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Old 09-13-2013, 03:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Brother Les View Post
Very good question. I said worse case... anything is possible. Steel and aluminum will conduct electricity. I am using my experience with home electric water heaters that I have worked on. For the last 15 years I have been cleaning out calcium build up at a complex of 16 units for the manager. The calcium build up over the elements will burn out elements quickly. I have had elements that have burned out and will not heat the water, but continue to arch and cause the thermostat and wires to melt on the outside and to on rare occasions 'ground'/arch to the inside of the water heater and flow an electrical current to the out side metal body of the water heater. Shorted out heating elements do not always blow fuses on the water heart or the fuse box. I have been 'bitten', just by leaning on a water heater reaching to turn the water off. A burned out camper water heart element with power to it imo can be just as hazardous. The water heaters that I work on sit on concrete floors and the water heater itself grounds back to the grounding wire. Leaving a burned out camper element in the water heater imo is not a good idea. 'You' may know that it is burned out, but someone 'down the road' may not and some not so good things could happen if it is 'turned on'. If it is burned out, install a new one or make it where the electrical power will not come on. Lock it out and tag it. The magic of electricity...shocking
Good points, thanks.
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Old 09-13-2013, 07:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by garbonz View Post
Magic. Especially since, as you know, the element will burn out in about 8 seconds and the overtemp sensor would click off if it didn't.

Whats a little exaggeration one in awhile...

One other issue, the first time the furnace is turned on it will likely SMELL like EWWW, burning oil and smoke a bit. Best to do this BEFORE you are depending on it for heat. Should be fine after running for about 15 minutes. Just turn the thermostat on high and leave the camper for awhile, AND make sure it ignites before you leave, it is quite noisy and you should be able to hear it.
During the 15 minutes that the furnace is burning off the oil, leave the door and some windows open, and a fan running if you have one. The smoke may not be visible to you, but it can set off the smoke alarm.

The furnace uses about 7 amps of 12 volt electricity. Yours may be smaller and use less than 7 amps. If a 7 amp furnace runs continuously for one hour, it will use 7 amp-hours of your battery capacity. A typical battery has 80 to 100 amp-hours capacity, and you don't want to drain it more than 50%. If your shore line is plugged in so the convertor is carrying the 12 volt load, you won't use any of hte battery capacity. If your shore line is not plugged in, the furnace can run down one battery in one cold night.
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by garbonz View Post
Magic. Especially since, as you know, the element will burn out in about 8 seconds and the overtemp sensor would click off if it didn't.

Whats a little exaggeration one in awhile...

One other issue, the first time the furnace is turned on it will likely SMELL like EWWW, burning oil and smoke a bit. Best to do this BEFORE you are depending on it for heat. Should be fine after running for about 15 minutes. Just turn the thermostat on high and leave the camper for awhile, AND make sure it ignites before you leave, it is quite noisy and you should be able to hear it.
X eleventy!

See our thread about furnace smoke. This dang near ruined our recent trip to Pigeon Forge. We were rudely awakened by the smoke alarm after we lit our furnace for the first time.

Folks here gave us the answer, and thankfully a guy in the RV park owns an AC/Heating company. He came over and explained "annealing" (bath in oil) processing of the heat exchanger tubes, checked out the system and put our minds at ease.

While the PDI guy told us to expect stink, he did *not* warn us about so much smoke your eyes were burning while running thru the RV to the smoke alarm.

Oh, and your furnace is an LP hawg...we'll be using the "Amish Fireplace" which came in our RV from now on, since it is electric.

(And to think, when we started to bed I told DH I preferred the furnace over the fireplace, as I felt it would be "safer".) :eyeroll:
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:38 PM   #14
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Thank you all for the responses. Some were quite humorous and make me feel like this isn't the "stupid" question I thought it would be. But to be clear, after talking to my husband, here is my more to the point question.

The water heater is running off electricity (the hidden switch is on and the pilot light for the water heater is not lit). What I need to know is if there is anything I need to do, besides turning on the propane, to have the furnace kick on and blow heat. Just to be clear, are there any additional switches, pilot lights, or settings that I need to make besides turning the thermostat to "heat" to get the furnace to turn on? The TT is plugged in to shore power, so the battery is not an issue.

I really appreciate all the responses, but I thought it might be easier if I clarified the fact that the water heater is not an issue and I am only concerned with the furnace itself.

Thank you all again and I await your responses
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:44 PM   #15
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No, that's all you need to do.

As explained, make sure you do that for the first time in the middle of the day when you can evacuate the RV for about 30 minutes.
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:37 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by kasm4kidz View Post
Thank you all for the responses. Some were quite humorous and make me feel like this isn't the "stupid" question I thought it would be. But to be clear, after talking to my husband, here is my more to the point question.

The water heater is running off electricity (the hidden switch is on and the pilot light for the water heater is not lit). What I need to know is if there is anything I need to do, besides turning on the propane, to have the furnace kick on and blow heat. Just to be clear, are there any additional switches, pilot lights, or settings that I need to make besides turning the thermostat to "heat" to get the furnace to turn on? The TT is plugged in to shore power, so the battery is not an issue.

I really appreciate all the responses, but I thought it might be easier if I clarified the fact that the water heater is not an issue and I am only concerned with the furnace itself.

Thank you all again and I await your responses
Another idea, just for maintenance warming, you are probably better off with a 1500 watt A/C heater. Just be careful while operating not to use elec water and heat and microwave etc. Its much better than the energy hog propane furnace. If you operate it, outside at the exhaust you can see half of your propane is heating the air outside your rig.
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Old 09-14-2013, 10:24 PM   #17
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We went camping back in February after our purchase of our new Shamrock 25RS and carried a portable electric heater. Of course it was the coldest weekend we had gotten for the entire season! LOL We used the electric heater during the day and at night. We did have the furnace on as well in case the electric heater couldn't keep up. It would kick on every once in a while during the day and a little more at night. I figured I had already paid for the electricity so why not use as much as possible and as little propane as possible since it was coming out of my pocket. It worked out really well, but as stated above we did overload the circuit once and tripped the breaker by running the heater and a coffee maker along with the microwave! Lesson learned.
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Old 09-14-2013, 10:39 PM   #18
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I rarely, if ever, use the propane powered heater. I much prefer the small electric heater I purchased at Lowe's when I'm on shore power.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:15 AM   #19
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I rarely, if ever, use the propane powered heater. I much prefer the small electric heater I purchased at Lowe's when I'm on shore power.
one additional piece of information to be aware of. If you do use an electric space heater in cold weather (below freezing) you may not get enough heat to the underbelly ot the area where the plumbing runs and where there are heating duct from the furnace.


I have experienced frozen pipes when ONLY using electric space heaters and it 20ish def out. I recommend that you DO use the propane furnace some or fun the furnace fan to circulate some air through the heater ductwork.

It has to be pretty cold before this happens, tho.
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:58 PM   #20
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one additional piece of information to be aware of. If you do use an electric space heater in cold weather (below freezing) you may not get enough heat to the underbelly ot the area where the plumbing runs and where there are heating duct from the furnace.


I have experienced frozen pipes when ONLY using electric space heaters and it 20ish def out. I recommend that you DO use the propane furnace some or fun the furnace fan to circulate some air through the heater ductwork.

It has to be pretty cold before this happens, tho.
You are absolutely correct. However, as the OP has a Shamrock 233S, which is a hybrid, I didn't believe that to be germane.
Ultimately, tclcyl posted the most correct answer for this particular thread.
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