tennessee winter

So we will be parked in Tennessee for the near future and I needed to get the RV ready to survive the season.  As you can see from the photo above, winter in Tennessee is terrible!

Actually winter here is awesome.  It was 42F and I wore shorts and we sat next to a fire.  A few days ago the temperature had a high for 25F.  When the high for the day is under 32F, I actually put on a jacket.  The weather here is much easier to deal with than Wisconsin because we don’t have the freezing winds to deal with.

I thought I would do a quick primer to deal with winter.  I know for the past few years I have talked about winter preparations, but this is the first year we will have full hookups for winter.

I used to be nervous about winter, but not anymore.  The secret is finding the correct tools.  For heat in an outside storage bay, I recommend the Lasko #100 space heater.  They are cheap, reliable, and do a better job than a lightbulb.

For the my RV I really only need to make sure 2 bays don’t freeze up.  The first bay is the one with the water tank in it.  I am not worried about the 65 gallon tank freezing.  It takes a lot of cold to make that happen.  Plus overtime the house furnace kicks in, the water tank gets warmed up along with the rest of the house.  The problem is that only a single hose feeds the entire house, and that hose is right next to the bay door.  It scared us the first time that hose froze up.  Now I just put the little 200 watt heater and my worries go away.

water bay heater

The other place I need the little heater is my sewer compartment.  Last year one of my valves broke when it hit -60F.  The valve was a little leaky, but lucky for me it still functioned.  Even more lucky was that the black tank valve was just fine.  A nightmare of mine is that I have a black tank accident!

I keep the heater pointed at the valves.  Here in Tennessee that won’t be very important, but for those in the icy grip of a northern winter, the direction of the heater makes a big difference.  I also keep the heaters and connectors off the floor of the bay.  Water has a tendency to build up in the bays.  The heater manages to pull the water out of the air, and I feel better knowing that nothing with a current is touching the water.

Here is a quick snap for the sewer bay:

wet bay heater

Another thing you will notice is I leave my hose hooked up.  We are at enough of an angle that the water goes into the sewer and I don’t need to babysit the slinky hose.

New for me this year is keeping the garbage bag in the bay.  I use the garbage bag to hold the slinky hose when we travel.  I push the garbage bag into the hole to help prevents rats, mice, and bugs from climbing into our house.  So far we have had no issues.  I don’t know if it actually does anything, but it makes me feel good, and that is important also!

You also can see a green extension cord in the picture.  That extension cord goes to my water hose.  The water hose has heat tape that is zipped tied to it.  Then we cut open some pool noodles and wrapped up the hose.  If you are staying in extreme conditions, consider also wrapping the hose in aluminum foil.  The heat will spread around the hose more.

heat tape hose noodle

Ideally they say you should go south in the winter.  You still should know how to winter in your RV.  The weather was under 32F in every state a few days ago – and yes that includes Hawaii.  Winter is a great time to be in an RV.  You see the snow in forests and parks in a manner that most will never get to experience.  Winter is a great time to cuddle together, watch some movies on the TV, and have some quality family isolation time!

While many people happily experience winter in all types of RVs, I think Class A RVs are uniquely suited for the season.  Just be careful, I have no ideas how many of the Class A RVs can experience winter climates with ice makers, washers, dryers, and wine coolers.  Make sure your lines are protected!  It will take some trial and error to make things work, but your RV is probably tougher than you think!

volunteer site night tea community fire

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