Motorhome Heating & Water Heating Means

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Mick & Pat

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In today's modern American RV is the water and inside heated, just by gas (LPG) or duel fuel, electric and gas?

The reason I ask is that the vast majority of European motorhomes and caravans have dual fuel water heaters and 'blow air' heaters that will work on either mains electric or LPG.

It would seem silly to be on a campsite at which you are paying several dollars for your electric hookup as well as having to supply your own LPG to heat your water and the RV,or is this the 'norm' in America?

I have just today in a British American RV magazine seen an advertisement for 'Hot Rod Water Heater Kits'. The kits for Atwood and Suburban 6 gallon gas water heaters claim the device fits via the drain plug and is for 110volts -500 watt and 220volts-600 watt.

By the way I have never heard of either of those makes of water heaters so can I take it that the vast majority of American RVs have one or the other installed?
 

Mick & Pat

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Earl,

Thanks for that reply, it was in some of the threads I'd read either on this or another RVing forum I was beginning to think that the water and inside of the RV were only heated by LPG.

Here in the UK and Europe most campsite include in their charges the cost of the electric hook up, in the UK most are 16amps ??? yes you read that correct 16 amps.

In France and Spain the normal electric supply is around 5 amps down to 3 amps,boy oh boy to have 50amps like you guys get.

Also the vast majority of sites also charge you a fixed price per day for the electricity very few are on a meter. Last year we stayed for 7 months in Spain on a site where you could choose either a fixed electric price or a meter,we choose a meter to keep the cost down and used Spanish bottle gas (very cheap) to heat the caravan and cook on.

 

Tom

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Mick,

Most RV water heaters are like Earl's - electric and LPG. Some coach manufacturers also offer 2 electric heating elements in the water heater as an option.

Yes, Atwood and Suburban are the two common brands here in the U.S.

For the benefit of some readers, your 16 amps is at 240 volts. Most, but not all, RVs here have 110 volt appliances, although they may have two 110 volt legs being powered.

Many/most campgrounds include electricity in the price of the camp site, but some charge extra.
 

Tom

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Oops, forgot to mention that most RVs also have heat pumps in the ceiling, but they only work when the outside temperature is within certain limits. Propane is the most efficient heating source when it's really cold.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The water heating question has been adequately addresses, so on to the house heating part.

The standard house heater is a LPG furnace that does not have an electric heat option like the water heaters do. Most RVers carry one or more small, portable, electric heaters (usually the ceramic type, for safety reasons) to take advantage of the electrical power on the site.  Some RVs also  have electric powered central heat via the house air conditioning system. This is in the form of either a heat pump (reverse cycle a/c) or electric heat strips in the a/c air handling system. Either one provides nice warm air heating via the RVs a/c ducts.  Some RVs have both a heat pump and strips, since the heat pump does not supply much heat below about 38-40 degrees F. [4 C.].

Our 50A service is at 240V and therefore  about 3x your 16A service. The more common 30A service is at 120 VAC and therefore roughly equivalent in power (watts) to your 16A.
 

KodiakRV

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I think the "most RVs" that Tom is talking about are the bigger Class A motorhomes.  I have a medium-high-end Class C and its water heater and furnace are LP only.  It has an air-conditioner in the roof, but not a heat pump.
 

Terry A. Brewer

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Mick

My coach heats the water 4 ways...propane, elec, diesel furnace & by the coach engine while driving down he road.  Interior heat is by diesel hydronic furnace or elec heat pumps.

 

ArdraF

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And then there's another alternative that uses diesel if you have a diesel motorhome.  It's called Aqua Hot or Hydro Hot.  With these your water is heated using electricity or diesel or both simultaneously.  Aqua Hot heats your water as well as heating your motorhome.

Also, even with the Aqua Hot we have a propane tank because we need propane for other uses such as the refrigerator (it switches between electric or propane) and our stove/oven.  Our refrigerator switches automatically between electric and gas, depending on whether we're on shore power or not.

Some campgrounds here charge extra for electricity in the summer when we want to use our air conditioners, but not all do.  I've also heard of some that charge extra if you have your own washer and dryer but we've not yet encountered one.  They sometimes charge extra for cable TV and the big thing now is Wi-Fi which ranges from free (many of them) to $5.00/day (very few of them).  Charges also vary according to whether you get full hookups (electric, water, and sewer) or perhaps just water and electric.  I think there's as much variation as there are campgrounds!

ArdraF

 

Mick & Pat

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Terry & ArdraF

Those means of heating sound great,as we intend buying a new class A diesel pusher something like a Monaco Diplomat or Fleetwood Bounder we should get what I want.

Thanks again guys  :) :) :) :)
 

Tom

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Mick,

The AquaHot and other diesel heating/water systems are a great option and I'm glad Terry and Ardra brought them up. But they need to be installed at the factory. So be sure to look for that option on any coach you buy. I've heard of folks who've retrofitted them, but the RV dealer we bought our coach from wouldn't even talk about it.
 

Clay L

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And there is one more option that a lot of Winnebago's have - don't know about other makes. My motor home has a hot water heating loop from the engine coolant that heats the water through a heat exchanger while we are driving. It also supplies heat for the back part of the motor home while driving when desired.
 

Mick & Pat

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Clay,

That bit of information is very interesting and the sort of stuff that isn't mentioned in the manufacturers sales brochure. Did you know of this before you purchased the RV or whilst owning it?
 

Shayne

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One heck of a difference between a Monaco Diplomat and Bounder.  Bounder is an entry level unit whereas a Diplomat is up there a ways in stature.  Both are Fleetwoods, the ranking from lower to upper, Bounder, Southwind, Pace Arrow, Monaco, American.  Probably more than that but those are the old standard rankings.  I know others won't agree, but Inever buy new and would rather have a 3 to5 year old Diplomat than a new Bounder.  IMO a much superior unit.  But then I'd rather have an AMerican Dream or an Allegro Bay than either of the afore mentioned.  JMHO
 

Ned

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The Motor Aid is a feature of some model water heaters, but the motor home has to have the plumbing to use it.  We found it of limited value and when we replaced our water heater last spring, we didn't get the Motor Aid as it would have entailed a long delay to get that model and we didn't feel we'd miss it.  We don't, as we can get hot water very quickly using just the propane and/or the electric heating elements.  I wouldn't consider the Motor Aid a primary feature when shopping.

The auxiliary heat (as it's called on our Endeavor) is nice, however.  On those cold morning when you're traveling, it uses a fan to blow warm air from the engine into the rear bedroom and nicely supplements the dash heat.

The two features are unrelated.
 

Karl

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Mick,
I have just today in a British American RV magazine seen an advertisement for 'Hot Rod Water Heater Kits'. The kits for Atwood and Suburban 6 gallon gas water heaters claim the device fits via the drain plug and is for 110volts -500 watt and 220volts-600 watt.
I just bought a Hott Rod (spelling is correct) electric element for my Atwood w/h, and will install it today. It's meant to eliminate the need for propane when hooked up to shore power, but realistically it can't provide the recovery rate of a propane flame, so you should consider it supplemental to the propane. Incidentally, the 120VAC models are rated at 675 watts for the 10 gallon size, and 400 watts for the 6 gallon size. They come with their own thermostat which can be set to about 110 to 140 deg.F, and have a safety cutoff of 170 deg.F.

For regular heating, some rv'ers also use portable or permanent-mount catalytic propane heaters. They're available from about 3,000 btu's to 10,000 btu's. They're great for area heating nighttime use when you don't want to hear a blower cycling on and off. Because they are radiant heaters (foor the most part; some have small blowers built in), heating a large area may require a small fan or blower to circulate the warm air. I use a 12VDC, 5" computer fan to do that. Still very quiet. 
 

ArdraF

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Mick,

Our Aqua Hot is in a Monaco Executive.  It's a pricey option, but most of us who have them say we'd never want to go back to the "old fashioned" heating system.  It's like air leveling - once you have it, you don't want to "go backward."  And, yes, it's a factory installed option.  None of our previous motorhomes had Aqua Hot and we really like it.  The heating is quieter, controlled by a thermostat.  The water heating works great.  One really nice feature is that, had we gotten the "other" kind of heater, its hardware would have been located under the refrigerator where I now have two large drawers for holding pots and pans and plastics.  Love it!  ;D  If you need a technical explantion of how Aqua Hot works, I'll defer that to the guys.  ;)

ArdraF
 

Jackliz

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Howdy, Mick.
In our Blue Bird Wanderlodge, the water is heated by an electric heater. The coach is heated by a hydronic diesel-fired Webasto heating system and/or electric heaters.  Our 12.5 KW generator is diesel-fired.

Regards,
Jack
 

Clay L

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Mick said:
Clay,

That bit of information is very interesting and the sort of stuff that isn't mentioned in the manufacturers sales brochure. Did you know of this before you purchased the RV or whilst owning it?

As Ned said it's an option called "MotorAid" and it was on my motor home when we bought it. Although it keeps the water hot while traveling, I have to agree with Ned that the feature, while nice, is of limited value since the hot water heater heats so fast.

On my motor home MotorAid does supply the heat for the rear of the coach though (same water loop with a heater core in the back with a fan that is controlled from the dash) and that is nice to have. If I have to replace my hot water heater I will probably replace it with the MotorAid heat exchanger type.
 
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