Five months into full-time life on the road after leaving the sunny warmth of Florida, as I type this, we are in northern Virginia in the midst of a seven plus day arctic blast. We’ve been weathering snow, wind chills -0 and highs of about 24 or so for days on end. If you don’t already know, these kind of prolonged frigid temps have the potential to be an absolute nightmare for RV life if you aren’t properly prepared and equipped.
We are three days in and so far (crossing our fingers) we haven’t had one single incidence of anything frozen or busted and we are staying warm and toasty inside our 37 foot, four season equipped (which means it has a heated underbelly to heat the plumbing underneath) Light camper by Open Range. Also our RV has an electric AND gas hot water heater combined.
Here’s what we did to Arctic Blast proof our tiny home on wheels before we even headed up here that has worked beautifully for us. (All steps are listed in exact order of how they were done)
- Wrapped the water supply hose into the RV with aluminum foil
- Put heat trace on it and tapped it every 8 inches
- Wrapped it with 5/8 in. thick foam plumbing insulation
- Wrapped it entirely in duct tape
- We keep the hot water running in one of the sinks on a very light steady stream at all times to keep the hot water heater from freezing up
- We keep a small ceramic heater in the bathroom with the doors closed to keep the toilet water from freezing as well as for extra warmth when we shower. We also keep 1 more ceramic heater in the main living area during the day and the kid’s room at night.
- When taking showers we cut on the gas portion of the hot water heater as well
- Leave the valves open on the grey water tank
- Keep black water tank closed except to empty
How to solve humidity & Moisture problems inside an RV
If you’ve traveled to a cold place before you would already know that moisture build up on the inside of the camper becomes a problem when the temperature difference between the outside and inside is so great. We mostly found that it’s mainly a problem on slide outs.
Here’s what we did to 100% eliminate moisture inside our RV
- Purchased a dehumidifier – We got ours from Walmart for around $175. Lowes also carries them for around the same price. The goal for an inside living space is between 30-50 % humidity. If it’s higher than that you will have moisture and a potential mold growth problem which is a big deal. Side note: we’ve had to run the dehumidifier very minimally since discovering the next step on the list that virtually eliminates the moisture problem
- Cracked one RV side window open – While it sounds ridiculous to crack open a window in frigid temperatures, the amount of work the dehumidifier has to do to keep the moisture problem at bay is at least 90% less! It’s best to crack open a side window (away from a sleeping area) rather than a roof vent because this allows for less heat to escape. IT WORKS. *I would try this step before purchasing a dehumidifier and see if that alone solves the issue before chunking out the bucks for one.
Propane Usage in below freezing temps
As far as propane usage we carry one 100 pound tank and two 30 pound tanks. For usage with cooking, heating and the water heater we are going through about 50 pounds of propane every week which is an average of around $200-$250 a month give or take depending on gas prices where you are.
These are all of the things we have tried and found to work wonderfully for surviving the cold in an RV. It is our desire that this post is super helpful and informative to you on your journeys and helps in keeping your family and your RV from freezing up in the cold places you may travel.
Be courageous, live adventurously, travel light!