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Author Topic: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.  (Read 5073 times)

zeromodz

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College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« on: December 30, 2013, 10:47:17 AM »
Hi, I just moved out of my parents to go to college. My parents bought me a 2006 Max lite camper trailer to live in while I go to college. Everything seems good except for I am having a problem with heating. I am on a tight budget so I need to know the cheapest and easiest way to live.

Propane is almost 4 dollars a gallon and I have 2 tanks which have a 5 gallon capacity. Its only me in this small trailer, but I like to have atleast one hot shower a day with some adequate heating. I'm not planning to use the stove much at all if any. So a quick question is how long will 2 tanks support me? I don't take much. After I know that I can figure out how much this will cost me. It costs roughly 17 dollars to refill a tank.

Another option is buying a big electric heater. Maybe I can get one at walmart for like 200 -250. I wouldn't mind getting the electric heater because I wouldn't have to change the propane as much cause I would only be using it for hot water. However, my camper is only a 30 AMP trailer and I have my computer, TV, modem, router, clock, microwave, and phone charger to think about. I am willing to alternate between these items, but how much can I have on while using my electric heater because that looks like a lot of electricity? Also, what would happen if I used to much? Will I lose my power because i think I have fuses in my electric box. I'm not an electrician and I am not sure how easy it is to replace fuses.

Any advice would be helpful. Thanks
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 10:49:24 AM by zeromodz »

zeromodz

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2013, 10:49:55 AM »
Anybody?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 10:51:45 AM by zeromodz »

Molaker

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2013, 11:04:15 AM »
How big is your trailer and how cold does it get where you are?  We used a small electric heater in our 32 ft. class C and set the furnace on a low level to kick in if the heater couldn't keep up.  As for heating water, for about $100 you can get an electric heating element that installs in the water heater drain plug.  Then you can heat water with electricity (some wiring required).
 
Edit: You don't need a $200 heater.  You s/b able to find a good heater for less than $50.  For the most part, within the trailer, a heater is a heater and there is little difference in the output watt for watt.  Many folks like ceramic heaters (so do I) for safety.  Regardless of your choice, you will be limited to a 15 amp max heater.  Then, if you add an electric element to your water heater, you may have to operate only one device at a time or risk popping a circuit breaker.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 11:13:54 AM by Molaker »
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Tom Hoffman

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2013, 11:22:19 AM »
When ever we are in a RV park where there is no extra charge for electric,  we use 1 or 2 electric heaters.  We have a 34" TT w/2  slides.    If you are going to be in a fixed location for the whole time you are in school, call a Propane Dealer who sells bulk heating propane and lease a 100 gallon or a 250 gallon and have them fill it.  It will cost much less per gallon by buying bulk,  it should be the going market price for home heating rate.  They will also bring out and make all the connections so you are assured of no leaks and they deliver the fuel when you need more.  Right now at my home location in Iowa, we just had our 500 gallon filled. it took 350 gallons and it was $1.33 per.  Since we are not there much in the winter,  that fill will last us 2-3 years.

In a TT you will burn more, but you should be able to get by for the winter by figuring out how much time it takes to burn 5 gallons and calculate out from there.

BTW,  our tank lease is approx. $35 per year.  You could also look at buying a used bulk tank on Craigs List Look in the farm and garden area.

As an example,  here is a place where you can buy a used 250 gallon tank for $250.00 (scroll down).  When you are done with the tank,  you could sell it for the same.  Used tanks have been going for a dollar a gallon for the past 40 years.

http://blueflamegascompany.com/tanks
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 11:25:28 AM by Tom Hoffman »
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Wigpro

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2013, 11:24:25 AM »
I am in a small 5th wheel travel trailer and heat with an oil filled radiator style heater - totally silent miser on electric  - I am 30 am also and no problems....the heater is slow to heat up but once heated keeps my little trailer comfortable - I have had it down to 12 below and survived....

That would be my suggestion - are you paying electric or is it supplied???

The heater I use is this one: HERE!

Good Luck - get some hay bails and surround the bottom of the trailer - it will keep air from blowing under the trailer and will help immensely with the floor temperature. Also cover the windows on the outside with clear shrink film - will help seal the windows from heat loss....

Dress Warm!!

Good Luck!

Jim
Full time traveler, fishing guide and photographer!

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Website: www.captainjimlucas.com

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halfwright

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2013, 11:28:04 AM »
Another option would be a propane catylitic heater. They are 100% efficent coompared to 70% with your furnace. But, then you would have humidity and oxygen depletion to worry about.
The only heavy draw item you mentioned (other than a heater) was a microwave. I think an oil-filled electric heater would be enough, with quick warm-ups from the furnace.

Also, try to insulate the bottom of your trailer. Put plastic or bubble wrap on your windows and hang a blanket over your door.














 
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Lowell

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2013, 11:43:20 AM »
You might also consider an electric blanket so you don't have to heat the whole trailer when you are sleeping.
Lowell
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jagnweiner

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2013, 02:12:24 PM »
What part of the country will you be living in?  Do you know yet where you are parking the trailer?
-Scott
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donn

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2013, 02:25:01 PM »
Last week was pretty mild for a winter week and we still burned about 3 gallons of gas Plus our electric heater.  When it was colder and the wind was blowing we burned about 10-14 gallons a week.  What part of the country are you in>  What is the average outside temps?

jje1960

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2013, 03:24:46 PM »
As with the others, a couple of questions... How cold is your area?  Main reason for asking, your grey / black and possibly fresh water tank will need to be considered.  A 1500W oil based radiator type heater and a small fan will go a very long way toward comfort, however any heater that does not take care of your tanks could present a problem.  With your 30amp electric, I wouldnt worry about overload, even while using the microwave.  Those small 20Ibs tanks will not be lasting long with using the furnace and be a pain to constantly change / fill - expense...
Jim
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briguy1981

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2013, 05:15:06 PM »
Last winter my dad and I put up insulation around the trailer and ran an extension cord from the house, using 15 amp I believe, I was using an electric heater only at night, and attempted to use the propane until one of the tanks went out.  Living on a very tight budget I had no extra money to fill it, and just used electric, it ended up getting down to the 20's inside.

We installed a 30 amp box on the side of and now it is diverted so if anyone needs to stay in the trailer it will keep up with the heater, I got an EdenPure heater my parents bought at Costco in the shed right now, and a friend of my moms is staying in the trailer until she gets a place, she bought a similar heater for $100 at TrueValue, you can set the temp so they keep it nice for you and don't have to worry about the reheating all the time.  Also from what little I have read you don't have to worry as much about them drying out the air.

Bob Maxwell

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2013, 09:19:04 PM »
Audit a gym class every semister and take your shower there. ;) I supervised the help desk at a UNM branch for 8 years and used the wellness center with free showers a lot. ::)

I wintered in a class C in Holbrook/Winslow AZ and seven years later in Omaha. If you can get a big tank, I DID IN OMAHA, do it and keep your hot water turned way down. If you have a sewer drain connection, drip the hot & cold water with the gray water sewer drain open, sewerhose and water hose hot tape wrapped, every night. Always insulate the windows simple with plastic sheet & duct tape. Insulation in the crank out vents. Keep one that you can crack to let OUT misture build up. Use the stove vent if you dont want to open a roof vent 1/8". Electric mattress pad, not blanket -more efficient. You can do it!  :)
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 09:20:38 PM by Bob Maxwell »
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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2020, 01:21:37 AM »
In most cases your problem is solved by using a small electric heater. May I ask why you chose to live in a camper trailer while being at college? Are the dorms there so expensive? My friends lived in a trailer for the first year and I can't say they've enjoyed that time: sometimes it was too cold even with electric heater working and they didn't have a shower...



Kevin Means

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2020, 01:59:29 AM »
Hi Richard. The OP posted the question nearly 7 years ago, so I doubt they're going to respond.

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rbrdriver

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2020, 02:23:14 AM »
By now he has already graduated or froze to death....................... ???
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Rene T

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Re: College Student living in camper. Need advice on heating.
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2020, 04:05:11 AM »
Even so,welcome to the forum.
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