Coffeyville had it’s first hard freeze Tuesday night, with a low of 22 and 20 mph winds. Last year, temps like that would have froze my hose up and spelled death for my water filter, but this year thanks to some kind neighbors, I’m borrowing heat tape and have foam insulation for my water hose.
It worked like a charm, even on the water filter. I have a 25 foot water hose and the heat tape, which really isn’t tape-like or sticky in any way, was 30 feet long (if you wanted to order something like this from Amazon, this length would start at about $40). We wrapped the heated wire around the water filter and then ran it along the length of the hose the rest of the way, using duct tape to hold it in place. The foam was ¾” pipe foam insulation which comes from Walmart at a few bucks for 12 feet in 3 foot sections. The foam has sealant on the edges to hold it closed, but once temps dropped below freezing it stopped working as well so I still used quite a bit of duct tape to hold it closed.
After scraping frost off my car and driving home at 3:30 am Wednesday morning, I still had running water, success! Last year when it started getting really cold I eventually just took Cas in to get winterized since I was going to be driving up to Wisconsin afterward anyway, and spent the last two and a half weeks using just the shower house bathroom and buying water for cooking and dishes.
Since I’m driving down to Texas to get some work done on the Casita after Amazon this year and then going to Florida after that, I won’t need to winterize this time. And thanks to the kindliness of my fellow RVers, I won’t need to worry about having water.
I added one more tool to my cold weather arsenal as well this week. Since my RV has no furnace in it, I’ve been relying entirely on a small ceramic heater to keep the inside warm. For how small it is, it can keep the inside of Cas about 30 degrees warmer than it is outside. When it’s 40 outside, it’s still quite toasty inside. When it’s 22 outside, it’s no longer so toasty inside. So while I was at Walmart I also picked up a second little ceramic heater, it costs just under $20 with tax, probably about the same price as my first one and a good value for the heat it puts out.
I can plug them both in (at different outlets, and you aren’t suppose to put them on a power strip with a lot of other things either) and keep the inside of Cas quite warm now. What I’ve been doing is leaving one on while at work, that at least keeps things above freezing, then when I get home at 3:30 am I turn the other one on while I get ready for bed. By the time I get under the covers things are warming up nicely.
Other than that, my cold weather RV strategy hasn’t changed from last year. I do not skirt the bottom of my RV nor do I have enclosed tanks. So when it looks like a cold night, I dump my tanks if they’re more than a quarter full (I’ll fill the black tank up with water first so it empties properly), and I make sure my sewer hose doesn’t have any water sitting in it. To help keep the heat I’m pumping into my RV inside my RV, I put Reflectix (which can be found at home improvement stores or online at Amazon) up in my windows as insulation, my windows are single pane glass and I lose more heat from them than from anywhere else.
Last winter was mild here in Kansas, and forecasts are calling for a more proper winter this year. But I’m feeling much more prepared for it. It really doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep the inside of a RV comfortable when the temperatures start dropping even when you only have a three-season trailer, at least when the expected lows aren’t lower than the teens.
Do you have any questions about cold weather RVing? Any tips that you’ve discovered for keeping a RV comfortable in the winter? Please do share below! Today’s snow pictures were taken up in the Badlands the day after the blizzard ended last month. The middle one is how my water hose looks all bundled up right now.
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