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Author Topic: Heating  (Read 768 times)


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« on: December 27, 2017, 10:43:06 PM »
Hello, We have a 39 foot 5th wheel and are living in it in northern Idaho.  Our temperatures have gotten very cold.  Our unit has a fireplace and we have a portable heater that we use also.  We are trying not to use the main furnace too much to conserve on propane.  I was wanting to find a portable heater that is more than 1500 watts so we could just use it for heating and save on our electric usage.  Our bill has gone through the roof.  If anybody has any suggestions, I would love to hear them.  Thank you!!


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Re: Heating
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2017, 11:06:11 PM »
This winter is unseasonable cold in many places, even TX where we are.  In a FW is northern Idaho.  OMG.  Sorry for you.  You are a brave man.Some people put hay or other things as a skirt on the outside.  I have used a couple of space heaters at the same time when staying in a cold place.  Hope you find a way to get warmer.
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Re: Heating
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2017, 11:22:39 PM »
I dont know how you are doing it without the furnace running a lot. I was in temps down to 7 degrees and burned 30 pounds a day and ran an electric cube heater. I also boxed in the front tank area with that black fiber type panel from Home depot and ran a heater under there at night with my generator. One way or the other you are going to use propane or electricity. You might try to skirt it in with foam panels or cover windows with that bubble stuff. We also hung a blanket over the door at night. Pay attention to moisture and possible mold. I had a lot of water running off the windows.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Heating
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2017, 08:48:25 AM »
Portable heaters are limited to 1500 watts because that's all that a typical wall outlet can safely deliver with the heater running for more than a few minutes at a time. 1500 watts @ 120v is a power draw of 12.5A and standard wall outlets have a peak (short time) rating of 15A. Likewise, the circuit breaker that feeds it is limited to 15A max.

Further, a larger electric heater just consumes more electricity - you pay by the kilowatt regardless. It won't help your heating costs at all. A heat pump can help, if the temperatures are high enough for them to function, but RV heat pumps generally deliver little heat below about 38 degrees F.

The only real solution to the heating problem is to improve insulation, primarily around windows and skylights. Skirting under the RV can also help by reducing heat loss through the subfloor and cargo areas. Insert insulating "pillows" in the 14x14 skylights, make something similar for the big shower skylight if you have one, and cover some or all windows with a bubble-type sheet insulation.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 08:50:36 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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Re: Heating
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2017, 09:28:59 AM »
    Unless your unit is “winterized”, you will need to run the “forced-air” heat some to keep the basement area ( tanks and plumbing) warm! Unless your unit is pretty well insulated and has dual pane windows, you will use a lot of propane. On a recent 3 week, boondocking trip (hunting), we had many nights in single digits. According to my math we used approximately 16 pounds of propane per day. Skirting and insulating the windows would certainly have reduced our propane/ battery consumption, but we were only staying for a few weeks!

     If you will stay at one location....skirting, insulating widows ( quilted foil, good insulation and easy to work with) you don’t really need to look out of, insulate the roof vents (Fantastic Fan) opening. Many units have thin (minimal insulation) on storage bay doors...use the quilted foil here also. You can also easily double it’s thickness, for additional. Doubled...it will still only be about 1/2” thick.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 10:54:25 AM by Memtb »
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Re: Heating
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2017, 12:28:51 PM »
You won't asve anything with a larger heater. All electric heaters are 100% efficient. A 3000 watt, 220 volt heater, or two 1500 watt, 120 volt heaters, or even twenty 150 watt heaters will all use precisely the same amount of electricity.

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Re: Heating
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2017, 05:44:09 PM »
You won't asve anything with a larger heater. All electric heaters are 100% efficient. A 3000 watt, 220 volt heater, or two 1500 watt, 120 volt heaters, or even twenty 150 watt heaters will all use precisely the same amount of electricity.
And produce the same amount of heat

All very sound advise. 
Get a large propane tank to reduce refill runs?
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Re: Heating
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2017, 07:43:53 PM »

Or head south.   ;D :D ;)
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Re: Heating
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2017, 02:17:35 PM »
Since you seem to be primarily concerned with saving propane, you might want to look into getting a catalytic LP heater. We have one that we use when boondocking (a Mr. Heater Big Buddy) and it puts out a lot of heat on its high setting (18,000 BTU) yet it only sips propane compared to a typical RV furnace.

My parents full-timed in a large 5th wheel for years, often in very cold parts of the country, and their primary heat source was an Olympic catalytic LP heater. They can be used without power from the RV's batteries, so they're great for boondocking, and most of them can be run off those little disposable propane bottles. Some larger models are also designed to run off an RV's LP tank. That's how ours is set up.

They are indoor safe, but it's a good idea to leave vents or a window cracked. One down-side of catalytic LP heaters is that they emit a fair amount of moisture when operating, especially on max heat. In really cold weather, you can expect condensation to form on your windows, especially on high, but the cracked window and/or vents helps a lot.

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Re: Heating
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2017, 04:57:40 PM »
Since you are living in Idaho I would suggest contacting the local LP provider and see what size LP tank saves you money.

Around here if we want to button up for winter, we stop the heat loss by the afore mentioned skirting, window insolation and blankets, but there is really not much you can do if your TT is not a 4 season unit. They are just not made very air tight. 

Depending on your situation and cost of electric and LP, you may want to shut the TT down and rent a room in town. That is what some of the construction workers do around here. They RV in the warm weather and motel in the cold if the job lasts that long.

Good luck