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Old 10-26-2020, 09:56 AM   #1
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Prepping for Winter living in a Bounder

We have a 1998 Fleetwood Bounder that we plan on living in while we relocate and house hunt. We're new to owning a motorhome and wanted to ask what are the must do's in regards to preparing for living in freezing temps (we're heading to Northern Indiana).
How do the Bounders typically hold up in colder temps?
Thanks!!
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Old 10-26-2020, 05:23 PM   #2
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Can’t speak for the Bounder but I would suspect you have 2 1/2 to 3 inches at best foam insulation in the sidewalls, same or less in the roof and floor. We wintered in a SunnyBrook travel trailer while our house was being built and experienced temperatures into the teens for weeks on end. You should expect similar in northern Indiana (DW from that area). You should plan on keeping heat in the wet bay, 60 to 100 watt lightbulb, a heated fresh water hose, heated spigot/water post, flashing or barrier to close in the under carriage and ceramic or oil filled heaters to augment the coach furnace. Locate a propane supplier who will come to you to fill your tank as required rather than breaking camp to go for propane. Top off your diesel before parking and add sufficient anti-gel. Insulated shades or covers for inside the windshield and maybe a shade or curtain barrier between the living area and the driver compartment.
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Old 10-26-2020, 06:41 PM   #3
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Fleetman gave you awesome advice. A few more I can think of:
1. Moisture buildup will be something you will fight the entire time unless you have a humidifier to remove that moisture. You'll also need to circulate the inside air. It might seem counter intuitive, but having a vent or window slightly cracked open will help.
2. When snow is forecast, consider bringing in the slides to keep snow buildup off your toppers.
3. When high winds or extremely cold temps (IMO, below 20F), consider bringing in your slides. It's much easier to keep the interior warm when the slides are in. We did this in our prior Bounder when a cold front came through while we were in the mountains of WV. Temps dipped into the upper 20's, winds were 20mph sustained/30+ gusts.
4. Keep your fresh tank full & fill it on above freezing days. In case you do get a frozen shore water source, you'll still have water.
5. Last, never EVER let your propane tank get below half. The tank won't last long if you're running the furnace non-stop (hence the reason for supplemental sources). And if there's a hard snowfall where a supplier can't get to you right away, you don't want to run out of propane as only the furnace will be what keeps the water lines/connections from freezing during extended below freezing temps.

It can be mighty cold in N. IN during winter but if you prepare well, you'll do fine. Good luck.

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Old 10-26-2020, 06:57 PM   #4
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We spent a cold month (November) in Maine a few years ago. On occasion, we used the propane furnace to "catch up" but relied most of the time on a 1500 amp, oil-filled electric heater. The warmest part of the MH was the kitchen. The bedroom (rear) got chilly at night. After the first week, I decided to experiment. Because heat rises and the heater's fan didn't really move it that much, I mounted a computer cooling fan next to the driver's seat and aimed it a little more than halfway toward the ceiling. The result was so much warm air was making it to the bedroom, we had to turn the heater down to the 800 or so amp setting. My reasoning for the small fan was it would move the warm air without cooling it off in the process. It worked. That fan is now one of the first things I confirm is onboard before we leave home.
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Old 10-26-2020, 08:26 PM   #5
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That's a good point & supports my suggestion of keeping air moving. Heated air will pool at the ceiling, making the interior seem cool if one is sitting. Being able to get that warm air off the ceiling & circulating will make the rest of the living space more comfortable. You don't want to create a breeze, but you do want to move the air. It's the very reason I reverse all my S&B paddle fan blade directions twice a year. May 1 is Summer rotation, Nov 1 their Winter rotation come.

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Old 10-26-2020, 08:44 PM   #6
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As fulltimers we are, not by choice, starting our third winter in Colorado at altitudes between 5500-6500' AMSL. We awoke this morning to 7" of heavy snow and +2F temperature. Below is a pic from my LaZboy outside my rear office window.
Several years ago after watching my DW wrapping her legs in an afghan and complaining of cold feet I did some thinking. Something I apparently don't do often enough or soon enough.
I placed a thermometer on the floor and noted the temperature. I then moved it to the table top and recorded the temperature. I taped it to the ceiling and did the same thing. The warmest of the three temps was on the ceiling. The temp on the table was 10F cooler and the temp on the floor was 20F colder than the ceiling.
The solution to mixing the cold air on the floor with the wasted hot air on the ceiling was to place a cheap Honeywell 3 speed fan on the floor and point it at the ceiling. It worked like a champ.
When we retire for the evening we set both furnaces to 55F and set a ceramic heater on the Low (750 watt) setting and a fan on the Low setting on the floor pointed at the ceiling in the living room. We do the same thing in the bedroom.
We open the cabinet doors under the kitchen and bathroom sinks and open the doors to the shower and the throne room so the pipes near the outside walls get some heat. On very cold nights we aim a third heater into the bathroom area. I usually run an extension cord through the bathroom window so I don't overburden the 20 amp circuit from my inverter as 2250 watts(18.75 amps) exceeds the recommend 80% continuous rating of the 20 amp circuit. The third heater is connected to the 30 amp circuit on the pedestal with a 30 amp male/15 amp female adapter. I hate having to reset the CB on my inverter in the middle of the night. It is better than overheated wiring though.
I have a 300 watt Cargo Heat heater supplemented by a 75 watt heat lamp in an aluminum clamp on reflector in the water bay. Water bay temps are transmitted to an atomic clock/inside and outside thermometer in the bedroom. Two 250 watt heat lamps in aluminum reflectors are placed on the ground under my full 100 gallon fresh water tank. All 3 lamps are on the 20 amp circuit on the pedestal.
Reflectix inside the windshield and inside our double pane windows round out our current strategy for dealing with the cold at present. We don't have furnace heat routed to our basement but we do have spray on foam on the bottom of our fresh water tank. Our black and grey water tanks sit on top of the fresh water tank. We use very little propane with our setup when we have 50/30/20 amp shore power.
Oh, one more thing. We have a modified sine wave inverter which doesn't play well with digital controls so both the heaters and the fans have the old fashioned analog controls.
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Old 10-27-2020, 03:18 PM   #7
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Okay, I learned something new since my last post. My hot water heater and all the plumbing from it to the bathroom sink, shower and kitchen sink is located on the curbside of the coach. The only plumbing on the roadside of the coach is a cold water line to the toilet and a small line to the ice maker.
I always check the Weather Channel app before going to bed to check the forecast OATs for the next 12 hours or so. If any temps will approach freezing I open all the cabinets and doors where plumbing lines are located so warm air will reach them. I worried more about the cold water lines than the hot water lines for some reason.
Wrong. About 36 hours ago our hot water stopped flowing while the cold water flowed normally. I opened up the cabinets under the two sinks and pointed ceramic heaters at the plumbing. The OATs have remained in the teens and below since then and even though the heaters have run continuously the frozen hot water pipe just thawed and began to flow again.
Starting NOW I will point the heaters directly at the pipes inside the cabinets instead of out in the room when we go to bed in very cold temperatures.
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Old 10-27-2020, 07:10 PM   #8
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Go to #4 so you want to camp in sub zero the old an updated version so i did not link
https://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/its...tml#post988606
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Old 10-27-2020, 07:36 PM   #9
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Personally I would not attempt to live in a motorhome in northern Indiana during the winter. If you are no accustomed to RV living in cold weather, this is not the place to start.

I would suggest finding an apartment for the winter.

Ken
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Old 10-27-2020, 09:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
Personally I would not attempt to live in a motorhome in northern Indiana during the winter. If you are no accustomed to RV living in cold weather, this is not the place to start.

I would suggest finding an apartment for the winter.

Ken
This is the best option yet.
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