If you've been thinking about embarking on an RV trip despite the winter temperatures, it's important that you ensure that your RV is ready for it. Since RVs can be vulnerable to cold weather, you need to address the potential sources of heat loss before you hit the road. Here are some tips to help you prepare your RV for that winter trip.
Dealing with RV Windows
In a traditional home, a double-pane or triple-pane window can provide some insulation benefit against the severe weather. Unfortunately, you can't add windows like this to an RV. That means you need to protect the RV windows with added insulation to keep the cold weather out. One great way to do that is by applying insulating film to the outside surface of the window glass, then putting shrink film on the insides of the windows as an additional cold barrier.
When possible, upgrading your windows in the RV to a thermal-insulated window can also help, particularly when it comes to condensation. If it's particularly cold outside, the warm temperature inside the RV can lead to condensation on the inside surfaces of the windows, walls and ceiling. In addition to the upgraded windows, you can help combat insulation by running a dehumidifier inside the RV. The dehumidifier will draw moisture out of the air, helping to keep condensation at a minimum.
Install triple-layer or insulating fabric curtains on the windows, too. This will help to prevent any residual air from seeping in around the edges of the windows. You can even add hooks or other anchor points at the base of the window to secure the curtains when the chill settles in.
Eliminating Door Drafts
Another concern for RVs in the winter months is the small gaps that can appear around the edges of the doors. All of the doors are vulnerable to this, from the living area door to the driver and passenger doors in the front.
The most effective way to prevent these cold air drafts is by treating the door with weather-stripping. Attach weather stripping around the entire perimeter of the door frames to help close the gaps that allow air into the RV space. Then, create an additional barrier by hanging insulating curtains over the doors. Finally, if you need to have more protection, you can even place draft dodgers in place at the bottom of the RV doors.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Examine all of the pipes on the RV to identify the ones that have gaps and open space around them. Use caulk to fill the small cracks in, and invest in some spray foam to fill in the larger spaces. Just keep in mind that the spray foam expands quickly, so be cautious when you use it. Opt for a low-expansion spray foam for the best protection without risking damage to your wiring or other components.
Protecting the Water Tanks
Invest in insulated water tanks for your RV to help reduce the effects of the cold weather on the tank. Leave the cabinet doors open in the RV and run a small electric heater inside to help keep some heat flowing to the pipes.
If your showers and faucets are not insulated, you may want to drain them. If you'd prefer to be able to use your plumbing system, though, you'll want to add some insulation or heat tape to those lines if the temperatures are going to be below freezing. If you have to drain the lines, just make sure you choose camping facilities that offer showers all year. Some campground shower facilities are seasonal, so it's always best to check.
When you follow the steps presented here, you'll have your RV ready to combat the cold in no time. These tips will help you reduce your risk of cold weather damage to your RV, the pipes and other components. Talk with a local RV sales and service company to help you if you're not comfortable doing all of the work yourself.