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Old 10-17-2015, 08:58 PM   #1
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Winter Living

Has anyone had experience with winter RV living with their camper parked in a large metal pole barn? The building will be uninsulated and unheated but will provide protection from the South Dakota wind, ice and snow. Any firsthand tips would be most appreciated.

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Old 10-17-2015, 09:28 PM   #2
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I would be concerned with carbon monoxide from burning propane for heat, hot water and cooking. Might have issues with freezing of plumbing, do need t run the Furnace to keep plumbing thawed in the basement and under the floor.

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Old 10-17-2015, 09:38 PM   #3
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I suggest skirting of some type, ridged and insulated would be best.

Heated water hose and pipe insulation.

Sewer hose wrapped in insulation.

A very large propane tank.
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:39 PM   #4
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X2 on the carbon monoxide. If you have decent electric service, you might get away with just heating with an electric heater or two. Maybe enclose the bottom of the trailer with some kind of insulation and put in some heat lamps to keep the plumbing from freezing.

But I'm skeptical on electric heat with some of those -20F stretches in SD. Article in Trailer Life this month on a guy who wintered over in Alaska in an R-pod. He wrapped the bottom with some kind of insulation and piled snow against it. His heater was running one min on for every minute off when it was 20 below.
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:58 PM   #5
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are you going to have any inside a home support? like being able to shower inside a home? are you just spending nights in the trailer, or living full time?

Will you have access to electric?

Lots of heat tape around underside plastic tanks and pipes if you are going to use running water. I would even purchase some insulation board at HD and tape it up on the underside. Make it a tight fit to restrict cold air flow into the underside.

Use electric cube heaters as much as possible in the camper to limit the carbon dioxide emissions. Most un-insulated pole barns that I know of have pretty good natural ventilation, but an extra external carbon monoxide detector or even two inside the building is not a bad idea if you do need supplemental propane heat in the camper on really cold days. Make sure you test the internal one in the trailer on a regular basis and maybe get another one as extra insurance for your health.

Use an electric blanket at night... cook with electric in slow cookers, etc... your trailer may be toasty in one area and cold in another... use a small fan to keep the air circulating in the trailer and keep the humidity up by boiling a little water or just leave some shallow pans of water out to provide additional winter comfort, but not so much as to make the windows sweat.

Without electric available I don't think you could do it...

Keep us posted on your efforts and good luck.

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Old 10-18-2015, 09:01 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. We will be living in it full time, waiting for the contractor to finish building our new home (he is months behind ). We will have electricity in the building with genie backup and access to water nearby. No other services. We have heat pads on black and gray tanks . Fresh water is heated by furnace only. Underside has coroplast. Dump valves are wrapped in heat tape. We plan to use oiled filled radiators and small electric heaters as much as possible.

Will definitely stock up on carbon monoxide detectors and have a couple barn windows cracked for ventilation. Great idea to put foam around for skirting. We have a couple metal trouble lights I could put underneath to help keep fresh tank unfrozen.

Thanks all! Trying to plan ahead for the worst, yet keep an adventurous attitude!
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Old 10-18-2015, 09:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by birddogfun View Post
Has anyone had experience with winter RV living with their camper parked in a large metal pole barn? The building will be uninsulated and unheated but will provide protection from the South Dakota wind, ice and snow. Any firsthand tips would be most appreciated.
Use the Search feature at the Top and type in Gypsy Family or Northern MN. in 385BH Full Time! This might Help you render a solid decision on 4 season RVs! The Pole barn is only a wind break,will NOT help with the (F or C )factor! Youroo!!
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Old 10-18-2015, 10:15 AM   #8
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Thanks YouRoo. A thought provoking read indeed!
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:44 AM   #9
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Knew a person that had a similar but a lot cheaper. We used the metal duct tape and dryer hoses and vented furnace not sure if water heater to provide a way to provide an escape. He several CO alarms and would check them regularly by putting near exhaust pipe. We were clearing and had plenty of access to wood and he had some form of wood stove. When ten below it would keep the inside of in the 30. Sure your climate is a lot different there. They make an attachment for the drain that has the regular 4 prong lock that you can hook straight into 3 hard pipe instead of a slinky. Can get a picture of mine if you want. Getting ready to underpin mine and try in Massachusetts. Was unable to find an apartment with out a lease and my work I move a lot. Not going to try in NY at the first of year when I go to the job. Keep water in your fresh water tank for just in case. If the heated hose for some reason freezes. Just put in the shower and half hr can start to put hot water to get the ice out. Last year was my worst. Heat tape shorted out and had to share hydrant and his barrel and light would allowed the thermostat to turn off and freeze. I would recommend two water hoses heated of your choice. Protect the hydrant hoses can changed hydrants suck to do. Electric heater or heat lamps are a help in basement if that is your water area. It's trial and error to see what works best for you. I would use 100 lbs propane cyclinder with a hose to go to the regulator and have the 30 for back up. It's not the funniest but you will in a pole barn and I believe it will help a lot. Good luck.

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Old 10-20-2015, 02:43 PM   #10
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Have the contractor pay for your hotel. May make him be on time.

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