DIY Freeze Proofing / Insulating / Heat Strips / Sensors / Refrigerator

I have a [2017] Pioneer RK280. I want to spend a week or two only in NYC in December. The temps may get below freezing. Since it will only be a short time, I do not want to deal with a skirt or anything like that -- my research shows lots of problems.

DOES ANYONE HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH THIS: Instead, I'd like to temporarily remove the black coroplast stuff from the bottom of the camper in order to gain access to all water below the floor. I'd like to add insulation for sure. I may add electric heating strips. I may add temperature sensors/alarms. This is where I believe my greatest freeze risk will be. But if the interior is say 70degF and the outside environment is as low as 20degF, then all points in that floor compartment should be between those two temperatures. I just need to make sure the pipes stay above 32degF. I'd likely alarm it at 40degF. There should be mostly just one route of water pipes from the kitchen area (including drain pipes and fresh water tank) forward to the bathroom area. I may add heat tape. Otherwise, the gas heat ducts run through the floor. (If Heartland was really smart, they would have run the water pipes under there right next to the heat ducts. If I add insulation, I'll try to keep an open air path from the heat ducts to the water pipes, yada yada.)

DOES ANYONE HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH THIS: About removing that black coroplast stuff, the propane pipe seems to be some kind of flex/rubber/fabric pipe, and it seems installed below the coroplast on the driver's right side. So most likely I can easily remove that stuff on the other three sides and leave it partially attached, pinched between the gas line and the frame. Only if I must, or if it looks convenient enough when I review the connections/screws, will I remove the gas line and fully remove the coroplast. Of course, that gas line might be fragile to bending at this age, so I'd rather not remove it on this side. This means I'll have a wide stretch of coroplast on the ground while I'm trying to get under the frame, and I'll be wanting to be on top of that coroplast on the ground -- not damaging it will take some effort. I'm generally good at this kind of thing, but I can envision access remaining difficult if the coroplast isn't fully removed. I may begin by investigating first what things really look like up in there (up in the floor as viewed from the ground, which is still below the floor. Just clarifying "up"!)

Meanwhile, I read that the refrigerator requires protection. It's a combo LP/12V refrigerator. I read that I should add heat tape to the heat exchanger. I understand that to mean I should remove the outside panel, see a finned radiator of some kind, and add heat tape to it.

Also, I'll just start off the black tank and two gray tanks with a little pure antifreeze. I'll carry a spare bottle or two with me. That should keep my tanks from freezing.

Finally, I realize there's also a bunch of water under the kitchen cabinets in the back of this RK280 ("Rear Kitchen"), including the outside shower. I need to either leave a bunch of cabinet doors open, or add heat tape and perhaps sensors there as well.

Note that if it gets too darned cold, I'll just drain it all and blow it out. Otherwise, I prefer using my own trailer water and bathroom/shower. (Darn, I really don't want to carry my 100 lb compressor for this purpose. Hmmm... I might be better off just buying a small compressor locally, only if the need arises.)

Additional suggestions requested and welcome. Thanks!


I’ll toss my 2 cents in here as I’ve had a similar cold experience BUT with my last camper which wasn’t a Heartland.
We camped up in the New England area over thanksgiving every other year with family that lives up there as we live in S.E. PA. We pulled into camp on Wednesday, just ahead on 6” of snow, and we were in the overflow lot as the main campground was full, so we had electric only.
If we had know just how cold it was going to be, we would’ve stayed home.
Well it got cold Wed night into Thurs (thanksgiving)!! What I mean by cold, my outside thermometer read -6 degrees not including wind chill. We stayed warm in the camper but the water did freeze. The family brought bottled water so we could “flush the toilets”. We had a good thanksgiving dinner all cooked in the camper so no issues with propane.
When we pulled out of the campground on Friday it was at least above zero and it took a couple of days for the fresh water to thaw out.
No issues with anything cracking from freezing and no leaks. We had that camper a couple of years afterwards with no plumbing issues before we got our current T285, which I'm looking to do some winter prep before next years NE thanksgiving trip (possibly tank heaters, wrapping the exposed tank drains with heat tape, and some insulation in various spots).
The old camper was a 5th wheel with a rear bunkhouse and 1/2 bath and we’ve been in 20ish weather for a few days/evenings without an issue. That trip I wasn’t ready for -6 brrrr.
So I think with some of the preping you plan on doing, you’ll be fine as long as it stays above 0!!