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Old 10-22-2017, 08:51 AM   #1
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Minnesota cold weather coming

I bought a new 2018 Open Road 34PA, I should say that I am a newbie to the RV world.
So far we have had it out once in 2 weeks and I am trying to figure out a few things. As we go into the MN cold weather season, what do I have to do to keep from freezing up in the basement? Also the upstairs living area did not warm up as well as I thought it should. The outside temp dropped to 38 degrees overnight, and the furnace ran continuously, or at least the blower did. The bedroom has just one duct that is about 5x5 inches square, we do have the ceiling fan, I did not try running it in updraft though. My side of the bed was against the back wall, the wall and floor were cold. I see that some have posted to supplement the heat with electric heaters upstairs.
Is there something that I should be doing with the heat pump and furnace working together? The heat pump would use the ductwork from the air conditioning which has many more vents throughout the MH and do a better job of dispersing the air around the MH. I read that the heat pump is not effective after it gets too cold, does the blower still work for the ductwork to move the air around though? Does the heat pump take the 50 amp service or generator to run, or is that only when running both air conditioners?

What type of heaters do you recommend for the basement area? How many watts needed to stay above freezing? Where do you plug in a heater for the basement? Basement heat would help with a warmer floor, one located at the rear under the bedroom would help with the floor there but would the heat transfer forward to protect the water pipes? How about the side compartment with the outside shower and sewer stuff, do we heat that separately?

I thinking of a trip after Christmas to a warmer place, maybe I should leave with everything drained until I get to a warmer climate before I add water.
I do keep the MH inside a heated building when not in use, so it would be convenient to not have to winterize prior to leaving.
Thanks for any suggestions to my long post,
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Old 10-22-2017, 09:00 AM   #2
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We had the same situation you do when living in Chicago. Heated garage but wanted to leave in late Fall for the SW. Didn't want to winterize. We were flexible on leave date and made sure we left when daytime temps got above freezing for the first two days of trip. That may require you to leave earlier in year than you are thinking. Running the furnace (at least in ours) sent some heat to the wet bays so we had no problem. If getting cold while parked we used the furnace and supplemented with small electric space heaters in basements. Either use a heated hose AND leave water slow dripping at sink, or fill tank and disconnect. Many winterize and drive first couple of days with bottled water before de-winterizing.
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Old 10-22-2017, 09:46 AM   #3
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Go ahead and winterize your coach. Since you are going to get to warmer climates in December, you can do the winterization light routine. Use compressed air to blow out all of the water lines and don't forget the washer, if you have one, the ice maker, the refrigerator water dispenser, the toilet, and all of the sink faucets including the outside shower. Drain all of your tanks. Pour RV antifreeze down all of the traps/hepvo drains.

Once you get where the daytime temps are above freezing, you can de-winterize.

Heater-Heat Pump operation:

They are interconnected only when you set the thermostat to electric heat and put the thermostat 4 degrees or more above the temperature in the coach. The gas heat will come on to assist the heat pump get the coach warm faster. This is normal. Your heat pump will only work to about 40 degrees so if overnight lows are forecast to be below that, you should turn off the heat pump and turn on the gas heat. Unless you have two heat pumps, you can run the heat pump on 30 amp service (it draws about 15-16 amps when on).

If you absolutely don't want to winterize, make sure your propane levels are good and set the gas furnace for 50 degrees. Keep the coach plugged in to keep your batteries charged and check your propane levels frequently. I personally would drain the water lines using the low point drains or use the air line technique to blow the lines out. Put antifreeze in the traps if you expect a big cold snap.
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Old 10-22-2017, 09:46 AM   #4
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A couple of things to consider on interior heating. First, the heat pump is, in fact, not effective once you get down to 40 degrees as you had noted. You could run the fan in each ceiling unit for air circulation, but I don't think there would be enough heat remaining in that air to make it worthwhile. Second, using your propane furnace a lot will put a lot of moisture into the air in your coach. So offsetting that with cube heaters will add dry heat, and reduce propane consumption. So cube heaters will be a help. Finally, I would look into a better carbon monoxide detector dedicated for bedroom use. I don't like the current combined unit at floor level, and adding the cube heaters would make this purchase a worthwhile investment
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Old 10-23-2017, 06:30 AM   #5
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Heat pump works like everyone says. Your slides are not very well insulated. When extended Your slide floor, side walls and roof will be harder to heat then the rest of the RV. If it is really cold don't open the slides this reduces the amount of poorly insulated area exposed to the outside temp. Any 120V electric heater will work just don't use too many of them at once. I bought mine on sale at WalMart. They usually are 1500 watts and that equates to 12.5 amps per heater. If you have a fireplace option it is 1500 watts and draws 12.5 amps. I don't heat the basement when heading south.
I don't have heated storage so I winterize. Don't forget to winterize the Residential Fridge water valve for the Ice Maker and all associated water lines. I remove the valve and store it inside then I add some insulation behind the Fridge access panel. When heading south in cold weather I fill the fresh water tank with clean softened water through the manual fill port not through the wet bay connection. Use while traveling for flushing toilets. Remember your water lines are full of antifreeze and a few toilet flushes won't completely remove the antifreeze so they won't freeze. You will be flushing antifreeze into the holding tank so it won't freeze. Your dash heat works well when driving and then use heat pump and furnace and electric heaters when stopping overnight at a campground. I wait until I get to a warm above freezing campground with full hookups to fully dewinterize.
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Old 10-23-2017, 06:57 AM   #6
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The last few years when I've been to Florida in Feb and March we have mainly run the furnace, because it keeps the floors warm. If needed during the day, we run the heat pump some. Highly recommend you winterize. When we get to the KOA in Cordele, Ga we drain all the rv/marine antifreeze. Also, the Flying-J off I75 at Cordele before the KOA has rv gas/diesel pumps out front. Dave
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Old 10-23-2017, 11:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8253 View Post
A couple of things to consider on interior heating. First, the heat pump is, in fact, not effective once you get down to 40 degrees as you had noted. You could run the fan in each ceiling unit for air circulation, but I don't think there would be enough heat remaining in that air to make it worthwhile. Second, using your propane furnace a lot will put a lot of moisture into the air in your coach. So offsetting that with cube heaters will add dry heat, and reduce propane consumption. So cube heaters will be a help. Finally, I would look into a better carbon monoxide detector dedicated for bedroom use. I don't like the current combined unit at floor level, and adding the cube heaters would make this purchase a worthwhile investment
If your gas heater puts moisture in the air, you will be dead from CO poisoning. The furnace is, in fact, sealed and all combustion air comes from and is exhausted to outside air. Interior air is recirculated through the furnace. Moisture comes from occupants (humans and pets), the shower, and cooking.

Warmer air will also hold more moisture. Run your exhaust fans when showering and cooking and you will get less excess moisture and condensation. Your heat pump and cube heaters are moisture neutral.
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