How to Keep Your RV Warm in the Winter

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#RVing in Canada during the winter

Tips to Stay Warm while living in your RV in the winter in Canada

Are you planning to live in your RV during the winter but worried about staying warm in freezing temperatures? Don’t fret! These tips will help you stay warm in your RV in the winter so you’ll stay toasty and comfortable as the temperature drops. 

The tips I’m passing on just happen to be some of the things we’ve done for our fifth wheel. We’ve lived in an RV in the winter in the past but there’s always something to learn. For this reason we spoke to other residents of our park asking them for suggestions and advice. As a matter a fact, we then took all of their suggestions under consideration and implemented quite a few.

The following tips are a few of what we consider to be important for you to live full time in your RV in the winter in Canada. There’s probably more ideas and tasks that can be done as well and we’ll pass them on as we learn about them.

#Full time RVing in the winter

Table of Contents

Preparing your RV for winter: Insulation and sealing

#RV Vent Pillows

When it comes to staying warm in your RV during winter, preparation is key. One of the first steps you should take is to properly insulate your RV. This will help keep the cold air out and the warm air in. Start by inspecting the insulation already in place and make any necessary repairs or replacements. You can also add additional insulation to areas where heat loss may happen. 

One of those areas are the roof vents. As you know, heat rises and those vents are a big source of heat loss.  

Our solution: RV Vent Pillows

Another important aspect of insulation is sealing any gaps or cracks that may allow cold air to seep in. Use weatherstripping or caulking to seal these areas and ensure a tight seal.

In addition to insulation and sealing, there are a few other steps you can take to prepare your RV for winter. Consider installing RV  skirting around the bottom of your RV to create a barrier against the cold. This can help prevent drafts and keep the underside of your RV warmer. 

The first thing to remember is that RV Skirting is not cheap. However, there are different grades of product used – ours was quite expensive and if you wish to know more please email me at and I’ll gladly share the information with you.  

We live in our RV full time – it’s our home so decided to get high quality skirting and we’re very happy with the results.

You should also check the condition of your RV’s roof and make any necessary repairs. A well-maintained roof will help prevent leaks and keep your RV dry and warm.

Remember, the more effort you put into preparing your RV for winter, the more comfortable you’ll be when the temperature drops. Take the time to properly insulate, seal, and weatherstrip your RV, and you’ll be well on your way to staying warm during the winter months.

#RV Skirting for Winter RVing
RV Skirting for winter RVing

Heating options for your RV: Electric heaters, propane heaters, and wood-burning stoves

Once you’ve prepared your RV for winter, it’s time to consider your heating options. There are several different types of heaters available, each with its own pros and cons.

Electric heaters are a popular choice due to their affordability and ease of use. They can be plugged into an electrical outlet in your RV and provide instant heat. However, keep in mind that electric heaters can consume a lot of electricity, so you’ll need to ensure that your RV’s electrical system can handle the load.

Propane heaters are another option to consider. They use propane gas as fuel, which is readily available at most RV parks and camping stores. Propane heaters are efficient and can provide a consistent source of heat. However, it’s important to follow safety precautions when using propane heaters, as they produce carbon monoxide. Make sure to use them in a well-ventilated area and install a carbon monoxide detector in your RV for added safety.

We use other options such as an oil filled radiator heater, which we’ve had for many years. It has an adjustable thermostat, is energy efficient and portable.  (see picture below)

We pay for our electricity separately  and this type of heater helps us reduce our heating costs.

Our solution:  Oil filled radiator heater.

For those who prefer a more traditional and rustic heating option, wood-burning stoves can be a great choice. Not only do they provide warmth, but they also create a cozy ambiance in your RV. However, keep in mind that wood-burning stoves require a chimney or venting system to safely remove smoke and fumes from your RV.

Let’s clarify something first. We do NOT have a wood heater in our RV. However, I do know others who live year round on their own property do. So don’t rule it out.

When choosing a heating option for your RV, consider factors such as fuel availability, safety, and efficiency. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, so choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

#Oil filled radiator heater
Safe, Reliable, Energy Efficient Oil Filled Space Heater we use in our fifth-wheel

Managing condensation: Tips for reducing moisture buildup in your RV

Condensation can be a common issue in RVs during the winter months. The combination of cold temperatures outside and warm temperatures inside can create excess moisture, leading to condensation on windows, walls, and other surfaces. Not only can this be uncomfortable, but it can also lead to mold and mildew growth if not properly managed. Here are some tips to help reduce condensation in your RV:

1. RV Ventilation is key: Proper ventilation is crucial in reducing condensation. Open windows or use vent fans to circulate air and remove excess moisture. You can also use dehumidifiers or moisture-absorbing products to help control humidity levels.

Our solution for our closet:  Hanging moisture absorber

2. Use moisture barriers: Consider using moisture barriers on windows and walls to prevent condensation from forming. These can be purchased as insulating window film or as moisture-resistant paints or coatings.

3. Insulate pipes and tanks: Insulating your RV’s water pipes and tanks can help prevent them from freezing and reduce condensation. Use foam pipe insulation or heat tape to wrap exposed pipes and tanks.

4. Be mindful of cooking and showering: Cooking and showering can generate a significant amount of moisture in your RV. Use exhaust fans or open windows to remove steam and moisture from these areas. Note: We remove the vent pillow when cooking and turn on the vent fan. 

By following these tips, you can effectively manage condensation and create a more comfortable and dry living environment in your RV during winter.

Preventing frozen pipes and tanks

One of the biggest challenges of RV living during winter is preventing frozen pipes and tanks. When temperatures drop below freezing, water in your RV’s plumbing system can freeze, causing pipes to burst and tanks to crack. To avoid this costly and inconvenient issue, there’s a few things you can do.

Insulate Hoses and Tanks

Insulate all pipes, both interior and exterior ones and strategically placing light bulbs in cupboards or closets will really help keep the threat of freezing away if you’re having a serious problem. A heat tape wrapped around the exterior water hose is an absolute must and make sure it covers both the outside water tap and the inlet into your RV. Cover this with insulation and wrap it up nice and tight.  Don’t insulate the sensor though because you want it exposed to the cold so it will run all the time.

Keep those valves closed! Only drain when they are full – a difficult lesson many have learned over the years and it’s not fun when the hoses are full of refuse and freezes.  

Have the drainage hose placed on a very steep angle so water doesn’t sit in it.

Heat Tapes are necessary when Winter RV Living

Heat tapes are a must!  Cover any exposed plumbing both exterior and interior – interior cupboards can get very cold if the doors are closed.  

Insulating foam tubes are a great way to protect your hoses and reasonably priced.

Heated drinking water hose:  We bit the bullet and spent the money for a 25′ heated drinking water hose that is good for -40F.  Yes, it’s expensive but to us it’s worth it to have the proper equipment if we can afford it.  If not, we would use a heat tape.  Both work.

Our solution:  Heated drinking water hose

By properly winterizing your water system, you can prevent frozen pipes and tanks, ensuring that you have access to running water throughout the winter.

Insulating your windows and doors: Keeping drafts out and heat in

Windows and doors are common areas for heat loss in an RV. To stay warm and cozy during winter, it’s important to properly insulate these areas and keep drafts out. Here are some tips to help you insulate your windows and doors:

1. Install thermal curtains or blinds: Thermal curtains or blinds can help insulate your windows and keep cold air from entering your RV. These curtains are designed to block drafts and provide an additional layer of insulation.

2. Use window insulation film: Window insulation film is a cost-effective way to improve the insulation of your windows. It creates an insulating barrier that helps prevent heat loss and reduces drafts. Note: we have not used this so far but it’s being considered.

By insulating your windows and doors, you can significantly reduce heat loss and keep your RV warmer during the winter months.

Tips for staying warm at night: Layering bedding and using electric blankets

Staying warm at night is essential for a comfortable winter in your RV. Here are some tips to help you stay cozy and warm while you sleep:

1. Layer your bedding: Layering your bedding is an effective way to trap heat and stay warm. Start with a mattress pad or memory foam to provide insulation from the cold mattress. Then, layer blankets, quilts, and comforters to create a cozy sleeping environment.

2. Use flannel or fleece sheets: Flannel or fleece sheets can add extra warmth and comfort to your bed. These materials are known for their insulating properties and can help keep you warm throughout the night.

3. Consider an electric blanket: If you’re particularly sensitive to the cold, an electric blanket can provide additional warmth. Electric blankets have adjustable heat settings, allowing you to customize the temperature to your liking.

4. Use body heat: Don’t underestimate the power of body heat. Snuggle up with your partner or furry friends to share body warmth. You can also use hot water bottles or microwaveable heating pads to warm up your bed before getting in.

By following these tips, you can create a cozy and warm sleeping environment in your RV, ensuring a restful night’s sleep even in the coldest winter nights.

Energy-efficient practices: Conserving energy and reducing heat loss

Conserving energy and reducing heat loss in your RV not only helps you stay warm but also saves on fuel or electricity costs. Here are some energy-efficient practices to consider:

1. Use LED lights: Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LED lights. LED lights use significantly less energy and produce less heat, helping to keep your RV cooler in the summer and reducing the strain on your electrical system.

2. Insulate your RV’s floors: Insulating your RV’s floors can help prevent heat loss and create a more comfortable living environment. Use foam insulation or thermal barrier mats to insulate the floor and reduce drafts.

3. Monitor your thermostat: Keep a close eye on your thermostat and adjust it as needed. Lower the temperature during the day when you’re out or at night when you’re sleeping. Install a programmable thermostat to automate temperature adjustments and optimize energy usage.

By implementing these energy-efficient practices, you can stay warm and save on energy costs.

Safety precautions: Carbon monoxide detectors and fire prevention in an RV

When heating your RV during winter, safety should be a top priority. Here are some safety precautions to keep in mind:

1. Install carbon monoxide detectors: Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can be produced by fuel-burning appliances, such as propane heaters or wood-burning stoves. Install carbon monoxide detectors in your RV to alert you if levels become dangerous. Test them regularly and replace batteries as needed.

2. Keep a fire extinguisher handy: In case of a fire, it’s important to have a fire extinguisher readily available. Make sure your fire extinguisher is in good working condition and that you know how to use it. Place it in an easily accessible location, away from potential fire hazards.

3. Keep flammable materials away from heating sources: Keep flammable materials, such as curtains, blankets, and clothing, at a safe distance from heating sources. Make sure nothing is blocking vents or covering heaters, as this can cause a fire hazard.

4. Practice proper ventilation: Proper ventilation is essential when using fuel-burning appliances. Ensure that there is adequate airflow and that vents are clear of debris. Never block or cover vents, as this can lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide.

By taking these safety precautions, you can enjoy a warm and cozy winter in your RV while keeping yourself safe.

Conclusion: Enjoying a cozy and comfortable winter in your RV

With the right preparation, heating options, and energy-saving practices, you can enjoy a cozy and comfortable winter in your RV. Take the time to properly insulate and seal your RV, choose the right heating option for your needs, and follow safety precautions to ensure a warm and safe living environment. By managing condensation and winterizing your water system, you can prevent issues such as mold growth and frozen pipes. Finally, don’t forget to insulate your windows and doors, layer your bedding, and practice energy-efficient habits to stay warm while conserving energy. Stay safe, stay warm, and make the most of your winter adventures in your RV!

#RV winterizing for full time living

Are you in Alberta?  You might be interested in learning more about winter RV Living in Alberta.

Note:  There may be affiliate links within this post. I only recommend products that I have used or know they are worth considering.  

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