Our First Snow of 2020 

Thursday 5th November 2020 
by Matt 
 
Our First Snow of 2020

We had our first taste of winter this week, with temperatures dipping below freezing for several days. Are we ready for this?

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Introduction

While there's been a lot going on across the US this week, we've been trying to focus on making sure we're ready to spend winter in our RV.

Once we leave New Hampshire in a couple of days and head to Vermont, we'll be in quarantine for 14 days - so it's essential that we're prepared! During the quarantine period, we aren't allowed to visit grocery stores, hardware stores or anywhere else.

With temperatures dropping below freezing several nights this week, it's been the perfect opportunity to test things out.

Keeping Warm

Late last week we had our first snow of the season, and with temperatures dropping down to 22°F overnight, it was the coldest conditions we've endured in the RV so far. Things are going to get much colder than that this winter, so surviving this first test was critical.

Preparing for Winter RV Living

If you're going to spend a cold winter living in an RV, you need to be prepared. Here's what we're doing to stay safe and comfortable in northern Vermont.

Preparing for Winter RV Living

Since we're not yet in our winter camping spot, our RV isn't skirted, nor do we have a large propane tank. In fact, we last refilled our propane over 6 weeks ago, and have been running most appliances on electricity since then.

Frozen Water Pipes

As temperatures drop below freezing, the big concern is that water pipes might freeze. Our heated hoses arrived yesterday, but we're waiting until we get to Vermont before installing these. So in the meantime, our approach was to fill our fresh tank (leaving a little space for expansion just in case it did freeze) and disconnect our fresh water hose.

It takes about 15 minutes to fill our fresh tank, and having now done that in near-freezing conditions, I'm even happier that we've ordered heated hoses. I don't have any desire to stand outside in extreme cold to refill our fresh tank every few days!

Using our fresh tank (with the tank pad heater turned on) removed any concern about the hose freezing, but doesn't do anything to protect the plumbing that runs through the floor of our RV. To combat this, we switched over that night to run our furnace rather than electric heater, since our furnace ducting redirects some hot air into the underbelly, helping to protect the pipes from freezing.

And it all worked great! We don't yet have a temperature sensor underneath (we'll install that in Vermont), but our pipes didn't freeze and everything worked fine.

Skirting & Prep

As we talked about in our recent winter RVing blog post, we're planning to skirt our RV this winter - using foam boards to seal gap between the ground and the bottom of the RV.

The foam boards we're planning to use are 4x8ft, so we're planning to buy those at the last minute on our drive to Vermont. We really hope they're going to fit through the door so we can transport them in our RV...fingers crossed!

But this week we also picked up a few other bits we'll need, including some Nashua Extreme Temperature Foil Tape (to attach the skirting to the RV) and some Oatey All Purpose Cement for installing our new sewer hose attachment.

Humidity

Alongside temperature, our big battle this winter will be humidity. If the relative humidity inside the RV is too high, it will cause condensation on the windows and walls - and the lower the outside temperature, the lower the inside humidity necessary to cause condensation.

I'm pleased to say that our 35-pint dehumidifier has been working great! It took a little bit of dialing in to find the right threshold, but we think we've nailed it now. We've been opening our cupboards during the day to try and let the air circulate and make sure there are no hidden patches of moisture.

The most vulnerable spot appears to be our slide - it has a big window, the slide is less well insulated underneath than the rest of the RV, and our AeroGarden is working against us by creating moisture! Still, it's totally worth it for the fresh basil and dill we have growing at the moment!

AeroGarden Harvest Elite in our RV

Living in an RV, one of the things we miss is our garden, and fresh herbs. Fortunately, we've found a way!

AeroGarden Harvest Elite in our RV

So to combat that, we've purchased a small USB-powered fan that we can use to keep the air around our slide window (and AeroGarden) moving - since still air is more likely to cause condensation.

Fridge

Somewhat counter-intuitively, it might get too cold for our fridge this winter. Because of the way RV fridges work, the refrigerant can freeze if temperatures drop below 32°F, essentially turning the fridge off.

Our fridge came with a special cold weather kit which should allow it to continue to work all the way down to 0°F. It's controlled by a thermostat so it only kicks in when the outside temperature gets low enough, and this week we've had a chance to see it in action.

Norcold Cold Weather Kit in Action

The Norcold Cold Weather Kit is an easy upgrade that allows Norcold RV fridges to operate down to 0°F. We monitored ours to see how our RV fridge performs in freezing conditions.

Norcold Cold Weather Kit in Action

Because we have our fridge temperature sensors up and running already, we were able to collect lots of data to see exactly how it works - read more in our blog post all about the Norcold Cold Weather Kit in Action.

10k Subscribers Video

Last week we shared the news that we had reached 10,000 subscribers on our YouTube channel, and that to say thank you, we would be filming a special Q&A video to answer your questions.

10,000 YouTube Subscribers

After two years of publishing a new video every week, we've reached a huge milestone - 10,000 subscribers on YouTube!

10,000 YouTube Subscribers

We filmed that video a few days ago, answering as many of your questions as we could. We're hoping to publish that video next week, so stay tuned!

YouTube Video Player
New England Fall foliage - New Hampshire’s Monadnock region

But for now, check out this week's video - our last chance to see the fall colors in New Hampshire this fall.

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