During the winter months when there is extreme cold, keeping warm in your motorhome is one of the top priorities. Your RV will most likely come with a central thermostat, but this could take time to heat up your vehicle and you would also need to set a timer to control the off and on times.
Even, if your RV is not made for winter camping, there are some increasingly popular techniques you can incorporate to ensure you don’t feel extremely cold during this period.
When you are going winter camping, these are some of the best tips you can utilize for extra warmth to get you through the cold nights.
How To Keep Your Motorhome Warm In Winter?
Spending cold nights in your RV living space can be quite frustrating, particularly when you are supposed to be having a fun time. The cold air coupled with freezing temperatures can make you very uncomfortable.
But not to worry, there are a lot of ways you can stay warmer and prevent heat loss in your RV including sipping on a warm drink like hot chocolate, using an electric blanket, or fan heater, or adding extra heating with floor insulation.
Let’s look at some of the ways you can keep yourself and your RV warm during these colder months.
Outside The Motorhome
While the motorhome heating system in most modern motorhomes helps a bit, there are still some other measures you can take to ensure that you keep your campervan warm. Ideally, if you keep the heat from getting inside your RV, that should help retain heat and lock out excess moisture.
These are the top ways you can keep the outer part of your campervan warm;
Use External thermal screen covers
Installing external thermal screen covers helps to reduce the loss of heat from the passenger and driver windows and also the windscreen. These covers can also help to prevent condensation if combined with proper ventilation.
A draught skirt helps to stop the circulation of air beneath your campervan. You can benefit from this by attaching it underneath your motorhome.
Having an awning installed helps keep your camper warm by creating a pocket of air and also preventing drafts. You should get a sturdy awning for the winter period.
Insulate RV Windows And Doors
The windows and doors are the top culprits when it comes to losing heat during the winter. So, adding insulation in these areas can help you stay warm inside your campervan.
Inside The Motorhome
Trapping the heat inside your RV can make all the difference when it comes to living comfortably in your motorhome during the winter season. Some of the best ideas to stay warm and battle the cold weather include using electric blankets, hot water bottle, and other heating appliances.
With that in mind, follow these steps to keep warm inside your RV during winter;
Go for a window upgrade
You can opt to switch your windows to more energy-efficient models. While it is not a very budget-friendly option, you would no longer need to cover your windows. It is a well-known fact that a great part of the heat is lost through the windows, so this option makes a significant difference.
Apply Window Shrink Insulation
While shrink insulation kits are normally incorporated in houses, you can also utilize them on your campervan windows. These kits can help reduce heat loss by up to 35% and don’t take too much time or energy to install.
Curtains can help you block out the cab area from the rest of the motorhome. This helps to keep out the cold air coming from the front windows of your RV. It would also add help you protect your privacy.
Incorporate a rug or two for your motorhome floors to bring that bit of extra warmth to your feet. You can opt for bedside rugs or specialist rugs, but ensure you get one that is machine washable.
Insulate The RV Floors
Insulation is great for keeping any motorhome warm. Install floor insulation on the ground of your RV to help reduce heat transfer. In addition to that, there would also be reduced vibrations and engine noises as you drive.
Replace Caulking & Stripping
Replace the weather stripping around the windows and doors of your campervan, and also re-caulk the windows to avoid unnecessary heat escape.
Go for Extra Interior Insulation
You can take advantage of extra insulation to maintain the warmth in your campervan and lock out the cold air.
Install A Heater
You should invest in a heater if you are planning to use your camper for extended periods. There are different types of heaters available and you can pick the one that is suitable for you. The heater will most likely come with a thermostat function to give you more control over the temperature.
Types Of Motorhome Heating
- Wet Heating: Here, the pipes act like radiators as they run behind the furniture in your camper.
- Blown Air: This type of heating is achieved from either an under-seat mounted unit or from a ceiling unit.
- Stand Alone: This could include a portable gas heater, a fan heater, or a plug-in oil-filled radiator.
- Solar Power heater: While you can use solar panels to power heaters, these components also draw sunlight that can help to raise the temperature of your camper.
- Generator: Alternatively to propane tanks, batteries, and solar panels, you can use motorhome generators to keep your camper warm.
- Use an RV Woodstove: There are woodstoves that are particularly made for heating motorhomes. They create a cosy and comfy atmosphere.
- Battery Power for Heat: Batteries come in different shapes and sizes and can help power heaters to keep your camper warm.
- Catalytic heater: This type of heater needs energy and fuel to work. They are known to circulate warm air within the camper.
More Tips To Heat A Camper In Winter
If you are looking to keep the temperature inside your campervan hot and reduce heat loss, then these are some ways you can do that.
Take Advantage Of The Landscape
Picking the right spot when you park your RV is very essential. Parking where the sun will rise will help keep your motorhome warm in the mornings’ thanks to the natural light from the sun. You can also choose to park under a tree as it helps to retain heat. Also, look for natural windbreakers that can help to block your campervan from the wind.
Hot Water Bottles
The best thing you can do before getting on your bed to sleep is to place a hot water bottle on it and get the bed all warmed up. There are also hot water bottles in different shapes and sizes to help keep all parts of your body warm and snug as you sleep.
Know Your RV Specs
You should never underestimate the power of knowledge. It is important to know the ins and outs of your motorhome. You should be familiar with the water systems, ventilation systems, and other components installed on your campervans like the oil heater, water heater, and solar panels.
Make Use Of Your Propane Furnace
If the temperature outside is so low, then you should utilize the propane furnace as it helps make sure you don’t wake up to a frozen pipe. Having a frozen pipe can be quite annoying because it can result in pipe leaks or bursts. If you have a smaller RV, it will require less propane. Always carry out regular maintenance on your furnace.
Leave Cabinets With Pipes Open
If the heat vents cannot get to the cabinets, they could get very cold as these cabinets usually back up to the exterior walls directly. For campervans that have cabinets with water pipes, ensure that you leave the cabinet door open at night. There should also be open-access panels to allow for the checking of the plumbing.
Allow Your Faucets to Drip
If the water lines are constantly moving, then you have a greater chance of not getting a frozen pipe as moving water does not freeze as fast as static water. You can collect the drips of water by placing a pitcher in your sink. You can also utilize portable water containers if your motorhome has one.
Do not Connect To City Water
You should not leave your motorhome connected to the city water as the static water lines outside the RV freeze faster in cold weather. You should rather make use of your water pump and fill up your freshwater tank regularly. You shouldn’t let the freshwater level go too low as greater volumes of water would not freeze as fast as smaller volumes.
Use RV Antifreeze
There are different antifreeze for motorhomes that you can purchase from auto and hardware stores to help prevent the water lines from freezing up.
Find Electrical Hook-ups
If you plan on spending more than a few days camping, it would be ideal to find a spot with electrical hook-ups to park your vehicle. This is because you can easily use an electric space heater without having to worry about electrical charges. Try to find a space heater with stability feet, carry handle, and overheat protection.
Do Not Utilize Your Used BBQ For Warming Purposes
Keeping a used BBQ inside your motorhome, which is a confined space might not be ideal, especially for your health. This is because it could lead to the build-up of carbon monoxide. An oxygen depletion sensor would also be very useful here.
Don’t Use The Gas Hob To Heat Up Your RV
The gas hobs might seem like an easy way out to heat up your motorhome, but you should avoid doing that. It is advisable to always use the right dedicated heating system to help keep warm air inside the camper as they also eliminate any exhaust gas, keeping them far away from the vehicle.
More Tips On Motorhoming In The Winter
These are some extra tips you should keep in mind if you are planning to use your motorhome in the winter season.
- Check your vehicle battery and ensure that it can run in cold conditions and for long periods. Also, carry along a leisure battery.
- Make sure all the lights are working and clean.
- Make use of sleeping bags and also eat a warming meal before going to bed.
- Since you will be using your RV for everyday life, don’t forget to make sure the habitation area has been serviced.
- Utilize RV skirting to keep out excess wind and cold.
- Check the fuel tank before embarking on any journey. Also, inspect the motorhome’s fresh water tanks and engine oil levels.
- Drain the water system if you are not going to be using your RV for a long time.
- Get winter tyres that are specially made for driving in cold conditions.
- Carry out a thorough inspection of all equipment, making necessary repairs or replacements.
When you are out of the summer months and into the winter months, it could be quite challenging to camp out with your RV due to the fact that temperatures drop during this period.
There are a few options you can use to add that extra layer of warmth in and out of your motorhome. You can get a sleeping bag, or thermal clothing, add extra insulation or get a good rug to keep your feet warm.
With the tips in this complete guide to camping in the winter, you can make staying warm an easy task all year round and especially when you are faced with colder temperatures.
1. What Is The Cheapest Way To Heat An RV?
A portable heater is a very inexpensive option for adding heat to your motorhome. You can head over to your local store and purchase one of these portable heaters. They also don’t require propane.