The winter is known for its extreme elements and blistering, but RVing can be a lot of fun during this time if you are well prepared. Winter has several treasures, activities, and sights you can enjoy, and good preparation is key to having the time of your life. A good time is possible even in the coldest winters like those in Vermont. You will need to ensure both you and your RV are optimally protected when camping in such extreme weather. In this article, we will be discussing some of the most important things to consider when RVing during winter.
Most modern RVs are equipped with solar panels and accompanying accessories like inverters and batteries that are usually enough to keep you comfortable during typical weather. The same is not true for winter. Solar panels are barely enough even in winters with a good number of sunny days. Solar panels are not as effective when covered in snow, so you will need to consider alternatives. You will need electricity to power the RV and accessories. You will need to hook up your RV, but it is crucial to know the Amps as anything above the RV’s rating will cause the main breaker to trip. With that, you can use splitters if the hookup delivers more Amps. It is important that you connect to such hookups as they give you extra power that will help avoid the damaging voltage snag. You will also be able to charge your batteries and have power in case of outages. It would help if you also acquired a generator in case of extended outages.
Propane is an essential consideration as most RVs use it for cooking, the fridge, the gas water heater, and the furnace to heat the vehicle. Propane and electricity costs are similar, so an excellent way to go is to use electricity whenever you can find them and use propane as a backup. You should know that propane condenses, and its usable capacity goes down in temperatures below freezing. It is usually better to rent a large tank as it is usually cheaper to buy in bulk, you will have an adequate supply that will last the winter, and they will keep working well below freezing because of the larger surface area.
It is crucial to think of ways to keep plumbing from freezing. RVs come with features designed to minimize these chances, but you can take an extra step and install sensors on crucial plumbing to ensure they run optimally throughout the winter. Most RVs also come with thermostatically-controlled heating pads to keep stored water from freezing, but you should keep them on throughout the winter. These appliances consume a little energy, so they will be cheaper in the long run. One workaround is to connect your RV to water hookups that usually provide warm water. This also avoids the hassle of filling up the fresh tank every few days in freezing temperatures. Take care to use heated drinking water hoses to ensure a continuous flow of water, as regular hoses will freeze.
A frozen sewer hose can turn your experience upside down. One way to ensure that does not happen is using pouring RV antifreeze into the waste tanks. You should also dump waste when the tanks are about half-full as that amount of liquid is not likely to freeze. You should take further precautions and acquire a heated sewer hose to minimize the chances of waste material getting stuck and freezing in the hose. Some modifications may be needed to fit the best solutions in the market, but that is a small cost compared to the benefits. These hoses also have a high tolerance to freezing temperatures, so they should work well through most winters.
You should skirt your RV if you plan on being stationary for the winter. Skirting means closing the gap between the ground and the RV. The space between the vehicle and the ground can be the means by which cold air gets into your RV, so it is vital that it is closed. There are several options to this end, but foam boards make for the best choice as they are very affordable. These boards can be cut according to your skirting needs and taped into place. You can also reinforce the boards with blocks or snow to offer more protection. You can offer further protection by putting a heat lamp or heater under the vehicle to heat the cavity but beware that they risk starting a fire. You can use temperature sensors to monitor the temperature and act in time to avoid fires.
Heating is obviously up there with the most important considerations. RVs today have robust insulation and heating appliances like furnaces that warm the vehicle fast. Furnaces can be costly to run, so you should cycle yours off as often as possible. Heaters can keep RV temperatures pretty comfortable, so you should consider them, especially as furnaces as usually very noisy. With that, you can alternate between the two as heat from the heater does not reach the tanks.
Condensation can cause mold to grow if left unchecked. Besides, the condensed liquid will freeze and cause several inconveniences. Condensation is a constant problem in RVs, especially in winter because they are usually sealed, and there are several internal sources of humidity like the shower, kitchen, propane furnace, and wet external-use equipment. You should install a dehumidifier and automate it to turn on when the internal humidity hits a certain threshold.
RV fridges often run on propane and use an absorption system. These fridges run on the principle that hydrogen and ammonia absorb heat from the surrounding when they mix, which cools the fridge. The problem is that ammonia condenses at low temperatures, which causes the system to stop working. To avoid this, you should purchase a fridge fitted with a cold-weather kit that will keep it running in temperatures as low as 0F. Using sensors will allow you to sense when the fridge is getting too cold and take preventive measures to protect it.
The battery in some vehicles will have trouble when the temperature is too cold. You should ensure your RV is well-insulated and the interior protected from the freezing air. It would be best if you also insulated the battery itself by wrapping it with cold-resistant material to ensure it stays as warm as possible. One last option is taking the battery out and keeping it in the RV whenever the temperature is too low. You can always pop up the hood and return the battery when you need it or conditions are milder.
RVing during the winter can seem like a daunting task best left to the daring and experienced, but it can be pretty easy and enjoyable with adequate preparation. Cold and freezing temperatures are the biggest things to worry about, but you can take care of them by ensuring such measures as skirting, heating and electricity. You can also keep the costs at a minimum by switching between alternatives as much as possible. Here’s to an unforgettable winter!