Do We Still Need To Winterize Our RV If It Is Plugged Into A 50 Amp Electrical Service?

by Anonymous

We are storing our motorhome under roof and plugged in to 50 amp service. Will it be safe to leave motorhome plugged in with heat on during TN winters like this without winterizing?

The motorhome is not in a garage but just under a large carport.

ANSWER: Greetings thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.

Well I hate to give you a wishy washy answer but I am going to. The answer to your question can be yes or no. Here are the factors that are going to make it yes or no:

1. It depends on which part of Tennessee you live in. The average low temperatures in Tennessee from November through March fluctuate between the low 20s to the mid 30s. If you live in one of the areas that it hardly ever gets below freezing you might be able to get away without winterizing.

I would still recommend at a minimum that you completely empty all of your RV's holding tanks and drain your water heater. But remember it only takes one big freeze to burst pipes and holding tanks in RVs.

2. Being plugged into electric could help somewhat. You say that you are going to run the heat in the RV. I am not sure if you are talking about electric space heaters or the propane RV furnaces. If you are planning to use electric space heaters remember that

will keep the inside of the RV warm enough but it will not warm up your RV's holding tanks, water heater or any pipes located outside the RV.

If you are talking about using the RV propane heaters; that might work better if your RV has heat vents that go into the areas where the holding tanks are located. Not all RVs have this ducting setup. That being said, you are going to have to keep a close eye on the propane levels as you will be going through a lot of propane even if you use the lowest heating setting possible. No propane no heat and you will end up with Popsicle water pipes frozen tanks, etc.

3. Because you are keeping the RV under a roof; it may not get as much sunshine that helps heat the interior of the RV.

In my opinion you are going to be rolling the dice on whether your RV gets damaged or not unless you do some winterization.

If you want more information on Winterizing you might want to read the Winterizing Your Motorhome article that’s part of our RV Lifestyle and Camping Articles Section.

Hope this information helps.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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Comments for Do We Still Need To Winterize Our RV If It Is Plugged Into A 50 Amp Electrical Service?

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Winterize RV with electric space heates
by: Salmon

I own a 40' Monaco diplomat. I did not want to hassle with the pink stuff. I live in northern Alabama. Our normal winter low is about 29 degrees F at night and 50 degrees F in the daytime. I put vent insulated vent plugs in both fan openings, about $10 each. Ileave the main water tank full (100 gallons). It would take a lot to soak all of that heat out!

I bought 2 Lux Win100 plug in wall thermostats. I keep the unit plugged into a amp shore power. I put one Lux unit in the bathroom and one in the water bay. I put a 1500 watt "milkhouse" heater in the bathroom and a smaller 1500 watt ceramic heater in the water bay. I open all cabinet doors that contain water lines such as kitchen sink, shower, bathroom sink, hot water heater to make sure the warm air gets everywhere there are water pipes.I set the water bay heater on low (750 watts). I set both Lux units at 45 degrees in hold mode.

I also bought a Oregon Scientific thermometer that can use 3 transmitters. One transmitter is out side, one is in the water bay and one is in the motorhome bathroom. The receiver is in my master bathroom in the house. At my age I usually wake up once during the night and I check the temp in the water bay and main motorhome compartment when I wake up.

Down to about 20 degrees F this has always kept the unit well above freezing. If it is going to be 12-20 degrees F, I set the Lux units at 50 degrees F. Below 12 degrees F, I put a second 750 watt unit in the main compartment run off an additional 15 amp circuit from the house and turn the water bay unit to high (1500 watts) and power it from another 20 amp circuit. This easily handled a 6 degree night here recently in AL.

If it ever goes below zero, I have a small propane heater I can put in the main compartment overnight.

I would not recommend this approach without the remote temp. monitoring because you never know if a breaker pops or a heater quits working. I have backups for each heater in case one fails!

If all else fails this rig has the winter water bay package and I can always turn on the propane furnace.

Do not forget to check every night! Right now it is 23 outside (heading to 16 tonight), the waterbay is 49 and it is 50 inside the motorhome. It will be cooler in the morning but still safe by a wide margin.

If I were going to leave it for a week I would put in redundant thermostats and heaters with the second themostats set 45 degrees and the normal ones set at 55 just to be sure.

I have done this for 5 years and if I want to leave in the morning, making sure I had winterized fuel, I would plug the block heater in at supper time and be ready to leave in the morning.

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