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Old 12-01-2020, 01:39 PM   #1
KKV
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Propane, shore power and staying warm

2017 ACE 30.2.

It is cold in North Texas as we hit the road this again weekend. The wife and I are not 100% clear on propane’s role in heating the coach when on shore power. Can someone enlighten us as to the role of propane when we are plugged in to 50 amp and trying to stay warm? Thanks.
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Old 12-01-2020, 01:46 PM   #2
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I believe that your furnace burns propane; in order to heat the coach.
If you have A/C units that are equipped with heat pumps: they can help out with some heat of an "electrical origin" also.
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Old 12-01-2020, 02:07 PM   #3
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Back when we had a propane furnace we burned a 30# tank of fuel daily one winter in a huge ice storm with wind. Be prepared if it gets really cold and you don't have alternate heat.

Many people augment their furnace with an electric heater
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Old 12-01-2020, 02:09 PM   #4
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They sure do like to burn the stuff; don't they?

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Old 12-01-2020, 02:25 PM   #5
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As posted.... you should plan on supplemental heat if you will have an extended cold snap.

If you hot water tank is not electric and gas.... you will want propane for hot water and not use it all up on the furnace.

As Bob mentioned..... some higher-end coaches have heat pumps as part of their A/C units and they can provide a little heat from shore power when temps aren't extremely cold. They are not going to provide the heat of a furnace when temps are in the 30's or colder.

A ceramic heater or two is a good option to keep areas on the coach warmer without burning propane with the furnace all the time.
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Old 12-01-2020, 02:52 PM   #6
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The Judge is right: heat pumps are only useful down to about 40 degrees...
But ours was VERY effective on some cool September nights this year.
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Old 12-01-2020, 03:45 PM   #7
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Thanks as always for the input Guys.
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Old 12-01-2020, 04:06 PM   #8
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Even with the heat pump if it can't maintain the tstat set point the furnace will kick in til the inside temp catches up.
Typically if the inside temp is 3-5 degrees below the tstat setting when starting the heat pump & the furnace will start til it warms up, likewise if the indoor temps drops 3-5 degrees while the heat pump running the furnace will fire up til temps catch up.
If boondocking not only will you need plenty of propane for the furnace but also good fully charged batteries as the furnace fan is 12 volt. The furnace is not only a propane hog but will use up a fully charged battery rather quickly if running continuously. Once your batteries are dead, no furnace, no fridge, no lights, no hot water, NO water & won't be able operate slides or awnings, unless you have a generator. The furnace, fridge, & water heater all need 12 volts to power the control boards whether operating on LP or shore power, the other items mentioned are strictly 12 volts.
I'd recommend the oil filled radiator type heaters to augment the furnace, they cost a bit more but are not the fire hazard like the other types if pets or children get near them or knock them against flammable materials.
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Old 12-01-2020, 04:24 PM   #9
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If you have shore electricity or are willing to run your generator, the small ceramic heaters work surprisingly well. The small cubic area in an RV is on your side. We've used ours at temps in the mid 20's and two heaters keep our RV at 65-70.
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Old 12-01-2020, 05:02 PM   #10
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Another fan of the small cube shaped heaters, we use them all the time. When on shore power, I set the t-stat to 60 and let the small electric heaters do the bulk of the warming. The only drawback that I have experienced is in older campgrounds with poor power pedestals. Sometimes the breakers pop when trying to provide power to the heaters, water heater and general coach draw.
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Old 12-01-2020, 11:40 PM   #11
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We were at a campground once that had a big sign saying electric space heaters were not permitted. Thinking they couldn’t possibly know except by measuring the amps at the pedestal we used ours only on the lower setting (1200 watts) and didn’t get busted. We use an oil filled radiator style heater as it seems safer and it provides more uniform omnidirectional heat than the cubes. Our current coach has a heat pump and with that and the space heater we rarely use the furnace. Sometimes just for a quick warm up in the morning.
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Pete'sMH View Post
We were at a campground once that had a big sign saying electric space heaters were not permitted. Thinking they couldn’t possibly know except by measuring the amps at the pedestal we used ours only on the lower setting (1200 watts) and didn’t get busted. We use an oil filled radiator style heater as it seems safer and it provides more uniform omnidirectional heat than the cubes. Our current coach has a heat pump and with that and the space heater we rarely use the furnace. Sometimes just for a quick warm up in the morning.
How would they know the difference between electric space heaters and A/Cs with heating elements to provide heat, or actual electric "furnaces" in fully electric coaches? Another unenforceable rule.
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:38 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
How would they know the difference between electric space heaters and A/Cs with heating elements to provide heat, or actual electric "furnaces" in fully electric coaches? Another unenforceable rule.


Indeed! I guessed that the sign actually meant “we have really bad electric service here”!
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:41 AM   #14
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I use a small electric heater when plugged into shore power to save my propane. They work great. If it is too cold, I just fire up the propane heater to bring it up and shut it off leaving the electric heater to maintain it.

Paul
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Old 12-02-2020, 01:05 AM   #15
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When it gets cold enough to need the heater: our rig is in storage.
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:34 AM   #16
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I use a small electric heater when plugged into shore power to save my propane. They work great. If it is too cold, I just fire up the propane heater to bring it up and shut it off leaving the electric heater to maintain it.
Paul
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It gets cold here in Southern California
Sometimes I need a light sweater
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Old 12-02-2020, 02:41 PM   #17
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It does get cold here in So. California when you are up in the local mountains with snow. We go to Idyllwild many times a year both in summer and winter.

Paul
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