energy efficient electric units.

Check the motorhome for location of plumbing. If all water pipes are inside, not really too much to worry about freezing, unless you have power outage and lose all sources of heat. Of course, with 12V power, and a full propane tank, you'll have enough to keep tenant warm for up to 12 to 24 hours.

Don't let anyone say this can not be done, because it's done in much colder climes. You're only downfall will be in not having proper preparation.

HOW TO: RV in the Winter - YouTube

The above link will probably have more information than you'll ever get from most with only opinions. Go on YouTube.com, there's lots more videos similar to this one with varying advice and suggestions on how to make your RV 'winter-living-ready'!

Good Luck, Derek
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:59 PM   #4
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The pipes are not exposed. We were in the mobile home when the heat was not on and it was quite warm. The only heat had been the sun throughout the day. I will check out the links that you provided to get more information. Thank yu so much.

We would love for our friend to have an apartment, however, she has run into some very hard times, and can't find an apartment that she can afford. That is the reason that we are looking for other alternatives. Again, thank you everyone for the responses.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:28 AM   #5
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If the RV is going to be stationary, why buy a motorhome? A travel trailer would be much more cost-effective. Good luck to you.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:53 AM   #6
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Anything can be done if one pours enough money, time and energy into it. However, that Winnebago was not built to be stationary, nor lived in over a winter. You'd be better off finding something purpose built, maybe a used "mobile home" which could be moved onto the property and is built to be lived in full time.

You can't train a moth to be a sparrow. It's a lot easier to start out with a sparrow.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:55 AM   #7
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You will see many opinions here. I am currently doing the very thing here in OK.
I have a Kountry Star which I believe may have more insulation and has double pane windows but for the most part I have the same issues you will have. Black and gray water will be the biggest problem. I have a 30 gallon tote that I use to take the material to the septic clean out to dump. As far as heat I opted to put in an electric central heat system with LPG as a backup. The cost was high to start out with but I have not had to use any LPG so far this winter. The electric bill did go up some but that was expected. I only got stuck once so far this winter when the door froze closed after a day of freezing rain.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:01 AM   #8
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I agree with Sarah. You will be able to find a more suitbable unit by going to a travel trailer with slides. There are plenty of good quality units out there and you won't have the expense of buying the running gear involved with a motor home. And, if the motor home sits there for a long time without running, things will start to significantly deteriate.
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