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Old 08-02-2019, 07:09 AM   #1
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Electric heater in pop up

I have a 2006 Rockwood Premier 2526G. Inside, right beside the little fridge is an electrical heater that is controlled by a thermostat placed near the entrance. This weekend is really the first time I've really used it to keep warm at night.

But my question is, there is an exhaust for it right outside, right between the water inlet and the sink drain, that shoots out really hot air. If this heater is only electric, what does it need to exhaust so much hot air, why not make use of that hot air to actually warm up the camper faster?

Am I missing something here? Are there any built-in heaters like that that are more efficient and does not waste so much energy to heat up the outside? Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:18 AM   #2
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Are you sure it's electric ?? I've never seen a electric heater installed in an RV, but there may be. What you're describing, sounds like a standard propane furnace that you'll usually find in RV's The HOT air you're feeling is the exhaust...much like the vent on the roof on your home.
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:27 AM   #3
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If the vent looks like the one one below it is a propane heater. It uses 12V for control and to run the fan and propane to generate heat. Electric heat uses a significant amount of 120VAC current which is not available without hookups and would be impractical. In addition electric heat does not require an exhaust vent.
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:51 AM   #4
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Yep, you're "missing" that this ain't an electric heater. It's an LP furnace. Furnaces burn outside air and exhaust waste gas outside as well, hence the two ports. This panel gets HOT when the furnace is running.

This furnace burns about a pound of LP fuel every hour of flame time and the blower uses about 4 amps of 12vDC power from the battery. Unless you're on shorepower you'll run out of battery before you run out of fuel.

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Old 08-02-2019, 07:56 AM   #5
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Yep, you're "missing" that this ain't an electric heater. It's an LP furnace. Furnaces burn outside air and exhaust waste gas outside as well, hence the two ports. This panel gets HOT when the furnace is running.

This furnace burns about a pound of LP fuel every hour of flame time and the blower uses about 4 amps of 12vDC power from the battery. Unless you're on shorepower you'll run out of battery before you run out of fuel.

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Not electrical (although it does need 12v battery power) but rather LP. (propane)

DO NOT touch the port where the hot gases vent to the outside. You WILL get burned.
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Old 08-02-2019, 09:41 AM   #6
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Well you were right. It is propane based. Opened it up and saw the look in peep hole where I could see the flames. Guess I should have investigated further before posting. Thank you all for your replies.

Just a quick note, if the fan goes off and on throughout the night to maintain temp at 65F, how many running minutes do you shink I should expect off the battery if nothing else is being used, well aside from water heater electronics?

Thanks
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:06 AM   #7
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Well you were right. It is propane based. Opened it up and saw the look in peep hole where I could see the flames. Guess I should have investigated further before posting. Thank you all for your replies.

Just a quick note, if the fan goes off and on throughout the night to maintain temp at 65F, how many running minutes do you shink I should expect off the battery if nothing else is being used, well aside from water heater electronics?

Thanks
There are many factors that would go in to figuring that out.

Power Draw of the equipment in question in watts or amps. Amount of run time expected for that period of time. Max amps on the battery and its size/type.
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:08 AM   #8
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Tough question to answer. Figure fan uses 4-5Ahr. Then check your battery for AHr capacity ( not CCA) and try to keep current demand below 50% of that capacity. On a cool night you should be fine for a night. On a cold night you might be very close. If you need heat and camp without hookups, you might think about adding another battery in parallel. Try to match as closely as possible the one you have now assuming it is relatively new. Don't forget you need a way to charge the battery in the morning. Do not plan on the TV accomplishing that task.
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:18 AM   #9
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When I had my popup I had two seep cycle batteries and could run the heater all night long when boondocking.
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:19 AM   #10
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I have always been able to regularly get ONE night off a single battery whether in our pop-ups or trailers.
Furnaces are battery hogs and depending on how much other stuff you've used that depletes the battery, will determine whether you'll get through a night.
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:20 PM   #11
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My 19,000-ish BTU furnace amperage draw is 3.36 amps (measured). Typical "80 amp hour" Group 24 battery only supplies about 55 amp hours before the voltage gets too low to run much of anything. To make the math estimate easy I figure the furnace at 4 amps and the battery at 56 useful amphours giving 14 hours of flame time if the battery is used exclusively for heat. You'll get about 20 hours of flame time from one propane cylinder. Dual batteries and dual propane cylinders are not a luxury.

No need to heat the camper to 65F, sleeping bags are good for lower temperatures and a temp in the 50s is comfortable in even a mediocre bag. Battery powered digital thermostats are under $50 with settable temps and times just like at home so you can wake up to some warmth.

Note the typical 1500 watt electric heater only supplies about 5,000 BTU of heat, the same as a hand held hair dryer. This same wattage "heat strip" in a popup AC unit is barely useful.

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Old 08-02-2019, 01:22 PM   #12
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I concur with Chuck. Our A-frame heater is about the same size, and our heater fan draws 3.1 amps (measured). We sized our battery bank to get 4 nights of 5 hours heater run time, along with the parasitic loads (thermostat, CO/propane detector, and fridge control board (HW only)). Takes 2 80AH batteries to go the 4 nights without running down below 50%. Upgraded to 2 GC-2 6V batteries ($95 each at Costco) which increases our usable supply to 105AH.

In the summer in CO mountains, with night temps in the 50s/high 40s, we can do 62 deg on the thermostat and keep our heater run time less than 50%. When we get to low 40s/high 30s at night, we use heavier blankets and set thermostat to 55. DW does not like sleeping bags, so we adjust blanket weight to the weather. To keep DW happy, I get up first and crank up heat to 65 when she is ready to get up.

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Old 08-02-2019, 07:07 PM   #13
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Thank you all for your replies. I will try to get 2x 6V deep cycle batteries. And also for sure an instant battery level meter that I will wire into the camper next to the fuse box. That will help me adjust and make sure I don't go below the recommended 50% battery level. As well as bring heavier blankets.

Thank you
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:36 PM   #14
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I recommend a battery usage monitor as battery level monitors no matter where you place them are not accurate. You need to monitor the amount of current drawn from the battery and the amount of current replaced during charging.
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Old 08-03-2019, 07:56 AM   #15
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If you have shore power when camping, an electric ceramic heater will save your propane and batteries. It won't keep your camper 72 degrees but it does take the chill out of the air. DW and I just got back from northern Iowa where it got down to 50 degrees at night and the ceramic heater maintained
a 60 degree temperature in the camper. Enough to take the chill out of the air. Happy Wife Happy Life.
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:03 AM   #16
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If you have shore power when camping, an electric ceramic heater will save your propane and batteries. It won't keep your camper 72 degrees but it does take the chill out of the air. DW and I just got back from northern Iowa where it got down to 50 degrees at night and the ceramic heater maintained
a 60 degree temperature in the camper. Enough to take the chill out of the air. Happy Wife Happy Life.
Omaha ??? How many blocks away from Bellevue ??? Heck ! we're neighbors.

Sorry folks...highjacked a little here.
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:50 AM   #17
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Was not really concerned about propane as I have 2x 20lbs tanks that are always full before leaving for any trip. It was more the battery concern for the propane heater fan and controls.
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:55 PM   #18
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That is an gas exhaust vent. You have a DC fan driven LP fired furnace. No electric element heaters are factory installed because of power consumption and they only work on AC.
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Originally Posted by Marphi View Post
I have a 2006 Rockwood Premier 2526G. Inside, right beside the little fridge is an electrical heater that is controlled by a thermostat placed near the entrance. This weekend is really the first time I've really used it to keep warm at night.

But my question is, there is an exhaust for it right outside, right between the water inlet and the sink drain, that shoots out really hot air. If this heater is only electric, what does it need to exhaust so much hot air, why not make use of that hot air to actually warm up the camper faster?

Am I missing something here? Are there any built-in heaters like that that are more efficient and does not waste so much energy to heat up the outside? Thanks.
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