Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Skirt For Hermitkrab

To date, I have made it through 2 very cold winters and learned a few valuable lessons in the process.
One of those lessons is that underpinning, or skirting the trailer is essential when you are in an area that has below freezing temps in the winter, and do not have an enclosed underbelly to keep the waste tanks and valves from freezing.
Last winter, I experimented with what was to be an easy to store and reuse skirt made of tarps. It looked nice at first as seen here , but it wasn't effective. I was forced to redo the entire mess with Styrofoam sheathing just after New Years' with temps not climbing above 20F for over a week.
This winter, I have left the mountains of East Tennessee for the foothills north of Atlanta, GA. I do not expect the weather to be much warmer.
It is not difficult to make an effective skirt with foam sheathing, it is easy to cut with a utility knife. Some good industrial strength duct tape keeps it in place. There are different grades of tape, and the kind most of us grab off the shelf for everyday use does not hold up to the elements, so be sure you choose wisely.

It doesn't really matter where you start, I chose to begin at the front of the trailer since there was some trimming to be done in order to accommodate the tongue.

The sheathing comes in sheets measuring 4 X 8 feet and, in this case, 1/2 an inch thick. I chose the kind that has a silver material on one side and faced the silver side out. Use the duct tape to seal up any seams, and to hold the skirt in place. Be careful to tape to either the frame, or the back of the siding as much as possible. It will leave a residue of adhesive when removed.
I continued down the right or starboard side of the rig and fit the board around the metal steps...

The Tires Help to Hold In Place

Then around the back and the left, or Port, side to the slide...

And back to the front. I also made an access door for the tank valves, and an enclosure for the fresh water connection....

I ran out of the gray duct tape just before I got to this point, so I bought some Gorilla Tape, which was recommended by several posters on the Escapee's Forum. I don't know if it comes in silver or gray, all I could find was black, but it looks good, and sticks better than the duct tape.
For my 28 foot trailer, I used 7 sheets of foam board. The cost was less than $10 per sheet plus the duct tape, and will be easy to remove when I need to.
The last step is to add either a heat lamp or small electric heater. This will help prevent the tanks from freezing and provide a little warmth to the floor of the trailer.
Of course, the best advice for RVing in the Winter? Go where the weather is warmer.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

An Ounce of Prevention....

With Old Man Winter fast approaching, it is time to work on preventing any freezing.
Normally I have done the minimum prevention for the fresh water hose, only wrapping it with foam insulation. This year I decided to take the extra step and add an electric heat cord.

The cord is available at most hardware stores, and is available in several lengths. It is meant to be used on metal or plastic pipes, and not recommended for water hoses, so I put a little foil backed foam tape on the hose first.

Then I ran the heat cord on top of the foil secured every 6 inches or so with tape.

When that was done, I used foam pipe insulation tubes to enclose the hose and heat cord.

This hose is drinking water safe and 25 feet long. I bought the heat cord in a 30 foot length, using the excess for an exterior water filter and the city water inlet. Also, the thermostat for the heat cord is taped to the filter.

Next, I will be skirting the trailer and creating an enclosure for the water using 1/2 inch foam insulation / sheathing.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Still Waiting?

"Do not wait for a change of environment, before you act; get a change of environment by action." - Wallace D. Wattles