View Full Version : Any advice and or tips for Canadian "Full timing"

Fulltimer not by choice
07-04-2016, 08:49 PM
As stated in my handle, my family and I are now full timers not by choice. We are also new RV owners. I am looking forward to the challenge.

Our house was destroyed by a wild fire in the beginning of May. Everything we own, including our house was completely reduced to ash.

Due to the logistics of insurance and insurance payouts, we are given a limited amount of money to live on during the rebuilding process. Unfortunately, because of the magnitude of destruction in a remote area, we are faced with undefined rebuild time line. Renting and real estate costs are extremely high in the area and having to still pay our mortgage while not having a house to live in could present a significant financial risk if any probable delays based on supply and demand schedules in construction occur. In short, renting is not really an option at this time nor is commuting as the closest town is 5 hours south.

With that said, I am looking forward to this challenge but recognize our inexperience and gaps in knowledge. Any and all recommendations are welcome.
The area is in a remote far North location in Alberta Canada.

We have bought a 2012 DRV Mobile Suites 43', 5 slides with bunkbeds in the rear.

On a positive side note, the loss of our home due to a wild fire that completely levelled numerous neighbourhoods and made international news, I am pretty sure that my ant problem has been rectified! http://www.5thwheelforums.com/forums/images/icons/icon12.gif

Thanks for any advice on RV winter living.

07-04-2016, 11:29 PM
I have seen people living in WY in the winter, but have never done this myself. I do know that you need a large propane tank, along with a secondary, dependable electrical generator. If you depend on electricity for everything, what happens when the grid goes down? Thats when you will need a good gen of about 7500watts.
Once you get the utility source as failsafe as possible, then you will need to work on insulation around the perimeter of the Suites---have seen hay bales and professional-looking skirting used, but you will need this to be really hole/space free, to keep out drafts. A heated and insulated water hose is a necessity--lots of ways to do this, many use heat tapes but then if the electricity goes down...
Long before cold weather sets in, look everywhere in the basement area for any water lines near to the outside walls--need to insulate them very well. Also would decommission the outside shower, if it came with one. And a 100watt light bulb in the service bay compartment will provide heat to help prevent freezeups.
Sorry for your loss, but sounds as tho you have maintained a positive attitude. Hope all works out, the unit you have is a good start to survival in the cold, just need to be proactive on insulation and heating.
I have lived in mobile housing in WY in winters--you will also have to be aware of the buildup of ice on the outside AND the inside of the windows from humidity--might need a dehumidifier when using the furnace. Also, if you will have a dependable electricity grid, consider the installation of a Cheap Heat option on the furnace--this is an electrical resistance coil that is installed in the furnace and uses electricity instead of propane in the furnace.

Fulltimer not by choice
07-07-2016, 06:31 PM
Thanks for the advice and condolences.

So far these are the items i am looking a:

First and foremost, I am looking at a secondary source of heat. I have researched up on Espar hydronic heaters. In particular M10 or a m12 unit. If anyone has any experience with this type of secondary eat source in terms of insulation, price, fuel consumption and how it worked in a 5er, any and all comments would be great. Especially in cold weather of -30-40c

Skirting is mandatory in my mind.

I am planning on building an insulated wooden box around an insulated waterline, with heat trace that run to the camper.

Heat trace on the tanks and water lines.

My windows are thermopane but I found a DIY indoor window insulation project that uses Relectix wrap, a pillow, a pillow case that matches the camper's decor and some rigid cardboard or styrofoam.

And the addition of a genset incase of power interruption. The camper has a spot for a genset. What are people preference on fuel source for generators? I will be running a propane furnace and will most likely have a pig installed. The hydronic heat source is diesel operated and I have a slip tank in my truck as well so oil would seem the logical source would be diesel or propane.

Thanks again for the help.

07-07-2016, 10:44 PM
The thermopane windows will help, but they fall short of what is a double-pane window in a house--just about all Suites have the windows, but you will still have frost buildup inside if you can't control the humidity level that will climb as normal breathing is done. And if you use propane to heat the trailer, humidity is a product of that combution. Not familiar with the Espar, but I mentioned Cheap Heat earlier--you might check into it. Using electricity to heat won't add to the humidity as much as propane heat will. Having 2 sources of heat will be a necessity at some point, based on some of my WY experience--altho it is 20 years ago.
Sounds like you have a good handle on what needs to be done.
Wishing you the best of luck in getting set up.

Fulltimer not by choice
07-08-2016, 07:47 PM
Thanks Joe.

As far as humidity, it is hard to say if it will be factor or not. The region where we live and work is relatively dry. For all intents and purposes it is a desert i.e. why it is called the oil sands but as you say, breathing and propane heat will amp up the moisture level for sure. I am prepared to purchase either a humidifier or a dehumidifier or both if needed as they will need to be replaced any ways.

If there is any saving grace in this situation, it is that anything that we will need in the future for this endeavour can be purchased as we currently have the need to replace everything we own.

I will look into the Cheap heat option for sure. If I switch to complete electric heat, will this impact the waterlines that may run underneath the floor. My initial thoughts would be no as the propane heat delivery system would be no different that that of electric heat delivery system. In this regard, it may just be more beneficial, and less installation and parts costs to go with the cheap heat system.

07-11-2016, 12:25 AM
You are correct in that the Cheap Heat will not add heat to the underneath area--as to the water lines, that should be addressed by extra insulation. Also, use of a heat lamp in the underbelly area would help, as long as you make sure there are no combustible materials in contact with it. You would be surprised how much heat a 100watt bulb will supply to an area that is well insulated. Running a heat tape along the ground under the length of the trailer might be a help also.