Winter RV Living

Winter RV living is not for everyone as many factors must be taken into consideration. For instance, you may have to winterize your RV, stock up on supplies in case you get snowed in and find an RV park that is open year round. The design of an RV does not encompass the ideal conditions for a permanent home and especially not for a winter dwelling, so the season's elements are definitely cause for concern. However, you can overcome these obstacles with a few simple tricks.

Winter RV Living

Winterizing Your RV

RV's do not have good insulation so one of the first things you should do is seal the windows. Luckily, a few options exist and you can choose the one that best fits your budget and your level of expertise. To seal your windows, you might opt for:

  • Shrink Wrap

  • Plexiglass

  • Wood

  • Foam Board

Another option if you want to be resourceful and save money is to use blankets and duct tape though thermal curtains might also work and do not require much skill to install.

Once you seal your windows, you should look to cover other gaps that might cause a draft such as vents, compartments and the doorframe. To seal these smaller areas and make winter RV living more tolerable, try duct tape, foam spray, vent pillows, fiberglass insulation or weather stripping.

Heat

If you RV has a generator, you could run it every now and then to turn on the heat but this is not ideal and most parks, or at least your neighbors, are not going to be happy if your generator is frequently running, creating noise and exhaust fumes. A good alternative is investing in down blankets, dressing in layers and purchasing approved UL heaters. When considering heaters, make sure the electric usage does not overload your circuits or raise your electric bill too high if it is not included in the spot rent.

If you choose to use propane heat or keep your oven on, you should be aware of the downfalls. Aside from the fumes, propane creates condensation, especially now that you sealed all the cracks. When using propane heat, try to keep your shower and range vents on or keep a window near the stove slightly cracked or uncovered on one side. This can help you stay warm while enduring winter RV living without creating moisture problems or breathing in bad fumes.

Water and Sewage

No one can survive winter RV living without water but sewer and hose lines can freeze if not properly prepared for the cold temperatures. Depending on how frequently you are moving and where you stay, you may have to take mild or extreme measures in winterizing your freshwater tank and sewer lines. To protect your freshwater tank from the cold, you might:

  • Use heat tape.

  • Fill and empty the tank each day, detaching the hose.

  • Foam insulation.

  • Let the faucet drip overnight so it is always flowing.

  • Fiberglass batting.

Make sure to wrap the hose, the connecting points and the faucet or you could end up with a problem despite trying to prevent one.

When preparing your sewer lines, make sure they slope downward so they drain or replace the hoses with PVC because it is a more weather resistant material. Keeping the valves closed also helps during cold temperatures as does RV antifreeze and insulation.

For either tank, you can keep them empty and sealed if the RV park has a restroom and shower for campers. As for drinking and dishes, bottled water works well or if the park has a laundry room with a tub sink you could use it to do dishes or simply opt for paper plates. Additionally, a small light bulb near the tanks can offer heat safely and help avoid a big problem.

Some of the solutions to winter RV living may seem silly or inconvenient but it is amazing how creative some people get when they have limited resources, such as time, money and the ability to do small handyman tasks. All of these techniques work and can help you enjoy your RV in the winter; it's just a matter of finding what works for you and suits your needs.

If you happen to be somewhere warm for the winter, still pay attention to your water and sewer lines if the temperature drops at night but discard the rest and enjoy cocktails in the sun!