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  • Writer's pictureMehedi Hasan

Top 10 tips on how to keep RV warm in winter!

Updated: Jan 25

Winter RV living is an adventure that demands a bit of know-how. Having navigated frosty days in my RV, I've gathered tips on "how to keep an RV warm in winter" to make it cozy. From prepping for freezing temperatures to clever hacks for staying warm inside, I've got you covered. Stay snug in your home on wheels with my tried-and-true advice for winter RV journeys – the cold won't stand a chance!


How to keep RV warm in winter:


  1. Find an RV park with full Hookups

  2. Insulate Your RV

  3. Manage Moisture and Enhance Heat Inside an RV

  4. Winter RV Tips for Temperatures Below 32℉

  5. Skirt your RV for Winter

  6. Use a Propane Heater and an Electric Heater (Be cautious when reading this segment, as there may be restrictions on using an Electric Heater due to safety measures.)

  7. Prepare Outside Your RV

  8. Use Heat Pads (water tanks, batteries)

  9. How to Keep RV Pipes from Freezing

  10. Winter RV Living Checklist




Find an RV park with full Hookups:

Despite claims of "Extreme Weather Packages," most RVs aren't winter-proof. So, we need to figure out how we can keep our RV warm in the winter. Here's a quick guide to keep your RV warm in winter:


  • Pick campgrounds with full hookups, including bathrooms, showers, and crucially, protection against frozen pipes.

  • Seek electrical hook-ups for reliable space heating.

  • Opt for sites with water and sewer hookups to avoid water conservation hassles.

  • Pro Tip-Park your RV where it catches full sun during the day.




Insulate Your RV:


Tips on how to keep rv warm in winter.

Insulate Windows for Added Warmth

  • Apply plastic on both the outside and inside of windows.

  • Use thermal drapes, particularly for north-facing windows.

  • Quilted or polar fleece materials can be used for added insulation, attached with Velcro to prevent drafts.

Seal Drafts Around Doors

  • Weather strip around doors to minimize cold air leaks.

  • Cover the door with a heavy blanket or insulated drape.

Smartly Managed Ventilation 

  • Cover vent openings with RV vent plugs or cut-to-fit foam-board insulation.

  • Ensure easy removal for ventilation when needed.

Addressing Slide-Outs

  • Cover slide-outs with rigid foam on the sides.

  • If covering the slide-out roof, angle insulation for proper water flow to prevent damage from melted snow.


Safety Tip: Don’t wear socks in your RV, it’s a bit dangerous, especially if you have RV stairs. Find some cozy, warm indoor slippers that have a non-slip bottom.





Manage Moisture and Enhance Heat Inside an RV:


Dehumidifier to control moisture in an RV
Dehumidifier to control moisture in an RV

Combat Condensation

  • People and pets generate moisture; maintain humidity at 30-40%.

  • Consider using a dehumidifier to control humidity levels.

Supplementing Heating Sources

  • Use a fan-forced ceramic heater to supplement your furnace.

  • Utilize your RV's fireplace for added warmth and ambiance.

  • Consider throwing rugs to insulate floors.

Cuddly Comfort for Chilly Nights

  • Opt for flannel sheets and down comforters for added warmth.

  • The warmth of pets and people makes for cozy winter RV living.




Winter RV Tips for Temperatures Below 32℉


  • Cover solar panels with a dark-colored tarp or plywood to block light. (Make sure to read Park Rules carefully, as it may be prohibited by the owner for certain reasons. As for our RV park, we don’t allow it. To know more about our park rules, visit here.)

  • Label and disconnect solar panel wires.

  • Store batteries in a warm, dry place off the floor.

  • Periodically check and charge batteries if necessary.





Skirt your RV to keep it warm in winter:


RV Skirting to keep RV warm in Winter

Insulating your RV for winter goes beyond interior comforts. Whether you opt for a unique product like Air Skirts or prefer a DIY approach, here's how to keep your RV warm in cold weather.


Air Skirts: 

  • Made of heavy-duty PVC, acting as insulation and a barrier against wind, snow, and ice.

  • Nine sizes available, ensuring a snug fit without snaps or adhesive hassles.

DIY Skirting: 

  1. Measure your RV's height and width for the perfect fit.

  2. Cut foam insulation boards or heavy plastic slightly taller than the space between your RV and the ground.

  3. For plastic, attach elastic bands for a snug fit.

  4. Install the skirting using adhesive or zip ties – avoid duct tape to protect your RV paint.


Note: Check RV park rules regarding skirting types to stay compliant.




Propane Heater and Electric Heater: 


RV Heating Strategies: Propane heaters are very good to keep you warm. But, if you’re planning extended stays in an RV Park during winter, make sure to bring extra propane tanks and check the availability in your area.


Safety Tip for Electric Heater: Opting for more than one electric heater? Then, never put two electric heaters on one circuit.  If you do, you will be constantly popping your breaker. 


Again, if you have a heated blanket, be careful about where you plug it in. Because these things can’t put out too much juice. So, the main points are: 

  • Propane heaters work well, but check propane availability before buying one.

  • Electric and propane space heaters are game-changers.

  • Campgrounds may offer external propane tanks for extended heating.

Protect Pipes and Underbelly:

  • Use onboard RV propane heaters to prevent freezing pipes.

  • Electric space heaters might not reach the underbelly; opt for smaller ones to avoid overloading your electrical system.


Pro Tips for Extended Winter Stays:

  • Rent a larger propane tank for fewer refills.

  • Enhance warmth with flannel sheets, electric blankets, or a thermal sleeping bag.


Note: Considering a recent incident at Country Home Estate RV Park, we don't allow electric heaters for the safety of our community. Because ensuring our client's safety is the first and foremost duty for us.



Prepare Outside of Your RV:

Anticipating winter's challenges? Get ahead with these smart preparations:


  • Cover RV steps with durable carpet for better traction.

  • Check for water leaks beneath the RV, especially from drain pipes.

  • Prevent icy build-up on the water spigot with a 5-gallon bucket.

  • Use a foam pipe around the water spigot for added insulation.

  • Keep the RV awning retracted to avoid damage in snowy conditions.

  • Cover tires for protection if not using skirting.

  • Regularly inspect seals on the roof, slides, and windows for any issues.



Use Heat Pads (water tanks, batteries):


For those equipped with the 4-season winter package, electric heating pads on RV holding tanks are likely in place. If not, here's how to prevent freezing issues:

  • Add aftermarket electric heating pads to hold tanks (one for every 50-gallon tank).

  • The pads have adhesive for direct attachment, with a built-in thermostat activating at 45°F and deactivating at 68°F.


Crucial RV Battery Care in Winter:

  • Prevent RV batteries from cold-related damage.

  • Consult your owner's manual for specific guidance based on your RV type (towable or drivable) and battery type (AGM or lithium).





How to Keep RV Pipes from Freezing:


Insulation for RV Pipes to Keep RV Pipes from Freezing

Shield External Fixtures:

  • Drain and protect unused external shower heads and faucets from winter elements.


Prevent Freezing Pipes:

  • Wrap pipes with heat wrap or insulation.

  • Cover the water source and invest in a heated water hose.

  • Leave faucets dripping and open cupboard doors under sinks for improved heat circulation.

  • Alternatively, fill the fresh water tank to eliminate the need for a hose hookup.


Insulate Grey and Black Tanks:

  • Utilize electric holding tank heaters to prevent waste matter from freezing.

  • Keep tanks closed, only draining periodically.

  • Opt for PVC piping over flexible hoses for added durability in freezing.


With these precautions, your RV pipes will stay protected, ensuring a comfortable and worry-free winter experience.





Winter RV Living Checklist:


Winter RV Living Checklist

Can you live in a camper in winter? Absolutely! Gear up with these essentials for a warm and comfortable winter RV experience:


  • Heavy coats, winter clothing, boots, and heavy-duty winter shoes.

  • Heat tape, thermal curtains, and other insulation essentials.

  • Freeze-proof heated water hose, RV skirt, and an ice scraper.

  • RV antifreeze and engine antifreeze for both tow vehicles and motorhomes.

  • Mini indoor space heaters for a toasty RV interior.

  • Your favorite warm blankets, mugs for hot cocoa, and other cozy living items.


With this complete kit, saying "YES" to winter RV living is a breeze! Stay warm and enjoy the chilly season to the fullest.




FAQ:

What is the best insulation for an RV?

Ans: Fiberglass insulation is ideal for maintaining consistent temperatures in your camper. If you plan to add extra insulation to your walls, be mindful that it could potentially void your camper warranty, so check the terms before proceeding.


Can you use RV toilet in winter?

Ans: In winter, if your RV isn't designed for cold weather, using non-toxic antifreeze to flush the toilet is a viable option. This ensures safety for both people using the toilet and any pets around.

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