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Old 12-04-2018, 09:59 AM   #1
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Heating Question

I just got back from a trip to Mojave National Park and it was windy and cold with a bit of rain. I ran the generator for heat periodically throughout the day when everyone was hiding from the elements. It warmed up nice and toasty quickly.
I ran it before bedtime then shut it off. However, by early morning it was an icebox inside.
Anyone have any problems/suggestions ref running genny/heater all night? I camp off the grid so no shore power and I have an upcoming trip to Flagstaff where I know it will be colder.
BTW, weather in Mojave NP was 30-40's overnight.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:02 AM   #2
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No furnace? LP produces much more heat than you can get from electric heaters.

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Old 12-04-2018, 11:02 AM   #3
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Maybe Im over thinking the issue. I guess my concern was running the heater fan all night and running down the batteries. The LP heater works great, but I needed the generator for the fan. I haven't tried running just the heat w/o the fan. I wasn't sure if the heat would warm the whole coach w/o the fan. I like sleeping a little cool anyway but it got COLD inside!
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:17 AM   #4
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Maybe Im over thinking the issue. I guess my concern was running the heater fan all night and running down the batteries. The LP heater works great, but I needed the generator for the fan. I haven't tried running just the heat w/o the fan. I wasn't sure if the heat would warm the whole coach w/o the fan. I like sleeping a little cool anyway but it got COLD inside!
Please explain what I've embolden.

Are you referring to the furnace fan or the A/C fan?

The furnace can't run without its internal fan blowing.

And yes, that will use battery and it could run the battery down if you don't have enough 12v capacity. If you do use the furnace, simply run the generator till bedtime to keep things charged up and then the battery should last throughout the night, especially since you said you like it cooler... so keep the thermostat down.

If you are referring to the A/C fan blowing when the furnace runs, this is an option you can turn off. The option is provided to allow you to circulate the furnace heat via the A/C fan to help distribute the air throughout the coach. (warm air rises) If you go into your digital thermostat and go to the fan setting, select Auto (AU) and the A/C fan will not run with the furnace.
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:03 PM   #5
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Heater and furnace describe different devices. Using appropriate nomenclature helps the discussion.

The LP furnace in my camper draws 3.36 amps for the circulating fan. And only when the flame is burning. Larger furnace will draw more but should not require a generator to run.

An electrical heater or heat strip runs off 120vAC and you'll need the genset to get any heat out of it.

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Old 12-04-2018, 12:44 PM   #6
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Its my understanding that the heater fan runs automatically with the heat on and would therefore drain the batteries if run all night. I don't know if, and haven't tried, to run just the LP heat w/o also running the heater fan. Is this possible?
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Clamper View Post
Its my understanding that the heater fan runs automatically with the heat on and would therefore drain the batteries if run all night. I don't know if, and haven't tried, to run just the LP heat w/o also running the heater fan. Is this possible?
The furnace works just like your furnace at home except it runs on 12 volt - the fan only runs when it calls for heat.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:47 PM   #8
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Its my understanding that the heater fan runs automatically with the heat on and would therefore drain the batteries if run all night. I don't know if, and haven't tried, to run just the LP heat w/o also running the heater fan. Is this possible?
No, you cannot run a conventional LP furnace in a R/V without the fan running. The fan is a two part blower. It blows warmed air and is also required as part of the combustion process inside the furnace.

As mentioned, heater and furnace are not normally interchangeable terms. What exactly are you referring to when describing heater?

What is the make/model of said heater.

Also, if the thermostat is backed down at night, the furnace won't run all night constantly unless the ambient temperature is maybe below freezing. I can regularly get through an entire night on one battery without having to run a generator.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:13 PM   #9
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I just got back from a trip to Mojave National Park and it was windy and cold ... ....
We attended Christmas 2016 with Yucca Family ... We visited the Mojave Desert area for a couple of weeks during December 2016 before we left California (for good). Our Mobile Palace is a 25-foot Prism class-c. We enjoyed the area, especially one beautifully clear night at the Kelso Dunes parking lot and climbing the dunes the next day. Most nights were cold, mid- to upper- 20s was common. We were also hit by a wind storm while camping at "Hole in the Wall." Like you, we too refrain from running the furnace all night, 1) because the fan consumes too much energy, and 2) because one of the vents is directly below the foot of the bed and is easily covered by a blanket. As an alternative, we use Mr. Heater connected to a 20-lb LPG. On low, the unit uses about 1½ pounds of fuel during the night and keeps the interior comfortable (mid-50s) all night. Using RV vent insulators (pillows) and pulling the window blinds also help keep the interior a bit warmer. The one big draw-back using an LPG convection heater is excessive moisture production. Much of that moisture condenses on the cold windows and needs to be sponged off in the morning; chemical dehumidifies help, but won't do it all. Also, don't know how ventilated your Mobile Palace is, mine has a little air movement when the slide is open. The Mr. Heater company say their product is "Indoor Safe," but I wouldn't trust their word with my life. In my case, I feel the little extra air that sneaks in under the open slide provides sufficient ventilation.
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Old 12-10-2018, 08:08 PM   #10
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Hello!

I’m a regular winter Johnson Valley/Landers desert dry camper. My advice, make sure you maintain your batteries and you shouldn’t have an issue making it through the night. I make sure my batteries are fully charged before we hit the sack and we make it through the night at 72-74 degrees. I do have a small Champion generator on hand however as sometimes the batteries will not have enough juice to fire up the onboard generator in the morning. I’ll let that run until the batteries are sufficiently charged to fire up the biggin’. Open the bathroom door too, the heat blowing out of the vent in there is ridonkilous. Turns it into a sauna. Some of our friends stay plugged in to little generators running all night too. Better safe than frozen I guess. Watch the propane too, it can go quick between the fridge, cooking, and heating. Make sure it’s full before you leave. I learned that lesson once.

Happy trails!

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Old 12-10-2018, 08:18 PM   #11
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When the furnace gets to temp the heat will shut off and so will the fan. Will not be running all night.
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Old 12-10-2018, 09:44 PM   #12
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OP, you should not need the generator to run the heater all night. If the blower is running continuously with the heat on, you may not have the fan in “auto”. Check your manual to learn how to confirm the fan is in auto mode vs being in “hi” or “lo”.

If it’s only running intermittently, then you are all set. Unless you have a defective battery you should be able to run that heat for a couple of days straight.

The AC is a whole different story. That won’t run without shore power.
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Old 12-10-2018, 09:58 PM   #13
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the advantage to running the LP furnace (on my fifth wheel) is that the warm air circulating through the vent ducting serves to warm the under bays where the fresh water tank and pump and the bays where a lot of the fresh water piping runs through. I have dry camped in 12F weather and not had anything freeze. I do have two large deep cycle batteries to ensure I have plenty of 12v to run the furnace all night plus a 600 watt pure sine wave inverter for the wife's cpap.
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:50 PM   #14
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OP, you should not need the generator to run the heater all night. If the blower is running continuously with the heat on, you may not have the fan in “auto”. Check your manual to learn how to confirm the fan is in auto mode vs being in “hi” or “lo”.

If it’s only running intermittently, then you are all set. Unless you have a defective battery you should be able to run that heat for a couple of days straight.

The AC is a whole different story. That won’t run without shore power.
I've not seen or heard of the furnace fan being able to blow continuously with a setting on the thermostat. Can you verify this somewhere?

The A/C fan... now that's as you say... "a whole different story" and even if set to run with the furnace, will not run without shore power.
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