17 Degrees Outside: 97 inside. No water.

Good morning,
I'm new to this and am becoming more and more frustrated with our new camper.(2016 Sundance DLT 281DB) I left my taps dripping last night, and the thermostat on about 75. The furnace stayed on, and the temperature inside rose. I hooked up some portable heaters this morning after taking loose all the paneling leading to the uninsulated areas under the sink. I have cold water in the bathroom sink now. The poor placement of the thermostat, next to the bathroom, quickly heated up due to the bathroom temperature rising, and the furnace shut off.

I've got the furnace running now. I'm not sure that small duct is enough to heat the belly. Does the duct just lay under the floor?

I mi realize nothing is going to get resolve here and now, but what can I do to prevent this from happening? I planned on using the new camper year-round. Heck, it even wears a badge of honor by the door stating, "Extended Season." I don't see any small print on the badge leading me to believe it is not up to the task, but the lack of water tells me otherwise.

Thank you for the assistance.
 

danemayer

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Sundance,

"Extended Season" is obviously a vague marketing term. Even interpreting that to mean "Ready for Winter" begs the question of where and how cold. Winter in South Florida and winter in the Colorado mountains are quite different.

We're in Breckenridge, CO for ski season in our Landmark. Even though Landmarks have quite a bit more insulation than a Sundance, we have had to do a number of modifications to keep the water running here. We've got tank heating pads to protect the holding tanks, and I've added heat tape and insulation to all water lines. We use a heated water hose, and I hang a drop light in the UDC to protect the water connections. There's a reflector with infrared 100W bulb hanging over the water pump.

One of the best mods is a 3' x 4' foamboard mini-skirt under the main plumbing areas, with a ceramic disc heater in the enclosure. The remote thermometer in our underbelly is reading 77 (F) as I write.

I realize that's a lot of modifications, but we sometimes go down to -30 (F) and I also like to wake up with running water.

You might take a look at our owner-written Water Systems Winter Usage Guide for more tips.
 

jbeletti

Well-known member
I'd think for most people that use their RVs recreationally, camping is done in fairer weather than below freezing.

Like you, I prefer to camp when I want to camp - not just during more popular "camping season".

Expecting full-use out of the plumbing system below say the upper to mid 20s is asking a bit much without taking some extra steps. What steps must be taken will vary depending on what you have to start with and what your maximum cold temperature expected is.

My home is in central TN and it's 5.7 degrees there this morning. I know my Landmark will perform fine at that temperature as I've done it before but much lower than that, without doing some of the super-cold weather modifications like Dan has done, I'd expect trouble in my coach.

For your Sundance, if you plan to regularly see temps in the twenties or colder, consider tank heaters, heat tape on water lines and perhaps augmented heat in some areas (utility area, underbelly, UDC etc.).

With regard to the furnace heating duct that goes to the underbelly on your Sundance, if your bathroom also has a furnace heating duct in it, consider swapping them as I believe the duct to the bathroom is a larger diameter. That additional volume of heat may do you more good in the underbelly than in the bathroom for your camping situation.

Wishing you the best and do circle back to this thread to update it on your experience and any modifications you do.
 

JanAndBill

Well-known member
The answers depend partly on how long you plan to stay in the cold. If just passing through headed for warmer climates then the steps you take would be much less than those for an extended stay. We've stayed up to a week with overnight temperatures down to 13, and daytime temperature slightly above freezing. All we did was removed the water hose each night and shine a reflector/light on the UDC wall. If we planned on staying the winter I would take the same steps as Dan. One modification I've always wanted to do is to mount a thermostat controlled 110 strip heater to the bulkhead with a cord that can connect directly to the pedestal'so 15 amp plug. That would give me heat down below and warm my COLD bedroom floor.
 

TravelTiger

Founding Texas-West Chapter Leaders-Retired
I'll chime in too, as we've done some mods to go skiing. But I want to be specific -- the reason your water froze can be a few areas of issue.

1. Water lines run from a network that's usually right behind the Universal Docking Center, (UDC) that is hidden by the wall of the basement. This area is susceptible to cold, as it's not in the "belly" where the furnace duct is. We added a light in this area that helps warm the air.

2. Water lines going to the kitchen often run along the metal frame, and the metal can conduct cold to the pipes even if the air is warmed. We added foam pipe insulation to help insulate against the frame.

3. If your rig has low-point drains that hang below the underbelly, these are exposed to the cold and can freeze, pushing ice into the line and causing water stoppage, even if the underbelly is warmer. We moved the low point drains up into the underbelly, so they stay warm in the winter.

4. Your underbelly insulation between the black coroplast and the underbelly space is likely only a metallic bubble-wrap type sheet. If there are openings in the coroplast where cold air can blow through, like around the running gear or spare tire, or where the slide mechanisms exit the frame, this may be defeating the periodic warming of the underbelly. Wind chill can effect the temperature, too. We sealed (or significantly reduced) any openings with spray foam or heavy duty duct tape.

The winter user-guide has lots of good ideas for solving problem with winter camping.

Hope this helps!
 
Last edited:
Thank you all for your help. This has been a great, but frustrating learning experience. I just spent the weekend snowed in in Southern Virginia. Temps are nearly 50 today. I re -wrapped my outdoor hose, and re routed ALL the heat ducting to where it needed to go; primarily to the exposed plumbing in the outdoor kitchen under the bunk. All is well now. Thanks again!
 
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