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Old 11-15-2017, 08:10 AM   #1
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Winter living in NC

My husband and I have lived in our 2003 Holidar Rambler fifth wheel since June in western NC. We bought a house and it's still being renovated, so we will be in the camper for the foreseeable future. Luckily we have mild winters, but are starting to get close to freezing at night.

What are some tips for full time winter living once it gets real cold? We know that the inside pipes will be fine since we will have space heater running all the times, but what about outside and underneath? We are permanently hooked up to septic and have water hooked up from the house. Two 30 lb tanks of propane for the water heater. May not use the furnace mjuchnif we can help it. I know the fresh water water tank is full, so I need to empty that. What else do we need to do to make certain nothuing freezes?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:21 AM   #2
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Winter living in NC

I have been full time rving for nine years now. First, water hookup from house. What type of line? Garden type hose, pecs, copper, black pipe? Is it buried below frost line? Skirting would really help, but it can be pricey if you’re only part time. Do your grey n black tanks have heaters?
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:27 AM   #3
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Some motor homes have the furnace send heat to the wet bay, so not using the furnace is a problem unless you provide heat in the water basements another way. Many use utility lights or small space heaters. Why not electric for water heater instead of propane? Why not use the furnace as intended?
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:32 AM   #4
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If your city water line is above ground, you can heat trace it then insulate it, or if it's a garden hose type connection, you can buy a heated water hose. Those have the heat trace wiring already made into them.
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:32 AM   #5
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We live in Asheville and sometimes don't winterize our rv, though we don't live in it. We do use it as overflow housing when kids all come home and if the power goes out. It is parked next to the house under cover, but not heated. I keep a small ceramic heater in the basement and one inside the rv in cold weather and also keep the furnace set to about 45-50 degrees as a back up. What is your water connection to the house and your sewer connection? If they are exposed, they may freeze. A number of people who winter in the rv use water from the fresh tank and just refill it when needed. Same with holding tanks. Fill them and dump as needed. If you leave the valves open, you can build up a lot of solids in the black tank that will be a bear to get out. That way you don't have to worry about frozen hoses and sewer lines or a toilet paper build up in the black tank. If you can heat the basement area where the holding tanks are located, you should be fine unless we get a bunch of three dog nights in a row with daytime temps in the teens and 20's. Good luck and hope the winter is kind to you.
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:45 AM   #6
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Morning, we just spent the summer in Eastern NC & Loved It... So Miss The Sweet Tea At Restaurants.
First thing is review you Owners Manual, they should have precautions to take when temps drop below freezing.
Yes a heated water hose works well. NOTE: they have an installed temp sensor, (only turns on when freezing) make sure it stays in the outside air. Not inside the rig if your fresh water hook up is inside.
If you don't have a means for heating your plumbing and tanks, then for me it is a little harder to advise as RVs are so varied in design, so I caution you to be careful of placing small heaters or 60 watt lights in service bays or storage bays. I am sure you will get advice from other Holiday Rambler owners, their advise should be a sound solution for you.
Good Luck
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:08 AM   #7
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In addition to what's already been said, I suggest inspecting the freshwater line inside the trailer and if necessary prop it of the basement floor and lay it on top of foam insulation or inside foam tubes to prevent direct contact with the cold floor. Another option is to wrap the hose in heat tape, following the instructions is important for safety and functionality.
Next, place remote readout thermometers in areas that are crucial, like near the water pump, or the water manifold if you have one.
Prefabricated heated water hoses are very expensive and should never be attached to a tap that is not protected and they are more likely to fail at the hose ends than other hoses - my personal experience.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:54 AM   #8
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On using you space heater safely do not run it higher then 750 watt min overheating out in rv and causing a 🔥
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Old 11-15-2017, 10:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by jacknife View Post
On using you space heater safely do not run it higher then 750 watt min overheating out in rv and causing a 🔥
While I'm not so sure about the 750 watt limit I agree that the quality of rv wiring is a far cry from residential wiring. These plastic outlets get get quite warm under heavy load.
IMHO, the better option is to run a separate cable from a dedicated breaker outside the rv for a space heater if it's nearby, or have one installed.
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Old 11-15-2017, 10:24 AM   #10
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That is better . A professional far more knowledgeable then me in RV electrical recommended it. You can read the article in RV travel .com a great weekly newsletter and fre.
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Old 11-15-2017, 10:39 AM   #11
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Those are all great suggestions. I use a marine style bilge heater for the wet bay which are low power like the light bulb but safer. Available at West Marine or other Marine Supply stores.
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Old 11-15-2017, 04:55 PM   #12
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I'm a full timer in a Holiday Rambler 2007 ,37' 5er . My windows are thermo-pane except my bay window I leave extended. I cover the opening with shrink film. Dose an amazing job. If your windows are single pane cover them with somthing, clear film or thermo material. My wet bay is heated by the furnace. Stuff your sky lights with thermo stuff. I made box covers with 2" foam for my A/C units to reduce heat loss. A/C's are heat pumps but I think the heat loss v/s propane /electric ends up cheaper. I'm connected to a septic system and underground water. Water hose has electric tape. I said in another thread I leave my dump valves open. Many say that's a no no, I've never had a problem use enough water when flushing. When temps average in the upper 20's I use about 3 gal. propane per day. Have electric fireplace but don't use it much but it is effective when used. Keep living area cat 70 F and upstairs at 60 F.
I'm a happy camper.

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Old 11-15-2017, 11:52 PM   #13
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wow, solid advice!

Thank you all. I will look into everything you all mentioned. Insulating garden hose, heating tanks, seeing if the furnace heats the basement, etc.... I think we're gonna do alright.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:04 AM   #14
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I am in a class A.. Since I tend to use electric heat, not the furnace, and the wet bays are heated by the furnace I added a string of C-9 Christmas Tree lights under the fresh tan and a 100 Watt Rough Service incandascent lamp in the valve bay. The Tank bays are insulated. This gives me about 10 Degrees (Thermostats turn the lights on and off)(

For the hose.. that connects to the park.. I have two.

One, Which for other reasons is not getting a lot of use. has a string of Incandascent ROPE lights duct taped to it And another thermostat.

The one I do use I simply fill the on board tank then drain it in freezing weather.

Likewise drain the sewage hose after each dump.

I am close enough we can watch the same TV stations.. I'm in Oconee County South Carolina.
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