I will soon be divorced, and live in a 3200 sf house. My plans are to sell the house, buy a fifth wheel and live in it. I have the land, well and septic tank are going in now. I thought about building a smaller house, but the idea of having a house on wheels is very appealing. My only concern is what the utility bills would likely be, I live in NC and most of the winters are fairly mild, high 20's low 30's, the summers can get pretty hot, around 100, just don't want a 400.00 dollar utility bill. Any help would be appreciated.
Tough to make a guess on what your utility bills might run. If you're on shady hilltop with a good breeze, you may not have to turn on the AC. During winter, temps in the 20s and 30s will feel much colder inside an RV. You should check into skirting the RV and contacting your local propane company for a large tank.
Besides the utilities, it's likely that RV maintenance will be the next major portion of your budget. Not so much the first year or 2 if you buy new and don't move it. More as it starts to age, whether it's for repairs or preventive maintenance.
Joe and Dakota, the wacko cat
2006 Dodge 3500 QC CTD SRW Jacobs Exhaust brake
2006 Heartland Bighorn 3600RL, MorRyde suspension, TrailAir pinbox http://happykayakers.com/blogger/
Because of differences in construction standards, most RVs will use more energy to heat and cool than a manufactured home twice the size. The differences are in construction standards, and in required efficiency levels for heating and cooling appliances. There are no high-efficiency RV furnaces or air conditioners on the market, comparable to minimum legal efficiencies for residential units.
At 100 F in the summer, in full sunlight, you may find that your RV does not cool down to your comfort level even with two air conditioners running without stopping (Oklahoma summer RV experience). That, of course, would depend on your comfort level, will you sit OK in your 85 degree house, or do you need it to be 70?
Whether that translates to a $400 utility bill any particular month, will depend on utility rates. I avoid utility bill shock by participating in a bill averaging plan.
You can keep a RV a lot cooler in the summer by keeping it under a shed, to keep sunlight off, if there is enough air flowing through the shed to move the super-heated air out.
Shade is your Summer friend, sun in the Winter. Position your rig accordingly and it will make a significant difference. A treed area where those same trees will shed their leaves in the Fall might be ideal, presuming your snowfall events are not significant where you need roof protection.
If you are in the Piedmont or near the coast and have at least a Snowbird unit, you'll be fine during winter. Obviously, more propane is used for the furnace to keep the plumbing operational on those nights below freezing. Above freezing, I use electric heaters. But, I can't give you even a best guess estimate for electrical costs due to moving so often. During the winter, I use about 30#s of propane a month in the Carolinas.
I've wintered around Charlotte in previous years and spent this past winter between Goldsboro and Shelby, NC staying in Federal/City/County parks. Even with sewer hook-ups, I use the bath house for showers, which reduces propane use as well. Moving every two weeks to a month due to work, I've paid a flat campground rate and subsequently no monthly electric bill.
As an aside, I'd triple check the zoning ordinances in the county where you wish to reside in an RV on your land. N.C. planners are taking cues from the National Planners Assoc. and becoming more restrictive in land use. It would be a shame to incur the expense to pipe in electric/water & sewer to the property and not be able to use it for your intended purpose. Good luck.
If it were me and I was not going to move the 5er or travel in it. I would get one of the manufactured loft homes, it would be a lot more comfortable living in that. I've seen some nice ones that are one bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living area. I think some of them you can put a stackable washer in dryer in too.