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Old 09-25-2018, 07:17 PM   #1
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Temporarily living in motor home in winter

I live up north on Long Island and am doing some construction on my home during the winter. We will have to move out for a week or two and am considering living in my Sunseeker 2400W MBS that is parked on the side of my house. Is it possible to live in the RV and not have the plumbing freeze. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated.
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:28 PM   #2
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Thatís a loaded question. Can anyone tell how cold itís going to get while youíre in the Sunseeker? Youíll probably need a lot of electric heaters and a lot of propane for the furnace for keeping it cozy if itís constantly below freezing. Would you be able to use the plumbing in the house during the construction phase? Continued temperatures below freezing could freeze your Sunseeker pipes and that could be big $$$$$$.
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:42 PM   #3
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Thatís a loaded question. Can anyone tell how cold itís going to get while youíre in the Sunseeker? Youíll probably need a lot of electric heaters and a lot of propane for the furnace for keeping it cozy if itís constantly below freezing. Would you be able to use the plumbing in the house during the construction phase? Continued temperatures below freezing could freeze your Sunseeker pipes and that could be big $$$$$$.
No, that is the reason I need to move out---no utilities. I will assume it will be at or below freezing. If I have the heat on all the time will the pipes stay warm enough not to freeze. I have the artic package for my tanks as well.
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:52 PM   #4
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You MIGHT be able to heat the RV enough to live in it, but I canít guarantee your water pipes wonít freeze even with the Arctic Package. Electric heaters might help keeping things warm inside, but they wonít help your exterior compartments.

Some people use their rigs for camping at/near ski hills, but use bottled water and plastic basins so NO water gets into the waste tanks. Toilets......definitely out of the question.

Good luck.
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:30 PM   #5
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It CAN be done, but it might not be FUN.

You will need to have some place to empty tanks, get fresh water and plug into electric that will be enough to operate several electric heaters at the same time. Propane will be used a lot, so you might want to get the gas company to set at least a 60 lb tank, maybe more.

I would plan to put "something" around the bottom of the RV to keep out cold wind. You can use some rigid foam board insulation to underpin your RV. That way, a small electric heater or even a 100 watt work light (regular old timey bulb that gives off heat) will keep the underneath of your RV above freezing temps. It may not be warm, but it will not be below freezing.

You will need to have a heated water hose and some way to insulate it until it gets into the RV. Check out foam insulation that looks like a pool noodle and that are used on mobile homes.

You will also need to do something with the windows of the RV even if you have double insulated windows. You can purchase reflectix at Lowe's or Home Depot and cut to fit the windows. These can be velcroed into place and removed when you want to see out.

A couple of nice heavy-duty quartz infrared heaters will help to warm the RV inside when you are home, but you will also need to run the furnace when it's really cold so some of that heat goes into the underside bays.

Keep the cabinets of the kitchen sink and bathroom sink open as much as you can stand, but especially at night to help to resist freezing.

We have spent several weeks in ours when the weather has been down into the teens, but it has warmed up during the day into the 50s. It was livable and the kids even enjoyed it.
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:46 PM   #6
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If it were me.... I'd winterize the plumbing and use bottled water ( or melted snow) to flush the toilets since you have heated tanks. Find somewhere else to shower. The tanks might not freeze, but those small pex plumbing pipes freeze quickly.

Then stock up on propane because it's going to be hard to heat the rig. It can be done but it won't be pleasant without electricity.

Or pray for above freezing temperatures.
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:47 PM   #7
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Thanks for everyone's input in the forum. A lot of great information.
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:52 PM   #8
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Lots of folks live full time in RV’s where temps get real cold. Long Island is not one of those places. Expect below freezing low temps during Dec - Mar. During that time, the temps rarely get below 20*.
As a former full timer I can share some thoughts on things you will need.
Fresh water source, sewer and electric. This is assuming that you have no other facilities available. A heated hose and outdoor spigot. They make hoses for this purpose. Rube Goldberging one is risky. Underpinning is very helpful. It will look bad but functionality is key. Your arctic pkg will help with the holding tanks but not with the plumbing. For that you MUST run the furnace. That means that you absolutely do not use space heaters when temps drop below freezing. Doing so causes the furnace to run less and your pipes will freeze. Use a good quality safe space heater to reduce your propane use when temps are well above freezing. There is more but I think you get the idea. YMMV
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Old 09-25-2018, 09:34 PM   #9
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I would think that skirting the base in to the ground with rigid foam insulation and then adding a small safe electric heater underneath would make a world of difference in cold weather livability. It would keep the floors warmer and all the plumbing and tanks below. Dumping sewer and filling water is an issue in the cold.
Spent the night in our camper this weekend at -5 Celsius. The floor sure does get cold.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNYHWZ View Post
I live up north on Long Island and am doing some construction on my home during the winter. We will have to move out for a week or two and am considering living in my Sunseeker 2400W MBS that is parked on the side of my house. Is it possible to live in the RV and not have the plumbing freeze. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated.
The quick answer: Yes Ė you can do it. Wife and I did 2016/17 Idaho winter in our 25-ft MBS Prism while waiting for our new home to finish.
However, you really do need to prepare:
  1. Since you're only doing a week or three, I strongly suggest you winterize your plumbing first and then don't use it. Use bottled water, shower elsewhere, and use leak-proof garbage bags in the toilet (tie and dispose as needed). The alternative, which we did is to heat your plumbing, add heating pads to your black-water & gray-water tanks, heat-tape & insulate your water inlet line, and heat-tape & insulate your sewer line (assuming you have a dump that won't freeze) & dump when needed. We also had to electric heat one basement to keep area under shower from freezing.
  2. Have a local propane company deliver and connect a large propane tank (rental - not expensive & they refill as needed). Also buy a Mr. Heater and a 20lb tank, and a 1kw electric heater for back-up. Hopefully, you are also plugged into shore power. Keep your home warm all of the time ... even when you are away.
  3. Skirt your entire motorhome with Styrofoam insulation (cheap at Lowes) to reduce air movement under the home. This is very important.
  4. Stuff insulation pillows into the interior of your roof vents.
  5. Put a soft, thick, throw rug to cover as much floor as reasonable.
  6. Make window insulation covers using aluminum coated bubble insulation (cheap at Lowes) for all of your windows. Cover these every night.
  7. Keep your batteries fulling charged so they don't freeze.
  8. Check you CO and propane detectors often and crack a window of vent each night to be safe (humans need fresh air).
Yes ... you can do it. We did it comfortably for entire cold winter with temps at -5 during a few occasions. But, you do need to prepare! Good luck and enjoy.
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