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Old 01-14-2020, 10:47 AM   #1
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RV newby. Looking to get educated.

I have a 2018 FR3 30DS. Staying in a RV park for extended period of time while transitioning jobs.
Cold here in Vancouver WA so I've had my heater running most of the time. I assumed that since I am plugged in my heating is using electricity but yesterday I ran out of propane. I already found a propane refuel service so should be good tomorrow.
My questions are as follows. Besides turning off coach heater and using electric space heaters is there any other way to heat using plugged in electricity?
Also my thermostat has a furnace option which I did use. Could that be the reason I was burning propane? Lastly does my FR3 have the capability to attach regular grill propane tanks to allow me to more easily swap tanks or do I need to plumb additional attachments? TIA!
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:19 AM   #2
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You have a couple questions;
1. Yes, your furnace uses propane.
2. Maybe. Some RV's TT's 5er's have a "fireplace" which is essentially an electric space heater. You will likely only be able to plug in one, maybe two space heaters before tripping a breaker depending on your electrical system and the setup of your rig.
3. Yes. The furnace option is why you burned propane. But without that on you won't be getting heat.
4. Possibly. Many rigs have quick connects located on the outside of the rig. You will need to do a look around for it. Usually has a blue cap with a valve behind it. *Edit- sorry I miss-read this I thought you wanted to hook a grill to it.

If you go with space heaters you will want to check your electrical system. Are all the 110 outlets on one breaker? If so you will likely only be able to run one heater- it will help but can't do it all. My in-laws have an infrared space heater they use to warm their RV. But it is a 30 amp setup and they often trip the breaker if they try to run anything else. I have a "fireplace" heater in my TT. Because it is built into the electrical system I can run it and most other items in the camper together. The only exception is the microwave... And the camper was designed an "either or" switch so that I can only have one powered at a time.
The fireplace is a great addition that heats the trailer down to about 30*... below that we have to use it and some propane.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borismkogan View Post
I have a 2018 FR3 30DS. Staying in a RV park for extended period of time while transitioning jobs.
Cold here in Vancouver WA so I've had my heater running most of the time. I assumed that since I am plugged in my heating is using electricity but yesterday I ran out of propane. I already found a propane refuel service so should be good tomorrow.
My questions are as follows.
1) Besides turning off coach heater and using electric space heaters is there any other way to heat using plugged in electricity?
2) Also my thermostat has a furnace option which I did use. Could that be the reason I was burning propane?
3) Lastly does my FR3 have the capability to attach regular grill propane tanks to allow me to more easily swap tanks or do I need to plumb additional attachments? TIA!
1) Using electric heaters are the only way to keep from using propane unless you have a heat pump. The issue with heat pumps is that they don't work in cold weather, so the thermostat will default to the furnace and you'll wind up using LP (propane)

2) Yes and no. Yes using the furnace burns LP, but as I said in #1 you really didn't have any other choice unless you have an HP (Heat Pump).

3) Your RV doesn't come with and "Extend-A-Stay" type device, so unless one has been added already, you'll need to add one in order to connect an additional LP tank or cylinder.

If you're staying in place for a while you may want to check into getting a larger tank and installing an Extend-A-Stay type device.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:27 AM   #4
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Unless you have a heat pump/AC combo, your heat is via a propane fired furnace. If you are staying at one place for an extended period of time, you might want to consider contacting a local propane company have renting two 100Lb tanks and having them setup with auto fill. In cod weather the furnace uses a good amount of propane. If you are paying for electric by usage, you should be better off using propane than electric heat.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:17 PM   #5
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All great responses, you also need to keep in mind that on some units the furnace is what heats the underbelly of your Rv while others have tank heaters which may also need to be used in temps below freezing to keeps your water lines and tanks from freezing.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:23 PM   #6
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X2 on the "Extend-A-Stay" modification. Relatively easy to do and adds the ability to run an outdoor grill or firepit off your on board tanks (the "Extend-A-Flo" part - for when the outdoor grilling season starts up there!) and adds the ability to run your on-board propane system with an off-board tank or tanks (the "Extend-A-Stay" part).
Here is the unit I installed: https://www.amazon.com/Camco-Connect...dp/B0014JG7RQ/ You can also find just the adapter if you already have all the requisite hoses.
The only other hiccup I had was that when installing the adapter between the on board tank valve and the regulator, I didn't have enough room to use the existing pipe, so I had to swing by the local hardware store and get a shorter version of the same threaded pipe (easy to find). Just make sure you use the appropriate pipe tape for propane fittings and you're good to go!
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:46 PM   #7
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One other thing to check. You hot water heater most likely had 110 v and propane. Turn off the propane switch for the hot water and use hydro. This will save some propane
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:06 PM   #8
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Save yourself a lot of time. Get a copy of Trailer Life RV Repair and Maintenance manual by Bob Livingston 2009 edition (Amazon) Not cheap but wirth its weight in gold!!!
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:26 PM   #9
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You do have one other heat option. Google, "cheap heat". I know of one guy who added this to his TV furnace. He said it worked very well. Kind of pricey, that is the only reason I haven't put one in.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:02 PM   #10
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How to use two space heaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by CentralMePistol View Post
You have a couple questions;

If you go with space heaters you will want to check your electrical system. Are all the 110 outlets on one breaker? If so you will likely only be able to run one heater- it will help but can't do it all. My in-laws have an infrared space heater they use to warm their RV. But it is a 30 amp setup and they often trip the breaker if they try to run anything else. I have a "fireplace" heater in my TT. Because it is built into the electrical system I can run it and most other items in the camper together. The only exception is the microwave... And the camper was designed an "either or" switch so that I can only have one powered at a time.
All RVs have at least two separate outlet circuits and breakers. One is labelled General. The other includes a GFCI outlet (usually in the bathroom), and outlets near the kitchen sink and outdoors. You can run two space heaters (and not much else) successfully if one is plugged into a GFCI outlet and the other into a General outlet. You can even do this on a 30 amp connection to the pedestal. Just remember to shut one space heater off if you need to run the microwave, and be sure to run the water heater on propane--or turn off one space heater when it's on.

Last year we spent about five days this way over a freezing Thanksgiving. Our heaters (actually oil-filled radiators) could operate at 600 watts, 900 watts, or 1500 watts. We typically ran one at 1500 and the other at 900 so we had a little slack.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:09 PM   #11
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Great friggin info!!!

Thank you all!
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:34 PM   #12
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In addition to all of the above about furnace and water heater. Make sure your Refrigerator is set to Auto and not to gas. My guess it is furnace that is using the gas. If you have electric space heater and you need to move the air around you could use the fan only option on your thermostat. That should blow through your cooling ducts.
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