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Old 08-03-2020, 09:24 PM   #1
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Question: how much propane consumption can I expect?

I have a 37-foot 1995 Coachmen Royal 360RK 5th wheel that I live in permanently.

I've been using 3 infrared heaters to heat it, but I've regularly been chided about using propane.

If I do, I won't be using it for cooking, the refrigerator or anything else, just for the hot water heater and the heat.

What kind of propane usage should I expect?

You're help will be greatly appreciated and will determine the outcome of my decision to use it or not.

Thank you.
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:41 PM   #2
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Propane usage will obviously correlate to the BTU output of the heater(s) and efficiency. Here is an example of a small infrared heater.. Example: Fuel Consumption/Burn Rate (Gal/Hr) at 4000 BTU = 0.044 Gal/Hr, at 9000 BTU = 0.099 Gal/Hr
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:42 PM   #3
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One late fall camping trip a couple years ago, with daytime highs only reaching about 40 degrees and night time lows of about 28, we went through a 30 lb propane tank in the span of 4 days. So I guess it really depends on time of year . You could help your cause by using a combination of propane and electric supplemental heating.
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:44 PM   #4
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When we camp in early spring and weather can dip below freezing, we use a 20lb propane tank each day or two, depending on day time highs and how often we're in and out.

Then, come summer, we dont use a full tank in ~10 weeks of water heater and griddle usage.

Regardless, it's not a permanent decision, so you may want to try it out to see what your actual consumption is.

Why exactly are you chided?
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:56 PM   #5
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when I mentioned months ago that I didn't use propane for heat, but used three infrared heaters, I got chided by several other RVers about it.

I said that when I was a demolition contractor, I had several jobs to clean up where propane tanks blew up and it's made me standoff-ish about propane use.

Others RVers assured me that propane use wasn't an issue.

I planned on using propane in emergencies, just not full-time, for heat.

I'm disabled from a stroke in 2009 and have monthly energy assistance (PCAP) besides the annual energy assistance (LIHEAP).

I figured it would be cheaper for me to use the infrared heaters than propane.
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:59 PM   #6
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One late fall camping trip a couple years ago, with daytime highs only reaching about 40 degrees and night time lows of about 28, we went through a 30 lb propane tank in the span of 4 days. So I guess it really depends on time of year . You could help your cause by using a combination of propane and electric supplemental heating.
Using both is a good idea...I already have the three infrared heaters, and I know that sole use of propane can be expensive in the winter in eastern Pa.
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Old 08-04-2020, 12:54 PM   #7
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My 35,000 BTU furnace will burn through about 1/8th of the tank each night when the temps are in the 30's to 40's and warmer during the day when we can use the heat pumps.

The tank holds, actually holds, 20 gallons of propane when filled to 80% so it's a 104 lb ASME tank.

If you're not paying for electricity go with the cheapest fuel source AS LONG AS YOU KNOW how your RV is protected from freezing.

Some so-called Arctic Kits pipe warm air from the propane furnace into places where there are water lines. Mine doesn't really do that but the furnace ducts are run along side many of the water lines and underneath the shower. So if I use an electric space heater exclusively those water lines are not getting warm air near them.

The compartment where my water pump sits is insulated and is about 10 degrees above the outside air temp (from monitoring it). But my wet bay where the water filter is located is usually 2 or 3 degrees above the outside air temp. When it's getting near freezing I have a small 250 watt electric heater I out in the wet bay and it's connected to a Thermo Cube to turn the heater on at 35 degrees and off at 45 degrees.

Generally speaking, who chided you and what reasons did they give? They may be full of it or have an agenda.

HTH,

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Old 08-04-2020, 01:10 PM   #8
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My 35,000 BTU furnace will burn through about 1/8th of the tank each night when the temps are in the 30's to 40's and warmer during the day when we can use the heat pumps.

The tank holds, actually holds, 20 gallons of propane when filled to 80% so it's a 104 lb ASME tank.

If you're not paying for electricity go with the cheapest fuel source AS LONG AS YOU KNOW how your RV is protected from freezing.

Some so-called Arctic Kits pipe warm air from the propane furnace into places where there are water lines. Mine doesn't really do that but the furnace ducts are run along side many of the water lines and underneath the shower. So if I use an electric space heater exclusively those water lines are not getting warm air near them.

The compartment where my water pump sits is insulated and is about 10 degrees above the outside air temp (from monitoring it). But my wet bay where the water filter is located is usually 2 or 3 degrees above the outside air temp. When it's getting near freezing I have a small 250 watt electric heater I out in the wet bay and it's connected to a Thermo Cube to turn the heater on at 35 degrees and off at 45 degrees.

Generally speaking, who chided you and what reasons did they give? They may be full of it or have an agenda.

HTH,

Ray
I was getting some chiding because I was using electric infrared heaters instead of propane...but given that I live in my camper permanently year-round, it may not be a bad decision, plus as a demolition contractor for 40+ years, I got several calls from insurance adjusters for clients whose propane tanks blew up because of equipment failure.
I'm a little leary of the bottles of propane.

I was going to use concrete corrugated transite with a 100-watt bulb under my camper, but didn't get anyone with a pickup truck to get it.

The Arctic Kits sound like a good idea.

On another thread about filling the freshwater holding tank, a few of the commenters there said that the tank would not freeze, but the water lines in and out would if I'm not using propane to heat the camper...good advice!

I looked at the price of buying heat tape for the water lines, to be sure.
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Old 08-04-2020, 01:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by gcharles View Post
I have a 37-foot 1995 Coachmen Royal 360RK 5th wheel that I live in permanently.

I've been using 3 infrared heaters to heat it, but I've regularly been chided about using propane.

If I do, I won't be using it for cooking, the refrigerator or anything else, just for the hot water heater and the heat.

What kind of propane usage should I expect?

You're help will be greatly appreciated and will determine the outcome of my decision to use it or not.

Thank you.
Electric resistance heating is usually more expensive than propane if the propane heater is in your house. The reason for this is because a house propane heater will be over 90% efficient, along with the typical costs of each.

I have a auxiliary propane heater that does not have an external chimney and releases combustion gases directly into the house but is limited to 25000 btu/hr and is 100% efficient. Using a mr heater in a camper is usually not recommended due to the smaller space. Some folks use it and say crack a window. I have one for emergencies and it has a 4000 btu/hr and 8000 btu/hr setting.

The typical camper propane heater has a much lower efficiency than the 90% for your typical house. Maybe it's 80%, I don't know exactly what it is, but its low.

The heat of combustion of propane is about 21600 btu/lb, so round off and call it 17000 btu/lb into the trailer. 4000 btu = 1.17 kwh. So you probably get about 5 kwh of heat into the trailer per pound of propane if efficiency is that low.

What are your fuel costs?
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Old 08-04-2020, 02:31 PM   #10
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Ever think about relocating? You live in your RV might as well enjoy the outdoors instead of worrying yourself about heat. JMO
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Old 08-04-2020, 04:38 PM   #11
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The first rule of cruising and RVing is don't live in a cold place. When I broke this rule and lived in RI on my boat, I would go through a 20 lb. tank in less than 2 days when the temperatures were in the teens. If you are in a standard campsite, your electricity is part of your rate, so I don't understand why anyone would think using what was free was a bad idea. As for safety, propane is used the world over and failures are few and far between. On boats, the little Walmart propane bottles stuffed in lockers leak and blow up a boat occasionally, but that is "pilot error". Basically, as others have said, it is a spreadsheet exercise determining anticipated use.
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Old 08-04-2020, 05:08 PM   #12
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gcharles, I see that your a senior member. At your age, why would you even give a rats ass what someone else thinks about how you heat your RV. I suspect that you bought and paid for it, you pay all the expenses incurred while using it, until someone else is paying your bills, what you do is your business. Heat it the way you perfer, not the way that you think someone wants you to heat it. I have been told that is is dangerous to drive while running my fridge on propane or to refuel my truck with diesel with the fridge on. The best excuse is the one about it being against the law to run the fridge on propane and drive through a tunnel. How many tunnel police have you ever seen writing tickets for that offense. Do what you want and to hell with anyone that does not like the way you do things. You will be much happier.
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Old 08-04-2020, 05:58 PM   #13
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What y'all have to remember is "Rules without Consequences are Advice". Last time I went through the Chesapeake tunnel a propane or CNG city truck was just ahead of me. I've never met the propane police, or the weight police for that matter.
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Old 08-04-2020, 07:09 PM   #14
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Propane

Depends on many factors. EX-outside temp VS how warm you want it inside. Also, the insulation value of your trailer, metal VS fiberglass skin on trailer, and wind.
On our 31' total length Fiberglass skin @ 45 degree average we go through a 30 gallon tank-14 lb. of propane every 5 days w/ inside temp. 65 degrees. Same conditions in rain and wind, a tank in 4 days. When Boondocking we use a Big Buddy heater and run it at night-uses 1-1 lb. container a night. These have an oxygen sensor cut-off on them. I also use it in a 16' X 8' hunting cabin and get 6 days out a 20 gallon tank-7 lb. of propane.
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Old 08-04-2020, 07:13 PM   #15
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gcharles, I see that your a senior member.
Senior member refers to the number of posts you've made, not your age. Gcharles might be 25, except that he has described himself as a retired demolition contractor.
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:06 PM   #16
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I would say about 1/4 lb of propane per hour for temperatures between 30 to 40 degrees (f), 1/3 lb of propane per hour in temperatures from 25 degrees to 30 degrees, 1/2 lb of propane per hour for temperatures between 20 to 25 degrees, 1 lb of propane per hour in temperatures between 10 to 20 degrees. After that, as temperatures get lower, the propane begins to increase in density and you will lose combustion efficiency. Of course, these figures are only estimates and may vary considerably.
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Old 08-04-2020, 11:03 PM   #17
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I would say about 1/4 lb of propane per hour for temperatures between 30 to 40 degrees (f), 1/3 lb of propane per hour in temperatures from 25 degrees to 30 degrees, 1/2 lb of propane per hour for temperatures between 20 to 25 degrees, 1 lb of propane per hour in temperatures between 10 to 20 degrees. After that, as temperatures get lower, the propane begins to increase in density and you will lose combustion efficiency. Of course, these figures are only estimates and may vary considerably.
Excellent guideline! Thank you!!
I was weighing whether propane use was feasible opposed to my infrared heaters...
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Old 08-04-2020, 11:11 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Tundra 2014 View Post
Depends on many factors. EX-outside temp VS how warm you want it inside. Also, the insulation value of your trailer, metal VS fiberglass skin on trailer, and wind.
On our 31' total length Fiberglass skin @ 45 degree average we go through a 30 gallon tank-14 lb. of propane every 5 days w/ inside temp. 65 degrees. Same conditions in rain and wind, a tank in 4 days. When Boondocking we use a Big Buddy heater and run it at night-uses 1-1 lb. container a night. These have an oxygen sensor cut-off on them. I also use it in a 16' X 8' hunting cabin and get 6 days out a 20 gallon tank-7 lb. of propane.
I was thinking I'd buy a Big Buddy propane heater for backup until my friend who sold me this camper pointed out that I already have a backup system if I turn on the propane heater and lights during the times when electrical power is out, like last Thanksgiving.
Instead of going out to someone's businesses for hours to stay warm, I could have stayed home until then.
My power went out at 4 am...I woke up freezing at 6 am, and the electric didn't come back on until 3:30 pm.
My fridge is electric only and is a second fridge...the first must have failed.
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