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Old 10-17-2021, 07:14 AM   #1
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Tips for winter RVing

I am new to this discussion board, so if there is a thread or FAQ for this question, please point me in that direction.

I am also fairly new to full-time RVing, I've been living in my 2019 Keystone Cougar 344MKS for just over 4 months and it's now beginning to get cold. I will be stationary in Eastern TN for the next 5 months and I am curious if any of the experienced full-timers have tips for someone who will be living in a colder environment for an extended period of time. Right now it's gotten down to 40 degrees and my furnace has been kicking on every 15 minutes or so and since it just started to get cold, I have no idea how much propane I'm going to end up using...my assumption is a lot.

If anyone has any tips on how to keep this RV warm without using an excessive amount of propane, I am all ears (eyes).

Thanks!!
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:21 AM   #2
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RVs are not particularly suited for cold weather, even those that brag about being “4 Season”.

Cycling your furnace every 15 minutes at a balmy 40 F does not seem right.

One big tip is skirting your trailer. This is how one RV full-timer did it. https://www.adventurousway.com/blog/rv-skirting

Sealing up cracks and air leaks can help, but bear in mind that you will trap more moisture in your trailer and that is not good.

When I was young (think 1970) my parents parked a trailer outside our house in Casper WY, and I used that as a bedroom. No skirting, and the trailer was old even then. There were times I would wake up to find my boots frozen to the floor. I don’t know what the weather in Tennessee is like, but it is probably warmer than Wyoming.
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:32 AM   #3
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RVs are not particularly suited for cold weather, even those that brag about being “4 Season”.

Cycling your furnace every 15 minutes at a balmy 40 F does not seem right.

One big tip is skirting your trailer. This is how one RV full-timer did it. https://www.adventurousway.com/blog/rv-skirting

Sealing up cracks and air leaks can help, but bear in mind that you will trap more moisture in your trailer and that is not good.

When I was young (think 1970) my parents parked a trailer outside our house in Casper WY, and I used that as a bedroom. No skirting, and the trailer was old even then. There were times I would wake up to find my boots frozen to the floor. I don’t know what the weather in Tennessee is like, but it is probably warmer than Wyoming.
Yeah, from what I've been told, the weather doesn't get below 20 degrees in the winter the majority of the time in East TN. I have the temp set to 65 degrees and the furnace will come on for about 2 minutes to warm up the trailer to 65 and then off for at least 15 minutes, could be a bit longer, I haven't been timing it exactly, just ballparking.
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:47 AM   #4
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I sure that you will burn LOTS of propane. If you are set up to stay in one place I would get a large tank delivered. Personally I head for Edinburg Texas where it is warm.
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:54 AM   #5
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The Cougar is not a very well insulated trailer and is really a 3-season trailer. However, there are lots of folks that do winter in them. It will help to fully skirt the trailer and put Reflectex in most windows. Run a small space heater to supplement the furnace but still let the furnace run to help keep the basement warm. Keep a roof vent cracked open to let some of the moisture out and prevent so much condensation on the windows. When cooking and showering, run a vent fan.

If you are going to be below freezing for more than about 4 to 6 hours, plan to fill the freshwater tank and put up your water hose. A heated hose does not keep the water faucet from freezing. Also, a good idea to store the sewer hose and dump when tanks are full.

Get a larger propane tank hooked up as you will use a lot of propane.

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Old 10-17-2021, 10:31 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mermald View Post
I am new to this discussion board, so if there is a thread or FAQ for this question, please point me in that direction.

I am also fairly new to full-time RVing, I've been living in my 2019 Keystone Cougar 344MKS for just over 4 months and it's now beginning to get cold. I will be stationary in Eastern TN for the next 5 months and I am curious if any of the experienced full-timers have tips for someone who will be living in a colder environment for an extended period of time. Right now it's gotten down to 40 degrees and my furnace has been kicking on every 15 minutes or so and since it just started to get cold, I have no idea how much propane I'm going to end up using...my assumption is a lot.

If anyone has any tips on how to keep this RV warm without using an excessive amount of propane, I am all ears (eyes).

Thanks!!
Supplement the heating with electric heaters. During the day, if you are there, you may be able to help the heat with electric heaters. It could save you propane, but you are going to use propane. Not only will you need to keep inside warm, but the underbelly as well.
Do not allow your water lines to freeze, it will be problems if you do. Do you have any way to keep your water hose warm to keep it from freezing? Maybe an electric heated water hose.
If you have any low point drains have you protect these from freezing? If they freeze up you could be without water. When the low point drains freeze the ice works it way up into your water lines in the under belly cutting off water supply.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:20 AM   #7
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I've never long-termed in cold weather in the 5th wheel. Camped in -5C or so weather several days at a time a few years ago on a 6 week trip. It is miserable. We carry 3 x400W electric heaters and use a campground then. 2 are oil filled radiant heaters and one is a ceramic radiant heater for in front of us. We make sure the RV propane heater kicks in at east once an hour in 0C or colder weather to heat the underbelly a bit. We have temp sensors in the underbelly to check.

Use the special pillows in all roof vents, get the silver bubble wrap stuff for the windows but if you can avoid the cold weather head south.

Snow on the slides is especially fun to remove when you need to close up.

FWIW we have slept in the RV in -15C temps but the RV is winterized at that time and we sleep fully dressed under 4-6" worth of blankets.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:28 AM   #8
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I didn't see if you have electric power or not. If you do, buy one or two small 1500 watt electric heaters. Much easier than refilling propane tanks.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:37 AM   #9
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Don't. Just don't.
Almost all RVs are made for any weather but winter.
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Old 10-17-2021, 01:59 PM   #10
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If you MUST winter in it...

If spending the winter in the trailer is your only option, I recommend you close any slides that aren't needed at the time. For example, close your bedroom slide when in the living room. Close the living room and kitchen slides at night if you can. Do make sure there is no snow accumulation on top of the slides before closing.

We have found keeping the pocket door at the top of the stairs closed at night keeps the bedroom a few degrees warmer at night. Heck, if your layout allows it, keeping the bedroom slide closed at night will keep it warmer. We do that when we overnight leaving south for winter vacation.

It will be no picnic unless you have a very expensive and well-built 5th wheel that'll cost as much or more than many houses.
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Old 10-17-2021, 02:14 PM   #11
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If a deep freeze is predicted for a few days or more you should winterize your plumbing before it hits. Your pump,drain pipes, water lines can burst.

Dont let RV antifreeze get into your hot water heater.
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Old 10-17-2021, 02:15 PM   #12
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What works for me, get two oscillating tower electric heaters. Also get an electric blanket and even a heating pad. Oh, the last time I was in cold 32 degree weather I used a 0 degree sleeping bag as a blanket. That helped a lot. I did not have an electric blanket so the sleeping bag helped a lot.
It is not fun to be in the RV even in Tennessee in the winter. Good luck.

The best place to get propane is a Tractor Supply Company.

Actually the Courgar is insulated better than a lot of RV's.
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Old 10-18-2021, 12:42 PM   #13
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What works for me, get two oscillating tower electric heaters. Also get an electric blanket and even a heating pad. Oh, the last time I was in cold 32 degree weather I used a 0 degree sleeping bag as a blanket. That helped a lot. I did not have an electric blanket so the sleeping bag helped a lot.
It is not fun to be in the RV even in Tennessee in the winter. Good luck.

The best place to get propane is a Tractor Supply Company.

Actually the Courgar is insulated better than a lot of RV's.
Thanks for the response. I've been talking people here at the park I'm at and most don't even skirt their RVs and have told me it doesn't get that cold here. I guess I'll find out...
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Old 10-18-2021, 01:20 PM   #14
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Cold is relative. Last year we hit 11F overnight. That was not so much fun. The heat ran about half time.
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