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Old 01-04-2022, 10:32 AM   #1
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Extreme Weather Package - does it help?

Last winter we stayed in Brownsville TX, which isn't supposed to freeze, but it did and caused quite a bit of damage to our trailer. Three and a half months in the shop and $11,000 later (covered by insurance) we got it back with new linoleum and some of the genuine simulated wood cabinet frames repaired. This week, we're preparing to travel to Yuma for two months and I have the trailer parked on the driveway for loading. I decided to test the "Extreme Weather Package" and find out how effective it is at protecting the plumbing under the floor.

I have this remote temperature sensor setup so I tied a string on the probes and lowered them under the floor in various places near the plumbing lines that run the length of the trailer. With little wind blowing and 26 degrees outside it was basically 2 degrees warmer under the floor than the outside temperature while the inside of the trailer stayed at 67 degrees with the thermostat set at 67.

Conclusion: the "Extreme Weather Package" will reduce the effect of "wind chill" on your plumbing but will not protect plumbing from freezing.
I've considered adding tank heaters to the water storage tanks, but that really won't do anything to protect the water lines from freezing.

It's a great advertising gimmick for the RV manufacturers but in reality it doesn't do much to protect the hardware.

Though many of you might be curious.
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Old 01-04-2022, 11:32 AM   #2
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Just a question -- were you using electric heaters also. I ask because I see so many on social media sites saying they use electric heaters then later wandering why there water lines froze.

Not sure how your water lines run but ours the water comes out warm or at least close to room temp with it under 20 outside.
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Old 01-04-2022, 01:09 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by dagst1 View Post
Just a question -- were you using electric heaters also. I ask because I see so many on social media sites saying they use electric heaters then later wandering why there water lines froze.

Not sure how your water lines run but ours the water comes out warm or at least close to room temp with it under 20 outside.
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Originally Posted by dagst1 View Post
Just a question -- were you using electric heaters also. I ask because I see so many on social media sites saying they use electric heaters then later wandering why there water lines froze.

Not sure how your water lines run but ours the water comes out warm or at least close to room temp with it under 20 outside.
Good question: I used both. I have two electric heaters set at 62 degrees and the propane heat set at 67. So the propane doesn't run nearly as much as it would with only propane. Last spring I pulled most of the coroplast from under the trailer to remove/repair the damaged fresh water tank. I noticed the routing of the 3" propane heater lines. They don't vent air under the floor, they just radiate some heat. They run down the center of the trailer while the water lines run down the outside edges of the trailer and most of my water lines dip onto the top of the coroplast. If the water lines were tied up near the underside of the floor they would be better protected. All in all I concluded the propane heater lines wouldn't help much heating the water lines, but would probably keep the tanks from freezing.
I considered installing electric bilge pump heaters under the floor near the tanks and water lines and studied many different brands and models. In the end, the thought of running electric heaters under there was a to worrisome.

If you happen to measure the temperature under your floor in the cold I'd certainly be interested in how much more effective just using propane is at heating the underside.

Dustin
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Old 01-04-2022, 01:21 PM   #4
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That explains a few things. On both our Crossroads campers the duct work is a metal rectangle like in a house. It is about 12" wide x 3-4" tall so that would radiate more heat. Now in the basement - both were 5th wheels - there are2- 4" round flexible ducts for the bedroom floor vents but it keeps the basement storage very warm as that is where the water pump and a lot of the plumbing.

Just built different.
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Old 01-04-2022, 03:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dagst1 View Post
That explains a few things. On both our Crossroads campers the duct work is a metal rectangle like in a house. It is about 12" wide x 3-4" tall so that would radiate more heat. Now in the basement - both were 5th wheels - there are2- 4" round flexible ducts for the bedroom floor vents but it keeps the basement storage very warm as that is where the water pump and a lot of the plumbing.

Just built different.

My trailer only has 3 heat floor vents. One at the rear near the propane heater, it blows hot air. One in the center near the kitchen, it blows weakly warm air and one in the front bedroom that barely blows barely warm air. Each comes up thru the floor via the 12" x 3-4" metal boxes you describe. And the round flexible ducts are daisy chained together which explains why the temp/pressure drops from rear to front.

But, the other problem in Texas is/was: with no a/c power, 20 degree weather and running on propane heat (even set to 58 degrees) the 12v lead acid batteries only lasted about 15 hours running the blower motor on the heater and a few lights. Once I saw the batteries were down to 25% I shut the heater off and just used the kitchen stove as heat. Because the batteries were drained so low and it was cold both 12v batteries froze and were ruined, they would no longer recharge above 50%. Insurance covered it all (except for the deductible) but it was no fun.

If I had to do it again I suppose I could connect the truck to the 7 pin and idle and power the trailer and probably charge the batteries somewhat and run the propane heater blower. I now have a clamp-on amp meter, so I intend to try running the trailer off of the 7 pin and see how much current the truck can supply without melting plastic.

Cold weather camping is something I would really want to plan out and test ahead of time if I was ever intending to dry camp in cold weather for more than a few hours. Also, I will never leave home again without a generator even when traveling to a warm climate, so I'm hauling my generator to Yuma. While in Brownsville the power was out 20 hours when a semi knocked a power pole over and then a few days later, 30 hours when the ice storm occurred.

I'll probably experiment with "cold weather camping" some more, but it's not just about heat, there's battery longevity, water to also factor in along with backup plans.

Thanks for the feedback.
Dustin
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Old 01-04-2022, 04:13 PM   #6
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Just to add to the thread a little, I was told, and some others confirmed, that some units have a smaller open duct coming off the furnace into the belly to help warm things. I have never confirmed it. I have used my 'Extreme Weather Package' camper in cooler weather, like when the temperature dipped just below freezing at night, but no colder without it being winterized.
I have used it, after being winterized (no water) when temps get to the teens at night, and just below freezing during the day. This is with only the furnace and the electric fireplace. I have tank heaters that were on. I was on shore power.
I found the condensation to be a minor issue, but for the most part we were comfortable.
I would not trust the weather package beyond that.
Some of us have seen it, the 'coroplast' is plastic cardboard. The insulation is foil covered bubble wrap, and covers maybe 90% of the coroplast.
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Old 01-04-2022, 05:19 PM   #7
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Toolman,
I think you should test the running the Tow Vehicle connected scenario to be sure it will keep up with the draw. The TV wiring on my Chevy 1500 with plow package and 165 amp alternator barely keeps the fridge on propane, a few lights, the CO detector, and occasional water pump usage operable for more than about 8 hrs.
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Old 01-04-2022, 07:43 PM   #8
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if you want to charge through the 7 way plug it will take quite a while. just can't get enough power through that small wire.

if your worried about it. well I have used booster cables directly from truck battery to rv batteries. then you can take advantage of almost all of the alternator output. But I would only do this if it was an emergency. like texas was last year.

Up here in Canada I will camp at 25-30 deg nights. (i think that is 4-5 deg C below freezing). Just use furnace or underbelly will not stay warm enough.
Electric heat takes away from the furnace pushing warm air down there. And I don't have any weather pkg.

I have no fear of quick drops below freezing at night (I've even had 8 deg below freezing) but it was for a couple of hours and heat was on. Not an issue with frozen lines.
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Old 01-05-2022, 06:46 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the feedback and dialog. These are all good discussion points on camping in colder weather. It's something you should plan for, not just believe the sticker near the door of the camper. I've always tried to run electric heat when I have 30/50 amp but I need to change that mindset when the temperature drops below about 25 oF outside.

After my Texas experience I tossed in a pair of jumper cables so I could connect the truck to the trailer batteries if I needed to recharge the trailer. I'd still like to know how effective the 7pin would be at charging. I'll experiment with that some day and report back.

Wingerdinger - my trailer has the coroplast (plastic cardboard) covered with foil, I don't even have the bubble pack layer. Also, heating the trailer with the kitchen stove did produce a lot of condensation now that you mention that.

We leave for Yuma tomorrow, it's 18 degrees right now and has been between between 1 degree and 25 oF for the past several days just sitting on the driveway while we load. I'm still winterized and will stay that way until we get way south.

Cold weather towing would be another discussion all together. I wonder how you would keep the plumbing protected in say 15 degree weather while towing at 60mph.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

Dustin
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Old 01-05-2022, 10:59 AM   #10
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Welcome to Yuma. Cool n
ights warm days.
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Old 01-05-2022, 01:27 PM   #11
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Welcome to Yuma. Cool nights warm days.
Thank you. Look for to visiting SW Arizona.
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Old 01-05-2022, 01:57 PM   #12
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Well you can't get much further sw than here. Do you have reservations at a restaurant park. Yuma is a busy area, lots of traffic to contend with. l stay out in what they call the foothills not to noisy out here. Enjoy Yuma. lf l can help in anyway just give a shout
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Old 01-06-2022, 06:20 AM   #13
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Well you can't get much further sw than here. Do you have reservations at a restaurant park. Yuma is a busy area, lots of traffic to contend with. l stay out in what they call the foothills not to noisy out here. Enjoy Yuma. lf l can help in anyway just give a shout
Will be staying at Del Pueblo RV when we arrive on the 11th. Meeting a friend who's been there a couple of months already. He moved south from Idaho when it got cold up there.

Dustin
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Old 01-06-2022, 08:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toolman.dustin View Post
I wonder how you would keep the plumbing protected in say 15 degree weather while towing at 60mph.
It would be the same as 15 degree weather will camping. Keep in mind that wind chill is due to the wind increasing evaporation of moisture from skin. It has no effect on inanimate objects.
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Old 01-07-2022, 10:13 AM   #15
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You are right about wind chill. However it will remove heat from any inanimate object quicker. ie: more breeze blow on a heatshink the cooler it get quicker.

I live in Canada. We watch wind chill more than temps.
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Old 01-09-2022, 09:09 PM   #16
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Great thread.

I have a 2006 Crossroads Zinger and am about to take it on an out-of-town job. We're definitely getting below freezing here in northern Nevada. My plan is to skirt the trailer with some cut foam boards. I'm hoping that the heat from the ducts will be enough to keep the plumbing from freezing. If it's not, I can put a small heater under there too, but I'd rather not do that. I haven't climbed under to check, but are the heater ducts and water lines usually ran close together? Seems like that would make sense. I'll be living in it for about 4 to 6 weeks beginning in February.

From what I'm reading, it sounds like skirting it will be enough and I won't need additional heat under there if I use the furnace and not just electric heaters.


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Old 01-10-2022, 05:19 AM   #17
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Extreme (as in NOT!)

Conclusion: the "Extreme Weather Package" will reduce the effect of "wind chill" on your plumbing but will not protect plumbing from freezing.
I've considered adding tank heaters to the water storage tanks, but that really won't do anything to protect the water lines from freezing.

It's a great advertising gimmick for the RV manufacturers but in reality it doesn't do much to protect the hardware.

We have a Crossroads Sunset Trails 291RK (rear kitchen) with "extreme weather package". I was curious so I pulled the Coroplast bottom off in 6 sections to add vermin control and plug the massive holes in the floor where utilities come up and insulate the water lines. There is a 2" duct from furnace dropped down into the basement. But it is BEHIND the rear gray water tank so effectively useless. I used pipe insulation on all water lines and foam in a can on all places had holes between the basement and floor (like under the shower had a hole about 10" square for P trap and drain and water lines up). I also added insulation to the inside of the frame I-beams and a sheet across just under Coroplast. I then used PVC pipe of close diameter to extend the 2" duct and added a "gentle" 90 degree turn to actually route warm air toward the front. Then I used self-tapping metal screws and small fender washers to reattach the Coroplast. I wanted to use Eternabond tape but was too cold so used Gorilla duct tape- which I had to redo some small parts but expected this. So now I can say it has something much closer to a true Extreme Weather package- but I am not taking it out in zero temps to test it. We did have it out last year in below 32 degree weather and did not have a space heater with us so all propane- we used 10 lbs of propane over night! This was before I did the work but don't think that would have mattered much. I include some pictures just for fun (and proof!).

BTW, another improvement is I added rollers under the slide so the whole freakin' slide doesn't "ride" on a "slide bar". Ours had not much use when we purchased used and still showed wear on one end of the slide bar of just less than 1/16". Whoever designed that should have their degree revoked. I added pics of that too. It is the BAL Accuslide with cables to pull it in/out. After rollers now it goes in/out very smoothly.
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Old 01-20-2022, 03:24 AM   #18
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Nice job, that will surely help.
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