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Old 12-02-2004, 03:05 AM   #1
Bill Hill
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Winter Camping

My wife and I are (HOPEFULLY!)picking up our new 2980RL in Orange County, CA this coming Monday. This will be our 4th trailer, but our first 5th wheel. Our first trip with it will be to Prescott, AZ for New Years. Other RVers we've talked to say that I shouldn't have to do much to the rig since we'll be keeping it warm enough to live in. Once we get into the colder area, should I set the heater for a minimum temperature while we're driving? Or maybe not, since it's only a 1 day trip from L.A. to Prescott and only the last 2-3 hours will be in possibly freezing temps? Is it safe to run the heater while driving?

One other question: How many of you got the double-paned windows? We didn't and we're beginning to wonder if that was a mistake. We don't intend to do a lot of cold weather camping, but will be doing some.
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Old 12-02-2004, 03:43 AM   #2
Thunderman
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Bill Hill

My wife and I are (HOPEFULLY!)picking up our new 2980RL in Orange County, CA this coming Monday. This will be our 4th trailer, but our first 5th wheel. Our first trip with it will be to Prescott, AZ for New Years. Other RVers we've talked to say that I shouldn't have to do much to the rig since we'll be keeping it warm enough to live in. Once we get into the colder area, should I set the heater for a minimum temperature while we're driving? Or maybe not, since it's only a 1 day trip from L.A. to Prescott and only the last 2-3 hours will be in possibly freezing temps? Is it safe to run the heater while driving?

One other question: How many of you got the double-paned windows? We didn't and we're beginning to wonder if that was a mistake. We don't intend to do a lot of cold weather camping, but will be doing some.
Congrats on the new 5ver! Some do travel with the heater on and some do not. I do not have the double-pane windows...I understand they are very good in the real cold weather. Have a good day!
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Old 12-02-2004, 05:03 AM   #3
Bob & Lee
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when we got ours they didnt tell us about the windows so now full timing we put up plexaglss inside and it really helps.
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Old 12-02-2004, 07:11 AM   #4
sreigle
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Bill Hill, congratulations on the new Montana!

As for driving in cold weather, for just a couple of hours you'll probably be fine without the furnace running. When we run in subfreezing weather we set the furnace thermostat at 45, the lowest setting, just to be sure nothing freezes. We've done this several times without problem. Some folks prefer not to run the furnace on the road. If they are in danger of freezing I think they pump some antifreeze through the system then de-winterize when they reach their destination or at least warmer weather. The choice is yours.

We did not get the dual-paned windows but wish we had. We spend much of the winter in a cold area. To help with drafts we use the 3M window film. It helps but I'd still like to have the dual-panes.
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Old 12-02-2004, 02:29 PM   #5
jrgwdenner
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We got the double windows, I'm pretty sure, but in Alabama it's to improve the air conditioning in the heat.
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Old 12-02-2004, 04:10 PM   #6
cargary
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We have the dual pane windows and are glad we have. They have really helped in the hot humid weather that we occasionally get in the summer months here in Michigan.
We have a question for Steve. How do you keep your fresh water from freezing in the sub-freezing temps? And for that matter, if the water lines are not insulated and kept above freezing, how do you prevent them from freezing?
Thanks in advance for your answers.
Gary & Carole
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Old 12-02-2004, 06:10 PM   #7
Trailer Trash 2
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Happy 2980RL to you and yours

Well we just got out of the cold area in california, we were snowed in up near Idelwhile, Burr cold outside it was 20 deg in the early AM for two days, we have single pane windows we were ok untill we lost power, the bateries were touch and go on capasity, running the heater ( it's a hog for power) the only problem we had was the windows sweating, I even had the vent opened a little in the RR didn't help. I would use a squeegy on the windows and a towel to wipe up the run off on the window frames. I will carry my generator from now on, other than that we were comfortable, our 2980RL was warmer than our other RV campers that came with us they were about 15 deg colder on the inside of their rigs.
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Old 12-02-2004, 06:50 PM   #8
Parrothead
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You were in Idylwild? That is our favorite mountain area and right above our stick home. We are right at the base.
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Old 12-03-2004, 05:52 AM   #9
sreigle
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Gary & Carole, there were a couple of times last winter when we didn't keep them from freezing but we are learning! So far this winter we've not had a freezeup. Here's what I did. Maybe others can add some things, especially those up in Canada or the northern tier of states.

1. Keep in mind the furnace has a vent into the underbelly. So you want to make sure the furnace runs enough to keep it above freezing down in the belly. We like to use electric heaters to supplement the furnace since in this park we are not paying for electricity but we do pay for propane. During the day we'll run the downstairs electric heater on high and the upstairs one on low with furnace set at what is comfortable for us (usually 68). If it's subfreezing and the furnace doesn't run occasionally we'll turn the downstairs heater down to low. At night we set the thermostat to 55 and either turn the downstairs electric heater off or to low and point it at the back of the rig. If its that cold outside this electric heater won't keep up by itself so the furnace will run occasionally. If I have doubts, I turn the electric heater off. We close the door to upstairs and use an electric heater up there.

2. I insulated all exposed pipes in the basement with those round tubes of foam pipe insulation. I don't think it would freeze in there but it helps reduce heat loss on the hot water line.

3. I used spray expanding foam insulation in all openings to the belly and interior I could find in both the basement and the bellypan.

4. If a particularly cold day or night, like below 20 degrees, you can open the cabinet doors where there are water pipes, like in the kitchen, so they get more heat.

5. This winter I insulated along the back of cabinet walls along the back wall. The 3295RK is for some reason not insulated along that back wall, at least the lower portion of it.

6. We do not have dual paned windows (sure wish we did) so we put that clear 3M shrink window insulation film on the windows. That really helps a lot on drafts from the windows. Last year we had very little trouble with the tape sticking to the aluminum frame of the windows. This year we've had more trouble with that so added some packing/strapping tape to eliminate that problem.

Hope this helps. Is this what you were looking for? I'm sure others have some additional ideas and will add them.

Another thing, if you're in an RV park, see if they have available a 100 lb propane bottle. We've been in several parks, including this one, that loans you the bottle, you pay only for the propane. At this park that costs $50.45 although I've seen some parks wanting as much as $75 for it. You need a kit to connect to the external bottle. Most RV parks that have this bottle also have the kit. Nice thing is I don't have to take this bottle anywhere to get it refilled. The park takes care of that. I just let them know I need another. Right now I have a spare sitting next to the one in use so I'm ready to switch over.
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Old 12-03-2004, 06:51 AM   #10
vickir
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Bob & Lee: We're interested in details of how you use plexiglass on your windows ... how you cut it, how it's mounted, etc.
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Old 12-03-2004, 01:57 PM   #11
Bill Hill
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Thanks to all of you for your ideas. Say Parrothead, I've put a post in the MOC Clubs section regarding an MOC outing here in So. Cal. We'd be willing to put one together if anyone is interested. Was thinking that Emerald Desert RV & Golf Resort in Palm Desert might be a good place. We'd love to get together with other Monty owners.

(btw, we got our hitch installed today, and went by the dealer to see if our rig had been delivered yet. Several came in, but not ours, we're still hopeful that it will get here so we can pick it up on Monday. The wife says that I'm worse than a little kid on Christmas morning!
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Old 12-03-2004, 07:49 PM   #12
Dave Anderson
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Our friends Dick & Nita Smith have the double windows,but they are just a second pane of glass that is held in by cams. this doesnt allow you to open your vents, so I'm not sure I'd like this in warmer climates. If they were thermopane glass with functioning vents, that would be great.
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Old 12-04-2004, 02:32 PM   #13
Native Tex
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Dave Anderson

Our friends Dick & Nita Smith have the double windows,but they are just a second pane of glass that is held in by cams. this doesnt allow you to open your vents, so I'm not sure I'd like this in warmer climates. If they were thermopane glass with functioning vents, that would be great.
Where does everyone seem to find the best location for the 3M window film? I assume that this is the one that you apply and shrink with heat. We did not get the double pain either, but our dealer said they were not that efficient for the additional costs.
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Old 12-04-2004, 04:03 PM   #14
sreigle
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Native Tex, I got ours at Walmart. Less than 15 bucks and that's enough to do all windows one winter and most of those again the next winter. Makes a significant difference in ours. For one thing, those vents at the bottom of the windows for allowing moisture to drain used to be a direct portal into the inside for the cold air. The film stops that air from coming inside but still allows the window to be vented but on the outside of the film.

If by 'location' you mean where to mount them, we put the tape on the outer part of the frames on the inside of the coach.
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Old 12-08-2004, 04:19 PM   #15
cargary
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Steve:
Sorry it has takened so long to reply back - we had went out of State for a few days and hadn't been on the MOC website since we left.
I wasn't aware that the Montana had a furnace vent to the underbelly -
this answers how you can keep the pipes and fresh water from freezing, providing it doesn't get down in the teens and stay there for sometime. If and when we do some winter camping, we will have to look at purchasing a electric heater. I see some are now purchasing the electric-ceramic heaters. I wonder which is the most efficient - the traditional electric heaters or the ceramic ones.
I agree that if the electricity is furnished at no additional price, it is wise to use it heat instead of the propane.
It would have been nice if Montana had provided a furnace vent in the basement area also. Without one, I definitely would wrap the pipes there just as you did.
I have already used spray foam on the underbelly, but did it to keep out the vermin hopefully.
Yes this definitely helps us out with very useful information and gives us more confidence that we can do it if and when we make that decision or if we had too.
Where are you camping at now? It sounds like it is somewhere on the same level as Chicago or maybe even somewhat north of it. We are in central michigan just west of Lansing.
Can I ask a stupid question? If you are, as I believe I have heard that you're fulltiming it now, why not go further south where the weather is warmer and not have to worry about the cold and then return when the weather improves up north? I sure you have good reasons - Just curious.
Thanks again for taking the time to furnish all the information Steve. We really appreciate your time and ideas.

Gary & Carole
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Old 12-10-2004, 09:56 AM   #16
sreigle
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Gary & Carole, I had to chuckle when I read the last paragraph of your post. Yes, we've been fulltiming for almost 21 months. We are in Independence, MO, a suburb of Kansas City. We are here until after Christmas (Jan 4) because we have failed to convince any of our married children to move to a warmer climate! We did have a daughter in Florida. Still have the daughter but she moved to Kansas City. So, we'll be here this time of year every year until one or more of them moves to a warmer area! You can bet we'll be headed for warmth in early January. We're going to Savannah, GA. Not as far south nor as warm as Florida or Texas but the coldest daily average for that area is 38 at night and upper fifties by day. We really want to explore that area and timing wise this works for us so Savannah it is. We're planning on two months there, arriving Jan 10.

We've found when temperatures get down into the middle twenties or below you can run the electric heaters (on low) at night and the furnace will still run enough to keep heat going into the belly.

When the temperatures get really cold the low point drains are the problem. Hopefully the insulation I did on ours will keep them from freezing this winter, if it gets that cold here this winter. Otherwise I'll be under the coach with a hair dryer again to get them thawed out. I am sure when uninsulated they freeze even in the twenties but below that they freeze up into the belly until they reach the Tee and block the water flow.

I'm not sure which kind of heater is better and why. I'm not sure I'd know a ceramic heater if I saw it. I do know I like electric heaters with a fan to move the air out more quickly. The one in the living room is a tall pedestal with an option to swing from side to side. That's nice. But it doesn't have a thermostat, just a high-low-off. It would be perfect if it had a thermostat.
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Old 12-10-2004, 01:15 PM   #17
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Do yourself a favor and pop over to Lowes. The Delongi oil filled heater is selectable 500, 800 or 1500 watts. It's thermostaticly controlled. It has no fan, no moving parts, no noise. It costs $34.00. The size is a bit bigger then a ceramic but it works great, heats the bedroom and allows you to tailor the amount of electric heat you use,,,,, so the propane furnace will still kick in and keep the tanks from freezeing.

As far as the basement... it has no insullation in the ceiling and heat ducts pass through it. We never had pipes in there freeze down to -3F outside. It's the underbelly / tank spaces where we used to have the freeze ups.
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Old 12-10-2004, 01:15 PM   #18
cargary
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Steve:
Without all the facts, we are left to assumptions. We just assumed that you might be one of those folks that like the cold - while not as many do, there are those that have that preference. Mind you, not the sub-zero cold, but where the temps get no lower than in the mid teens. I share your desire to be with your children at and around Christmas as we also will make the journey south next winter after the holidays are over with. With our children all here near us in central michigan, this will be our home for the larger part of the year. We would like to tour the southern states starting next winter as you folks appear to do now. Savannah sounds interesting and most likely not as congested with snowbirds as maybe florida or texas has become.
Thanks again for the great tips and sorry for the misunderstanding. Have a great Christmas and hope your travels are safe.
Gary & Carole
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Old 12-10-2004, 01:40 PM   #19
bob n pam
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Gary, this is our second winter "workamping - taking care of our granddaughter" in the Chicago area and this is what we have done:

1. Used the 3M film on the outside of our windows, then covered them with our Arizona sunscreens. We left the film and sunscreens on all year.

2. Covered the air conditioner.

3. Wrapped all water lines with heat tape.

4. Put a styrofoam outside faucet cover on the low point drains.

5. Covered exposed hoses in storage bay with foam pipe covers.

6. Installed holding tank heat pads on all tanks - black, both grey and water.

7. Put 2" insulation board on top of slides.

We use electric heaters in addition to the furnace and have been comfy. I think this is our last winter here, but all of this work will give us a lot of flexibility in the future!!

Happy Holidays!
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Old 12-10-2004, 04:48 PM   #20
cargary
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Bob:
Thanks for the additional ideas. If you don't mind, we have a few questions for you though. Where did you find a styrofoam faucet cover and how did you attach it? Where did you find holding tank heat pads?
Also, in regards to the 2" insulation board, I'm assuming it is styrofoam and how did you install it on top of the slides? In our setup, I don't think this would work as the rubber seal would not allow this 2" board to pass under it even if there is enough space to do so, without causing damage to the seal.
Thanks again.
Gary & Carole
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