Living In A Travel Trailer During Winter

To reduce heat losses in your vehicle and improve your comfort, seal air leaks by using thermal insulation. ■ For your safety: Do not alter or heat your vehicle improperly to avoid any danger. The use of heaters without an outside outlet is not appropriate to maintain the temperature of the room, such as space heaters or the gas oven / oven. Heaters without an outside outlet generate carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that can be fatal; and they also produce about ½ gallon of water for every gallon of fuel. Any type of heater that burns fuel inside the room must be properly ventilated to remove the presence of toxic gases. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detectors on hand. ■ Humidity Control: Unlike heaters without an external outlet that burn fuel such as propane, electric heaters and ventilated combustion heaters do not generate moisture problems. People and animals that live inside the vehicle will produce a lot of moisture and condensation will form on the surfaces where the air is saturated. Health problems can arise when humidity levels are high due to the proliferation of mold. Be sure to periodically provide some ventilation to avoid the presence of unhealthy conditions and avoid damage to the parts of your camper. Monitor humidity levels and keep them below, or between 30 and 40%, depending on the amount of condensation that forms. 

You can find moisture monitors in most hardware stores. Where you should focus your thermal insulation and sealing efforts: ■ Windows: • Windows with double and triple glass reduce heat transfer and reduce condensation problems, but they are not present. You can create the same effect by installing Lexan or thick plastic sheets outside the windows, and adding thermo-shrinkable plastic sheets inside, thus reducing heat loss and cold air infi ltration. • Install curtains that provide insulation and at the same time be decorative. Wool or fleece quilted fabrics work perfectly and can be purchased at factory locations or chain stores. Seal the curtains against the wall using Velcro or other closures. This will allow you to reduce wind gusts. • Cover windows whose main use is not lighting, especially those that are toward the north side of the camper. Use insulation foam to reduce heat loss. ■ Doors: • Put insulating adhesive rubber tape around the door frame. • Because the doors could be poorly insulated, it is recommended to use weather strips and curtains of quilted fabrics that cover the entire door, and likewise for the windows. ■ Ceiling vents: • You will need ventilation to replace the moist indoor air with the dry outside air. Cover and insulate the vents with some type of sealing material, but it is important that it can be easily removed. To seal the grids, buy industrially manufactured plugs or rigid insulators; Cut the material the same size as the opening and wrap it with masking tape to strengthen it. ■ Electrical openings and pipes: • Seal the areas around the electrical openings and pipes that have an external outlet. If possible, caulk small holes and use expandable insulation foam to seal large areas. Be prudent with the use of foams as these can expand and damage certain areas. Low expansion foams have traditionally been used to seal doors and windows, and can be easily acquired. Remember that fiberglass insulators do not obstruct the movement of air, so plugging openings with this fi ber will only be effective if they have been previously sealed. ■ Socket: • The addition of a base to the motor home is essential to reduce heat loss. You can buy sockets made commercially or made of different materials, such as laminated wood or rigid insulation. The use of rigid insulators helps maintain the temperature of the lower part of the camper, thus preserving the warm floor and the area below the freezing vehicle. If the floor has not yet frozen and the area allows it, bury the socket a few inches, which will give it stability and reduce the flow of air. You can check some examples of how other people have built sockets for their campers at the following network links. (Note: These examples do not represent the ideal of how the seal should be made inside the camper, but they can be of short-term help. Check with local dealers for information on professional skirting installers.): – /-www.byexample. com / projects / current / winterizing / index.html • Do not use straw or bales of hay because they attract rodents, retain moisture and pose a fire hazard. • The baseboards create a dark and warm environment that attracts rodents, so you must take precautionary measures to control these animals. The best option is to seal any hole greater than ¼ inch. Seal the holes with expandable foam, then cut a thin piece of aluminum from a soda can and put it over the hole. Locate traps and baits with poison in the slots where sealing has left gaps. ■ Folding compartments: (See figure to the right) • Remove snow that accumulates at the top of the folding compartments to reduce the damage caused by water. When snow accumulates at the top of the folding compartment, heating inside the camper can melt the lower layer of snow, creating an ice dam. You can use the rigid insulation to seal the body of the camper. However, any insulation that is placed over the top of the compartments must contain a tilt, in order to allow water to drain out of the camper. Water Systems: ■ Water Tanks: • Verify that the tanks and pipes are insulated and that the heating circulates around them. To be possible, You could leave the doors of the cabinets open or make use of small electric heaters. • In those pipes that have not been isolated or are not at warm temperatures, such as showers or external taps, it is recommended that they be drained to avoid damage caused by water freezing. • Maintaining fresh open water intakes is very difficult during winter in North Dakota. One option is to wrap the hose with thermal tape and use pipe insulation, but this could create a fire hazard. For the use of the fresh water tank of the camper to be simpler, the tank must be thermally insulated, instead of being exposed to freezing. It is also recommended that you fill the tank periodically and thermally insulate it from the outside. ■ Wastewater and sewage systems: • Verify that the tanks are thermally insulated. To reduce the possibility of tank freezing, use electrically heated heaters and periodically empty the tanks instead of letting them drain continuously. Avoiding freezing of external drainage pipes will be a very difficult task. Do not stick to the use of flexible drain hoses that can easily become brittle with extreme cold; and instead, install a PVC pipe in the drains. Avoiding freezing of external drainage pipes will be a very difficult task. Do not stick to the use of flexible drain hoses that can easily become brittle with extreme cold; and instead, install a PVC pipe in the drains. Avoiding freezing of external drainage pipes will be a very difficult task. Do not stick to the use of flexible drain hoses that can easily become brittle with extreme cold; and instead, install a PVC pipe in the drains.

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