Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Adding tank heaters for winter use.
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 > Adding tank heaters for winter use.

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JoshuaH

Jefferson City, Mo

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Posted: 11/06/20 07:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My wife is an ER nurse, obviously not the safest profession right now. She has been using our camper (Wolf Pup 16HS) for isolation when needed, however now we are heading into winter.

My question is, if I add tank heaters, would this camper be safe to use in below freezing weather if needed? How cold can you still go safely? I realize wind would be a big factor as well.

Is it better to use a heated fresh water hose or to just fill the fresh water tank and put a heater on it as well?

Will I also need to somehow heat the drain valve and pipe or will the heat from the water in the tank transfer to the water in the drain pipe and keep it from freezing as well?

Any and all advice for setting up this camper for below freezing temps is very much appreciated. I want to have it ready to go so if she gets exposed or worse gets Covid the camper is ready to go for her on short notice.

Thanks!

Lwiddis

South of Lone Pine, California

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Posted: 11/06/20 08:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don’t see any reference to a Wolf Pup “Winter” package, so insulating and heating for sustained sub freezing temperatures will be a challenge. Is the electrical hookup reliable?

Best not to use a hose at all. Fill and use the on board tank.


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Second Chance

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Posted: 11/06/20 08:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Unfortunately, your Wolf Pup is nowhere near a four-season RV. I would think that tanks would be fairly far down on the list of concerns. One of the most beneficial things you could do would be to skirt the trailer (1" foam board and HVAC tape would be very good) and put an auxiliary heat source under the trailer inside the skirting. That would help protect both the tanks and the plumbing. A heated water hose would be good. If you have sewer hookup, let the tanks fill before emptying them - don't leave them open. The mass of fluid in the tanks takes a lot longer to freeze than water hoses and plumbing underneath the trailer.

Good luck - and thanks to your wife for what she's doing (from a retired Army Nurse).

Rob


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JoshuaH

Jefferson City, Mo

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Posted: 11/06/20 08:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I put in a dedicated 30 amp outlet on the back of the house, so that isn't a problem.

time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 11/06/20 08:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I purchased mine at ultraheat.com

The 12v heaters pull a lot of amps so I primarily bought 120v heaters for the black and two grey tanks. The fresh water I went with a combo 120v/12v for extra heat if needed and to have some heat while in transit.

My waste pipes I wrapped with self regulating heat tape made for regular home use. Overrapped with some foam tape designed to insulate.

This all worked fine. I did have an issue with a fresh water pipe freezing in an inaccessible area when temps dipped to -10F and maybe a little more. I added a circulating hot water system to eliminate this issue.

Has all worked great for many years. Although have not been down that low since. Just got lucky that time.

Mine is a fair weather trailer with exposed tanks. Not much insulation but at least I had access to get the pads on easy.


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JoshuaH

Jefferson City, Mo

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Posted: 11/06/20 09:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would want to go with 120V heaters.

My tanks are completely exposed. I'm in central Missouri, we don't often get really cold weather for very long periods, worst case if needed she could check into a hotel for a few days. I'm just wondering if I added heaters what temps I could safely do.

SDcampowneroperator

South Dakota

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Posted: 11/06/20 09:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Making an RV into a freezing weather capable weather unit is challenging. Water supply and discharge is one, not hard, by inulating and heating the hoses. The hard part is heating the 'house ' and dehumidifying so that moisture does not condense in the walls, which ruins all your insulation attempts.
However you attempt to use an rv in regularly below freezing weather, always vent moisture from cooking, showers, via fans, open vents.
Moisture from breathing, cooking and cleaning is destructive and contrary to effective insulation.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 11/06/20 09:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bubble wrap on the outside of windows.

If the fridge is in use it may need to be winterized. (See the winter camping thread under the full time forum).

Skirt the trailer.

Consider using a porta potty for waste.

crack open a ceiling vent, and open the window farthest from it. Place an electric heater near the window.

Find a low profile oil filled heater for inside the skirt.

Run an additional power cord to the RV (I have 3; OEM 30, a 20, and a 15 amp).

Be prepared for HIGH power bills.

Monitor the temperatures inside the skirt.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 11/07/20 09:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JoshuaH wrote:

I would want to go with 120V heaters.

My tanks are completely exposed. I'm in central Missouri, we don't often get really cold weather for very long periods, worst case if needed she could check into a hotel for a few days. I'm just wondering if I added heaters what temps I could safely do.
I would guess you could go to 0F overnight fairly easy if you add heat to the exposed areas. Going to burn a lot of propane, consider getting an extra cylinder or two.

* This post was edited 11/07/20 09:23am by time2roll *

pnichols

The Other California

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Posted: 11/07/20 01:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would go with 12V heaters so that in the extremely rare situation in which you were caught having to drycamp in the extreme cold you could still keep the tanks heated.

Whenever on hookups camping in the extreme cold, the built-in converter will of course keep the batteries from being drained while powering the 12V tank heaters.

12V heaters for your tanks is the more versatile approach.


Phil, 2005 E450 Itasca Spirit 24V

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