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Old 10-23-2006, 06:49 AM   #1
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We have not previously camped much in cold weather and need advice about a strategy for keeping warm.

The roof A/C heat pumps make too much noise cycling on and off at night and won't run off the inverter when dry camping. We don't want to run the generator all night.

Our small portable heater runs the batteries down too fast during the night.

The HydroHot furnace on electrical mode doesn't put out quite enough heat and also won't run off the inverter and batteries at all. Our unit does not have a propane furnace.

I suspect that keeping the HydroHot on diesel 24/7 would use a lot of expensive diesel fuel.

Has anyone tried an electric blanket? How much electricity do they use? Would it also run down the batteries on inverter when dry camping?
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Old 10-23-2006, 06:49 AM   #2
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We have not previously camped much in cold weather and need advice about a strategy for keeping warm.

The roof A/C heat pumps make too much noise cycling on and off at night and won't run off the inverter when dry camping. We don't want to run the generator all night.

Our small portable heater runs the batteries down too fast during the night.

The HydroHot furnace on electrical mode doesn't put out quite enough heat and also won't run off the inverter and batteries at all. Our unit does not have a propane furnace.

I suspect that keeping the HydroHot on diesel 24/7 would use a lot of expensive diesel fuel.

Has anyone tried an electric blanket? How much electricity do they use? Would it also run down the batteries on inverter when dry camping?
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Old 10-23-2006, 01:56 PM   #3
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Snuggery,

We prefer to use the Hydro Hot but have found closing one of the privacy doors and using the heat pump in the opposite end of the coach works quite well. At night we just close a few ceiling vents in the front of the coach to improve air flow, close the privacy door and put the front heat pump on automatic. Of course this does not work when dry camping
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Old 10-23-2006, 03:52 PM   #4
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Snuggery, the Hydro hot is probably the most efficient product you have. I do not believe if the outside temperature is low enogth that your heat pumps will offer anything. Ask Hydro Hot what the fuel usage is. I would think you would be quite surprised. Maybe dry camping is just not your ticket but then again what are you going to use for heat when you are in camp with electric?
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Old 10-24-2006, 11:55 AM   #5
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We have an electric mattress cover which works wonderfully, at least down to about 40?. Uses anly a very small amount of electricity so it will run off the inverter. 'Course if that's your only heat source, you'll have to chisel the ice off the rest of the coach in the a.m.
IIWM, I'd run the front heat pump as Wayne suggested, w/select vents & door closed when electricity is paid for in your space rent, and the HHot on diesel when no plug-in available. Or, when electricity is available, use the mattress/blanket and the HHot on electric, maybe w/a spare cube heater (that's what we do). Of course, below 40 or so, the heat pump won't work, so it's HHot or other options anyway.
And the best-for-last suggestion: Use the diesel motor heat to propel the coach south of 26? latitude minimum, <25? preferred (just don't go south of where they have cold beer )
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Old 10-25-2006, 05:51 AM   #6
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Good suggestions and good humor - except that we are going on the Copper Canyon trip in February (south of 25? latitude) which is dry camping in cold weather and why I started this thread.

I guess that explains why my heat pump keeps shutting down when the temperature gets near freezing! The HydroHot site says diesel usage is about 3-4 gallons a day on maximum usage. We have a cube heater and will get an electric blanket.

Uh-Oh, it is 20? this morning and I think my water hose froze during the night. What should you do if you think the temperature is going to drop that low during the night?
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:26 AM   #7
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Divisidero can indeed get snow (IIRC it is ~6500 or 7000 feet?). But we were there on a Jan 1, and it never went much below 50 (not on flatcars w/motorhome; we took the passenger train & stayed in motel; train was supposed to leave @ 06:00 1Jan but no sober crew till ~10:00 and the passengers who missed breakfast to line up luggage @ 05:00 & bodies @ 06:00 were a teeny beet grumpy ).
When you get to the beeeeg tunnel, turn your headlights on for fun; and IIWM I'd get off the strapped-down lounge chairs on deck and set inside the MH (engine diesel exhaust in the tunnel not my idea of a good time). Have fun. You have my sincerest envy.
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Old 10-26-2006, 08:16 PM   #8
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Not long after we got our '03 we had cause to use our electric blanket (Sunbeam I think)..we were dry camping in the Ozarks somewhere(?). Anyway the control unit on the electric blanket started blinking "FF" (or maybe it was "EE")really fast and the controls got really hot. Needless to say we unpluged the blanket and snuggled up for a very cold night! Called the mfg. or the inverter the next am and was told that electric blankets won't work off the inverter. That's funny because we used that same blanket off the inverter when we had the Alpenlite 5th wheel. Oh well...we don't use the electric blanket now. Got a down comforter, along with Freckles (our dog) we sleep comfy!
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Old 10-27-2006, 05:25 AM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Snuggery:
Uh-Oh, it is 20? this morning and I think my water hose froze during the night. What should you do if you think the temperature is going to drop that low during the night? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Unhook your water hose before you go to bed. Use water from your fresh water tank - make sure you have heat on to circulate warmth throughout bays as well as coach and you won't have any problems.
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Old 10-27-2006, 05:20 PM   #10
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You guys got the part about keeping warm, but we used to get condensation on the front windshield and some of the metal around the windows when it was cold.....around + 10F.

Now we keep a roof vent open just a bit to let that moist air escape the coach. It cuts way down on the condensation on the windows.

EM, that electric blanket....you have 6 coach batteries?........how are the batteries in the AM? Think you could run one (EB) with 4 batteries?
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Old 10-27-2006, 05:42 PM   #11
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I am really surprised, when I sold our 96 Monaco Executive with the Hydro Heat which I thought was incredible and went to the Alpine with a Propane heater(no hydro hot) I never realized I was so lucky. Maybe the old Hydro hot's worked better because mine certainly kept us extremely warm with no noise. Cost of the fuel was never an issue and had it been I would have never purchased a motor home which is not particularly known as being a cheap mode of living. Actually I believe our boats were much worse. When people ask what our fuel mileage is in a boat or our motorhome you quickly realize they can not afford that particular kind of recreation. Please do not take that as any form of an insult but an honest comment. Motorhomes were never designed to be economical in any form or fashion. That is a fact.
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Old 10-27-2006, 07:08 PM   #12
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Suspect there are any number of ways to stay warm in bed--whether its the latest high tech or just good old-fashion togetherness. If the outside air temp stays below 20-25 degrees for any length of time, I would be more concerned about how all the plumbing in the basement is doing. If you freeze up/bust a couple of pipes inside the coach, staying warm in bed will be the least of your issues....Compared to a broken pipe, a little diesel / propane sounds pretty cheap to me...dean
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Old 10-28-2006, 07:07 PM   #13
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You may find that it would help to cover your windows with Reflectix heat barrier (It sure warms up in here now just from cooking supper). If you use 2 pieces to cover per window, you can remove 1/2 (1 piece) to let some light in while limiting the amount of heat loss. Make sure the covers are large enough you cover the aluminum framing (huge heat sink). I also have a piece that covers the front windshield and side door windows. The cab of the Class C has no insulation!

We also have a layer of Reflectix under our mattress, an electric heated mattress pad (don't always turn it on or just use it to take the chill off) on top of the mattress, 2 thermal blankets, a sleeping bag opened up (30 degree rating) with a quilt on top. Of course it hasn't gotten too cold here yet (getting close to freezing), but this setup has worked well for us in the past (we lived thru a SE TN winter in a popup camper one year)... even during a power outage. We are hooked up to electric so we are using a room heater (turned down to 65 at night). I keep the RVs interior temp at 60 to 65 degrees (most comfy sleeping temp for our dog) and bump temps up in the AM to get dressed. No sense in heating the rest of the RV just to sleep in warmer temps. We do not plan on having to boondock during the winter, so our fresh water tank is kept warm with an old waterbed heater. Our water heater gives off enough heat that the water pipes will stay thawed (it's a small Class C ). My bifggest worry is our filters (external sand filter and a whole house filter) but I will be wrapping them with "pipe heating cable" as well as the water hose and insulating the whole mess (hose with pipe insulation tubes and the filters sit in an insulated box...everything on quick connects in case we have to shut the system down). Luckily we are not in an area with severe winter temps but it does dip into the freeze zone at night (daytime temps usually warm up to the thaw point). This is what works for us.
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Old 10-28-2006, 07:55 PM   #14
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Tom - re the electric blanket - we don't use one with the '03 but do use a CPAP machine all night - batteries drop a bit but I can still brew a pot of coffee in the a.m. yes, we have 6 house batteries.
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