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Old 10-09-2012, 08:00 PM   #1
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North Dakota "Oil Patch" winterizing while still full timing

I have gained allot of information from people that have done this and we are doing it this winter (2011-2012).

So, I am passing along the info I have been given and pass it along, and hope others join in with ideas and what works.

My wife and 3 children and a small dog are here with me now, in a 1991 32' Pace Arrow, gas engine w/ gas generator (No slide outs). We are in the Tioga, ND area.

Here is what we have done, or are in the process of doing;

1. Skirt Motor home. Wood frame, double sided foil/foam insulation, 1" thick, plywood exterior, painted, and bottom 2" of skirting is buried below ground level. One (1) milk house heater placed under motor home, set to 70 degrees to keep area under RV near 70 degrees(Completed)

1a. Spray foam skirting to motorfome to seal edges (Not completed yet)

2. City Water line, Heated Hose, insulated, inside 3" PVC pipe, exterior of PVC insulated with fiberglass insulation and plastic wrapped. (Completed)


2a. Build a insulated box for water filter to RV, insulated against RV. (partly completed)

3. Sewer line, 3" PVC hard line, heat tape along bottom of sewer (Grey/Black water. Insulated with fiberglass insulation and plastic wrapped. Grey water open, until black water is going to be dumped.(Completed)

4. Washer/Dryer unit installed and working great. (Splendide 2100XC)(Completed)

5. Adding a 8'x14' "porch" to add room, being bult, (70% completed)

6. Construct skirting for the engine hood. Allow easy access to check batteries for fluid levels of batteries and engine fluids. (Not completed)

7. Air conditioning units (2) covered. (Not Completed)

It should be noted that both the coach exhaust and the genset exhaust are piped through the skirting. This was done so if we lost power, or needed extra heat/power the coach can do it. Multiple multi-gas monitors, LP auto shut off installed.

Did I miss anything?
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:15 PM   #2
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Good luck to you. Very ingenious set up and should get you through the tough winter. Would love a follow-up report on the oil drilling that is happening up there. We can sure use the energy.

Nick
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:26 PM   #3
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Be sure that the roof vents all are addressed due to snow build up. Especially fridge in case power fails and you use propane as backup. But wait......if you need to you can use the outside as a fridge! Sorry I could not resist. Sounds like you have a plan that have covered the details.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:42 PM   #4
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Right off the top of my head, can't think of anything you missed. Do you have some way to fill your propane tanks in case you run low? Maybe you have someone come by and fill them.

You might get a 'Hot Stick' electric heating element for your water heater to assist the gas burner. Will sure cut down on the gas usage.

Good luck

One other thing, where you gonna put your 'rig'?

burfurd
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:00 PM   #5
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In case of heavy snow:

Mark exactly where the exhausts come out (maybe blue painter's tape up the side of your rig, or poles driven into the ground) so that you can dig them out.

At least 2 good snow shovels and a push broom and ladder to clear off the roof.





If you are not used to Wintering in cold climates, speak to some of the locals for general advice.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:03 PM   #6
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I may be wrong, but I think you might have a problem with humidity seeing as there are five people and a dog exhaling, along with washing and cooking. Maybe someone else can chip in on this?
High humidity will cause a lot of problems. The walls will sweat, along with moisture running down cold surfaces (windows and walls) causing significant mold and mildew issues.
When we used our fifth wheel for deer hunting here in Wisconsin (Thanksgiving week) the moisture condensation due to the cold created a very uncomfortable environment.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:24 PM   #7
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To control that humidity and introduce fresh air in a house, there's a 2" pvc line run from outside to the return air duct work. Don't be shy to correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they call that a "make up" air line? It's other purpose is to replace the air used by the furnace's burner that's heated then goes up (out) the flue as part of the heating process.

Anyway, something similar could be rigged from the furnace to the skirted in area under the motor home? I don't think there's anything like that in place now.

-Al
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 336muffin View Post
Be sure that the roof vents all are addressed due to snow build up. Especially fridge in case power fails and you use propane as backup. But wait......if you need to you can use the outside as a fridge! Sorry I could not resist. Sounds like you have a plan that have covered the details.
Yes, that is something else that is on my list is to box in the fridge outside, while allowing airflow. I was told by several others up here, that the fridge will quit working due to very cold temps and wind if left unprotected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by burfurd View Post
Right off the top of my head, can't think of anything you missed. Do you have some way to fill your propane tanks in case you run low? Maybe you have someone come by and fill them.

You might get a 'Hot Stick' electric heating element for your water heater to assist the gas burner. Will sure cut down on the gas usage.

Good luck

One other thing, where you gonna put your 'rig'?

burfurd
As for propane, we are using 100 Lbs bottles, two. That way when one runs out I can take it to go get filled. They will be in a box as well. I looked into renting a stationary tank, and about had heart failure due to the price. I was also looking at installing a "Hott rod" in the water heater. It is a Atwood heater so from my research it shouldn't be very difficult and a wise investment, though running out of hot water keeps the kids from taking very long showers.

As for my rig, it is at a private park. My daily drivers have been winterized, Battery blankets, battery tenders, engine heaters, Lighter weight oil and even added cab heaters. I also am upgrading the starter in my pickup (1991, GMC, 3/4 tom 4x4, 454) to a high torque gear reduction starter. Antifreeze good to -60 in all rigs and the coach.

Brooms and snow shovels are on the list. Roof vents have the angled aerodynamic covers that cover the "normal crank-up" covers. Exhaust pipes have been marked and extensions have been added (approx 3') to the exhaust pipes so they are further away from the coach.
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahicks View Post
To control that humidity and introduce fresh air in a house, there's a 2" pvc line run from outside to the return air duct work. Don't be shy to correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they call that a "make up" air line? It's other purpose is to replace the air used by the furnace's burner that's heated then goes up (out) the flue as part of the heating process.

Anyway, something similar could be rigged from the furnace to the skirted in area under the motor home? I don't think there's anything like that in place now.

-Al
I will have to look into that and see if I can find that, Thanks!
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:04 PM   #10
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good luck. I've stayed several time in dickinson, nd, it's amazing what they o there so the rv's can live thru the winter.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:13 PM   #11
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Just a thought from my Alaska winter days. Keep your shower water in the holding tank, and dump all the tanks right after everyone has their shower. That warm water is your friend. I am guessing you will get about 3 days between dumps.
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:49 AM   #12
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Ok, so I will give everyone a full update. We made it, but some lessons were learned. We added heaters to both the fresh water and the waste water compartments, to keep from freezing. One cold morning (-50 below) no water. Even though we had insulated the compartments it wasn't enough. No broken lines, but we added a AC forced air heater to each compartment. No other issues, until it got colder then the line froze again, but this time, it was on the inside where the water line runs to the kitchen which runs behind the breaker box and under the fridge. We found it and placed a heater there and again, no broken lines and problem solved. As for insulation, I will swear by the foil sided bubble wrap, and the Big Buddy heater by Mr. Heater, which we used on the enclosed porch we built. It kept the whole place nice and warm and the RV heater only had to kick on a few times when it got real cold. We didn't have any problems with humidity.

Now, I did add the AC electric heating element to our water heater. I don't know if I got a bad one, or what, but I did not notice any difference. So I guess the next upgrade is a on demand water heater to replace the one in the coach.

I started the coach and the generator once a month with no issues.

So, please feel free to send me a message here or PM me if you have any questions or need ideas.

With the addition of the Big Buddy heater we went to 4 100Lbs tanks. That way we always had spares. We did have one problem on the coach, the LP regulator had oil in it. But strangely if we ran the on-board tank no issues, but using an external tank, it didn't work right. Hot water tank heater just sputtered. Replaced the regulator and problem went away.

Hope this helps anyone looking at full timing in very cold climates.

One last thing, I swear by Gorilla tape (Super duct tape), The co-pilot chair (up front) the sliding window got knocked out last summer by the "lawn mowing/yard keepers) with a rock. I was told it would be replaced. So I made a foil covered cardboard insert and taped it in as a temp fix till the window got replaced. Well..... The slider still has not been replaced, and the tape and cardboard/foil held and still holds as of right now. So if anyone knows where I can get it, I am open to suggestions. Locally, is not a option as no one works on RV glass around here.

I don't see us staying another winter here in the RV, as 2 1/2 teenagers, my wife, myself, and now TWO dogs, makes for a cramped living quarters, LOL. But my wife is amazing, even with the limited cooking space, she made cakes, and goodies, and great meals, and kept this a smooth running ship.

Cheers and good luck to all!

Allen
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:38 AM   #13
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Great story. Your kids will remember this forever. I've been out there many times. The activity, work opportunities, and chaos is unbelievable.
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Old 06-15-2013, 10:07 AM   #14
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Been there, done that, get to go back and do it all over again.
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