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Old 01-27-2019, 12:44 AM   #1
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Brand: DRV
Model: MS 40KSSB4
State: Colorado
Posts: 27
THOR #10148
CheapHeat Install in DRV 40KSSB4

We spend the summers in Creede, Colorado at about 9,000 feet where it frequently gets below freezing at night many times during the summer months. When it gets this cold, the heat pump is ineffective at keeping the trailer warm. And, the heat pump does not heat the basement on our trailer.

This past summer, we had to be gone nearly a month, so I left the propane heat on while we were gone to avoid freeze-ups. When we returned, we were nearly out of propane, and I wondered during the absence if I would have a mess when I returned.

So, I decided that we needed electric heat to remedy the problem of running out of propane while gone from the trailer during extended periods. I also found the 40 Lb propane tanks heavy to lift after filling, and the 75 mile drive to reasonably priced propane was a pain-in-the-a**.

After researching the CheapHeat Electrical add-on from RV Comfort Systems, I rang the owner and had a good discussion about installing it. I also got good information from a dealer in Oklahoma, but they could not do the install anytime soon. I decided to do the install myself.

I spent 3-4 hours a day over four days to finish the install. The tight quarters in the basement of our trailer made the job more challenging, but anyone with household electrical 240volt wiring experience and basic skills should be fine doing this project. The instructions were very detailed and clear, and the owner of RV Comfort Systems had good, practical suggestions on how to avoid potential issues.

I opted for the 30/50 Amp automatic change-over option to provide the capability for electric heat when connected to 30 Amp pedestals while traveling, instead of the normal 50 Amp service we have at our winter and summer RV lots.
Attached are several pictures showing steps of my install.

Please ignore this if you are not interested in installing the system.

Others have debated the cost of propane versus electrical heating, but the cost of either fuel was not a concern for our situation.
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Name:	CheapHeat Existing Tin transition fitting 2019-01-24 09.46.05.jpg
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Name:	CheapHeat New & Old Plenum 2019-01-24 10.29.00.jpg
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Name:	CheapHeat Heating Element in Plenum 2019-01-24 10.27.58.jpg
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:47 AM   #2
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Brand: DRV
Model: MS 40KSSB4
State: Colorado
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THOR #10148
More pics
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Name:	CheapHeat Fused Disconnect 2019-01-25 11.41.47.jpg
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Name:	CheapHeat Dual Voltage Controller 2019-01-25 11.16.10.jpg
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Name:	CheapHeat low-voltage wiring II 2019-01-26 12.28.31.jpg
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:51 AM   #3
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Brand: DRV
Model: MS 40KSSB4
State: Colorado
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THOR #10148
Even more pics
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Name:	CheapHeat element wiring 2019-01-26 10.58.20.jpg
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Name:	CheapHeat 30 Amp service 2019-01-26 13.07.34.jpg
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Name:	CheapHeat 50 Amp Service 2019-01-26 12.56.13.jpg
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Name:	CheapHeat final install 2019-01-26 14.27.25.jpg
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Old 01-27-2019, 03:05 AM   #4
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Thank you for the pictures/info.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:17 AM   #5
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At first thought, I'd sleep better with electric heat if I had to leave the rig for an extended time. We'll done.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:20 AM   #6
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Great pictures and what looks like a very clean install.
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:53 PM   #7
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Nice job on the install. I always say if hooked up to a camp ground why use your propane when you are already paying for the electric.
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:36 PM   #8
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Model: 2019 MS 39DBRS3
State: Delaware
Posts: 453
THOR #9431
Nice job.

Looks like you have a bit of a different duct arrangement.
On my install i had very little room to work with the rearmost plenum duct, although as arranged I get great airflow out of the lower level registers.

My 4” duct coming off the top and supplying the front bath and bedroom is barely adequate. Airflow from the 2” to the water manifold is non-existent.

In the spring I will be in there again and make some changes.

Some things I did different.
I have plenty of room in my panel box because I have a sub panel for the inverter. So I was able to get my 240 from there, eliminated one extra step.

I use my central vac, so while I had everything out I moved it all the way over to the door side and as high as I could.

I also added the pricey 120/240 relay.

Heat output of 30 amp, especially through such a large area is minimal, as expected.

What I do when on 30 is to heat the trailer with propane and then switch over to the electric. But I haven’t been in less the 35 degree temps with only 30 amp yet.

I did get to do a real test with the electric and was pleased with the results.
I took my trailer out to Howe 2 weelks ago. 450 miles at an average of 65mph in mid low 20’s to mid teens, so it was “wind chilled”. When I stopped for night I used the propane to get some heat in then switched to CH.

The electric was able to maintain my set temp of 63 and cycle on and off with outside temps dropping to 12 degrees.

FYI for anyone traveling from the east toward Elkhart/Howe. The travel plazas on rt 80 in Ohio have RV hookups, $20 for 24 hours.
They are mostly designed for 40’ overall length, but we have never had a problem.
Sometimes we have used two spaces (parked across) sometimes I have had to unhook and sometimes I am able to back the trailer up far enough to not have a length issue.
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Old 01-27-2019, 03:06 PM   #9
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Model: 38PS3
State: Idaho
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We have had CheapHeat since 2015 and use it every night during the winter months. It has been reliable since replacing the electric element under warranty the first year.

You have done a very clean install. Well done.
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Old 01-27-2019, 04:01 PM   #10
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Brand: DRV
Model: MS 40KSSB4
State: Colorado
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THOR #10148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porthole View Post
Nice job.

Looks like you have a bit of a different duct arrangement.
On my install i had very little room to work with the rearmost plenum duct, although as arranged I get great airflow out of the lower level registers.

My 4 duct coming off the top and supplying the front bath and bedroom is barely adequate. Airflow from the 2 to the water manifold is non-existent.
Thanks for the kind words.

The rear 6 inch duct is a very tight fit. I had expected to add a metal rectangular to round transition piece (recommended by the Oklahoma dealer and RV Comfort Systems) but my trailer already had it installed.

I was able to connect the rear 6" duct to the front side of the plenum, but the duct is compressed quite a bit. The airflow is not as much as the other 6" fed floor registers, but some is coming out.

I'm thinking of fabricating a new plenum with the back 6" duct connection moved to the side of the housing. which will remove the need for the 180 degree duct bend. I plan to see how it works over the next few months. We are in Arizona for a few months, and the morning lows are around 40 degrees. It is working great so far. In May, we will be back to Creede where the morning low temps will likely be in the teens. That will be a better test, and will determine if I fabricate a new plenum with the side 6 inch duct feed.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:37 PM   #11
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Model: 2019 MS 39DBRS3
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THOR #9431
On the CheapHeat supplied plenum I had no room to use the rear 6 discharge. I even had to remove the flange in order to get the furnace assembly back in.
And that was after shortening up the DS floor register duct and adding a custom 90 degree boot adapter.

Larry seeems to think I will have a problem with overheating and short cycling, but I have yet to expierence that.

I have ready to try a variety of 6-4, 6-5 4-2 adapters to try when I do my refit in the spring.

Hoping to get some airflow to the front bath and bedroom and water manifold area. And while I am at it I plan on insulating the exposed ductwork for the upper deck.

No way having an exposed 10x2 duct exposed is helping with trying to get heat up front..

For a workaround this year I added a 20 amp outlet in the front bath closet so we could use a small portable heater up front.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:41 PM   #12
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Brand: DRV
Model: 39TKSB3 "Modified"
State: South Dakota
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The "Oklahoma Dealer" is Rolling Retreats, no harm in mentioning them. YES they are busy and for GOOD reason.

RR did the install on our DRV that we custom ordered from Alicia at RR 1/2015. I am more than happy!!! I simply was tired of the stupid little heaters on the floor. Worth every $$$.

3.5 years of full timing and not a single glitch. It can be ran with our 6500LP CUMMINS Commercial Gen.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:58 PM   #13
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I enjoyed your documention. Thanks for sharing

I don't have the Cheap Heat but did move my Vacuum forward about 2 1/2 inch by replacing the little wooden frame with a 1x4 frame. This allows the 6 inch flex duct that was pinched shut to be replace with 24 inches of 6 inch metal duct. I estimate I gained more than 20 % furance efficency in eliminating 2 crushed flex duct.

Clay 2016 MS 38PS3/Dallas
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:58 AM   #14
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Ron,
Is there a benefit in using the gen to power the cheap heat instead of just using the furnace on propane?
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Old 01-28-2019, 01:07 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by wingnut60 View Post
Ron,
Is there a benefit in using the gen to power the cheap heat instead of just using the furnace on propane?
For some there is. If the gen is running it is going to burn fuel, even at the lowest current draw there is a minimum fuel burn use.

I guess those with propane gens would have to do the math.
I have a diesel gen, burns on average between .4 and .8 gallons per hour.
So in my setup the diesel gets the nod.

Now Mr Cummins has a commercial gen which means he can run 240 and get the max heat out of the CheapHeat.

My gen is 120 only, so I am using the lower CheapHeat set of coils.
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Old 01-28-2019, 01:22 AM   #16
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OH, please don't call a Cummins a Cummings--heresy!

And, thanks for the explanation.
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Old 01-28-2019, 01:45 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by wingnut60 View Post
OH, please don't call a Cummins a Cummings--heresy!

And, thanks for the explanation.
Darn spellcheck had me represent a lowlife pol 🙄


Corrected !
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingnut60 View Post
Ron,
Is there a benefit in using the gen to power the cheap heat instead of just using the furnace on propane?

I don't know if you would use less propane "IF" you were running the Gen and had Cheap Heat running. I guess it's a "DEPENDS".

NOT a reason to buy it. Simply love not having little heaters!
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:10 PM   #19
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It's funny Geno's Garage that sells lots of RAM/Cummins stuff are located in "CUMMINGS", GA.
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:00 AM   #20
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Model: 44' Santa Fe
State: Montana
Posts: 351
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Every body likes to spend their money differently. We have two-thirty nine dollar electric heaters and the factory installed fire place. They work just fine in any rv park I've ever been in, regardless if electric is included or an extra charge. Winter in Texas and use one bottle of propane each winter. Way I figure it is I have a bunch of $$$$ left over to spend on stuff I enjoy.


Bill
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