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Old 10-11-2016, 09:52 AM   #11
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Brian, it would be relatively simple to add heat pads to the tanks during the build. Is this an option you might consider in the future?
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:57 AM   #12
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Potentially. We just don't use them because frankly they give you a false sense of security.

The power draw is quite large...so unless you are plugged in, it doesn't make much sense. They turn on at about 40 degrees and don't shut off until they get up to the 50's if I recall. The weakest link in the plumbing system is fresh water lines, which the tank heaters don't cover...plus you can put a little antifreeze in your black and gray tank...not so much fresh water.

So, let me ask you this. What would you want the black and gray tank heaters for? In what scenario would you use them?
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:18 AM   #13
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As usual, some good points from an insider. We travel through the mountains several times a year in the cold months and we also camp in cold weather. Right now is actually the best time of year to camp IMO. Also, we try not to run the propane heater on a constant basis. A nice heavy comforter does amazing things to take the edge off of a cold night. But, to your point, the tank pads use a lot of energy and do not protect the fresh water lines anyway.

We have them now and I use the fresh water heating pad when in the high country. They are also useful while driving in sub freezing conditions when we are not using the furnace.

Maybe I'm not doing this whole winter RV thing right?!?
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:27 AM   #14
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At my former division, we built 4 season coaches for a rental outfit. I personally spent 4 days/nights with that as my base camp for a ski trip in Alberta. One of the first things they had us do was drop the tank heaters. They're just so inefficient, most of the time people were just draining the batteries down causing all sorts of other havoc.

At night, we turned the T-stat down to about 63 degrees and bundled up, to conserve LP and not have the fan running all the time (was not necessary however as we never had battery issues and we still had over half a tank of LP after 4 days). That left enough of the furnace running to take the edge off the utility bay while we were asleep. During the day, the outside temp was 17 degrees and we never had a single issue. We ran everything, took showers, cooked, washed dishes, etc. Now we did build that unit specific for ski season....but the same principles apply to the fan forced system that we're running on the 5 series. The only difference being, we don't add extra insulation to those bays...but cold weather camping and winter camping are two different things.
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