Frugal RVing In South States - Ebooks

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our Okanagan Life In A Freezer

It has been since the 12th of December that this usual "northern snowbird" haven has fallen into its version of a deep freeze. Apparently, this particular freezer doesn't have a defrost feature either.
We have actually encountered temperatures that challenge the abilities of these wonderful homes we and our neighbours have chosen, and we were assured that a broom would likely be sufficient to clear "what little snow comes here"... broom, sure, but you might consider upper body (arms specifically) development first. By the time this "snap" is done, if you do choose a broom as your weapon of choice, you can probably become the 1st round draft choice for the local curling team.... but I digress. Oh well, we console ourselves by watching the weather network. It helps somewhat to see that the various lands we have left to winter here are suffering to a greater degree than we are.
So the lessons learned here:
  1. Heat tapes are a good addition to water lines, but it also helps to cover them with pipe foams. We wrapped our first hose in the heat tape, but coiling it around caused overheating of the hose, and its outer lining actually melted off and then started leaking. We then switched our winter line to a washing machine hose as a sturdier line, then straight lined the heat tape, and finally foam packed it. The line has worked fine since then.
  2. The propane furnace taught us a lesson as well. During cold snaps, propane gas (which incidentally, is a product which has traces of oil in it) can form blockages in the low points of the lines. The end result is that the main furnace was unable to heat as it wasn't getting the propane. (Rather similar to the plaque that clogs arteries that cause heart attacks). We fixed it by attaching another heat tape. We have left it on the line until spring, but only plug it in when the furnace seems to be thermostatically challenged.
  3. We have also started keeping a hair dryer in the 5th wheel and a heat gun on the outside. The reason was at 6:30 am when we discovered that leaving the home was a bit challenged, shall we say - the door having frozen shut. 'nuff said....
  4. Space heaters are important as the electricity is cheaper (and easier to access) than the propane tank, but the propane heat is critical in the maintenance of freed up water lines. If you have a fan it actually helps tremendously in the balancing of heat distribution, and reduction of cold pockets. It only has to be on a low setting, but constantly on.
  5. We have recently learned that it is well worth your while to get adaptors for your propane tanks so you can refill at the auto propane pumps versus just refilling at the standard propane tank refill pump. We are going to do this ourselves this week, but our neighbour was told that it works out to be nearly half the cost for refills.
  6. Keep the contents of your cupboards slightly pulled away from the outside walls of the rig, because moisture does accumulate. Monitor it, and wipe them down often. A dehumidifier will help. It doesn't have to be an electric device. You can purchase a chemical dehumidifier. Especially if you are one who uses your rig's shower versus ones provided in the facility.
  7. With all the circulating air from space heaters, we often get static charges and frequent "zap" occurrences. If you put a grounding strap from an exposed metal part outside to the ground, you can minimize unpleasant jolts.
  8. Plastic parts on outer parts of the rig such as screen door handles become brittle in the deeper cold temperatures. Use them gently, and consider purchasing a spare in case one gives at an inopportune time.
  9. Sewer lines are among the parts that become brittle. It is best to not have the pipes open full time. Letting it build up in the tanks and then doing a draining every day or so can reduce slow trickle freeze-ups. - Tweak on this advise - check your holding tank locations. If they are more toward the outer parts of your rig, belay my last. Frozen holding tanks are more hassle than replacing a sewer hose, but the afore mentioned advise still holds if the tanks are part of the workings protected by your heat vent routing in your rig. (Thanks Raven @
I think that is the essence of our lessons on deep freeze survival.



  1. Another lesson I've learned the hard way: do NOT allow water (or other matter) to accumulate in your tanks if they are exposed to the outside. They will freeze solid. I guarantee it.

    Love the pics of the fur kids! :)

    Blog's coming along great!

  2. Sub-section of appropriate post tweaked. Thanks, Raven

  3. Again some great tips !! I have so many files created on my computer under all the different categories !!


  4. Hello again. :-)
    I have a new post to write momentarily. Hopefully you will find it useful too.. Stay tuned. Good to meet you, and welcome aboard.