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Old 10-17-2018, 10:07 PM   #1
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First trip questions

Well, first day of taking our 3170DS on its maiden voyage and have a few questions. It's cold here in NW Indiana so we're using the heat pump.Having absolutely no experience with such a thing, maybe this is normal? Every so often, while it is running, it will make a loud vibrating/buzzing noise. It may last 30 seconds, it may last several minutes. Is this a normal heat pump "thing"? If not, what might the problem be? This leads to my next two questions. We can run the furnace but how long will the propane last? And having a built in propane tank, while the campground can fill it, do I have to unhook everything and drive the motor home up to the fill station?

Thanks for your help and wisdom!
John
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:20 PM   #2
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Well, first day of taking our 3170DS on its maiden voyage and have a few questions. It's cold here in NW Indiana so we're using the heat pump.Having absolutely no experience with such a thing, maybe this is normal? Every so often, while it is running, it will make a loud vibrating/buzzing noise. It may last 30 seconds, it may last several minutes. Is this a normal heat pump "thing"? If not, what might the problem be? This leads to my next two questions. We can run the furnace but how long will the propane last? And having a built in propane tank, while the campground can fill it, do I have to unhook everything and drive the motor home up to the fill station?

Thanks for your help and wisdom!
John
Not sure about the vibrating/ buzzing noise. I do know that the heat pump will not work with the outside temp below 40 degrees. As for how long the propane will last is up to you. How hot you want it how often you use it. It will last many days. It depends on how big the tank is. You will just have to learn. Someone how uses a built-in will step in here soon. Yes, you will have to go to the till station unless the camp has a truck that comes to you but I dought it.
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:25 PM   #3
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Thanks cavie! I did not know that about the heat pump. It is close to 40 or less degrees now, so may have to go to furnace for heat. We've only got a little over 3 days so the propane may last anyway.
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:50 PM   #4
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Go to a big box store and by yourself a portable electric heater to use while on shore power and save your propane.
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Old 10-18-2018, 05:10 AM   #5
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Go to a big box store and by yourself a portable electric heater to use while on shore power and save your propane.
Yup, you are correct. We've got a few, unfortunately we brought a small one. Oh well, there's always a learning curve.
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Old 10-18-2018, 07:16 AM   #6
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The buzzing is normal mine has done it since day 1. As for running on propane for heat depends on how cold it it but i would go through the on-board tank of propane every 3 days using the furnace. You can buy a 3 way connector that allows you to connect external tank to you unit. And the answer to your last question is yes you have to unhook to fill up unless your in a resort that offers mobile fill ups.

this was the "T" i installed search that name on amazon.

Camco 59123 RV Propane Brass Tee with 4 Ports and Extension Hose

Bob
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Old 10-18-2018, 07:54 AM   #7
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Heat pumps work by reversing the A/C system to pull heat out of ambient air and deposit it inside your rig. Often times the system will (to put it simply) 'freeze up' and have to reverse the system again to defrost the components. I've heard a buzzing noise when this happens but never for several minutes, so I don't know.

The furnace is one of the biggest hogs of propane so if it is cold, you are going to use lots.

Electric space heaters can only draw 1500w on a standard 15a 120v circuit in a home or R/V. That is the most current that circuit can safely carry. Almost all store bought electric heaters are 1500w (and adjustable to less on lower heat settings) so I'm not sure what you meant by you only bought a small one. 1500w is 1500w whether housed in a large sized unit or a compact cube unit.
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Old 10-18-2018, 08:49 AM   #8
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They sell a kit called Extend A Stay. Goes in between the shut off valve of your unit tank and the regulator. The one I got also has a connection for a gas grill. Temps in the 20s and 30s will eat a 20 lb bottle in about 3 days with the inside temp at 72. I use UHaul to refill my tanks if the CG can't. I have been doing this for 6 years. Also using the onboard heater helps keep the wet bay area warm enough not to freeze.
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Old 10-18-2018, 08:51 AM   #9
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Youíre fine but hereís some food for thought. Your coach is 30 Amp. That equals 3600 watts. If you run more than one space heater you can get close to overload. Thats bad. If your water heater kicks on or your converter decides to charge the battery, you will probably pop the breaker.
If temps are below 40*F, your heatpump is virtually useless so you will need to use a space heater (one) and/or your furnace. You can run a second space heater (if the park allows it) by running a heavy extension cord off the 20A outlet on the pedestal. That way you can be toasty without burning the joint down and becoming toast.
Hereís the biggie; If temps drop below freezing you must run your furnace to heat your holding tanks and plumbing. An arctic package only heats the tanks so it is not enough to use solo. If you run out of propane, you can use your 2nd space heater off the 20A extension cord in the water pump area to protect your plumbing during the emergency situation.
If you are planning to camp in cold temps often or for long periods, you might consider one of these: https://youtu.be/Rucge4w1UGA
Hope this helps.
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Old 10-18-2018, 09:08 AM   #10
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How long the propane lasts is an engineering question.

A pound of propane produces about 21,600 btu’s.

So, if your furnace is 40,000 btus it uses two pounds per hour running continuously. Everyones use is different.

In really cold weather 20# will not last a day.

We have an electric fireplace and small electric heater. $20. 50 amp service.

Unfortunately you have to run the propane to heat up the basement.
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Old 10-18-2018, 09:20 AM   #11
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If you want to stay the warmest you can and still use very little propane, set the furnace to about 45, get a space heater, put up a blanket or insulated curtain behind the cab, and put reflectix in most of the windows. Most RVs will do fine with a space heater on high, doing these things will keep it toasty.

The reason I keep the furnace on 45 is if something happens to the heater or electricity, you and your pipes don't freeze.
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Old 10-18-2018, 01:17 PM   #12
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If you are shopping for heaters, I suggest a two-speed unit.
(A ceramic heater is supposed to be more efficient, too).
I use the (low) 700 watt setting when RV is plugged in at home, so I don't blow my 15 amp circuit, and switch it to high (1200-1500 watts) when plugging into a campground 30 (or 50) amp circuit.
Low setting doesn't crank out much heat, but using electricity is better than using my propane.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:52 AM   #13
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How long the propane lasts is an engineering question.

A pound of propane produces about 21,600 btuís.

So, if your furnace is 40,000 btus it uses two pounds per hour running continuously. Everyones use is different.

In really cold weather 20# will not last a day.

We have an electric fireplace and small electric heater. $20. 50 amp service.

Unfortunately you have to run the propane to heat up the basement.

Well being (officially) a former engineer, I really appreciate the analysis. I love numbers and now I can calculate my usage. THANKS!
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:57 AM   #14
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Thanks to all for your input. That is why I come here...for the great volume of knowledge and information.
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:44 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by TomAR View Post
If you are shopping for heaters, I suggest a two-speed unit.

(A ceramic heater is supposed to be more efficient, too).

I use the (low) 700 watt setting when RV is plugged in at home, so I don't blow my 15 amp circuit, and switch it to high (1200-1500 watts) when plugging into a campground 30 (or 50) amp circuit.

Low setting doesn't crank out much heat, but using electricity is better than using my propane.


This what we do. And the Extenda Stay.
I didnít think the heat pump uses LP?? I know the furnace does and of course, I like it the best.

My next motor home will have heated floors. If they invent that.
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:58 AM   #16
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This what we do. And the Extenda Stay.
I didnít think the heat pump uses LP?? I know the furnace does and of course, I like it the best.

My next motor home will have heated floors. If they invent that.
Nope, the heat pump doesn't use propane. They already have heated floors. They take a long time to get hot. All day I'm told. VERY expensive to fix when broken. Buy some bigger slippers!
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Old 10-19-2018, 11:03 AM   #17
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Even our smaller furnace (roughly 19,000 BTUs) has a planning consumption of 1 pound/hour of flame time. Can go fast in cold temperatures so don't run the furnace when you're not there and spending $30 on a battery powered programmable thermostat makes a lot of sense so it can be warn when you wake. Supplementing with an electric heater usually only forces the furnace to run occasionally.

Electric heat, though, is very inefficient. A 1500 watt space heater only produces a bit over 5000 BTU or roughly 25% of what my lil' furnace puts out, hence the need to run them both at times. A pair of these heaters will come close to overtaxing my trailer's 30 amp system since other things are running. Heat water with LP. Our former popup had a "heat strip" in the ceiling AC unit with the same rating. More or less a joke unless the camper was warmed with the furnace.

BTW, the typical hair dryer puts out the same BTU and no one (I hope) considers using one to heat their trailer.

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Old 10-19-2018, 05:34 PM   #18
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heater type

We have used an oil bath style heater for the past four years, both on the road and while in storage over the winter. It is small enough to stow in the exterior bay.
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Old 10-21-2018, 11:18 PM   #19
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First trip questions

Yep, the Dometic 15K AC/Heat pump does make weird noises. Cycles on and off, buzzes yep, noisy critter but, I f it is putting out heat, it's working. Mine has made heat as low as 36F. Mine is 5 years old and other than yearly service has worked well
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