View Full Version : Fulltiming in a sundance in the winter.

11-11-2012, 08:11 PM
Hello all,

I am new to most of this. Have some experience as a kid, but not much knowledge. Although I do find this site extremely helpful.

I travel for work and am constant moving so I invested and bought a Sundance 2900MK to live in. I was hoping to head south for the winter months, but doesn't look like that is going to be an option. :( Currently in the midwest and winter is coming. Down into the 20s tonight. My basement is heated so I'm keeping the furnace up but burning through propane like crazy. Looking for some tips and ideas to stay warm, not freeze up and save a few dollars.

I'm thinking about investing in a skirt to keep things warmer underneath and possibly more insulation in the underbelly. Also wondering if I should consider a heated hose or would heat tape be a better option. Finally once I land my next job assignment and get settled in I'll definitely be renting a larger propane tank to decrease the hassle of constantly refilling.

Appreciate any and all advice.

Thank You

Sundance 2900MK
GMC Sierra 2500HD Duramax diesel

11-11-2012, 08:50 PM
Hi Ash,

Looking at weatherspark.com, it looks like Wisconsin gets pretty cold. I checked Madison for January and saw a lot of single digit lows, with historic lows in the 25 below zero range. Pretty cold.

Water - you have a choice: get a heated water hose and leave it hooked up or fill the fresh tank as needed and put the drained hose away afterward.

Sewer - you'll have to manage the gate valves around the weather. They'll freeze at subzero temps. Inconvenient if that happens when the tanks are full. The standard flexible sewer hose is probably pretty easy to break when it's frozen. You might want to get 3" pvc and a rubber fitting to adapt it to a sewer hose coupling - Home Depot parts.

Fresh water and holding tanks - these will freeze at subzero temps causing serious damage. You'll either have to get tank heating pads, or use a skirt and hope it keeps them from freezing. If you go with the skirt and the tanks freeze anyway and rupture, you'll be pretty unhappy, so tank heaters might be the right answer.

Windows allow tremendous heat loss, driving propane usage. Some type of thermal barrier would help.

You need to run the furnace a lot to pump hot air into the underbelly to keep the water lines from freezing. Keep this in mind if you get ceramic disc heaters to supplement heat in the living areas.

At sub-zero temps, unless you have heat-tape on the water lines, they will freeze and you'll wake up without water. Keep a jug of water in the bathroom so you can wash hands and use the toilet. Bottled drinking water for the kitchen will also come in handy for coffee on a cold morning.

If I were to prioritize, I'd get tank heating pads first, water hose heat tape next, water line heat tape next. Ceramic disc heater next. Window thermal treatment next. Skirting next.

If you can add a 20 amp circuit breaker dedicated to a new outlet in the living area, you'll be able to run a ceramic disc heater without worrying about sharing the circuit breaker with too many other things.

If your rig runs off 30 amp service, you'll have a problem running a ceramic disc heater. As soon as you turn on the microwave, or a coffeepot at the same time as the heater, you'll probably start tripping breakers - maybe at the pedestal. You might have to run a heavy extension cord from the 20amp plug on the pedestal, into the RV to power a heater.

Put a 60W droplight in the UDC to keep things there from freezing. If using a heated water hose, make sure the sensor is outside.
Behind the basement wall, use a 100 or 150 watt floodlamp (not fluorescent or led) to keep the water pump and nearby water lines from freezing. Make sure it's secure and can't fall down or contact anything flammable.

11-11-2012, 09:50 PM
I am rather new to RVing as well, but camped up north many winters with my trailer at a camp ground. We left our trailer winterized. For water, we used the old blue portable 20 litre container. Sure the top 1/2 inch or so would be frozen every morning, but by the time you warmed up the trailer again, all was well. The main camp office always had water we could access in the washrooms.ly close by our trailer - but YUK!!

Oh, the camp manager supplied a port-a-johnny fair

For quick wash ups, we used the portable water source. For showers, we used the main camp bathroom. For a pee, we used a porta-potee and for #2 we always went up to the main camp bathrooms.

The camp manager allowed us to pay 10 bucks for three days for hydro - what a deal!

For heat, we used an electric heat strip we installed in our AC unit and our propane furnace.

We had a patio, and was really set up nice on the lake. Many great winter time memories of camping.

I guess, if you are totally on your own, then of course things would be different, but those are my two bits.

11-11-2012, 11:22 PM
My best advice is to park the trailer and rent an apartment. Doubtful you will even find a park that is open through the Winter months in WI. A Sundance is a "fair weather" rig at best. 20 degrees is nothing, wait until it hits 20 below zero. There is nothing you can do to that trailer to make it liveable in the extreme cold weather that is headed your way over the next few months. If you think your burning up propane now..you haven't seen anything yet. I can't imagine your furnace will even quit running once it gets real cold. You can add in electric heaters until you run out of capacity on your electrical service. Remember the best of them only puts out 5,280 BTUs. I've lived in neighboring MN all my life, if you haven't experienced below zero weather for several weeks on end you just won't understand....Don

11-12-2012, 05:11 PM
danemayer: Thank you for all the good advice. I bought some extra insulation today to put in the basement. I'm also looking into some heat tape and possibly tank heater. I'm hoping I'll be able to head west soon where it will still be cold, but not down into the sub zero temperatures. I do have one question. If I put a light in the basement where do I plug it in at? I've been in the basement haven't looked real close but don't recall seeing any outlets.

Gottoys: Parking and renting is not an option. As I mention in the paragraph above hope be heading to the west coast, possibly Seattle. Where temperatures are a little more manageable.

11-12-2012, 06:07 PM
i CAMPED IN kENTUCKY WITH A SUNDANCE A COUPLE YEARS AGO. i BOUGHT 4X8 FIBER BOARD AND 2X2S. I sealed the underside pretty tight(skirt). I would have bought a torpedo type portable heater(Keroseen If it gets real cold you can fire that up under the traler or you could buy sa couple halogen lites under there, but that would bring your electric bill up pretty good. I also cut some 2 inch styrofoam in the vent holes in the ceiling. Also need heat tape and 4 foot insulation for pipes for the water hose.

11-12-2012, 07:20 PM
Closest outlet to the basement is at the UDC

11-12-2012, 07:45 PM
UDC is one outlet. There may be an unused outlet at the power converter if you don't have a vacuum. You might also have an outlet for a basement TV.

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