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Old 11-21-2015, 11:38 PM   #11
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Heat tape of 144 watts is a little over 1 amp. You can run a heater and an other high watt appliance together if they are not on the same breaker. If you do trip the breaker the world will not end. Just reset and do not plug the same two items in together. As for skirting you can make a frame from 2 x2 lumber and foam insulation covered with a house wrap. You do not have to attach the frame work to the trailer but have it almost touching.
Google removing propane tanks from RV and you will find several videos on how to operate your transfer switch and also how to remove the tanks.

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Old 11-22-2015, 12:44 AM   #12
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You guys will do just fine. We didn't know anything about owning a fifth wheel, and we bought one anyway. I'm the type that has to learn just about everything the hard way. Even after a few years of camping, after we got our new one, I couldn't even figure out how to turn on the water for the kitchen sink! Didn't know there were forums for learning all this RV stuff. But when we found out, what a relief! Just hang in there, and ask as many questions as you need to. Just about everybody here is friendly and willing to help. Even the cranky ones will still try and help out.

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Old 11-22-2015, 03:04 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by episodic View Post

How long does a 7lb propane tank last if you run the heater on 60-65 at night and cook a little? Just averages is what I'm looking for.

I know this is idiotic, but I've never even had a propane grill. When you bring a tank to someone do 'they' fill it?
First off congratulations, and welcome to the forums. There are many members here, who will always try to help. It may seem overwhelming at first, but you will learn and adapt. We were all in your situation at one time, so remember that you are not alone.

I'm just going to attempt to answer the propane question. The 7 pound comment was throwing me just a little, but I think I understand what is being confused. I looked up your Rockwood trailer model on the company website and it says it comes with two of the 30 pound propane cylinders.

Propane can be considered either by gallons or the weight of the propane. Propane usually weighs about 4.24 pounds per gallon at 60 degrees temp.

These common propane cylinders that you see in the exchange cages (they only EXCHANGE cylinders and do not refill them) in front of hardware stores, many drugstores, and a lot of convenience stores nowadays are what are called 20 pound tanks . They hold 4.7 gallons of propane, which equates to right at 20 pounds of propane.....not counting the empty (tare weight) of the cylinder itself.

Your cylinders on your RV are going to be the 30 pound variety, which equates to about 7.1 gallons of propane. This may be where you are getting the 7 from and are confusing pounds for gallons. Also, being you have 30 pound cylinders, you are not going to be able to do an exchange at most places, and will need to get them refilled.

The reason I am over explaining this, is when you go to check or even refill your cylinders, you need to understand this a little cause it will matter down the road.

You need to figure out where and who in your area will refill the cylinders. Being you have 30 pound cylinders, you can't just pop in on a Sunday and exchange the cylinders at the aforementioned places above. Yours are not the common 20 pound cylinders (like for BBQ grills).... so you may need to plan ahead a little.

Many RV'ers will not use the automatic cylinder changeover/regulator on their RV and always keep one full cylinder turned off (or closed). This way, if they do run out of propane in one cylinder, they have a full cylinder awaiting them, and know about how much time they have left to go get them refilled. They just open up the full cylinder and manually changeover to that cylinder. Running out of propane during a cold night or on a weekend, with no way of getting it refilled is not a fun proposition. You can also just remove the empty cylinder to get refilled, if you have the selector pointed to the full tank. This youtube video explains it in better detail:

Also by knowing weights, you can actually use bathroom or handheld luggage scales to measure how much propane you have in your cylinders. This is better explained in this post/thread. There is a lot more information in the whole thread, if you want to read the whole thing.


As far as how long the cylinders will last, is dependent on so many factors. Are you using your furnace (huge propane user), the outside temps, how much cooking on the stove and/or oven, are you using the water heater on propane (which actually uses very little propane, but it does use it)? I don't fulltime, so my answers wouldn't help there. Maybe someone who does, will come along and give you some estimates.

Also speaking of the water heater, do you know if you have the Atwood or Suburban brand water heater. If you have the Suburban, then this FAQ may be worth your time to read over, so you fully understand it's operation and don't make the common mistake of damaging your electric heating element.

Suburban's electric switch and much more

Like I stated, you are going to do just fine, You've already found the best place to get all of your questions answered, and have the best support group of anywhere.
Also, when I looked up your RV, your floor plan is identical to mine, except for the bathroom, as you can see in my sigline.
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Old 11-22-2015, 04:01 AM   #14
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For everyone starting out, I usually suggest reading a couple of great articles by Mark Polk, which help explain the electrical systems in RV's...including amp draws.

Basic RV Electricity - RV Information (RV Maintenance)

RV Converters and Amp Draw - RV Information (RV Maintenance)

I know you stated you were staying at a site with 50 amp connections, but is your RV itself the 50 amp kind or is it a 30 amp variety (and you are using an adapter to connect to a 50 amp outlet)? I ask this since our RV's are so similar and mine is 30 amp.
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Old 11-22-2015, 04:05 AM   #15
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for electrical systems, Google "the 12 Volt Side of Life".
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Old 11-22-2015, 04:55 AM   #16
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Since you will be in one place for the winter, consider contacting one or more propane suppliers and ask what kind of deal they offer for a larger tank. They may rent a tank for the season. If you will be returning to the same location you may want to buy the tank and store it somewhere for the summer. The propane supplier can probably handle the plumbing from the larger tank to your trailer. If not, check back here. Someone can probably give you guidance.

The supplier will refill the tank from his truck. It may be cheaper than refilling 30 pound tanks and you wouldn't have to haul tanks to a refill vendor every week or so. By the way, the 30 pound number is the propane only. The full tank is about 55 pounds.

The photo I attached is not my rig, but it will give you an idea of what has been done. You often see this sort of setup in snowbird parks.
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Old 11-22-2015, 05:20 AM   #17
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I'm posting this separately from my previous post since it's a different subject.

Since you have a 50 amp service, you shouldn't have a problem running two electric heaters on high as long as they aren't on the same circuit. If you have a heat pump, use it as much as is comfortable to you. It gives you more heat for the same amount of electricity.

Keep your water heater on electricity. It will probably be cheaper to run on electricity than propane. If you have an RV type refrigerator, also be sure it's on electricity instead of propane.

Be sure your sewer drain hose has a good slope. If any liquid collects in low places it could freeze, which would be inconvenient if you need to drain your tanks. I've seen some sewer hoses supported by a piece of gutter so there's a continuous slope to the sewer connection. Or you could use a piece of PVC pipe, either splitting it lengthwise or using one large enough to slip the hose through.

I'm not familiar with your trailer, but some motorhomes have an underbelly that encloses the water pipes, with heat ducts from the furnace into the underbelly to prevent the pipes from freezing. Others on the forum will probably chime in to give the correct answer for this! If your trailer has this feature, you'll have to run the furnace at least some when it's freezing weather even though electric heaters are keeping the trailer warm. If your trailer doesn't have enclosed pipes, skirting as you mentioned, with a small heater running on low or a few incandescent (NOT LED or CFL) lights will keep pipes from freezing in your mild winter.
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Old 11-22-2015, 11:27 AM   #18
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Wink Amperage

Originally Posted by episodic View Post
still trying to figure out the amps vs watts thing. Is it ok to run the ceramic heater on high? We bought one, but have been keeping it on low because we were not sure we'd overload the rv. Our heat tape on the water hose is 144 watts, too - plus normal living in the rv.

Can you quantify how much we can run? For instance, would a standard coffee maker while a space heater was running mess something up?

So many questions. . . haha
Watts divided by voltage equals amperage. For example, if a toaster is rated at 1300 watts on 120 volt service, it'll consume almost 11 amps of service. If you're operating a toaster at the same time as you're brewing coffee, it'll trip a 15 amp breaker. So, a 144 watt heat tape will take up almost 2 amps. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-22-2015, 11:35 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by episodic View Post
Thanks so much for ANYTHING you can tell me or advise me as a complete newb to this full timing.
My hat's off to y'all.
Advice? 1)Take your list of questions and group them by category.(eg. electrical, plumbing, etc.) Then prioritize within the category. Tackle them one at a time.
2) While this forum and the internet are wonderful tools, hands-on instruction is better. If you are close to a dealership or campground, start hanging out there. Meet fellow RVers. Chat with the parts counter folks. I'll bet you within a short time, you'll meet someone who will show you everything you need to know.
Someone in my area sent me a PM and asked to hire me to come to his house and re-do a PDI. This request was based on one of my responses he had read on this site. I made the half-hour drive, spent the morning with him and since he fed me lunch, we called it even. There are a lot of folks like me who would do the same for you. Go find them.

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Old 11-22-2015, 12:17 PM   #20
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Regarding the propane tanks, if you have 2 tanks , there should be an automatic change over unit between the 2 tanks. No need to o outside to change over the tanks.

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