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Old 09-15-2011, 07:26 PM   #1
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winter time living !?!?!???

Hello folks...
I'm in the process of building our house on my mothers property and have been living in our class A 1994 26' Winnie Warrior motor home for three months. Needless to say it starting to feel like fall. My kids sleep in the house but my wife and I sleep/live in our motor home. We both take showers in the house but still use the water for the sinks/toilet.
Our 26' motor home only has one holding tank for the black and gray water. I use a 35 gal smart tote to dump the tank about once a week into the septic at the house. We have a garden hose supplying our water but can fill the holding tank for water.
Now for the big question......Can we continue to live/ use the motor home in the winter? Our furnace works perfect and we also have an electric heater,one of those small Amish mantel deals without the mantel (for space),keeping warm is not the isseu ,its keeping everything from freezing (upstate New York).
.I'm looking forward to all the feed back. Thank you John.
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Old 09-15-2011, 07:53 PM   #2
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You will probably need a bay heater to keep you water pump and dump valves from freezing. They are generally not very well insulated but if you can stay warm no problem.
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:02 PM   #3
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I would suggest a couple of things. A small heater in the area of the water hookups. Something like this one I found on Amazon, . . (Honeywell Ceramic Space Heater). I'm not saying this exact one, though it might work just fine for you, but something like it. Also I think you should wrap the bottom of the coach, (include covering the grill), with plastic. It is not going to look real nice but the wind whistling under your coach will freeze everything under there. With a layer of plastic sealed to the ground you might just keep your water stuff from freezing. Upstate NY gets real cold so you will need to do all you can to keep some heat on your water areas. Oh you will need to insulate and run a heat tape on your water supply hose or it will freeze solid. This heat tape will need to include the water spigot as well. I would buy and modify one of those 'winterizing' covers for the outside spigot so you can install it with the hose attached, and heat tape and insulate that too. Keep the doors open a little on the kitchen and bath sink cabinets.
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:09 PM   #4
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One of my concerns might be your proposal to dump 35 gallons of sewage at one time into the septic tank.If it has not been pumped recently the "overcrowding"might cause sewage to be forced into the leaching bed and plugging same.
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Old 09-15-2011, 09:32 PM   #5
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You can live in it during the winter if you can keep the important things that would freeze insulated. I hear it can get very cold in upstate NY in the winter. You'll also have to deal with moisture condensation so I'd suggest getting a dehumidifier. If you have slides, pulling them in on very windy days or during long spells of extreme cold will help with heating. If you can find a way to put some sort of skirting around the bottom of your rig to combat exposure, that'd be good, too. The only really downside is if you have to dump into your tote & then haul it to the septic when it's snowing like crazy out or you find you have to do that after it's already snowed a couple of feet. Shovelling snow in order to dump would really be a pain.

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Old 09-16-2011, 12:53 AM   #6
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I'll asume that you have made arrangemens for propane, and lots of it. If not be ready to switch to an alternate supply, tools and a couple of bottles and practice the change over , before you have to do it at 20 below. Even winter prepared units require use of the furnace to heat the water lines and tanks. Electric heaters warm the inside air but not the floor.
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:51 AM   #7
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Is your furnace propane fired? How are you going to refill the tank? Have you got an extend-a-stay tank that can be refilled without having to move the coach everytime you run low on propane?

You might want to consider a Sani-Con to dump your tank. If your sewer access is within 100' of the coach you can get enough hose to pump it that far. I would think that when you need to dump running the 1" hose to the septic over the snow would be easier than pulling the tote through the snow.
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Old 09-16-2011, 09:20 AM   #8
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Upstate New York gets very cold and everything can freeze. For your water hose you need heat tape to keep it from freezing. Fresh water and holding tanks will also freeze and you need to provide an external source of heat such as a ceramic heater. Some use a trouble light in the wet bay but be careful! Hauling a tote is going to be rough going as snow makes the ground wet and a track forms to the septic tank. Suggest the sani-con system but if not get some plywood to lay down to use. Those totes get very heavy when full. Add insulation (temporary for winter) in the cargo bay floors - just lay down a layer of roll insulation. Buy a roll of clear plastic from Home Depot (or the like) and tape it around the outside bottom of the coach or use plywood as a wind break . Snow is also very heavy - not good for roof or slide outs so constant removal is recommended. Slideouts also lose a lot of heat so I would bring them in for sure on really cold days. Put insulation (the thin silver kind) on the back walls of your cabinets. Get an extend-a-stay for propane. If your electrical source is good, the use ceramic space heaters inside to supplement the heating system. Put rugs on the floor even if carpeted. It is doable but it still gets cold inside so be sure to park in the sunshine as much as possible.
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:56 AM   #9
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Well folks it's Dec 17th and I have made quite a bit of progress on our new house but that's for another forum LOL.Now about winter living in the motor home. I have covered all windows except the one over the dinette(don't want to live in a cave !!) with an insulation much like bubble wrap,it has a tin foil like surface on both sides. I used white duct tape to attach the cut out pieces to the out side of the motor home. This takes care of condensation on the windows.
For heat I have one of those Amish mantle heaters (removed from the wood mantle) under the dinette that works perfect .I leave it on 24/7 .Also I had the gas Co bring and hook up an 100 Gallon propane tank for the hot water and furnace.
The water holding tank under the bed lasts for three weeks and the waste tank gets emptied once a week whether it needs it or not ( my motor home only has one waste tank. 38 gal). We only use water for the toilet and washing our hands. We take showers and use my Mom's house mostly. The motor home is basically a bed room with all the comforts of home .Everything is working and operational as it should be,even have cable ran to both of the TV's.
For skirting ,I picked up two new 6'/25' concrete insulation blankets and duct taped them to the out side of the rig. I still have easy access to the water hook up and waste tank .All the water lines are concealed inside the camper and the duct work from the furnace keeps everything as warm as I need it. Here is a pic . Let me know what you folks think and advise.

Thanks...John in Lodi
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Old 12-17-2011, 04:19 PM   #10
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Looks like you'll be snug & warm this winter. Good job. Be careful when removing that duct tape come spring. It'll take the paint off quicker than a whistle. Have lots of Goo-Gone or Goof-Off handy. You'll need it to get the residue off.

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Old 12-17-2011, 07:05 PM   #11
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Unless your mother's house is very small, why sleep in the MH and go through all that is necessary to do that? If there is room in the house, I'd drain the tanks and pump the MH full of anti freeze, and stay in the house.
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:27 PM   #12
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Instead of dumping your black water into a portable and moving it over the sewer line, why not invest in a portable Sanicon Macerator type system that will pump the ground up sewage and water over 100 feet if necessary. Only concern would be to completely drain the hose and store it away someplace warm for the next time it needs to be used.

No more hauling portable tanks around.

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Old 12-17-2011, 07:57 PM   #13
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My Mom's house is too small for all of us. It is a small two BR cottage .Mom has the master BR and my 15 YR daughter has the spare BR.
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:31 PM   #14
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If you have any issues with the duct tape coming off in the cold , switch over to foil tape, it costs a little more, but will last a lot longer.
The good news is , so far so good.
The bad news, winter hasen't started yet.
Good luck. Merry Christmas.
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