Post by caterpillartim on Nov 14, 2012 21:17:20 GMT -5
I'm new to this forum and new to the camper lifestyle. I got thrown into it really. I had to find a place to stay and I figured it'd be cheap to buy an old camper. So I found a 1976 travelmate holiday rambler( That's what the insurance company calls it.) but anyways I paid $720 for it back in August. And it was nice during the summer but now that its getting cold out it's miserable. I bought a space heater but it doesn't do anything when it gets below 30-25 degrees outside.
Anyways. My plan is to try and insulate it really well and get rid of all the mystery drafts that I can't seem to find where they are coming in at. I've tried straw bails around the bottom as well as wrapping the whole back half (it's where my bed is and also the drafts) in plastic. Still cold and drafty. So I though about ripping the walls and floor up to rein sulfate everything. And to also replace the water damage on the RR corner. But I have never torn apart a camper before and I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm pretty handy and can do carpentry. Oh and ill be living in it while doing this project and I'm also unemployed so money is tight. But I figured a warm place to sleep is worth my money right now.
So any help that you experts can give me would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks in advanced.
Post by boandsusan on Nov 14, 2012 21:52:43 GMT -5
I`m sure you`ll get all the help you`ll need from the members here. They are an awesome bunch. Will you be doing the work during the winter? How long is your camper? Hopefully its long enough that you can block half off while your working on it. Good luck.
Post by caterpillartim on Nov 15, 2012 0:42:11 GMT -5
Unfortunately yes I will be doing it this winter. I don't think I'll be able to endure negative degree weather. So I'm wanting to start on it as soon as possible. And it's a 25' so ill be able to block it off. But I'm hoping to open and close the floor up in one day(I may be dreaming about that) and I'm hoping this whole project will only take me 3-4 days. I'm just hoping that after I do this that it'll fix the drafts and the heater will warm it up to the point that it can shut off majority of the time. I hate when it runs 24/7 and its still not warm in here.
A dozen years ago I was in the same place as you and I had to live in my 19' camper. So my advice is maybe not the best or most sane but it was how I survived.
Hang blankets to compartmentalize the camper and move your heater with you throughout the day. Most importantly use the blankets to enclose your bed in the smallest space possible. Find a way to include the space heater inside the area at night either by attaching a shelf to the wall or put a table by your bed. Make sure there's S P A C E around the heater and it's not sucking the blankets in. Also try a heated blanket on the mattress under you then pile more blankets on top of you.
Yes, it's all a major fire hazard... but you are living in a camper. Make sure you have at least one working smoke detector and check it daily.
Obviously it's up to you but I'd think really hard before tearing up your home. If you can get through the winter and save the major repairs for summer, you can sleep out in a tent if you have to. And possibly then you'll be in a better place financially as well and won't have to rely on living in the camper while you work on it.
I really don't want to be a wet blanket but I think your best bet is to get a bigger heater. This vintage of unit is definitely not designed to live in when it gets to the temperatures you are talking about. The windows are single pane, the walls are 2" or less thick. You will have drafts no matter what you do. What you have done is about all you can do. If you can insulate the perimeter to keep cold air from penetrating the bottom (hay or straw bales), That is a great start. I would also suggest you put black plastic on the ground to keep moisture from migrating up from the ground. It is surprising how this moisture contributes to the penetration of the cold air. If you can fold this up onto the bales, that would even be better. Also, plastic sheeting over the windows will help a bunch too. With all of this sealing of the unit, you need to be careful that you don't seal it so tightly that you get carbon dioxide build up inside and asphyxiate yourself. Especially with the addition of any heating units that don't utilize an external air source. Your best bet here is to make sure the furnace provided (if so) is working properly. Again, I wish you luck and hope for the best. I wouldn't start any repairs on water damage until the weather warms up, that is the least of your worries and won't help you keep warm this winter. Crunchy makes some very good points and I would suggest you give his compartmentalization suggestions a close look.
Last Edit: Nov 15, 2012 1:28:23 GMT -5 by 61 Shasta
Wow! I don`t understand what you mean when you say open the floor up. I don`t know of any repairs that could be done to a complete floor in just one day. I lean towards the above posts and would wait until Spring before trying any major repairs. Sealing the windows with sheets of plastic with maybe some solid foam insulation between the window and plastic. Electric blankets sounds like your best bet along with reducing your living/heating space. Maybe several layers of carpeting on the floor (craigslist)would help with your floor problem until the spring.
I like to froze to death in my 72 Holiday Rambler. The floor radiated ice.
Block the entire open area under the trailer with straw bales or insulated panels. Any air/wind will lower the temps of the floor. Also, use propane heat. It will cause window sweat but is much warmer than a little electric space heater. A Holiday Rambler normally had a forced air furnace. Always vent the trailer a little. It seems counter productive, but if the trailer "breathes" it is usually more efficient heat wise...
I agree with the above. Use heated blankets and wear warm slippers. Reflextic silver bubble insulation over some of the windows might help. Partitioning will keep one area warmer.
Post by safetybruce on Nov 15, 2012 5:34:30 GMT -5
ditto all the above and speaking of black plastic, you might try putting the darkest water resistant tarp you can find on the roof...white reflects heat, dark absorbs heat (think passive solar powered water heaters), make sure you are parked if possible to get the maximum sunlight, and we let our pets sit on the couches and chairs in the recreational rooms, so we have lots and lots of thick blankets...none of which I have paid more than about $3.99 each for at Goodwill where some of the cashiers greet me by name...cut-rate carpet places always have a remnants section, you could find the thickest remnant I'd be searching for shag myself, and carpet the whole camper with a $20 remnant, and ask them if they will give you a bit of foam pad free with that purchase...heck if there is storage space under your bed/mattress, invest in a roll of the highest R value Pink Panther insulation and stuff the space under the bed with it, and layer blankets on top of you. buy one of those kits where you can put plastic on the inside of your windows and as you heat it with a hair-dryer it will tighten and act as a second pane. Please do not attempt repairs now...you can only do a quick slap happy repair of the places you mentioned in 2-3 days and it won't be pretty...you will end up re-doing it in the spring anyway...
Post by harrison429 on Nov 15, 2012 6:34:11 GMT -5
Of course I agree with everything that's already been said about not attempting to do the work now. Everyone who has done work on their trailer knows that what started out as a supposed 2-3 day project ends up taking so much longer than ever anticipated and you don't want to expose yourself to that. For the remainder of the fall/winter season just hunker down with all the above suggestions and don't start tackling your problems until spring. We'll all be thinking warm thoughts for you.
Post by caterpillartim on Nov 15, 2012 9:42:02 GMT -5
Hmm. That's not what I wanted to hear. =^( but then again you guys would know best. I guess I'll just wait until spring or summer. I might try the insulation in the storage compartments. I didn't think of that before. And I still have about fifty percent of the underside to cover with straw and plastic so ill finish that off as well. And get some more black plastic. I don't want to do the electric blanket cuz that'll just make me sweat and that would just make things worse. The partitioning would be good to try as well ill probably try that today. And I've already laid carpet down. Didn't notice a increase in warmth but it gave me an illusion of warmth so that made me feel good. And I put clear plastic on the windows already. Except on one ceiling vent and the kitchen window so I could get some fresh air in and for a cat door. Sorry these responses were so random and scattered. It's just how my mind works. Haha. And I'll be going to GA. in January through April so I won't have to endure the cold all winter. So that's a positive side. And it'll be staying at home cuz I'm not sure it'll be able to take that long of a trip without some major tlc.
Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. And I'll let you guys and gals know how this winter goes.
Tim there is a group of us in GA so let us know when and where your going.
Don't forget your water lines and plumbing traps will freeze in the cold weather if not protected. Heat tape can protect water lines but that's more electricity requirements. If you can get the temps up you can leave cabinet doors open for the plumbing traps but don't forget the one on the shower.
You may already know all this, but a busted water line is no fun.
Walmart has some decent mummy bag sleeping bags that are around $30. Good alternative to heat blanket.
Post by offspringin on Nov 15, 2012 14:30:00 GMT -5
Im on the bigger heater boat. It was 34 degrees the last time we camped (not super cold but cold enough) and we woke up to 83 degree heat in the camper using a ceramic tower heater. Our trailer is only 6x10 so its not alot of space to heat but i do feel CONSTANT drafts. The worse one in our trailer is around the door.
You may benefit from sealing the windows with plastic (like folks do to their houses). Our original insulation was a pansy .25-.5 inch of fiberglass (40 years old). The entire trailer is now encased in .75" foam sheet insulation but this solution doesn't help you short term.
I agree with the compartment thing. We pretty much live in our master bedroom at our house with the kitchen being the second most used. We keep the house pretty cold but run a space heater (the same one we use in the camper) in the master bedroom and wake up hot in there too.
Best of luck. Bigger heater, more blankets
If you can't fix it with a hammer you have an electrical problem.
Another bed strategy is to see if you can find a really good price on a winter weight down comforter. (A girlfriend of mine found ones for her daughters a couple years ago at a pre-Christmas sale with coupons and bonuses for less than $40) We sleep with a window open a crack (and no heat on in the house) all winter, even the occasional day that it gets down into the teens. The insulating ability of down surpasses most everything else, and you don't have to have the weight or bulk of all those blankets. Good luck with all your tweaks, we hope they will push you over the line from chilled to toasty!
Another thing in a winter trailer: take care of your feet! A quick warm shower feels great but the feet take a little longer to dry, not to mention taking less time washing between your toes. The shower was warm, but the air cool, so I didn't take as much time... Watch for athlete's foot.
Winterize your trailer before you leave for GA. That involves draining all the tanks, blowing the water lines (air) and pouring RV antifreeze in any traps.
Ditto on the dark roof tarp, the hay bales, the window plastic, and layers of carpet on the floor. you can also hang blankets or velour fabric on the walls to ad some insulation. If you get any sun through the windows, dark metal plates or fabric hanging inside might absorb some solar heat... I've got my 22.5" '76 3/4 insulated with 1 1/2" rigid foam ('bout 3" in the ceiling), and when it's in the teens my propane furnace runs about a third to half the time to keep it above 70f, if I remember last Christmas Eve correctly...