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Old 02-10-2020, 01:51 PM   #1
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metered electric in cold weather

Have just recently completed my first long term workamping experience and loved it, in spite of the frequent issues that arise with RV living. Worked in the Badlands and Reno. I'm Leaving for a position in Yellowstone in April and realize I will have sustained periods of very cold weather. Unfortunately that comes with metered electric which I haven't had to deal with yet.
How to keep my electric bill low? in Reno had night time temps in the teens not rising above the thirties during the day. There is black spray foam insulation under the RV. I used a heated water hose, wrapped the water pipe outside in multiple layers of insulation and kept my water heater on all the time. Never had frozen pipes.
I have an infra red heater I don't use at night, it gets too stuffy. Prefer good blankets and intermittent use of furnace at low setting. The frigid air came up from the floor in spite of a heavy rug over yoga mats. Can't seem to find a form of skirting that would be inexpensive, simple to use and lightweight.
Any ideas on how to stay warm without using lots of expensive propane and metered electric?
Also any advice on a small but effective dehumidifier?
Thanks for any and all advice,
Judy
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:57 PM   #2
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Skirting would be the most help, some on here have used hay bales to block the wind and another screwed snaps on the outside edge and used a canvas that snapped in and out.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:19 PM   #3
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Any ideas on how to stay warm without using lots of expensive propane and metered electric?
You are asking how to stay warm in single digit temperatures. You add heat. Period. End of story.

Your request to add heat energy with "using lots of expensive propane or metered electric" is unreasonable. Heat is heat. You can not create warmth in a frigid environment without supplying an energy source to extract heat from. It takes energy from a fuel or other power source to make heat. You can add insulation to reduce your heat losses, but you'll still rely on that fuel or electricity to supply the actual heat that is being lost.

Buckle up.... your going to learn to live cold, or you are going to consume electricity or fuel to create heat. All you can do from here is attempt to insulate better so that you can be forced to create less heat.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:21 PM   #4
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I think you're in a Catch-22 situation. Winter in Wyoming is cold. For heat to keep warm you're going to need electric and/or propane. Nature of the beast. Bottom line: It's going to cost you to stay warm.

What are they charging you per Kwhr?
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by D W View Post
I think you're in a Catch-22 situation. Winter in Wyoming is cold. For heat to keep warm you're going to need electric and/or propane. Nature of the beast. Bottom line: It's going to cost you to stay warm.

What are they charging you per Kwhr?
I hate to admit that I didn't ask. It was my first trip to Yellowstone that led me to the RV lifestyle. It has simply been a long held dream of mine to live and work in Yellowstone. I know it wont't be cheap to do this, certainly not like my first two workamping situations but I know I will regret it if I don't.

Thank you for responding.
Judy
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:35 PM   #6
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You are asking how to stay warm in single digit temperatures. You add heat. Period. End of story.

Your request to add heat energy with "using lots of expensive propane or metered electric" is unreasonable. Heat is heat. You can not create warmth in a frigid environment without supplying an energy source to extract heat from. It takes energy from a fuel or other power source to make heat. You can add insulation to reduce your heat losses, but you'll still rely on that fuel or electricity to supply the actual heat that is being lost.

Buckle up.... your going to learn to live cold, or you are going to consume electricity or fuel to create heat. All you can do from here is attempt to insulate better so that you can be forced to create less heat.
Thank you Larry. I used Pergo underlayment of all things in Reno. There was a significant difference in the temperature of the floor. Just trying to come up with better insulation ideas to keep costs under control.

Thanks, Judy
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:47 PM   #7
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Keep in mind that "wrapping things in insulation" will slow the loss of heat energy and onset of freezing, but will not create heat. Unless there is a source of added heat to items like water in the dump valve, it will eventually freeze. There are very few camping trailers that are 4 season friendly. It is possible to use them for short term in very clod weather, but you must forgo some of the normal conveniences such as running water etc. If you want to minimize heating expense, contact a local propane company and rent two 100Lb tanks with auto refill. Good Luck.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:50 PM   #8
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If you go to Google and you search for cold weather winter RV tips you'll find a handful of articles and blogs. It seems that some of the more common points are to insulate your skylight and vent openings in the ceiling, skirting around the unit to prevent blowing the heat out from underneath, covering/insulating all of the windows in your unit since they are typically single pane and lose a lot of heat, and then you'll have the issue with needing dehumidifier for the typical condensation that will end up ruining your wallpaper and more.

I would think that buying some foam insulating board for house construction use and a razor knife you could go around and cut panels to put inside of all of your window openings. You could use that same type of material for your bathroom skylight and your ceiling vent openings. you might also want to get two inch wide painters tape to seal the edges of that foam board. painters tape doesn't stick to hard, therefore it hopefully would not damage your wallpaper when you went to remove it once spring hits. you may be able to find foam board that has a foil like reflective barrier on one side, that would give you two different types of insulation stack together in one product.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:59 PM   #9
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I live in Michigan. I put my cousin up in my 5th wheel for two days during December for muzzle loader season and got an email from my power company that I was using more power then normal. running one electric heater to keep him from freezing. Best be prepared for some high electric bills.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:10 PM   #10
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bulk purchasing your propane like suggested to post above is probably going to be your cheapest way to go. I think I would try to augment with two of the cheap 1500 watt electric heaters. You can run them on low which is 800 watts, and combine the electric at 800 watts and your propane system for heat. but at the end of day propane is going to be cheaper than electric under most circumstances with today's electric rates. It was around 20 degrees here two weekends ago and my wife and I spent the weekend in the camper and I went through two 20 gallon tanks of propane without using any electric heat in two nights. So that was around $25 for me to refill the two tanks at Tractor Supply to get me through less than 48 hours. but I do believe that you could get much larger tanks and buy it a much better price if you do as suggested above and have tanks dropped in for you. but no matter how you cut this it's going to hurt. The question is how much insulation can you add to prevent bleeding out too much LOL!
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:36 PM   #11
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Dehumidifier

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Originally Posted by judyoshi View Post
Also any advice on a small but effective dehumidifier?
Thanks for any and all advice,
Judy
Watch Craigslist. People give away or sell 30 pt. dehumidifiers all the time. And they generally last forever. Take off the tank and put it in the shower. Get a sewage tote, connect it, and leave the gray water valve open so there's no water at the valve. Just empty the sewage tote of clear water every so often.
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:37 PM   #12
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There is a very interesting YouTube channel called Elsa Rhea. A young couple live full time off grid in a 13’ trailer. They actually use a tiny wood burning stove. Who knows you may pick up some ideas. Good luck with your adventures.
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Old 02-11-2020, 04:38 PM   #13
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There’s a campground south of Indianapolis Indiana we stay at on our way south that has a lot of winter camping going on. Most of the units have installed 1-2” rigid styrofoam insulation around the bottom of their units like skirting for mobile homes. Some used a vinyl skirting that snapped onto their unit. Some added 1” rigid styrofoam to their slide outs and most had insulation over the windows Some inside some outside. One motor home had double bubble reflex over the outside of their big windows. Good luck keeping warm.
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Old 02-11-2020, 08:14 PM   #14
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Google billboard vinyl. People use these used vinyl tarps for skirting. From what I understand, skirting, along with a small space heater under the trailer can make a big difference.
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Old 02-11-2020, 08:39 PM   #15
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I lived about 100 miles from there in the mountains.

The heater ran most nights! There is no month they have not had snow.

Likely propane is cheaper than resistance heat. Get big tanks. Good underwear! Electric blanket.
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Old 02-11-2020, 08:47 PM   #16
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I lived about 100 miles from there in the mountains.

The heater ran most nights! There is no month they have not had snow.

Likely propane is cheaper than resistance heat. Get big tanks. Good underwear! Electric blanket.
X2 on electric blanket. Bedtime is the one time I insist on being toasty warm, at home or in the camper.
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Old 02-11-2020, 08:51 PM   #17
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Old 02-15-2020, 09:21 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by judyoshi View Post
Have just recently completed my first long term workamping experience and loved it, in spite of the frequent issues that arise with RV living. Worked in the Badlands and Reno. I'm Leaving for a position in Yellowstone in April and realize I will have sustained periods of very cold weather. Unfortunately that comes with metered electric which I haven't had to deal with yet.
How to keep my electric bill low? in Reno had night time temps in the teens not rising above the thirties during the day. There is black spray foam insulation under the RV. I used a heated water hose, wrapped the water pipe outside in multiple layers of insulation and kept my water heater on all the time. Never had frozen pipes.
I have an infra red heater I don't use at night, it gets too stuffy. Prefer good blankets and intermittent use of furnace at low setting. The frigid air came up from the floor in spite of a heavy rug over yoga mats. Can't seem to find a form of skirting that would be inexpensive, simple to use and lightweight.
Any ideas on how to stay warm without using lots of expensive propane and metered electric?
Also any advice on a small but effective dehumidifier?
Thanks for any and all advice,
Judy
Heavy plastic and hay bales will help a ton. You want to try and stop the wind from getting under the trailer. A couple 60w lights under the trailer makes a huge difference with the plastic wrap!
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Old 02-15-2020, 09:34 AM   #19
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What about buying a cheap generator. You could offset the hydro costs with a few gallons of gas. I guess it depends on how much hydro they give y’a and what they charge pkwh
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Old 02-15-2020, 10:47 AM   #20
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You're in a lightly insulated Class C Motorhome. It's not constructed for single digit temps.
The only way to cut down electric and propane costs, is to add things to help insulate your MH better.
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