6 Reasons To Skirt Your RV This Winter

6 Reasons To Skirt Your RV This Winter

What’s the best way to keep my RV from freezing?

If you are going to winter in your RV and there is any risk for freezing temperatures, you are going to have to take extra steps to protect your rig.

Specifically, it is your pipes and tanks that will need added protection as they are the most vulnerable during a freeze.

The only exception is if you have an RV that comes with a four season or all weather package option.

These RVs have been modified to be able to withstand colder temperatures with options like enclosed tanks, thicker insulation, double pane windows and more.

However, there is no set industry standard for what makes an RV all weather or four season.

Some are built better than others, which means there are some all weather RVs that are not actually able to withstand freezing temperatures.

Unless you really know what you’re getting, you might not know if your RV was able to survive a cold winter until it was too late.

So even if you have an RV with an all weather package, you still may need to take extra precautions to prevent your rig from freezing.

And if you are like the majority of RV owners and don’t have one made for cold weather, you will definitely need to protect your RV.

If that sounds like you, then there is nothing you can do for your rig that is more important than skirting it before a freeze hits.

Skirting an RV means using a material to seal off the undercarriage.

RV skirts are not something that typically comes with an RV, so it has to be purchased and installed at the discretion of the owner.

If you are undecided about making the leap to get your RV skirted, here are the most important reasons why it’s a wise investment for you:

1: RV Skirting will protect your pipes and tanks

Your RV’s plumbing is what is going to need the most protection in cold weather.

If your pipes are exposed to the elements and the temperature dips below freezing, they are in danger of freezing.

If there’s any water in them they may burst, as water will expand before it freezes solid.

If your pipes burst, it can be very expensive to fix depending on the extent of the damage.

It would also mean going without water until everything was fixed.

Skirting your RV is the best way to protect your pipes and tanks from freezing.

The main function of skirting is to separate the air column underneath your RV.

If you can seal off the air underneath your RV from the air outside, you can warm up the enclosed air and it won’t dissipate.

The easiest and best way to keep things warm inside the skirting enclosure is to have two temperature controlled heaters on either end facing each other (use the kind that has a tip sensor so that if it does fall over, it will automatically shut off).

Also, save some hassle and invest in temperature monitors, so you can always know what the temperature is underneath your RV without having to crawl underneath to check.

2: Stay warmer and more comfortable

It goes without saying, but if the underside of your RV is warmer, the inside will be warmer too.

By keeping that air column under the RV separated and warmer, you gain an extra layer of insulation under the rig.

It works on the same principle as double pane windows.

By separating the air and sealing it off, it creates an air pocket that stops the cold from being transferred.

Your RV stays warmer and so does your floor.

3: Save on propane

A nice byproduct of protecting your RV with skirting is that as your RV stays warmer easier, you will end up spending less on propane.

Most RVs run furnaces on propane and chances are that you or someone you know has spent a winter or two going through propane tanks like water just to stay warm.

Add up enough tanks over the winter and it can get expensive.

Installing skirting will cut that cost down. Add that up over years and it can be a significant savings.

4: You can still use your tanks

If you’ve ever had to carry your own water to your RV multiple times a day, you know how much of a hassle that can be.

Trudging through the snow, carrying heavy jugs of water is not how anyone wants to spend the winter.

If your RV’s undercarriage is kept warm enough then you won’t have to worry about your tanks freezing.

However, there are some alterations that you will need to do to still be able to use your pipes and tanks.

For your water line, you will need to use either a heated hose or apply heat tape and insulation to your current hose.

Your also need to heat and insulate the spigot and any water supply piping as well, as that can freeze too.

 

Your own water connection will need to be heated as well. If it’s on the exterior of the RV then it will need to be insulated and heated.

If you have a wet bay it will need protection as well.

Some RV’s have a warm air duct that goes into the wet bay, which may be all you need.

If you have no such feature, you may want to use a small temperature controlled heater to keep everything from freezing.

The last area that will need to be protected is your sewer line.

Change out your hose, which can become brittle if it gets cold enough, and purchase a PVC pipe.

Heat and insulate the pipe to keep everything moving, and only dump your tank when necessary.

Now you won’t have to worry about making treks through sleet and snow just to use the bathroom.

5: Extra storage

Storage is a premium for any RV full timer, and one of the side benefits of skirting is that you can now use the underbelly of your RV for storage.

If you have a 5th wheel and skirt the hitch area, you instantly create a large storage area that’s perfect for all your summer toys.

If you order the EZ Snap 5th Wheel Hitch enclosure with the zipper door option, getting access to your hitch area is super fast and easy.

6: Tire protection

Something that doesn’t get mentioned enough with RVs is how important it is to protect your tires.

One of the most common problems for RVs that don’t get moved very often is that it’s tires can get dry rot.

Dry rot is when the tires dry out and crack, making them unsafe.

One of the reasons dry out occurs is because there are compounds in the rubber that get released as the tire is used that keep it supple.

When a tire sits in one spot for an extended period of time and is exposed, it can dry out and reduce it’s lifespan significantly.

However, if a tire is covered and protected from UV and the elements, it can slow that process down.

Skirting your RV covers your tires and in the process will help extend their life.

What to use for RV skirting?

The good and bad news is that there are no shortage of RV skirting options available on the market.

This can mean spending a lot of time doing research online and still not know if you’ve picked the right kind of skirting.

And if you want to build your skirting yourself, there’s no real consensus on the best materials to use.

One of the most popular choices is plywood, as it’s fairly inexpensive and sturdy.

It has some drawbacks though.

It’s big and heavy, so it’s the kind of thing you would probably have to leave behind if you were to move your RV to another site.

Some RV campgrounds have rules against using plywood as skirting (as well as other materials, so always double check before committing to any skirting option).

Plywood also doesn’t flex and because it sits right up against the RV, it can scratch the exterior as the RV moves.

Two other common DIY RV Skirting options are hay bales and rigid insulation panels.

These can work depending on your situation, but they both have their flaws.

The hay bales are a serious fire hazard, can attract vermin and are only usable for one season.

Rigid insulation is like plywood in that it can be an effective solution, but because it’s so light it needs to be attached to a frame or it can easily blow away.

The practical solution for most RVers is to buy vinyl skirting.

It’s lightweight, adjustable and portable, so it can be rolled up and taken with you.

There are a lot of different RV vinyl skirting options to choose from.

There are companies that will build you a custom skirt. These are usually made on site, with the RV right there to make sure everything fits just the way it should.

The biggest drawback of these skirts is that they can be very expensive, running into the thousands of dollars.

Turnaround time is also slow, with bookings having to be made months in advance.

The option that offers the best in performance, portability and price is EZ Snap RV Skirting.

Using the RV Skirting calculator that’s on the site, you can quickly find out what size kit you need for your RV and how much it will cost.

The kits ship quickly, so there’s no need to panic if you weren’t prepared for an early winter.

It will fit any make, model or class of RV, Motorhome, Travel Trailer, Airstream and even tiny homes.

EZ Snap is made to be able to be installed by anyone, no matter your skill level.

Because you are doing the installation, you also save significantly on what it would cost for the labor for a custom skirt.

And once winter is over, all you have to do is unsnap it, roll it up and store it away for next year.

No matter which skirting option you choose, remember that it may seem like a large investment, but the cost and hassle of having broken pipes and tanks far outweighs the cost of skirting.

 

Don’t Replace Your Old Windows With Low-E Glass (Here’s What You Can Do Instead)

Don’t Replace Your Old Windows With Low-E Glass (Here’s What You Can Do Instead)

Imagine losing $1000 from your income every single year.

For most American households, that’s roughly how much it will cost to heat and cool their home for the year.

That adds up, especially when every dollar counts.

It’s no surprise that people are looking for ways to save on energy costs.

Typically, windows are the worst energy culprits on any given house.

Heat gain and heat loss through windows account for between 25%-30% of a home’s energy use for heating and cooling.

If a window has failing seals, it will perform even worse.

Even the type of the window frame can affect energy performance.

If the window frame is made from a material that is a poor insulator, such as aluminum, it can create what’s known as a thermal bridge and conduct heat from inside the house to outside. 

One inefficient window can lose as much heat as 10 to 20 times what an insulated wall would lose.

Even if your window is new and well sealed, it could still be the cause for a lot of energy use in your home.

Solar energy is still able to pass through glass, so even an insulated window can heat up a room quickly if it gets a lot of sun.

In the dead heat of summer, having even just one window or skylight that gets a lot of sun exposure can mean the AC is running all day just to cool the room off.

So What Can Be Done?

The most common recommendation to make old windows more energy efficient is to replace them entirely with new, low-e windows.

Low-e windows are windows that have been treated with a film that reflects solar heat while still letting natural light pass through.

With less solar heat entering the home, the AC no longer has to work as hard to keep the house cool.

The less energy the AC uses, the more savings there are for the homeowner.

Is replacing old windows with new ones worth the cost?

There will be energy savings from replacing old windows with new, low-e glass windows but it comes with a substantial upfront cost.

The National Association of Realtors estimates the cost of replacing every window in a 2,450 square foot house to be around $19,000.

For a household trying to save money in energy bills, that’s a very large investment with a slow return.

What are some more cost effective alternatives to replacing an old window?

The most important thing to do with old windows is stop any exchange of air between the inside and outside of your house.

For drafty windows, using a product like rope caulk to seal up any holes can make a major improvement.

Plastic film insulation is another popular and effective solution for sealing up older windows.

Both options are inexpensive and simple enough for anyone to apply.

For windows that get a lot of sun exposure, a quick and easy way to make them more energy efficient is to mount exterior shade mesh on them (also called shade screen or solar screen/mesh/fabric).

There are a lot of different kinds of shade mesh available, but they all work by the same principle.

It’s a mesh fabric, and like low-e glass, it works by blocking solar heat and light, while still letting natural light through.

Unlike low-e glass, which is a film that’s been applied to the glass, solar mesh is installed on the exterior of the window.

Applying the shade screen to the outside of a window is key for it’s ability to keep a room cool.

If it’s applied to the inside of a window it will still work but not nearly as well.

If it’s mounted on the inside the screen will still provide shade from the sun, but the energy savings will be significantly less because the heat will be trapped inside the house.

If you are considering shade screens for your home and don’t know which one to choose, the easiest and best option is EZ Snap.

They sell do-it-yourself kits that let you mount and cut your mesh to your window, no matter it’s size or shape.

EZ Snap is also a fraction of the cost of what you would pay to buy and install new windows.

You save on the price of the product, and because you are able to install it yourself, you save on labor as well.

EZ Snap shade screen is also better at blocking solar heat than low-e glass.

The effectiveness of heat blocking applications for windows is measured by the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC).

The SHGC is the amount of solar radiation (heat) that transmits through a window.

It’s measured between 0 and 1, and the less solar heat that transmits through a window, the lower a window’s SHGC number is going to be.

There are a lot of low-e glass makes and models, but the range of SHGC for most of them from varies between 0.60 – 0.25. 

Shade mesh from EZ Snap has a SHGC of .18.

Something else to consider is that low-e windows are known to damage turf and siding.

In the right conditions, the solar heat that they reflect can focus into a hot spot creating a magnifying glass effect that melts anything in its path.

The problem is becoming so rampant with the rising popularity of low-e windows that one scientist is calling them, “the next asbestos.”

If you or your neighbor has a low-e window that is damaging property, EZ Snap is also the ideal solution.

Rather than replace the entire window, installing EZ Snap window shade over the problem window provides a fast and effective fix.

The solar heat is reflected off of the mesh before it ever reaches the window, preventing any chance of a hot spot forming.

The result is 100 percent effective and can be installed in as little as an afternoon.

An added benefit to an exterior shade product like EZ Snap is that it’s also removable. So, when the winter months come you can take it off and benefit from the natural heating you get with the sun.

It’s like getting free heat in the winter.

No matter which window option you choose to make your home more energy efficient, it’s important to do your research before making a final decision. 

You want to make sure that you are going to be getting the maximum return for your investment.

Replacing your windows might be worth the cost, or it might make more sense to invest in solutions that are able to make your existing windows more energy efficient.

 

How To Block Skylight Heat – Top Four Fixes For Under $100

How To Block Skylight Heat – Top Four Fixes For Under $100

Need To Cover Your Hot Skylight?

Here’s How To Beat The Heat On A Budget

While they are known for keeping things bright, skylights also have a dark side.

With all the light they let it in skylights can heat up a room to the point where it becomes an abandoned part of your home.

The cause for your hot house is called the greenhouse effect: light comes in, heats up your room and then has nowhere else to go. Which would be fine if you were growing tomatoes in your living room, but chances are you’re not.

Even with the AC on max some rooms just can’t be cooled, and the sun’s rays can also cause your furniture and floors to fade.

We’ve compiled a list of the top four DIY ways to cool your skylight and get your house back.

 

1. Paint over your skylight

This one is as simple as it sounds. The key to cooling a hot skylight is to stop the sun before it gets through the glass.

If you can block the light, you can block the heat. Painting over your skylight will stop light from getting through and will keep for your house much cooler for just the cost of a can of paint.

The main drawback with painting your skylight is that it is a fairly permanent fix. Scraping paint off is time consuming and you will undoubtedly be left with more than a few scratches on your glass.

Depending on how hot your room is getting though, this may be a sacrifice you are willing to make.

 

2. Tarp it up

A quick and easy fix that is by far the cheapest of all your options. Simply buy a blue tarp that is several feet longer than your skylight. Lay it over top of the skylight so that it is completely covered and pin down the excess fabric using bricks. It’s a fast, cheap and easy skylight cover.

You’ll still get some ambient light coming through and most of the heat will be stopped, but expect your room to have a blue tinge.

Depending on how visible your skylight is from the street, you may also have the neighborhood eyesore on your roof all season. Once summer’s over, it’s only a matter of picking up the bricks and rolling up your tarp and you get your skylight back without a whole lot of trouble.

 

3. Board it up

This method requires the most amount of skill, but it’s the only one that doesn’t involve a trip to the roof. You will need to buy and cut a piece of foam insulation board that will fit snugly into your skylight shaft opening.

Then, along the outside of the insulation board attach weather stripping. This will ensure a tight fit that you can push in or take out depending on the weather.

This one make take some trial and error as you will need to cut the foam board to just the right size so it is just big enough to squeeze into the opening and effectively pinning itself in place.

The biggest drawback with this method is that you are now trapping all the heat between the skylight and the insulation. This heat can build up to the point that your seals could fail or your glass could crack, so proceed with caution.

 

4. EZ Snap Skylight Shades

EZ Snap Raised Skylight Exterior Blinds

EZ Snap is a solar mesh that attaches to the outside of your skylight that is proven to block up to 90 percent of the sun’s heat. It still lets in lots of natural light, plus it’s affordable and a breeze to install. 

First, measure the size of your skylight and then order the appropriate kit from https://ezsnapdirect.com/products/skylight-shades/.

Once the kit comes, no special tools are needed to install. Simply attach your mounting studs to the frame and then attach the mesh to the studs using the pins and caps included in the kit. Once it’s on it can be left on all year round.

If you want some direct sun in those cooler months you can also easily unsnap the mesh and store it away until next year.

Whichever method you choose to combat your sizzling skylight, know that the US Department of Energy concluded that exterior blinds and shades are up to seven times more effective at stopping heat from entering the home than interior blinds or window tinting.