In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How cold is too cold for an RV? We will explain how to get the most out of winter in an RV and how to protect your motorhome from freezing pipes, mould and high humidity.
How cold is too cold for an RV?
A temperature between -19ºF and -25ºF (-28 Celsius to -31 Celcius) is just too cold for an RV. It is extremely difficult to endure such low temperatures in an RV, as frostbite could occur in just a few minutes. Besides, the RV pipes would freeze in no time and it would be too difficult to turn on the engine of the motorhome.
Some find winter a good time to visit and photograph National Parks, especially in the Southwestern United States, where fine dust of snow highlights vivid red canyons and green pines. Another advantage is the wildlife, especially the deer and elk (moose) which descend from heights in winter for food.
Many RVers enjoy snowmobiling, sledging, cross-country skiing, skating and ice fishing in the winter! By being able to stay warm with a furnace that does not require a connection to a fuel source, RV enthusiasts can enjoy hot meals, nice showers, a cosy comforter in a relaxing atmosphere despite the ice. and cold all around outside.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of winter in an RV or in high altitude places with cold or frost:
- Don’t connect your water hose to an outside faucet overnight unless you want to create a giant 25 foot long “Popsicle”! Make sure it has been emptied of the water it contains!
- Add antifreeze to your tanks to keep your drains free from freezing!
- Do not park under trees where very heavily loaded snow and ice branches can break and fall on your RV!
- Monitor the charge capacity of your battery (s): the colder it is, the faster it will discharge!
- Open a window slightly to let in fresh air when a propane heater is in use; the window near the kitchen sink will do just fine!
- Leave the toilet door open overnight so that this closed and usually unheated room can receive the heat from the main room!
- Keep a pair of ski boots handy inside the RV for good traction for a short impromptu walk to capture a memorable photo!
- Bring chains or have snow tires for your hut and RV!
- Do not allow snow to accumulate on the roof on the refrigerator ventilation grill or on the refrigerator heat exhaust!
- Drive with extreme caution! Even an experienced driver will find it somewhat tricky to manoeuvre and tow a towed RV on snow and ice! A heavy motorized RV can be difficult to stop on an icy surface!
How to protect your RV during low temperatures
The low temperatures are here, and now it’s time to prepare our motorhome so that the winter does not leave a dent. The houses on wheels need good preparation before the arrival of the winter season to find them at full performance the following season.
Below we give you several very useful tips for the best conservation of your motorhome during periods of stop and cold.
- To avoid freezing: A big problem that we must always avoid for a good conservation of the motorhome in freezing in:
- If you have full butane gas bottles you should leave them well protected so that they do not freeze.
- All circuits that carry water must be drained: tanks, pipes, pumps, air conditioning. Clean water systems with antifreeze and leave taps running to increase effectiveness. Do a chlorine cleaning in the water tank, rinse it well and it will be ready for its next use.
- For battery conservation: If you are one of those who make much less use of the motorhome during the winter, you should know that these are discharged around 3% per month. To avoid finding it downloaded when you go to travel you will have to:
- Recharge the batteries, put them in a warm place and test them from time to time.
- You must cut the control panel to 12V.
- If you have solar panels, it may be enough to keep the batteries in your motorhome charged.
- For tire protection: When motorhomes are parked for a long time, they suffer the constant weight of the vehicle itself causing deformation of the tires. To avoid this deformation there are different products and actions that you can use:
- You can put tire chocks that are easy to find in stores with automotive accessories.
- Another way to lighten the load is by placing hydraulic accessories or metal trestles at different anchor points.
- Leave the tires inflated with the maximum pressure during the winter or in long parking seasons.
- Also to protect the tires and the steering system is to keep the wheels straight when you park the motorhome.
- To protect the tires from the sun and rain, you can use a very simple homemade system, which is to cover them with plastic sheets or bags.
- Cleaning: it is highly advisable before leaving the motorhome parked for a long period that you carry out an exhaustive general cleaning of both the exterior and the interior. Use detergent products that are not abrasive to the plastics of the vehicle.
- To avoid condensation: During winter, due to the change in temperature between night and day, condensation occurs inside and outside the motorhome, so when it is stopped for several months, mould can occur inside due to excess humidity.
So that this does not happen if the vehicle is indoors, it is advisable to leave one of the skylights with a minimum opening. If, on the other hand, the motorhome is parked outdoors you will have to leave everything well closed and we recommend the use of a dehumidifying product that is responsible for absorbing all the condensation.
- Refrigerator conservation: In case you leave the refrigerator disconnected, remember to leave it open. But if possible, we advise you to leave it to a minimum and run. The cooling of a refrigerator is produced thanks to the ammonia it has in the circuit, when the refrigerator is not in operation this ammonia ends up fossilizing and as a consequence it stops cooling.
- Cabin protection: The cabin of your motorhome will be better preserved if you use an engine cabin protector. With this feature, you will also prevent the headlights from turning yellow and becoming opaque.
- Conservation of rubber gaskets: The sun is a bad ally of rubber gaskets since dryness causes them to deteriorate. To avoid this and to achieve greater durability, we recommend that you spray the door and window rubbers with silicone spray.
- To avoid oxidation: We recommend applying lubricant to all the hinges of the motorhome in this way you will prevent them from rusting during stopping time.
Thinking about all of this might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but in the end, all of these tips and those in this other article could help you have wonderful winter experiences.
We firmly believe that RV camping is possible all year round. Still, if you’d rather stay at home wisely this winter, that’s understandable. The only thing: don’t forget to winterize and park your RV properly to avoid unpleasant surprises next spring!
If you have any questions, comments or tips on how to travel in an RV during winter, please feel free to share them!
FAQ on How cold is too cold for an RV?
How to insulate an RV for the winter?
A little extra insulation, such as curtains and rugs, makes it more comfortable in winter. So, take out the thick bedding or invest in an electric blanket, it will help. Park your RV so that the windows face the sun during the day.
How to store an RV?
Here are our tips for winterizing your RV to protect it against bad weather:
- Empty the tanks and the water heater.
- Close the water inlet.
- Pump the antifreeze with the water pump.
- Empty the antifreeze.
- Proceed with caulking.
- Remove the batteries and shut off the propane.
- Clean the RV.
How to insulate a trailer floor?
Foam insulation is the most used product for insulating a trailer roof and it is found everywhere on the market.