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Old 01-08-2021, 09:12 AM   #1
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RV travel trailer heat

I am a new RV owner and have never run the heat on our unit. Does the heat run off the propane, do you just turn the propane on then turn on the heat inside the RV at the thermostat?
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:18 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by jwagner0910 View Post
I am a new RV owner and have never run the heat on our unit. Does the heat run off the propane, do you just turn the propane on then turn on the heat inside the RV at the thermostat?
We can't tell what kind of RV you have but, generally stated, you just have your propane tank(s) on, fire up your propane stove top burners to purge all air from propane lines and set the thermostat to Heat and set the correct temperature and the furnace will light. If you've never run it, be prepared for the smell of manufacturing oil and dust burning off. It may even set off smoke detector(s). Open windows maybe.
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:29 AM   #3
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We can't tell what kind of RV you have but, generally stated, you just have your propane tank(s) on, fire up your propane stove top burners to purge all air from propane lines and set the thermostat to Heat and set the correct temperature and the furnace will light. If you've never run it, be prepared for the smell of manufacturing oil and dust burning off. It may even set off smoke detector(s). Open windows maybe.
My apologies! So the info IS in your profile. My advice stands. Let us know if it works out.
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:59 AM   #4
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You do need 12V DC power also that controls the furnace electrical components. This can be provided by either the on board 12V battery or the converter, if plugged into shore power.

Just saying, I never assume anything when offering any advice since you are new!
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:34 AM   #5
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Advice so far is good.

The furnace is a 12v/LP appliance.

it needs 12v to operate the DSI (Direct Spark Ignition) that lights the flame and to run the blower fan.

You need LP (propane) for it to light/burn and make heat.

Note: The furnace is one of your LARGEST resource hogs!
It uses lots of battery and LP.

If you are boondocking without hook-ups, most furnaces will drain a single battery in one or two nights depending on how high you set the thermostat. If you like it 75º or higher in your rig, you'll run out of battery quickly.

Under 'normal' circumstances (and certainly depending on ambient temperature) the furnace will likely consume a 20# tank of LP in about a week. Again, maybe less time if you like it warmer.
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Old 01-08-2021, 11:09 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by 5picker View Post
Advice so far is good.

The furnace is a 12v/LP appliance.

it needs 12v to operate the DSI (Direct Spark Ignition) that lights the flame and to run the blower fan.

You need LP (propane) for it to light/burn and make heat.

Note: The furnace is one of your LARGEST resource hogs!
It uses lots of battery and LP.

If you are boondocking without hook-ups, most furnaces will drain a single battery in one or two nights depending on how high you set the thermostat. If you like it 75º or higher in your rig, you'll run out of battery quickly.

Under 'normal' circumstances (and certainly depending on ambient temperature) the furnace will likely consume a 20# tank of LP in about a week. Again, maybe less time if you like it warmer.
If camping in cool weather it's best to bring sleeping bags and even "warm jammies". Turn the furnace down at night and use the warm bedding/clothing for heat.

Far better to have battery left for early morning heat when you get out of bed.
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Old 01-08-2021, 02:20 PM   #7
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Tip for heat:

IF YOU ARE HOOKED TO SHORE POWER . . .

I carry a 1500W space heater in my single axle trailer. This is my primary heat source, with my propane heater also running. The propane heater is my backup heat, in case the space heater can't keep up.

I use very little propane compared to running on the propane heater alone.

Over Christmas, I was on the road for 5 consecutive days/nights. Temperatures at night were in the 20s. I used less than half a tank (20 lb.) of propane.

IF YOU ARE BOONDOCKING . . .

My experience is the battery will not last through the night at low temperatures.
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Old 01-08-2021, 07:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by McCormickJim View Post
Tip for heat:

IF YOU ARE HOOKED TO SHORE POWER . . .

I carry a 1500W space heater in my single axle trailer. This is my primary heat source, with my propane heater also running. The propane heater is my backup heat, in case the space heater can't keep up.

I use very little propane compared to running on the propane heater alone.

Over Christmas, I was on the road for 5 consecutive days/nights. Temperatures at night were in the 20s. I used less than half a tank (20 lb.) of propane.

IF YOU ARE BOONDOCKING . . .

My experience is the battery will not last through the night at low temperatures.
So true, use a space heater or if you have a fireplace will save you propane/money in the long run.
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:42 PM   #9
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When off grid we set the thermostat at 52 degrees at night. Why 52? That is the lowest temp when the thermostat is barely turned on. My wife uses 2 quilts and I use 2 light weight blankets. We could get 2 nights out of one battery until we bought our inverter generator. Now I run the gen while we eat breakfast for a half hour and again in the evening for another half hours and can do that indefinitely. Our electrical demands are very low.
If we are hooked up, we use a 1500 watt ceramic heater and set the thermostat at 52. We feel that this is luxurious compared to our tent camping days in 20 degree nights.
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Old 01-08-2021, 11:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BarabooBob View Post
When off grid we set the thermostat at 52 degrees at night. Why 52? That is the lowest temp when the thermostat is barely turned on. My wife uses 2 quilts and I use 2 light weight blankets. We could get 2 nights out of one battery until we bought our inverter generator. Now I run the gen while we eat breakfast for a half hour and again in the evening for another half hours and can do that indefinitely. Our electrical demands are very low.
If we are hooked up, we use a 1500 watt ceramic heater and set the thermostat at 52. We feel that this is luxurious compared to our tent camping days in 20 degree nights.
There would be a mutany in our camper at 52*F! "We" are more like warm jammies, 15 blankets, and maybe down to 65*F....
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:05 AM   #11
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Red face

I'll share a Boondocking (Walmart parking lot) experience:

In our brand new Georgetown we felt sooo secure traveling in the winter. After all, we had 2 batteries vs. the single battery in our TT. We were GOOD to go.

We stopped for the night, did our shopping, had dinner, and turned in for the night. Lots of blankeds, which we love, and the T-stat turned down to 60, which is low as it will go.

All was good until about 3:30 AM I was turning over under the covers but thought as my hand was exposed while adjusting the blankets, "Wow, that's cold air."

I immediately got up to check, just to make sure everything in our new GT was working.

The heater wasn't running and it was COLD inside. Checking the temperature revealed 35 degrees inside and 5 degrees outside. Remember, I was in my night-clothes, in now 35 degrees and falling.

Thermostat was set to 60. Something is wrong (Duh?).

Ok, why is the heater not running. Checked the propane level? FULL!

Ok, start the generator. The batteries must be dead.

Yep. Dead house batteries, so the generator couldn't be started either.

Hmmm. Start the engine and I can start the generator? Yes! Hurray!!!

With the engine running and the generator started, the heater came on. There is HEAT. I won't freeze.

Shut off the engine. Left the generator running. Jumped back into the now cold bed and slept comfortably till morning.

Lessons learned:

1. Batteries don't last all night at low temperatures outside (heater runs continuously and will drain even two batteries).
2. DW is no help. She slept through the whole adventure.
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