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Old 10-27-2018, 08:38 AM   #1
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12v heated tanks

Finalizing our build, and really stressing over the inverter and 12v heated tanks. I'm going to do the double pane windows, insulated walls and under belly. We are still 5 years out on retirement and like to camp in the off season around Kentucky and Tennessee. I understand that the battery's and solar cannot keep up with the draw, but its $300.00 usd that cannot be done later without a lot of work. So for piece of mind and resale should I get them or just not a big deal. I understand using the anti freeze to flush and water jug inside will allow us to continue to camp when cold. But the convenience of the full system would be nice. Thanks for any help.
Shawn
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Old 10-27-2018, 09:21 AM   #2
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You probably will not have full use of the system unless you have water hookups which means another $100 for a heated water supply hose. Those places with water available during the winter are few and far between. With the trailer's heat on the black tank is heated as well as the other tanks encased in foam. It is the valves that may freeze and they are unprotected, with or without the heat pads.
The inverter is an expensive option since its use is when boon docking, something I would not do in the winter, you can draw your own conclusion.
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Old 10-27-2018, 09:55 AM   #3
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We have the 12 VDC heating pads and the full inverter system our trailer .
We have never used either one .
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:23 AM   #4
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I used my pads once in 2 years of winter camping, never had an inverter, never missed it, never used my oven neither.
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:34 AM   #5
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Don’t have either one and don’t miss them. My understanding is that even though the heat pads are 12V DC you really need to be plugged in to 120V AC or the batteries will be drained. Not sure solar can keep up as you noted, especially on a gray day and/or heavy tree cover. If you are plugged in then obviously you don’t need the inverter.

That said you can still camp in the cold weather with certain modifications to your use of the trailer as you have indicated you are aware of. Search “winter camping” for more info.

For resale I don’t think either of these two options matter much for most buyers. Buy what you think you will use based on how you plan to camp.
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:43 AM   #6
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Well said, Dave....
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:55 AM   #7
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Finalizing our build, and really stressing over the inverter and 12v heated tanks. I'm going to do the double pane windows, insulated walls and under belly. We are still 5 years out on retirement and like to camp in the off season around Kentucky and Tennessee. I understand that the battery's and solar cannot keep up with the draw, but its $300.00 usd that cannot be done later without a lot of work. So for piece of mind and resale should I get them or just not a big deal. I understand using the anti freeze to flush and water jug inside will allow us to continue to camp when cold. But the convenience of the full system would be nice. Thanks for any help.
Shawn

I do not have the heating pads, so I cannot speak to their usefulness. I will say that we often camp at least a time or two each fall in freezing temps and do the dilute antifreeze in the tanks for flushing the toilet and use a jug of water for drinking, cleaning, etc. I just dump some antifreeze in the tank and pump it through the system, when ready to camp I add water to the tank (no use of the water heater, it is still bypassed) and go. When we get home I drain the tank, dump in some antifreeze and pump it around again....it only takes a gallon or two. The dilute antifreeze also seems to allow me to dump out the grey and black tanks just fine....I have dumped hot water in the tanks when really cold to help with draining though.
I have the inverter option hooked to all the outlets....I bought my camper used, so I did not have to stress over options...but I have found I like having it. We do use the microwave for popcorn, melting butter for corn on the cob, etc and I do plug my computer in to charge as well. Would I pay for this option if I was buying new Not so sure but I do like having it as an option!
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Old 10-27-2018, 11:01 AM   #8
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While i also don't have the heating pads, and don't miss them, I do have the 1500 watt inverter, and use it most mornings to make coffee, sometimes toast, and short runs of the microwave, power tools, and camera battery charging. All in all, it uses 6 - 10 amp hours of my daily 40 - 50 amp hours of battery use.

Is it necessary? No, all the things, other than the microwave, could be done other ways, but I prefer drip coffee & a pop up toaster. I dry camp for months at a time & have no problem keeping the batteries up, although i do admit to having 2 160 watt panels, and if I'm in a place more than a week or so, tilt them to get a better angle on winter sun.
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Old 10-27-2018, 11:10 AM   #9
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I also stressed over the inverter need when ordering my Escape. I finally went and ordered it. Overall, not a lot of use. Recently, I found out, that for me, it was a good investment. My trailer is parked off site with no power. I am obsessed with keeping the trailer looking good. I bought an ra polisher recently and was able to plug it in and take care of the trailer. Consider your camping needs along with the time you intend to have your trailer. Each persons needs are different, and they may change in the future.
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Old 10-27-2018, 11:12 AM   #10
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We have the 12 VDC heating pads and the full inverter system our trailer .
We have never used either one .
Same here.
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Old 10-27-2018, 11:26 AM   #11
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We use our inverter regularly for various things from charging electric toothbrush, to running a laptop for movies, to cooking meals with our Instant Pot.

We also have the heat pads, and while they only get used rarely, we are glad to have them when we do for the added functionality and peace of mind. We enjoy the maximum versatility of being able to camp anywhere, anytime.
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Old 10-27-2018, 01:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buellfire View Post
Finalizing our build, and really stressing over the inverter and 12v heated tanks. I'm going to do the double pane windows, insulated walls and under belly. We are still 5 years out on retirement and like to camp in the off season around Kentucky and Tennessee. I understand that the battery's and solar cannot keep up with the draw, but its $300.00 usd that cannot be done later without a lot of work. So for piece of mind and resale should I get them or just not a big deal. I understand using the anti freeze to flush and water jug inside will allow us to continue to camp when cold. But the convenience of the full system would be nice. Thanks for any help.
Shawn
Inverter - use it quite often and wouldn't do without it. From boondocking at BLM campsites to overnighting in Walmart parking lots, the inverter allows us to use the microwave, charge the cell phones and laptops, and watch TV. 300 watts of solar takes care of recharging the batteries.

Heat pads - Sorry, that one is NOT on our list of stuff we need. The Escape is a three season trailer which is fine as anytime the temps approach freezing, it's time to move where it's warmer.
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Old 10-27-2018, 02:45 PM   #13
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our E21 has neither, but I do have a portable '400W' (really, 200W sustained) inverter I use for charging a few things that I don't have a 12V charger for. We hardly use the microwave at home, and have never used hte microwave in the camper, and while we use an electric drip maker at home, when camping we have a hand crank grinder, and boil water on the stove and either use a pour-over Melitta single-cup, or a Aeropress...
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Old 10-27-2018, 03:24 PM   #14
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Thanks for the replies. I think I'm becoming obsessive! We have had many campers over the years and have made each one meet our needs at the time, this will be our first new rv ever. I had a Honda Generator mounted on the tongue of our Casita and rarely used it, but I like the idea of having it. The solar should keep the batteries full and the generator will run the A/C and microwave. The info about the tanks pads not covering the valving is really helpful and makes the argument of getting the pad mute. If I have to keep anti freeze in the tanks anyway, might as well skip the option. I really feel like it is really easy to just keep spending.
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Old 10-27-2018, 04:30 PM   #15
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We regularly camp for several weeks each winter in sub freezing conditions. Seldom use our heated tanks as the discharge valves are unprotected and will freeze, even with liberal use of pink stuff. That said, the trailer stays warm down to -10F, and we have found ways to use water for dishes without involving the winterized plumbing system. For the toilet, we have turned out toilet into a port-a-potty by taping the disposable bags to the inside of the toilet and adding the substance which turns liquid into a gel permitting one to dispose of used bag in any trash. While boondocking, we store used bags in a closed 5 gal bucket in the back of the truck until we get to a place to dump it. Sponge baths with wipettes suffice until we get to a shower at a campground, truckstop, or gym.

A 130 watt plug in inverter allows for charging electronics and running a white noise machine (snoring). Don't feel the need for anything larger.
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Old 10-27-2018, 08:13 PM   #16
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We decided after 17 years on a boat with a 300 watt inverter, 160 watts of solar, and 1 plug in outlet, to go whole hog and ordered the solar system, 1500 watt inverter, and transfer switch on the Escape. It is magic...we always have power, the hotpot (700 watts) works it's stuff, the 1000 watt kettle heats water in minutes, and we never get below 75% on the batteries. No microwave, as we don't bother ever with one at home. Yes, it would have been cheaper to do it ourselves. But we did that on the boat back then, and it is so much easier to have Escape do it during production.

Heat pads? We live in AZ and hope to winter in Mexico...move to where the weather suits your clothes! Winter camping we try to avoid but occasionally get caught in.
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Old 11-17-2018, 09:59 PM   #17
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12 volt heating pads

We have the 12 volt heating pads. Last winter it remained below freezing in Dallas for 4 days. I turned on the heating pads. We were connected to shore power and the pads are thermostatically controlled, so were not on all the time. I don't know if we would have had freezing problems without them, but they brought peace of mind.
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Old 11-18-2018, 08:46 AM   #18
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We have the 12 volt heating pads. Last winter it remained below freezing in Dallas for 4 days. I turned on the heating pads. We were connected to shore power and the pads are thermostatically controlled, so were not on all the time. I don't know if we would have had freezing problems without them, but they brought peace of mind.
Richard,
I completed my build last week, so my decision has been made. However hopefully future forum participants can use this information. After many back and forth discussions with my wife we decided to order the heated pads and forgo the inverter. My thought on the pads, I will forget about the money I spent that I only use now and then, but if I wanted to add the pads later it would be a total pain in the rear with the foamed under belly. Same thoughts on the inverter, should be fairly painless down the road to add, if wanted or needed. I skipped the inverter but added multiple 12v usb access points.
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Old 11-18-2018, 11:04 AM   #19
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The only tank you are really protecting is the gray tank as the black is inside and the fresh would have been drained when winterizing. Thus we had the pads on our first Escape, used it once, realized it's restrictions to only being hooked up and never ordered them again. But if you are using your fresh tank then they maybe helpful.
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Old 11-18-2018, 11:15 AM   #20
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We don't winterize because we live in the trailer full time. When the temperature goes below freezing we fill the fresh water tank, disconnect from city water and turn on the heating pads.
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