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Old 09-15-2020, 08:39 PM   #1
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Question Travelling in cold weather for first time - WWYD?

DH & I are hoping to get one more trip in for the year. Due to work it will have to be late Oct/early-mid Nov. We plan to travel from northern Michigan (where we will have already had freezing nights and likely even some sub 32 days) to Crater of Diamonds in AR and back north again.

We are planning to leave the fresh H2O tank empty; carrying jugged water in the coach for drinking, washing, etc. Our black & gray tanks supposedly have heat pads, but we have yet to had a chance to use them. No time like the present I guess. We plan to add a bit of antifreeze to these tanks, but how much do we need to add?

We plan a combo of some Harvest Host stops, boondocking, and some state campgrounds with hookups.

I imagine we'll need to use the furnace some perhaps. We don't need it real warm for sleeping. (Keep our sticks & bricks 60-65 at night.) We'll bring good warm sleeping bags too. What's the best strategy for furnace use - run the generator for a bit in the evening to run the furnace and charge the house batteries, then turn off furnace overnight when not at a hookup? Although the refrigerator will be run mostly on propane, it will of course draw overnight too. The batteries are brand new (don't ask) so hopefully in good shape.

Any other tips or suggestions to help us hopefully avoid disaster? Hey, we all gotta learn, but we'd rather not learn via the school of hard knocks.
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Old 10-02-2020, 06:24 PM   #2
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Bump. any advice, anyone? TIA
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Old 10-02-2020, 06:31 PM   #3
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I do not have tank heating pads, but if you do not have enough liquid in the tanks they will melt them. So always keep them off when and after dumping. Do make sure that you have something in the tanks when you turn the tank heaters on.
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Old 10-02-2020, 07:24 PM   #4
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Since you're staying in the RV: If its warm enough for you its warm enough for the plumbing. You can even put some water in the fresh tank to have for flushing etc.

Get some RV antifreeze and pour some into the waste tanks--then you won't need the heaters.

Once you get to Kentucky or Missouri it won't matter anymore and you'll be good.

We've made a trip from MI->FL in December without issue (We left MI with the coach winterized and dewinterized at our first stop in Southern OH then re-winterized immediately upon returning home).
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Old 10-02-2020, 07:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MLP View Post
I do not have tank heating pads, but if you do not have enough liquid in the tanks they will melt them. So always keep them off when and after dumping. Do make sure that you have something in the tanks when you turn the tank heaters on.
The tank heaters Thor installs on the coach are thermostatically controlled and only turn on when the temp is below about 40F. In addition they don't warm the tanks that much (all they have to do is keep the tank above freezing--no need to warm it to 100s of degrees).

If they melted the tanks they would be defective.
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:41 PM   #6
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To add to the other good info;
You also may find that it is more convenient and less noisy to use a small elec. heater at night instead of the furnace. More economical also as the furnace really uses the propane up. We travel in the winter months in high desert areas
out west and carry two small elect. heaters like a milk house heater. Keeps the coach nice and warm when it's down into the low 20's. If the cold does get ahead of the heaters first thing in the morning, a 5 or 10 min. blast from the furnace catches up.
Have a great trip and Happy trails
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Old 10-02-2020, 11:37 PM   #7
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Stuff insulated pillows into the ceiling fan vents to block heat from escaping.

Insert Reflectix between the blinds and the windows to block cold air from falling onto your beds.

Use BOTH a small electric heater AND your propane heater. The electric heater is better at maintaining steady heat within a narrow temp range, but won't prevent large steady drops in temp. The propane heater will handle the big drops in heat but is terrible at maintaining it within a narrow range. If you only use propane on a freezing night the temp can range 8-10 degrees.
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Old 10-02-2020, 11:38 PM   #8
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Yes, an electric heater. Use campground power and not your propane. Our cat sleeps next to the electric heater - Iím waiting for her to catch on fire.

This one works well for us in a 24 foot class c:

https://www.amazon.com/COSTWAY-Radia...NsaWNrPXRydWU=
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Old 10-03-2020, 01:14 AM   #9
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If you can find someplace to tote a 20lb portable tank, consider an extend-a-stay. I have one and two 20lb portable tanks for, well, extended stays off grid.
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Old 10-03-2020, 02:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jimbo12 View Post
Yes, an electric heater. Use campground power and not your propane. Our cat sleeps next to the electric heater - Iím waiting for her to catch on fire.

This one works well for us in a 24 foot class c:

https://www.amazon.com/COSTWAY-Radia...NsaWNrPXRydWU=
Thanks. Great to hear. I have a nice compact little heater that I used to use in my home office so I could keep the rest of the housed dialed down a bit when I was the only one home during the day. Now that I'm retired, it needs a new "job." This may be the prefect fit.

Is that why my cat always wanted to sleep on my lap or my keyboard?? Wonder if she'd like to become a traveling cat.
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Old 10-03-2020, 03:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by tmshih View Post
Stuff insulated pillows into the ceiling fan vents to block heat from escaping.

Insert Reflectix between the blinds and the windows to block cold air from falling onto your beds.

Use BOTH a small electric heater AND your propane heater. The electric heater is better at maintaining steady heat within a narrow temp range, but won't prevent large steady drops in temp. The propane heater will handle the big drops in heat but is terrible at maintaining it within a narrow range. If you only use propane on a freezing night the temp can range 8-10 degrees.
Yup, pillows on order. I've been meaning to get them for a while. Now I have the kick in the pants that I need.

Interesting idea of using both the propane furnace and space heater in combo to (more) efficiently achieve the proper heat. Thanks for the idea.
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Old 10-03-2020, 03:21 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
Since you're staying in the RV: If its warm enough for you its warm enough for the plumbing. You can even put some water in the fresh tank to have for flushing etc.

Get some RV antifreeze and pour some into the waste tanks--then you won't need the heaters.

Once you get to Kentucky or Missouri it won't matter anymore and you'll be good.

We've made a trip from MI->FL in December without issue (We left MI with the coach winterized and dewinterized at our first stop in Southern OH then re-winterized immediately upon returning home).
That does make sense (the fresh tank is right under the bed after all) and it is reassuring to know that it can be done. Logic told us it was possible, but just how risky was it and how cumbersome to winterize/dewinterize/rewinterize was our newbie concern. I guess it's not really that big a deal is it. Friends with a TT do something similar when they head for Colorado in late winter.

We'll keep the tank melting idea in the back of our minds just in case.

I've noticed you are in the mitten state too. Where? We are mid-way between TC and the Dunes (about 10-15 minutes either way). Let us know if you are ever in need of a boondocking spot up north. We're seasoned tent campers in our younger days but we'd love to pick more experienced RVers brains in exchange for a scenic parking spot on our heavenly 10 acres overlooking (or actually in) one of our horse pastures. Level grass, no hookups, but a long hose can provide a refill for your fresh water tank with the best tasting well water around. Lots of deer and sandhill cranes to watch in season too. Cats OK if they stay in the rig (our 3 are territorial and jealous, spoiled children), but sorry no doggies.
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Old 10-03-2020, 03:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVwife View Post
That does make sense (the fresh tank is right under the bed after all) and it is reassuring to know that it can be done. Logic told us it was possible, but just how risky was it and how cumbersome to winterize/dewinterize/rewinterize was our newbie concern. I guess it's not really that big a deal is it. Friends with a TT do something similar when they head for Colorado in late winter.

We'll keep the tank melting idea in the back of our minds just in case.

I've noticed you are in the mitten state too. Where? We are mid-way between TC and the Dunes (about 10-15 minutes either way). Let us know if you are ever in need of a boondocking spot up north. We're seasoned tent campers in our younger days but we'd love to pick more experienced RVers brains in exchange for a scenic parking spot on our heavenly 10 acres overlooking (or actually in) one of our horse pastures. Level grass, no hookups, but a long hose can provide a refill for your fresh water tank with the best tasting well water around. Lots of deer and sandhill cranes to watch in season too. Cats OK if they stay in the rig (our 3 are territorial and jealous, spoiled children), but sorry no doggies.
Wow thanks for the invite. We're in the greater Detroit area about 1/2 way between Detroit & Ann Arbor. No pets here; not retired yet as our son just started college (U of M...eek).
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Old 10-03-2020, 03:34 PM   #14
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https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B071N...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If you're going to run the suggested electric heater you'll find the gadget in the link above to be the thing Making the heater practical.

While almost all heaters have their own built in thermostat the above thermostat is remote, allowing the room to be at the temp you want at the place you want instead of the floor temp being 60 and the ceiling temp being 80.

We love this thing.
So easy.

And
My 24.1 has a wrap of heater duct around the water holding tank. It supplements.
And
Until a proof link is posted showing proof of tanks melting:
Ignore that tank melt thing.

And
Tank heater pads with the 40į built in thermostat are about 26 bucks and the easiest mod you'll do to your rv. Peel and stick and pigtail it to 12v power.
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Old 10-03-2020, 03:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
Wow thanks for the invite. We're in the greater Detroit area about 1/2 way between Detroit & Ann Arbor. No pets here; not retired yet as our son just started college (U of M...eek).
?? Maize and Blue??? We're both Spartans, but we're friendly and don't discriminate. Enjoy the kiddo, they grow up and move out sooo fast. Ours are both still in MI, but happily (and happy for us) on their own two feet.
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Old 10-03-2020, 03:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ducksface View Post
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B071N...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If you're going to run the suggested electric heater you'll find the gadget in the link above to be the thing Making the heater practical.

While almost all heaters have their own built in thermostat the above thermostat is remote, allowing the room to be at the temp you want at the place you want instead of the floor temp being 60 and the ceiling temp being 80.

We love this thing.
So easy.

And
My 24.1 has a wrap of heater duct around the water holding tank. It supplements.
And
Until a proof link is posted showing proof of tanks melting:
Ignore that tank melt thing.

And
Tank heater pads with the 40į built in thermostat are about 26 bucks and the easiest mod you'll do to your rv. Peel and stick and pigtail it to 12v power.
That does look like a super handy item to have. (A good thing to put on the Christmas wish list and if Santa doesn't deliver, we'll just buy ourselves one).

Our rig came with tank heaters installed. We just haven't had occasion to try them out yet. If we take this late October trip, it would likely be the "test drive," if conditions warrant. Tank melting seems like it would take a fair amount of heat, but hey, why buy trouble. These crazy tuna cans on wheels offer up enough without added encouragement from us.
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Old 10-03-2020, 04:16 PM   #17
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Iíd like to put a little finer point(s) on my previous post. We have a FW24F about the same size as your coach. We visit our daughter in central KY for 2 weeks over the Christmas holidays and stay in the coach - average daytime/nighttime in 45 and 30 respectively. And last year we did a Great Lakes trip in April/May - it was cold in the UP.

Our game plan that has served us well is the following.

1) Close curtains in the cab over to keep from heating that space at night.
2) We have DIY curtains installed between the cockpit and coach - no need to heat that space at night either.
3) 1500W electric oil heater - tried a 700W but it didnít keep up.
4) Propane furnace set to 65 and it comes on maybe 3 times a night (early morning).
5) Who ever gets up first cranks the heat to 72 and we are good.
6) Tank heaters on when the forecast is below 35 degrees.
7) We have reflectix in the windows that the wife has lined with flannel cloth - 2 layers of heat blocking.
8) We keep about a quarter tank of fresh water on hand for the bathroom.

All of the other suggestions are excellent and we have adopted some of them as well.

One thing we find in a full wall slide is a lot of cold air comes in under the slide - I should say the hot air in the coach leaves the coach under the slide. My wife made draft dodgers for under the full wall slide as well as for under where the night tables/bed meets the wall when extended. We donít like cold drafts - that's why we left NH. The first couple of nights in the cold and you will know exactly where the drafts are. We took 2 lengths of copper pipe foam insulation with us the first time and used them as a stop-gap. Draft dodgers came after that.

A good pair of slippers to keep toes warm are essential.
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Old 10-07-2020, 12:10 PM   #18
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Thanks for this tip. In New Hampshire now and the little electric heater works great! So much quieter than the furnace.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcr1010 View Post
To add to the other good info;
You also may find that it is more convenient and less noisy to use a small elec. heater at night instead of the furnace. More economical also as the furnace really uses the propane up. We travel in the winter months in high desert areas
out west and carry two small elect. heaters like a milk house heater. Keeps the coach nice and warm when it's down into the low 20's. If the cold does get ahead of the heaters first thing in the morning, a 5 or 10 min. blast from the furnace catches up.
Have a great trip and Happy trails
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Old 10-07-2020, 01:15 PM   #19
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We just finished a 2000 mile cool weather trip(vermont). We lined all the back of the cabinets and under bed with reflectix - to make it look nice we covered inside with stick on wall paper after done you wouldn't know it was there and really helped. We also cut 2 inch foam pieces for all the vents carried a small electic space heater we like spending nights in casino parking lots (better half might have a gambling problem lol) We did notice a draft from wall slides so that is next item on list. I think these modifications will help in hot weather too.
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