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Old 06-02-2014, 09:38 AM   #1
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Question NEW to fulltiming - Advice/Opinions/HELP! (long)

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to this site...actually, I'm new to the whole RV thing. Opinions and ideas needed!

My boyfriend and I just bought a 2004 Heritage Franklin. Its 42 ft long and has 3 slides. We recently found out that we need to move within the next few months...Tossed around the option to continue renting, did the whole "Let's buy a house!" thing, looked at a few houses up for auction, talked to a family member about remodeling their basement into an apartment, and even considered buying a mobile home and getting set up on my family's farm... All of these sound like decent options, but after looking into each one, their downfalls outweighed the good things about them...at this point in our life, anyway...

So, here we are now... We made the decision to buy the 5th wheel and live in it full time for a year(s).. IN OHIO.. After the winter we just had, I'm surprised I'm not the one telling me I'm crazy Either way, I need opinions, ideas, advice..anything you all can tell me!

LOCATION: My family has a 90 acre farm in Ohio. We are allowed to put it on my parents or grandparents land. Looked around yesterday at possible places on each property. It needs a 220 hookup, which my grandparents have in their garage. They also have a water hookup coming up from the basement. Option 1: put it on the side or behind the house to be close to the hookups. Option 2: Put it down by the barn (about 100 ft from house) and run the hookups to us.. My parents house does not have a 220 hookup, but their house is newer and capable of having more things running off of the electric at once. They also have water hookups inside the basement and garage. Option 3: put it at the side of their house, use the water hookup from the basement and have a 220 hookup installed. Option 4: put it beside the barn (on an actual driveway) and run water to us..and have the 220 installed. Which one of these sounds like the best, safest, or smartest plan?

WEATHER: Because we live in Ohio, the summer will be fine.. (I've shown horses forever and have lived out of horse trailers on and off for years), but the winters will be a whole new ball game! What all needs to go into this to make sure we're warm and the pipes wont freeze? Ive looked up a lot of stuff, and everyone seems to have a different way with a different combination to keep things running in the winter. What are the safest and best options? Are there ways to do it and not have it cost as much as the 5th wheel, itself, did? What exactly is a heated RV basement, and can one be added if it does not have one? Heated hoses: do they really work? Or is heated tape the way to go? Propane heating at a lower temp will be used to, hopefully, help with the freezing..but we're not wanting to heat with propane. Space heaters? Solar panels? Install a wood stove? Other options? ...Water: opinions on using the water holding tank or having the water line hooked up at all times? ...Grey & Black Water - There is no place to run a line for a run off, but we have a few dumping stations fairly close by. What is our best option here? If at all possible, I'd like to avoid having to thaw yesterdays digested lunch with a hairdryer ...Skirting: we plan to add a skirt around the bottom - best insulated option? The original plan was to put it inside the barn for the winter, but the measurement info we received was a little off. Needless to say, the barn doors arent tall enough to get this bad boy inside there. Do we NEED to build some kind of full enclosure, or will we survive outside? Does anything need to be done to the slides in the winter?

Also, any information on average cost (monthly) during warm and cold weather would be greatly appreciated! I know the initial winterizing project could get pricey, but not factoring that in... Aprroximately, what are we looking at? Hoping the average cost monthly should be considerably less than $800-$1000?

Any tips, tricks, DIY projects, etc are welcomed for anything and everything... We have until November/December before the winter will hit, but would love to have a plan and get a set up going now.

Sorry this was so long...but thank you for reading!

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Old 06-02-2014, 09:46 AM   #2
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It will be very difficult to meet your needs with an RV. Especially with the cold winters you face. Most Rv's are two or three season campers, and those seasons are NOT winter.

Look at units called "Park Models." (like a mini Mobile Home or Large RV if you prefer)

They are much better equipped for stationary living and cold winters.

What money you may save over conventional housing by purchasing an RV will quickly be spent in winter trying to stay warm, and keep the water flowing.

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Old 06-02-2014, 01:07 PM   #3
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Many people here will tell you that you can get by fine in the winter in an RV. They are wrong and Dogfolk is right go for a modular home instead or plan on getting out of Ohio for the winters. RV heating systems are not designed for a season of constant heat. That's my humble opinion.
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:23 PM   #4
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Ditto on what everyone else said. Any reason you already bought the trailer/fifth wheel? None of them are safe or smart unless you are just going to live in it April to November, winterize, and move somewhere else for the rest of the year.
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:29 PM   #5
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Are you sure it needs 220 volts ? The 50 amp RV plug confuses many people including electricians not familiar with RV's .

I seriously doubt it, as all campgrounds are wired for 110 volt service.

See this link

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Old 06-02-2014, 01:36 PM   #6
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I would be trying to get that vehicle inside the barn for the winter! That should help tremendously with keeping it warm.

You probably also need to put in a septic tank that you can dump your gray and black water into.
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:40 PM   #7
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Can you push it inside the barn? Is the barn heated?

I have lived in a RV during the winter when the temps get down to -30. Can do it but soon ended up renting an apartment.

You can get a large propane tank and hook it up, supplement the propane with electric heaters, skirt the bottom of the trailer, apply heat tapes to the water lines and holding tanks and will not be off too bad if the RV is insulated for what they call winter.

Some RV are quite well insulated. I am working on the roof of ours right now and find there is 4" of pink insulation as well as a metallic layer, much like you see folks putting in the windows. Still I would not try to live in it during the winter.

Why? Because of the ventilation. I cannot find any evidence of vapour barrier in the walls or ceiling. This means I will soon have the walls full of frost from living in the trailer (breathing, cooking, showering). Come spring there will be a flood.

Consider an apartment unless the barn is heated and you can get the trailer inside.
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:41 PM   #8
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That's a whole bunch of questions and since you already have the RV you got to make it work.
1. RV 220V is not the same as house 220V!!!
2. Try to bend over backwards to get the RV into the barn for the winter, I'm serious.
3. Heat tape works, connect it to the water line then wrap with al. foil and insulation, but don't try to cut corners it will bite you.

We lived in a 5th wheel for a winter through -40 weather when we sold our farm before our new house was built and being able to park it inside the machine shed it wasn't to bad but we went through a lot of propane. The heating cost for the RV was about the same as for a house.
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:49 PM   #9
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Read this!

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Old 06-02-2014, 01:56 PM   #10
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This might also give you a few tips.

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