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Old 12-27-2012, 07:36 PM   #1
amosher13
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Newb

Hey everyone, been reading the forums for a few days now and decided to join. I am borrowing a Laredo 29GR with an Arctic package and am parked near Pikes Peak in Colorado for the next "x" months. Mostly interested in winter tips as its been getting really cold lately and also very windy where I am. I know I need to pick up some sort of skirting to start and am also looking for a solution to what I think is a freeze/blockage/clog somewhere between the kitchen sink and the drain pipe as it won't go down, lol. But I'll be searching what has already been posted (yes, i am going through Geo's posts and seeing what tips people have. Hello, and thanks for having me!
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:01 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum and glad you decided to finally join in. If you are looking for detailed, valuable information on winterizing the underbelly and environs, geo's posts are a must read.

If you have been searching the forum, you will have found out that the "Arctic", "Polar" and other descriptors Keystone uses to describe their RV's are to be taken with a grain of salt. Don't be fooled into thinking that you will be protected from the elements without doing a lot of mods yourself.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:32 PM   #3
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haha yes, i sure have found that out. the tricky part for me is that 1.) i am on a somewhat limited budget and 2.) this is not my rv so i am limited it what i can really do to it mod wise. i'm sure i could work with the owner on some things but i dont want to be too pushy. thanks for the welcome, i'm sure there is a lot to be learned here!
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Old 12-28-2012, 06:18 AM   #4
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Wrap those outside hoses so they don't freeze up
&
skirting will definitely help some.

Regardless you'll still be a little cold - but a nice ceramic heater
will help with that.

Jo
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Old 12-28-2012, 06:47 AM   #5
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yep the outside hose is wrapped and the owner of the park puts a nice insulated boot over the faucet that connects to the hose. Definitely need to get some skirting, any recommendations? i'm reading some skirting threads but not seeing much in the way of specifics. again, think budget and non-permanent as this is not my rig. also, i got a delonghi vento oil filled radiator on a recommendation but i'm not so sure if it does all it says, lol. another post recommended the broan 6201, do you have any recommendations on space heaters?
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:56 AM   #6
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Any space heater you use will add about 5000 BTU to the inside of the RV. None of them will heat the "basement area" or the "insulated underbelly area" so you still need to run the furnace to keep that little bit of heat blowing into the area down there. As for skirting, if nothing else, get some 6 mil plastic or go to Harbor Freight and get some of their blue tarps, and attach them to the RV and cover the base around the ground with snow/2x4's or some other anchoring system. That is not the best, but at least it will block the wind from getting under your RV. Ideally, some 2" foam sheeting (R-10) or some OSB sheeting would be better. AVOID anything like bales of hay, etc !!!!! All that will do is attract mice, rats and other pests and is a definite fire hazard as well as a great place for mold to grow.

Once you do get the skirting installed, adding a 60 watt incandescent bulb will do much to help provide that little extra bump to keep it warmer under there.

It's almost Jaunary, so you're already in the coldest part of the year, trying to improve on what you have already done pretty much means working outside in the cold, on the ground and under your RV. That's certainly not a pleasant thing to endure. So, be sure to protect yourself from frostbite, cold winds and the wet clothing that you'll surely encounter.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:24 AM   #7
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thank you very much for that input, you are right it wont be pleasant but at this point i'm willing to put in a little effort and discomfort to get us in a better spot, if not with our own comfort in this thing, at least trying to keep from burning through propane so quickly, lol.

So looking at lowes they have both the 6 mil plastic and 1" and 2" EPS sheets. would you think i should use both or if i get the EPS do you think that would be enough as long as I fix it in place well?

also i put window plastic on the ceiling vents but i'm definitely going to do as many of the rest of the windows as i can. any other cheap/simple/easy recommendations are welcome, and thanks again!

edit: also, we tried dropping the heat to 55 and closing the door to the bedroom with the space heater in the bedroom to conserve some at night, but now the kitchen sink won't run water, but the sink in the bedroom/bathroom does so i dont think that was a good idea. i've been blasting heat now for a couple hours and still not water in the kitchen. google says its roughly -1 F right now, am i screwed there? lol, boy is this fun

edit 2: did some more searching and have some good ideas for skirting i believe. would still appreciate tips to unfreeze pipes. again the bathroom sink works but that is really it. kitchen sink did start to drip JUST a tiny bit so hopefully that is a good sign but i've had heat blasting all day. not really sure how to access these things since the coroplast covers the whole underbelly, not that i know where it is frozen. hoping it warms up under there when i get it skirted and at least somewhat warmed under there tomorrow morning.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:22 PM   #8
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If you use 3/4 or 1" EPS, you should be OK for the winter. That stuff is UV rated for a minimum of 6 months before any degredation, so just putting it in place and securing it well at the top and bottom should give you a fairly good underpinning seal. Make sure you leave a loose panel to access to the dump valves, the jacks and the electrical connections. A trouble light with a 60 watt bulb hanging near the dump valves should help tremendously.

As for the frozen water line, usually, the lines are inside the RV from the bath to the kitchen, so you probably are OK if you leave the cabinet doors open and get heat into the lines.

I'm not sure whether you have an outside shower or not, but if you do and if it's plumbed in like mine, the water goes from the inlet to the bathroom sink, then to the shower and it branches there to the kitchen. The outside shower is virtually noninsulated and if it froze, then it would most likely stop waterflow past that point. I'd do a walk around outside, see where the shower is and put an extra piece of that EPS over the outside shower door. It wouldn't hurt, if you have some, to put some fiberglass insulation inside the shower door just to help keep it a bit warmer at the plumbing lines.

As for propane, if you're using 30 lb bottles, you may want to look seriously at getting a couple of 100 lb bottles or even better, see if a propane company will set a 150 gallon tank or even a 250 gallon tank for you. Using that will cut your propane costs nearly in half over using the smaller bottles.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:55 PM   #9
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Something else you might do is to get a whole bunch of foam pipe wrap and apply it to as many exposed water lines as you can see - in the underbelly, in exterior storage compartments and inside the unit itself. Get the thickest wrap you can find.

A hair dryer or heat gun set on low might work for some of those lines/pipes that are frozen. Just be careful when using the heat gun that you don't end up melting one of the lines!
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:31 PM   #10
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cool, thanks a lot folks, i really appreciate it. definitely a rookie earning his stripes. yeah there is a shower inside and the utility shower on the outside a bit to the left of the inlet and dump valves.

cool, the 1" EPS is pretty cheap so i think i will be able to get that setup around the rig with no trouble. i'm not messing with pulling down the coroplast, but there is a rectangle cut hole in it, anyone think i should get some unfaced fiberglass batts and just stuff them in there (carefully of course) or will there really not be much value in that?

I think/hope once i get the skirt up and a light under there that i will retain a lot more of my heat and hopefully melt the froze pipe and keep it that way. only problem with trying to direct heat is i have no idea where the freeze is as i can only see a very limited section of the lines.

i will definitely check into a local company to see about getting a larger tank. as it is i'm paying for convenience since the park will fill your tanks at 2.59 a gallon while the store up the street is 2.29 but you have to go there, lol. c'est la vie.

again, thanks much everyone.
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Old 12-29-2012, 08:17 AM   #11
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I don't think stuffing fiberglass in a small area around that cutout will do much good. The lines most likely run from front to back in that underbelly, stuffing insulation around a 3 ft area close to that hole won't do anything for the remaining part of the underbelly that isn't "stuffed" so, I'd suggest not wasting your time.

Once you get the skirting up, if the light doesn't provide enough heat to thaw the frozen pipe, you might try putting an electric heater under there for a few hours. Just be very careful and watch closely that it doesn't get too hot right above the heater.

As Festus2 said, pipe insulation will help if you can find the pipes to get the foam around them. Another use for those foam pipe wraps is to stuff around the slide flanges inside the RV. Those seals are not the best for keeping cold air out, any extra soft foam rubber you have that you can use to help block the air infiltration around the slides will help trememdously. Don't forget to lift the carpet covering the floor of the slide and slip some foam in there too. The floor may be a little easier to access from outside, but you'll find air leaks top, bottom and both sides of almost every slide.

As for your frozen pipe, I'd still look inside the trailer, next to the wall, inside cupboards. You may find that the pipe that's frozen is inside, next to that outdoor shower fixture, or very close to it. Opening the cupboard doors, using a small fan to push warm air through the cupboards will certainly help thaw anything in that part of the RV. If you haven't already, you might want to put a light in the pass through under the bathroom, or even a small oil filled heater if you have access to one. Use it for a few hours to warm up that area and you might thaw the kitchen pipes. If you do decide to use a heater there and also inside the RV, probably would be best to run an extension cord from the park power pedastle to the one in the pass through. That way you're not increasing the load on your 30 amp circuit inside the RV.

As for windows, you can put plastic sheeting over them, both inside and outside to help slow down the heat transfer through those single panes of glass. If you haven't already, look up at the vents in the ceiling. They are a big "cold spot" in any RV. you can buy pillows to fit those openings and insulate them when not being used. You can also cut a piece of foam board to fit them for much less money. Even though it's only R5, that's much more insulation than the plastic vent cover provides.

Realize, you've got around an R9 floor, R7 to R9 walls and an R 9 ceiling, single pane windows, almost no insulation behind the refrigerator, and air leaks virtually everywhere, so you're not going to make it as "snug" as a stick built house, but you can make a huge difference with window coverings and skirting.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:00 PM   #12
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thanks again jrtjh, so the issues reported at the time "resolved" themselves at least temporarily. all pipes were running and draining fine. the saga continues though, i was tied up this weekend and only got a wall and a half of skirting setup and now my black tank and kitchen gray tank do nothing when opening the valve, and the bathroom/shower gray i cant even pull the valve. i have hot water in the kitchen sink now but not in the shower and bathroom, lol.

(ok left hot water on in bathroom sink and shower for last couple hours and they just came on!)

the only space heater i have is an oil filled radiator and i think its too high to get underneath the rig, i gotta try to get the rest of that skirt up asap and i did get a light for underneath. the amount of pipe i seem to be able to access either inside the unit or through the hatches around outside is slim and i havent found a freeze so i dont even know if those are worth wrapping.

good tip about the foam pipe wrap in the flanges of the slides, i'll get some of that in.

i did put plastic on the ceiling vents, the biggest cold spot is the back where the couch is, that place is just cold! i think i need to re-do the plastic and will do a layer outside as well, its just all windows back there. hopefully once i get that skirt up the rest of these pipe problems will go away.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:21 PM   #13
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I'm glad to have heard from you. It had been about 4 days since your last post and I was kind of concerned that you may be frozen to the ground under your RV ROFLMAO At any rate, good to know that you're making some progress, even if it is slow going.

As for the pipe foam along the slides, if you can pull in your slide about an inch and lay the pipe foam along the walls and ceiling, then extend the slide again and it should seal much better than what you have from the factory.

We also have a rear wall that's all window and two pretty large windows, one on each side so I know exactly what you're facing with cold in that area. You may want to just tape a piece of that pink foam on the big window from outside and keep the plastic in place on the side windows. That may help a little more if you don't need that much light during the day.

As for the RV and the furnace, realize that you're facing an uphill battle trying to replace the heat lost in your RV with a 30,ooo BTU furnace. Realistically, you're losing 35 or 40 thousand BTU's and the furnace just can't keep up. The skirting, insulating the big windows, sealing the slides and keeping the heat loss to a minimum by not opening doors any more than needed is about all you can do, but hang in there, hopefully the cold will break and you'll have a few days of warmer (near freezing) weather in the next week or so.

Glad you're not stuck to the ground under your RV, keep us posted
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:32 PM   #14
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hahahahaha, yeah not stuck this time i realized i had reached out for all this help and then disappeared for a few days, busy holidays. good tips again on foaming the slides. agreed, hopefully i can get that skirt up and get it warm under there to keep from freezing. the rest is little stuff i can do more at leisure. yeah i definitely realize the battle this is even with the "arctic" package. would be really nice (and i'm sure they do for a price) if the arctic package was something like geo did to his aftermarket. its not like it takes up a lot more space to get these things a lot better insulated and situated for cold weather. anyway, thanks again and i'll touch base with an update.

edit: aside from getting the skirting up and getting some heat kept under there, any tips on unfreezing the drain valves? My black and kitchen gray pull out but nothing comes out and the bathroom gray wont budge. i'm getting all filled up and now the water has stopped altogether, its been really cold, yay. i'm going to bite the bullet and put in some hours this evening regardless of how cold it is and get up as much skirt as i can. didnt know if there was anything else i could do in the meantime to get these valves to drain.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:37 PM   #15
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With temps in the teens and below, the holding tanks are probably well solidified (frozen stiff). About the only way I know to thaw them is to slowly increase the temp until things start flowing. Once the flowing starts, you may be able to introduce warm (not hot) water into the tanks via the shower, sink and toilet and speed things up. I'd be very cautious of wrapping the tanks with heat tape or putting hot air on them, they may well melt. As for thawing them, it takes about 2 days to thaw a 25 lb turkey (for Thanksgiving or Christmas) at about 50F. If you consider that you've got probably 10 turkeys in each tank, and if you can get the temp under your RV up to 50F, you can get some idea of how long (or slow) this process will likely be. If you try to speed it up too much, you may wind up doing more damage than good.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:05 PM   #16
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thanks, great input again. well i did manage to get the skirting up and that light is under there by the valves, not sure what to do about leaving a place to let me access and get under there if i need to. right now i left the space under the stairs without foam and i can crawl under if i need to, but i dont know if that defeats the purpose and if i should just seal it all up. so current update is the gray tanks seem to be thawed and were able to be drained today (yesterday and today have been considerably warmer.

running water is still not happening and the black tank wont drain, of course. hoping another day or too and everything thaws enough. otherwise i may pickup a small hot air heater to throw under there for a little bit to see if that helps.

for the record consumer reports best rated space heater for safety and functionality is this $40 unit http://www.amazon.com/Holmes-HFH436W.../dp/B005J2L9KY. wish i knew that before picking up the delonghi vento, not sure it adds enough heat to warrant the electricity it sucks up. but either way.

at this point i think i've done all i can do and just hoping things thaw out and that the work i've done is enough to keep things flowing when the temp drops again. guess we'll see
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:48 PM   #17
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It sounds like you're making some inroads to being able to sustain heat under the RV and hopefully stay comfortable the rest of the winter. I'd urge you to completley seal the skirting. When I said to keep a way to access the valves and the underside, I meant via a removeable panel. I'd venture to say that leaving a 3 foot opening under the stairs is akin to leaving the door open and trying to heat the inside with the furnace. By all means, seal it up, just plan a way to get under it to dump the tanks, change out the light bulb, and to check on things as the winter progresses.

As for the heater, I don't know if buying an "expensive one" for $40 to put in the slush under an RV is a wise choice or if probably the cheapest 1500 watt heater you can find would do just as well down there. After all, a heater for $8.88 at KMart puts out the same heat as the $40 one you listed. Upstairs, it may be a good thing, but sitting on a piece of foam (to keep it dry and stable) under an RV, it probably doesn't make much difference what heater you get. My only suggestion on choice of heater is to make sure you get one with a fan so all the heat doesn't get applied directly above the heater, but rather is forced out front, away from the underpinnings of the RV. I'd also keep a very close watch on it for the first several hours, then at least hourly after that until going back to just the light would give you enough heat to keep the valves thawed.

From the tone of your response, it seems your "spirits" are still up and your attitude is positive. Hang in there and keep at it.....
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:40 PM   #18
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cool, yeah i figured that was the way to go, i'll get that sealed up tomorrow then. i did leave a small door-ish panel to pull the valves and was actually able to get the little $15 space heater i got at walmart in that way too. and yeah its one with a fan. i had just heard of that $40 one but yeah only would get that for inside. good thing about here is we are up on a hill and its sunny all day so the ground is quite dry, its all rocks and dirt so thats nice.

so thanks again, very valuable input and thanks for sticking with me. the initial moment realizing you dont have water or your tanks wont drain is a bit depressing but you get used to living how you have to, and yes i feel like i've been able to make some progress so hopefully it pays off.

edit: woot! everything seems freed up, water is running and all tanks were able to drain! so psyched, still have to seal up under the stairs good but i placed some panels there to at least block a little until i can finish up. only one issue left, lol. i left the black tank valve open so it would drain when able and i'm pretty sure it did. no other valves were open and there was stuff in the hose outside (still want to set it up on a ramp since when the hose fills it weighs down and the ground inlet is slightly uphill). the inside light panel doesnt show accurately for the black tank (or hasn't) but now shows empty, BUT, i can "see" water/paper etc... backed up pretty high when flushing the toilet (this is a great conversation isnt' it?). thinking its just in the pipe leading to the tank, hoping that i guess. is it dangerous for the tank if i take like a coat hanger and try to loosen it?

also, i read on another blog site that a guy wraps his sewer hose in heat tape and insulation and leaves the valves open all winter. says then the tanks have nothing to freeze and the heat tape keeps the sewer line thawed. anyone doing similar? i was told to leave the valves closed and flush black and then grays when 2/3 full or more. then i lift the hose to make sure it empties. would be nice if i could skip all that and just live without pulling valves every week, lol.

wow, so nice just to have running water again.
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