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Old 04-24-2015, 10:02 PM   #1
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Insulation under trailer + heating pads

How important is this option? Is it only necessary if I'm snow camping?
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:11 PM   #2
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We have the sprayfoam insulation under our Escape 21, but no heating pads. Nothing froze two nights ago when the temperature (park ranger verified) went down to 26F at Kodachrome Basin in Utah. Our tanks were also unaffected by two nights of -3C at Lightning Lake in Manning Park last fall.
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:35 PM   #3
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Heating pads (2) take 100 watts each. That is a bit much if you are boondocking and relying on solar power in the winter (short days).

Foam insulation has almost no penalty, except to the pocketbook at initial purchase. In theory, it can make certain modifications or additions a problem - like changing tank sensors.

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PS. Foam insulation and heating pads are almost impossible to purchase from other brands of fiberglass trailer makers. The winter options were a prime motivation for choosing Escape.
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:52 PM   #4
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We wanted the spray foam insulation and decided to get the heating pads as they can't be added after the foam is sprayed on.
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:28 AM   #5
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It's good to have if you will be camping when temps drop into the 20's, IF you need to have water on board when it does so. We got along just fine for years without such by dry camping, real dry camping. When temps were expected to get good and cold we'd drain and blow out the lines at home, just used the campground facilities as well as jugs of water. With the insulation temps can dip at night without any ill effects. Can't say how effective it would be in prolonged cold. These days we run into cold more by accident as in when traveling. Got stuck in a snow storm for a few days in SD last fall, the foam was nice to have when the campground shutoff the water and closed the bathrooms.

The only reason I can see for not getting it, besides the price, is that you no longer have easy access to the underside, repairs and such will be difficult at best.
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:51 AM   #6
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Sorry for the noob question... What exactly is the spray foam made out of, and what is its permanence? Is it actually a "foam", or more similar to a material like a bed liner?
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Old 04-25-2015, 05:18 AM   #7
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Sorry for the noob question... What exactly is the spray foam made out of, and what is its permanence? Is it actually a "foam", or more similar to a material like a bed liner?
In lue of a better answer it looks just like the spray foam that comes in a can (Great Stuff) for use around the house, painted black. The front surface takes a bit of a beating from road stone and such, mine needs to be touched up with black paint.
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Old 04-25-2015, 05:52 AM   #8
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We have the foam and heat pads. We camped one night last fall when the temperature went down to 10F without any problems. We were plugged in with the heat pads on and we kept the inside temperature about 60F. We are glad to have the heat pads because it's one less thing to worry about.

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Old 04-25-2015, 06:54 AM   #9
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Spray foam was not even an option back when I bought.

For temps down to -5LC (23°F), and as long as daytime temps stay a ways above freezing, the foam is not necessary. We have had dozens of those nights over the past 6 years, with no frozen tanks.

The only issue I ever had was on Thanksgiving one year, wanting to drain the water system before leaving, as we were going to winterize, and the drain line was frozen a bit. Warmed it with my hands a bit, and in 5 minutes was draining.

Would I get it if buying new, I am not really sure. Sure, you can't do any mods underneath it, but with all the things I have done in 6 years, I never have done anything underneath. And, if needed, you could remove some, and replace sometime later.

I really doubt I would get the heat pads, though not sure about in the future. At this point of time, 95% of our camping is without hookups, so could not run them anyway.

If you were to camp during the middle of winter, say at a ski resort or the like, then the heat pads could be a good thing. If you did this though, would you not have to ensure your tanks were emptied fairly quickly afterwards to avoid freeze up, and where would you do it, not too many dump stations open in the middle of winter, I would suspect.
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Old 04-25-2015, 07:09 AM   #10
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Down to what temperatures will the spray insulation with heat pads keep the contents of the gray and black tanks from freezing ?. When headings South last winter we camped for several nights when the temps were well below zero but we did have electricity. Are the heat pads capable of thawing a frozen tank?
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Old 04-25-2015, 07:40 AM   #11
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We decided to get the spray foam and heat pads for similar reasons to others that the heat pads cannot be added later without a lot of messy work.

Our main consideration, where we live much of the year temperatures can drop below freezing, we plan on traveling quite a bit when we retire and are not sure what or where we will end up or when, We figured it was a convenient option that we might never use but if it was needed would be invaluable
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Old 04-25-2015, 08:07 AM   #12
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I had the heat pads and foam on my 19' Escape and found out they are temperature regulated and come on at 30 degrees and off at 40 degrees. You must be hooked to electric to use them as they use a lot of 12v juice to operate. They are only about 12x12 pad placed near the discharge. The spray foam however fully encapsulates the entire under carriage of the trailer, frame and all and protects and keeps the floor warmer. with the furnace on the floors are toasty. I dropped the 12v pad option on the 21' Escape but went with the foam spray. That option to me is a lot more beneficial.
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Old 04-25-2015, 09:57 AM   #13
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We have the heat pads and insulation, and definitely feel they are a good idea. They mostly get used at the ends of the season, when the trailer is in our driveway, but has not been winterized. There is some water in the system, and we want it to stay liquid.

Had we known during trailer construction, we would have requested separate switches for the separate pads. As it is right now, we have to have some water in the gray tank before turning the switch on to keep the fresh tank "warm", so as not to have issues with a heat pad on an empty tank.
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Old 04-25-2015, 11:18 AM   #14
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by KLRchickie View Post
We have the heat pads and insulation, and definitely feel they are a good idea. They mostly get used at the ends of the season, when the trailer is in our driveway, but has not been winterized. There is some water in the system, and we want it to stay liquid.

Had we known during trailer construction, we would have requested separate switches for the separate pads. As it is right now, we have to have some water in the gray tank before turning the switch on to keep the fresh tank "warm", so as not to have issues with a heat pad on an empty tank.
Is their a caution on pads on an empty tank? Had mine on the other night because I just dewinerized and filled the fresh but gray is empty.
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Old 04-25-2015, 12:01 PM   #15
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Is their a caution on pads on an empty tank? Had mine on the other night because I just dewinerized and filled the fresh but gray is empty.
Yes, the tank heat pads instructions caution against "engaging electrical power to the heater if the tank is empty".

Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing how much liquid in the tank is enough...
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Old 04-25-2015, 04:02 PM   #16
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This is our experience with heating pads and foam insulation after spending 6 weeks in Western US this past winter. If it is below freezing for an extended period of time and you are plugged in, the material in the tank will remain liquid due to the heating pad use. However, you will not be able to dump until the weather warms up for several days. This is why. Although the black tank is liquid, the route to the dump valve is through a 3' long 3" diamater pvc line which is insulated but not heated. Under sub freezing temps, the liquid in the pipe will freeze solid if it is just water and feces. Even if you "flush" with 100% pink stuff, it becomes a viscous "slushy" state and will not flow along that pipe. We had to pull our trailer into a heated garage for three days at 50 degrees to thaw it sufficently to dump. A possible solution to this might be to install another gate valve just under the black tank . This valve would be closed immediately after dumping such that the problematic pvc pipe remains empty until you are ready to dump. When dumping, you would open this valve, alowing the liquid contents of the black tank into the pvc pipe, then open the primary dump valve and dump normally. I have suggested this to Escape as a modification when you order the heated tanks but haven't heard back from them.

Regarding the use of tank heaters, while boondocking, I agree with others that the solar system will not provide sufficent power in the winter to use them.
Note this comment is for the 17' only. I don't know the specifics of the plumbing in the larger trailers.
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Old 04-25-2015, 04:47 PM   #17
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Insulation, but no pads

A couple of years ago when we got our first trailer we ordered the foam insulation and the heat pads. But Tammy called before construction began and mentioned that they had a customer who had been camping up the mountains while skiing. They were boon docking, so they couldn't use the heating pads. The temps got down to 15 degrees fahrenheit at night, but were above freezing during the days. Tammy said everything was fine. As a result we just got the insulation, and omitted the heating pads. We did the same when we got the 21 trailer.

When we bought the trailer home there was a cold spell in the Canadian Rockies where the temps went into the low 20s at night. And this spring we had several nights that were below freezing. But we have had no problems with the tanks freezing. If we bought another trailer, we would probably do the same.
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Old 04-25-2015, 05:31 PM   #18
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Sounds like I'm going to go with insulation only! Thanks
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Old 05-05-2015, 07:57 PM   #19
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A nice rug and wool socks will do it for me.
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Old 05-05-2015, 08:24 PM   #20
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Cork works too.
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