Almost done with January and the days are getting longer.
My husband, (who says science is candy for his brain), commemorated the Winter Solstice last month by demonstrating how we have reached the halfway point on our yearly journey around the sun. He used an orange to represent the earth and pointed out how we could now look forward to ever increasing daylight hours and – hopefully – warmer temperatures going forward.
Although almost imperceptible, the thought alone of inching ever closer to summer boosts my morale. For the time being though, we gotta keep warm.
We broke the central heater in our fifth wheel when we tried to install a propane fridge a couple of months ago (don’t ask) so we’re left with space heaters and the fireplace we installed last year to stay comfortable.
Earlier this month, an arctic front dipped into the northern United States from Canada. Next thing you know, it’s zero degrees and our pipes are freezing despite our anti-freezing protocol.
RVs are notoriously under-insulated and require additional protection in the way of skirting (a barrier running the circumference of the vehicle from the ground to the body) to keep wind out and stabilize the air temperature beneath. Everything from expensive kits to straw bails can be used for the purpose.
You have to keep the vulnerable complex of Pex water pipes that wind throughout the basement of a fifth wheel trailer from freezing. Most people who use an RV throughout the winter add extra insulation to the compartment and incorporate some sort of auxiliary heating system to the space. The central heating ducts go into this compartment in our “home” but that’s out for now.
To compensate, we put a couple of small desk-sized heater fans near the water pump and we use a heat hose to go between our 400 gallon external water tank and the trailer to keep the lines clear. Unless it’s ten degrees below. In that case, we have to remove the heat hose and bring it inside to thaw before hooking it back up. Coffee water comes from dipping the pot directly into the tank on those mornings. Gotta have coffee before any undertakings for the day.
We also leave the cupboard doors open between the living space and the basement to equalize the temperatures. It’s all about strategy out here. Thick dark curtains and/or shrink-wrapped plastic on windows help cut drafts.
We couldn’t afford a cord of wood this winter so we’ve been harvesting it from around the property for our fireplace. Storms have brought branches down and there are three huge trees laying on a hillside that we had to have felled in order to get an internet signal. Those have provided us with a seemingly endless supply of wood but the work: chopping, cutting, sawing the stuff to fit the fireplace – its exhausting.
We also pick up wood pallets from around town when we go down the hill. Most of them fit comfortably into the back of our SUV and they are free and plentiful.
The first thing I do every cold morning is make the fire in the fireplace and it’s the last thing I do at night. It helps to know the orange is on it’s way to a more favorable position by the sun , and before you know it we’ll be complaining about the heat.