Once the heat loss has been minimized, it is time to consider methods of heating your rig.
It’s best to use a combination of heating methods when dealing with extreme cold weather while RVing.
A word of caution: Be very aware of the dangers associated with each heating method and take proper safety precautions to avoid an RV fire, asphyxiation, carbon monoxide poisoning, or even death.
Make absolutely certain you have a carbon monoxide, smoke, and LP gas detector in good working condition. Change batteries annually.
Never use your oven to heat your RV.
Electric space heaters are cheap and can help in reducing your heating costs if you’re NOT on a metered site. Some RV parks forbid these or will charge you extra.
We use our electric heater during the day while at home and the RV furnace at night on a low setting (between 50 and 55 degrees) and in the mornings to take off the chill.
Today’s portable heater models include a variety of safety features that help take a lot of the concern out of using them. A heater equipped with a tip-over protection switch will automatically shut off if it’s tipped over for any reason, and cool-touch housing prevents accidental burns on the exterior. These are useful safety features, particularly in areas with active children or pets.
Space heaters with overheat protection switches function in nearly the same manner. They use a temperature sensor, detecting when internal components become too hot. When an unsafe temperature is detected, the switch automatically shuts off the unit to prevent overheating.
Be certain to check for these safety features when purchasing a new electric heater. As a safety precaution, shut off and unplug for the night and when you’re away from the RV.
Educating yourself about the safety hazards that come with the improper use of portable heaters will help you achieve better peace of mind as you keep your RV warm, comfortable, and fire hazard-free during the winter.
Once you have your rig insulated and warm, the next consideration is how to get the moisture out so dreaded condensation inside the RV does not occur.
In the course of a day living in the RV, you put a great deal of water vapor into the air space. Showers, dishes, cooking, heating, and our own breathing all contribute and it needs to be expelled from the RV. Left unchecked the condensation can quickly build up on all the windows and some walls and lead to mold.
Use the stove vent and fan when cooking, especially when boiling vegetables on the burner top. The quicker you can get the moisture out the better. Use absorbent cloths for removing moisture. Wipe down the shower stall and any condensation that builds up on the windows.
There are numerous small portable, dehumidifiers on the market that are suitable for use in your RV. Place one near the shower and in various locations inside the RV and in basement compartments.
RVs aren’t designed for cold, but you can survive!
But the best advice of all is “The RV has wheels, Go South!
My parents live in the part of the United States that is Canada. It is so far north that Minnesota lies in the same direction as Miami. They have four distinct seasons: Winter, More Winter, Still More Winter, and That One Day of Summer.
—W. Bruce Cameron