Here in Sylvania, Ohio, we’re no strangers to cold weather. “RV Season” often means clear roads and green woods, but to many, the real season starts when the snow hits and temperatures drop. If you’re new to the idea of cold weather RVing then it’s important you know the necessary preparations involved with making your RV winter-ready. It’s important to stay safe when cold weather RVing – read on to follow these critical tips!
Invest in RV Skirting
One of the best upgrades you can make to your RV for cold weather RVing is an RV skirt. If you’re not familiar, these are exactly what they sound like – a material that wraps around the base of your RV to keep out drafts from the underneath.
Sometimes referred to as “windskirting,” an RV skirt protects your RV during the cold, drafty days. The reason skirting is so important is that the underneath of your RV is easily the most significant area of heat loss throughout the entire vehicle. By creating extra insulation against the cold, you not only fight incoming drafts, you conserve the heat generated by your RV to reduce energy usage and keep the floors warmer for your feet!
RV skirts come in all types of connections, from basic buttoning to more advanced connections. But they all come with the same benefits:
- Lower propane cost/usage
- Help protect your water lines
- Keep your RV warmer
If you plan to camp in the winter with your RV, an RV skirt is a no-brainer!
Be Prepared with a Heated Water Supply Line
Like a home, cold weather is most dangerous to your plumbing. While RV skirting can go a long way to help protecting your RV’s plumbing, it’s a good idea to invest in heated lines for your RV to make sure you never have to deal with the hassles of a frozen line.
Freezing pipes are a common problem for cold weather RVing. It’s not something to take lightly – from a functional view, it’s annoying, and from a maintenance view, it can be costly to repair plumbing to your RV following an ice burst!
Basic pipe wrap can be helpful, but when it’s well below freezing, these won’t be enough. Active heated hoses use some of your RV power to generate heat and keep the cold from leeching into your drinking water or otherwise. There are plenty of options out there for active heating supply lines, but if you have questions, we can help!
Insulate Your RV Underbelly
Another step you can take to capture heat in your RV and fight against the winter chill is to add some additional insulation to your RV underbelly. Because the underside of your RV is the most likely place to lose heat, adding some insulation will support RV skirts in reducing propane usage and generally making your RV safer and more comfortable to use for cold weather camping.
Fortunately, insulating your RV underbelly is a task that can be done easily and fairly inexpensively. One of the most common ways to bulk up underbelly insulation is with insulating foam boards available at nearly any local hardware store.
The actual installation will require some work underneath your RV, for sizing the cut of the board, making sure it fits snug against the underbelly (which can sometimes require removing and replacing some pipes) and screwing it in place.
Another solution that’s available is spray insulation. This type of insulation is sprayed from a can and foams up to not only add heat insulation, but protect your underbelly from moisture. Foam insulation can be easier to apply, but it’s a bit tricky to use for first timers. If you’re not familiar with it, you may want to leave it to a professional!
Be Careful with Space Heaters
Many cold weather RVing pros make use of space heaters to keep the interior of their RV warmer in specific areas or to make use of stored electricity versus propane heating. Most RVers would recommend having a small space heater if you plan to RV – they can make a huge difference in keeping you comfortable when the chill sets in!
However, you want to be careful when using your space heaters, as they can have some adverse effects for your RV. The biggest risk is when they stop the propane furnace from firing due to creating a warmer temperature in the RV than the rest of the RV is experiencing. While this may not seem like an issue if you’re comfy and warm inside, it is when your underbelly and other areas of the RV aren’t getting the heat they need!
So feel free to make use of your space heaters, but pay attention to the RV as a whole when you flip them on. It’s important not to trade immediate comfort for headaches when your underbelly plumbing starts to freeze, or the bedroom is ice cold after you’re done enjoying the common area.
Pack Warm Clothes
One mistake you could be making is putting all the responsibility of staying warm on your RV. While it’s true that your RV is a home away from home, you can make your trip easier to stay cozy on if you equip yourself for the weather. An extra few pieces of cold weather clothing can make all the difference and keep your RV from needing to work overtime.
It’s not unlike being energy-conscious in your home: keeping just the room you’re using warm is easier than keeping the whole house warm. Dressing in layers lets you conserve energy and is quicker to get your body warm than waiting for the whole RV to warm up.
On top of warmer clothes, you can look for more localized ways to keep the cold at bay like electric blankets or hand warming packets.
Pay Close Attention to Your Tires
Every RVer knows the importance of tire maintenance. As the only thing separating your RV from the ground, they’re critical for staying on the move and doing it safely. Of course, weather changes impact your tires, and when it comes to the winter, they can expose you slippery roads unlike any other season.
First and foremost, as the cold weather comes in, you need to keep an eye on tire pressure. As air volume changes due to the decrease in temperature, your tires are likely to lose some pressure. You’ll likely need to give them a quick boost of air before your next trip if you haven’t been maintaining them recently.
Next, you need to be prepared for snowy roads. Even if things look clear on your way out, that may not be the case on your way back home. Most RVs have tires suited for snowy roads, but that doesn’t mean you can’t invest in tire chains or similar devices to help keep traction on (or off) the road. Just make sure you know the laws about tire chains in any state you plan to travel!
Prevent Your Tanks from Freezing
Holding tanks are just as vulnerable as your pipes to winter freezing. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent this:
Many modern RVs come with heated or enclosed holding tanks. If you plan to cold weather RV, you may want to mark this as a “must have” for your next purchase to ensure you’re ready to hit the campgrounds when the snow is falling.
Antifreeze is another potential option for your holding tanks. Non-toxic antifreeze for RVs is a product that can be purchased at most RV supply stores. You can load a few quarts of this into your holding tanks to keep them safe against the cold weather. Just remember that over time, you’ll need to top off the antifreeze to keep it from being too diluted to work!
Contact RV Wholesale Superstore
The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (419) 786-1126
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