Even though our 5th wheel has a well insulated belly pan you can still lose a lot of heat when wind runs underneath. We also wanted the skirting to double as storage and a make shift root cellar. As I’ve stated before- I came into this with no construction skills whatsoever which made this a painfully long project. Winter was closing in fast and we were starting to feel the pressure. Our youngest daughter was transferring to Northern Arizona University at the beginning of January and we had made irreversible arrangements to be moved in to the trailer the same week.
I used 12″ spikes to hold treated 2×6’s to the ground so I could build the frame work from the ground up. It was important not to attach to the trailer in anyway as we’ll need to sell this down the line and likely use the money to finish the house.
This framework also made it possible to roll the plastic up to keep water from getting trapped underneath.
I used T-111 to make the side panels. Looking back, it would have been easier to use RV specific metal skirting.
I used a airless paint sprayer to cover each panel individually so I would have to worry about overspray on the 5th wheel.
Amy caulked everything while I re-assembled.
Insulated rolls of bubble wrap provide a air gap to help out.
Now all the plumbing is safe from freezing and our propane use went way down immediately. This picture tells the story.
28 degree outside temp, 46 degrees under the trailer, 54 by the cat boxes in the storage area and 66 degrees inside the trailer.
Speaking of catboxes…… One final project to make life with 2 cats in a trailer more pleasant was a venting system for the catboxes. I had planned on making this a much nicer install but was just out of time. We used 4″ SDR 35 pipe left over from the septic install to pull the dust and smell from right above the catboxes and routed through trailer to the opposite side of where we grill and eat outdoors.
I wanted a 12 volt exhaust fan so I could wire direct to the batteries without needing to run the inverter all the time. A standard boat bilge blower seemed to be the right fit for the ducting idea and at a total draw of 2.5 amps would be easy enough on the battery power if I ran it 24/7. Right out of the box we gave it some power and I was instantly reminded how noisy these blowers are and how much vibration they make. We changed up the design a bit to compensate. We isolated the blower with flex hose and screwed it to a chunk of railroad tie, not connected to the trailer in any way. Then ordered a 12 volt speed control from ebay. This allows us to adjust the fan speed until we found the right combination of air movement, noise and power consumption. We’ve got it down to @1 amp and there is zero cat box smell in the trailer. An added bonus is the system draws heated air from inside to the catbox area and keeps them a bit more comfortable while doing business.