Winterizing an RV and Monitoring Temperature
We were not able to head south to Snowbird destinations, so we opted to stay in a Southern Ontario RV park for the winter. As it turns out it may not have been the best of decisions, we learned a lot from the experience, and you may be able to benefit from what we learned.
All the information we found told us that RV skirting was required in a cold climate. Eventually we bit the bullet and laid out about $1500 USD for the EZ Snap system for our 35’ 2014 Fleetwood Terra. We had ordered the screw-in snaps as it was quite late in the year. You still must seal them with silicon seal, so we found some sealer-adhesive at the nearest Canadian Tire store which seems to provide an additional degree security in the fastening as well as the needed waterproofing. While the sloped site was a challenge, we eventually got it all worked out.
Once the skirting was installed, we need to know how effective it was and if we needed to employ any other measures – like heating.
Note that the wind has been so strong in this location that we required heavy cement blocks to prevent the skirting from moving the bottom frame and anchoring stones.
Monitoring the temperature under the RV and in the Water-cabinets needed at least three remotes sensors. We found a temperature monitor that included three sensors plus RV cabin monitoring in the main unit. The sensors we received have a temperature display which can be convenient occasionally but is not needed 99% of the time. The newer units in our store have no display so it holds down the price. Our initial unit – see the pictures – has a display which much be switched to the different channels. The newer units display multiple channels saving the necessity of picking up the unit and switching display channels. The new units have greater convenience.
The above picture shows Ch 2 which in our case is in the water cabinet on the passenger side of the coach.
Using the information
Frozen pipes and water tubing in an RV can be a serious problem. Damaged cabinetry and soft floors can be extraordinarily expensive to repair. Monitoring temperatures in the water cabinets and the area beneath the floor can help you to predict if freezing is likely. In our case the water cabinets have never been below freezing. Our RF Furnace (Atwood Hydroflame 8535-IV) not only heats the RV cabin but has some ducting in the RV basement to keep it warm. The basement heating also maintains stable temperatures in the water cabinets. So far, we have not felt that we must add a heater underneath the RV. Typically the skirting maintains a temperature 10 degrees Fahrenheit or about 5 degrees Celsius above the outside temperature. The lowest temperatures we have seen under the RV have been about 26 Fahrenheit while the outside temperature is about 14 to 16 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperatures drop through the end of January, we will add a heater if our monitoring shows the need, but, if the water cabinets are safely above freezing, we can save the extra expense. The monitoring thermometer allows us to make the decisions based on current information – not guesswork.
The RV monitoring thermometer is worth adding for the peace of mind of knowing your RV is not likely to develop frozen plumbing.
The RV skirting allows us to maintain temperatures beneath the RV that can significantly mitigate the prospect of freezing.
Following are links to various models of temperature monito. They all work, just choose the style that presents the information in the way you like it.
This unit is an inexpensive RV Temperature monitor. You can choose the number of sensors you require.
Moderately priced unit with three remote sensors. Manual clock setup or automatic time update for Central Europe.
Another moderately priced unit available in dark grey or white.