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Old 03-05-2021, 02:11 AM   #1
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Default Lessons from the Texas Freeze?

The YouTube videos from people who usually plug in are revealing to those of us who usually donít. They woke up surprised with no power, depleted batteries, depleted propane and no heat. It obviously takes a lot of BTUs to keep a class A warm at 0F. Those folks really didnít have a chance.

Coach heat dependent on the main fuel tank.
I donít have that but I could run an electric heater and generator to reduce propane usage.

Bring in the slide outs.

You really do need a battery monitor.

Propane buddy tank capability.

Extra blankets to be comfortable with lower inside temps.

Emergency water supply

Powering your house from your RV generator is another interesting issue. I donít have a way to export total generator output. No one does. Maybe we should put one in.

Just Rambliní.
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Old 03-05-2021, 01:26 PM   #2
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Well, some of that was touched upon in the thread 19 degrees in South Texas ? ? ?, but I'd be interested in the videos you reference. And I dare say the topic might benefit from more discussion.

Propane buddy tank capability - that sub-discussion (some would call it a hijack) started here.

Extra blankets to be comfortable with lower inside temps - I recommend goose down, goose down, and more goose down. Spendy but worth the investment and it saved my bacon two weeks ago. We have a Rumpl trekking blanket and a Disco oversized sleeping bag.

Emergency water supply - Well, I had two 300-gallon outdoor rain tanks that were full, but which froze into solid monoliths. Inside my powerless, heatless house, I filled a Water Bob that I had been gifted almost 20 years previously, but never had reason to use (during hurricane outages, I can rely on my rain tanks).

Powering your house from your RV generator - I would argue that it's not necessary to power the house, just one or two key appliances. I bought a 5 cubic foot freezer that I can power using our van's generator and the external propane tank solution that we slapped together.

Also - This event got me off high center, and I finally ordered a Gstove. There are a number of choices in the micro-bio-burner product category and I'm not sure that Gstove is the best, but I chose it with an eye to future versatility. A cast iron tiny stove would probably be a better heat source, but carrying the weight in our van with its current manifest? Not an option.

Of course, if one happens to be caught on the road at the time of a winter catastrophe, the responsive options are much fewer.
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Old 03-05-2021, 02:25 PM   #3
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Yep, appreciated your forthright comments. A youtube search for Texas Freeze RV gets a selection. Tough to pick one. Some were even still trying to move!

The take away to me is the value of a generator. Many of the threads on this forum try to get rid of them but a generator running off the main fuel tank tended to be the hero here.

Don’t have to power the whole house but it is interesting that no RV has a way to export all the generator output. We can’t get to the Air Conditioner line. The microwave may be a 20 amp circuit but all receptacles are on one 15 amp breaker.
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Old 03-05-2021, 04:59 PM   #4
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Some RVs with generators do permit full generator output or at least 120V 30A output to a single 30A outlet because they don't have a shore power / generator automatic transfer switch. Instead, there's a 30A generator outlet that the 30A coach power cord plugs into. I had a Triple E coach that had the 30A generator outlet in the 30A cord storage compartment. The RV cord could be plugged into the generator or to grid power. That was a simple but effective setup, no ATS so no ATS to fail! IIRC some Winnebago rvs have that setup.

I think the safest way to use RV generated power in a house, whether through an inverter with an internal transfer switch installed in the RV or an installed generator like an Onan, is to only power items or appliances in the house. Don't try to (back)feed circuits in your house as you'll most likely end up with neutral/ground bonding in two places; the house main panel and the RV chassis.

An inlet on the house that leads to isolated distribution like a power strip coupled with a few extension cords to 120V appliances in the house would make it easy to use.
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Old 03-06-2021, 12:22 AM   #5
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If one is not used to that kind of cold, it's not surprising that one would have issues in that weather.

A buddy of mine decided that wintering in N Texas in a 39' travel trailer would be a good way to escape the cold in MN this winter. He had 10 days continuous temps below freezing & hit -4f. He burned 16lbs of propane per day, but he could swap tanks, so it was not a problem.

He winterized before the weather hit, used water jugs for fresh water, a pee bottle for #1, and a bucket & garbage bag with kitty litter for #2. Just like if you were ice fishing up north. No big deal if you are used to it, but a big deal if you are not.

Having a campervan with a fixed propane tank would be an issue. Either rig up an external tank like @Interblog, or drive and get it refilled, or try to heat by running the generator & using electric heat.

And I agree with using down - either bags or a comforter. I've slept in down bags in an unheated trailer at -7F, and didn't freeze to death.
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Old 03-06-2021, 11:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by @Michael View Post
...... He burned 16lbs of propane per day, but he could swap tanks, so it was not a problem.....
Except to his wallet. Ouch.
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