RV Greenhorns; 2021 Milestone 386BH Winter Tips wanted!

Hi All,

Wife and I just bought our first fifth wheel and it's the 42' Milestone 386BH! Seemed like our best option with the 5 kids. It is currently being delivered to the final destination in Sullivan County, PA Appalachian mountains. (I didn't want to try towing this thing from Texas without any experience).

I know it states that it has a heated underbelly but I am wondering what else I should consider doing to live in it during the cold winter months? So far I am planning on heat wrapping the well water line right up to the intake as well as the stinky slinky. I will probably place insulation underneath the RV as well as a skirt. Should I add any insulation to the windows or should these new models be ready to handle the cold?

It has 2 full baths but I am a bit concerned about a 6 gallon tank with 5 girls:eek: Would it be better to add in a tankless water heater? I also heard since we are connecting the water in from a well it'll be such cold water that it will have an effect on keeping the water hot...so I am wondering if it is better to add in another large water holding tank for the water to acclimate first? I plan to leave the grey water lines open and I would love to figure out a way to keep the black water open too... maybe install a P-trap and force flush water system in the toilet? I have 0 experience with staying in an RV so I am trying to prep this thing to make it as easy on us as possible before winter hits.

I guess the heat is done through the propane tank furnace and vents are in the floor but two 30lb tanks probably won't last that long correct? I may add a large 500 gallon propane tank outside the RV and tie it in. OR do people have better heating experience with just using a few electric space heaters? (We will be hooking up to the 50amp panel getting installed on site).

When it begins to snow should I be clearing the roof off? Would it be worth it to just build a stall for it to keep the rain, snow and sun off of it?

We don't plan on moving it anytime soon, could be years, and so I want to rig it up best as possible for long term use while we build out the cabin on the property.

Any other tips and things I should plan on getting to have around would be greatly appreciated!
 

danemayer

Moderator
Staff member
Hi baldwinsthename,

Congratulations on the new Milestone and welcome to the Heartland Owners Forum.

In cold weather, the hard part, as you've figured out already, is keeping the water running. Take a look at our owner-written Water Systems Winter Usage Guide for a more comprehensive view of what to do.

You'll definitely want the large external propane tank. And you'll want to keep an eye on propane levels so you don't run out at 3 AM on the coldest night of the year.

You can't leave the black tank gate valve open or you'll get a poo pile in the tank that will eventually cause a huge problem.

With the grays, you can leave them open but will need to close them a day or two before dumping the black tank, so you can rinse out the system with gray water.

You'll definitely need more hot water. Accumulating hot water inside the trailer may not add hot water. If located before the water heater, you'll still be constrained by the 6 gallon size. If after, the accumulator will not stay hot.

I'm sure others will chime in with additional thoughts.
 
Thank you sir, I will check out that guide. I'm going to rig up everything I can to keep those water lines from freezing!

Is there a difference between using the grey water tank to flush out the black water and the flush out inlets that are available to hook up for it? I figured using the grey water was maybe when dumping without a water hookup to flush, but I could be wrong?

I'm wondering if I can just install a horizontal 40 gallon hot water heater in the storage area since it's a pretty large space, I would just have to figure out if it can be electric or needs to be gas.

I'm surprise nobody has engineered a way to keep the black tank open directly into the sewer and avoid the pile, I think I may have found my mission. I'll keep posted on how it goes!

Thanks!
 

danemayer

Moderator
Staff member
When dumping the black tank, sewage can make its way through the pipes to the gate valves for the gray tanks. If you leave the grays valves open while dumping the black tank, you'll probably end up with some sewage in the gray tanks. If you close them while dumping, the only way to rinse the sewage out of the pipes near the gray valves is to dump gray water. The black tank flush won't help with that.

The galley gray tank can get pretty foul with bits of food if allowed to decay. If you run with the grays open, I'd suggest a good strainer in the kitchen sink to catch as much as possible.
 
When dumping the black tank, sewage can make its way through the pipes to the gate valves for the gray tanks. If you leave the grays valves open while dumping the black tank, you'll probably end up with some sewage in the gray tanks. If you close them while dumping, the only way to rinse the sewage out of the pipes near the gray valves is to dump gray water. The black tank flush won't help with that.

The galley gray tank can get pretty foul with bits of food if allowed to decay. If you run with the grays open, I'd suggest a good strainer in the kitchen sink to catch as much as possible.

That's a good point, I didn't think about sewage that could find its way into the gray tanks. Good call on the strainer!
 

Flick

Well-known member
Hi All,

Wife and I just bought our first fifth wheel and it's the 42' Milestone 386BH! Seemed like our best option with the 5 kids. It is currently being delivered to the final destination in Sullivan County, PA Appalachian mountains. (I didn't want to try towing this thing from Texas without any experience).

I know it states that it has a heated underbelly but I am wondering what else I should consider doing to live in it during the cold winter months? So far I am planning on heat wrapping the well water line right up to the intake as well as the stinky slinky. I will probably place insulation underneath the RV as well as a skirt. Should I add any insulation to the windows or should these new models be ready to handle the cold?

It has 2 full baths but I am a bit concerned about a 6 gallon tank with 5 girls:eek: Would it be better to add in a tankless water heater? I also heard since we are connecting the water in from a well it'll be such cold water that it will have an effect on keeping the water hot...so I am wondering if it is better to add in another large water holding tank for the water to acclimate first? I plan to leave the grey water lines open and I would love to figure out a way to keep the black water open too... maybe install a P-trap and force flush water system in the toilet? I have 0 experience with staying in an RV so I am trying to prep this thing to make it as easy on us as possible before winter hits.

I guess the heat is done through the propane tank furnace and vents are in the floor but two 30lb tanks probably won't last that long correct? I may add a large 500 gallon propane tank outside the RV and tie it in. OR do people have better heating experience with just using a few electric space heaters? (We will be hooking up to the 50amp panel getting installed on site).

When it begins to snow should I be clearing the roof off? Would it be worth it to just build a stall for it to keep the rain, snow and sun off of it?

We don't plan on moving it anytime soon, could be years, and so I want to rig it up best as possible for long term use while we build out the cabin on the property.

Any other tips and things I should plan on getting to have around would be greatly appreciated!

What you are going to do sounds like so much fun, especially for your girls, but I totally agree that if you don’t plan this out properly, it can turn into a real nightmare shortly after the honeymoon period is over.
The following is what I would do. It wouldn’t be the most economical but I think it would work, using your circumstances.
First of all, since your talking possible years, I would house the RV in a building similar to what you suggested but close it in. This could help eliminate most of your freezing water problems a lot. If the building is strategically built, it could be a real asset later.
Second, I would contact an LP gas dealer and let them advise you on your propane needs, size tank, piping into RV and safety in general. Gas is nothing to cut corners on.
Third, I would consider putting a tankless home water heater on the outside wall of the building. New models have freeze protection and are great to use. After you get your cabin built, it can be removed and installed elsewhere. I would pipe the hot water into the RV temporarily bypassing the RV water heater. If you go with an RV tankless water heater, I think you’ll be wasting your money. And go with propane because electric units demand to many amps for your setup.
And by the way, well water is generally warmer than any other type of water source. It’s thermally protected by the ground except for your pressure tank and it can be insulated.
Good luck and enjoy the experience.
 
What you are going to do sounds like so much fun, especially for your girls, but I totally agree that if you don’t plan this out properly, it can turn into a real nightmare shortly after the honeymoon period is over.
The following is what I would do. It wouldn’t be the most economical but I think it would work, using your circumstances.
First of all, since your talking possible years, I would house the RV in a building similar to what you suggested but close it in. This could help eliminate most of your freezing water problems a lot. If the building is strategically built, it could be a real asset later.
Second, I would contact an LP gas dealer and let them advise you on your propane needs, size tank, piping into RV and safety in general. Gas is nothing to cut corners on.
Third, I would consider putting a tankless home water heater on the outside wall of the building. New models have freeze protection and are great to use. After you get your cabin built, it can be removed and installed elsewhere. I would pipe the hot water into the RV temporarily bypassing the RV water heater. If you go with an RV tankless water heater, I think you’ll be wasting your money. And go with propane because electric units demand to many amps for your setup.
And by the way, well water is generally warmer than any other type of water source. It’s thermally protected by the ground except for your pressure tank and it can be insulated.
Good luck and enjoy the experience.

Thanks for the advice, I am sure it'll seem fun at first and then we'll wonder what we got ourselves into lol. I'm also wondering if I should just put a regular 50 gallon hot water heater tank inside a storage shed type structure and tie that right into the RV. 20200820_063253_HDR.jpg It will be setup right near the barn and draw from its well water and electric. If things went real bad we would just go into " Grams House" until remedied. That shed is also hooked up and could install 50amp service in it. Maybe I'll make it a utility shed, add the large propane heater in it and a 50 gallon hot water tank in it then run it to the RV.
 

Flick

Well-known member
Thanks for the advice, I am sure it'll seem fun at first and then we'll wonder what we got ourselves into lol. I'm also wondering if I should just put a regular 50 gallon hot water heater tank inside a storage shed type structure and tie that right into the RV. View attachment 64661 It will be setup right near the barn and draw from its well water and electric. If things went real bad we would just go into " Grams House" until remedied. That shed is also hooked up and could install 50amp service in it. Maybe I'll make it a utility shed, add the large propane heater in it and a 50 gallon hot water tank in it then run it to the RV.
All good thoughts. Hot water will be your biggest accomplishment because otherwise 7 people could take forever to have enough hot water for all your needs.
 
Hello all, first post here and seemed like a good place to do it. We are living in our 386BH and wanted to see how your experience is going and if there are any other tips for winter weather?

We have gone with the heated hose and are currently insulating hatch doors, vents, and slides on the interior. What else is good on these things? It’s only 42 out but the heater only works well in the master. The bunkhouse stays pretty chilly!
 

danemayer

Moderator
Staff member
Hello all, first post here and seemed like a good place to do it. We are living in our 386BH and wanted to see how your experience is going and if there are any other tips for winter weather?

We have gone with the heated hose and are currently insulating hatch doors, vents, and slides on the interior. What else is good on these things? It’s only 42 out but the heater only works well in the master. The bunkhouse stays pretty chilly!

Take a look at our Water Systems Winter Usage Guide. When it gets really cold, keeping the interior warm is much easier than keeping the water running.
 
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