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Old 03-23-2015, 10:12 AM   #1
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Best heating method

I have an 06 Beaver Monterey with the Aqua Hot system and a heat pump on the bedroom AC unit.

My question is this. When parked and using the generator what is the most cost effective way to heat the coach. Using the heat pump or using the aqua hot diesel burner?

Thanks
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:39 AM   #2
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Heat pumps are remarkably efficient. AquaHot units push a lot of the energy from the diesel out through the exhaust, so their efficiency is way lower. However, you've got the efficiency of the engine on the generator to consider, and it's not all that great, but probably quite a bit better than the AquaHot. The generator itself should be in the 92% range, give or take, so it's pretty good.

All that said, the difference isn't going to break your wallet, one way or the other. I would go for convenience and comfort. The AquaHot can do its job on the coach batteries, assuming they are good. The generator is somewhat noisier than the AquaHot, and in the best of installations, there is the rumble and the vibration from the generator.

If it were me, I'd definitely heat with the AquaHot if I were boon-docking. My guess is that you might burn a cup or two more diesel than you would with the generator, but it will be a good way to go.

Now, if you ask ten AquaHot/diesel RV owners you will probably get ten different answers. But that's my take.
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:40 AM   #3
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By the way, if you do run the generator all night, be sure to turn on the 110V supply to the AquaHot. That way you can take advantage of at least some of the efficiency advantage of the generator over the diesel burner in the AquaHot.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:11 AM   #4
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Heat pumps are remarkably efficient. AquaHot units push a lot of the energy from the diesel out through the exhaust, so their efficiency is way lower. However, you've got the efficiency of the engine on the generator to consider, and it's not all that great, but probably quite a bit better than the AquaHot. The generator itself should be in the 92% range, give or take, so it's pretty good.

All that said, the difference isn't going to break your wallet, one way or the other. I would go for convenience and comfort. The AquaHot can do its job on the coach batteries, assuming they are good. The generator is somewhat noisier than the AquaHot, and in the best of installations, there is the rumble and the vibration from the generator.

If it were me, I'd definitely heat with the AquaHot if I were boon-docking. My guess is that you might burn a cup or two more diesel than you would with the generator, but it will be a good way to go.

Now, if you ask ten AquaHot/diesel RV owners you will probably get ten different answers. But that's my take.
Thanks for the imput. While running the generator to recharge the batteries I will use the heat pump then when not running the generator I will use the Aqua Hot. At night the Aqua Hot as I don't run the generator then.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:30 AM   #5
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Heat pumps are very efficient, had one in the stick house for years and here, in the great Northwet they work very well due to the moderate temps.
If I'm running the gen and need heat I'll run the heat pumps, otherwise it's the AquaHot. But it's a personal choice IMHO.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:47 AM   #6
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Golfer Guy -- It all depends how far away you`re parked from your neighbor -- Both the generator & Aqua Hot put out exhaust fumes -- Some people I know are very senstive to them -- Sometimes you just have to stay cold like I`ve had to do while at Q -- Bill Willard
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Old 03-23-2015, 04:39 PM   #7
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I don't know the efficiencies of the Aqua Hot, but my gut feeling is that it would be more efficient. To run the heat pumps, you've got the generator efficiency and the heat pump efficiency to consider. That's two places to lose energy. In addition, the heat pump won't be running all of the time, it will be cycling on and off. When the heat pump has cycled off, the generator will keep running, and that is 100% wasted energy.

But the real question is the the outside temperature: the heat pump will not put out as much heat as the AquaHot, and if it's cold enough outside the effectiveness of the heat pump will decline until it will eventually be useless once it gets below 40 degrees or so outside. Furthermore, the heat pump tends to be noisy and only blow warm air around, not hot. Overall, I'm guessing that the AquaHot will make the coach more comfortable (considering both temperature and sound.)

Some real world efficiency specifications are needed to come up with a definitive answer about which is less expensive to run. But I would think comfort should also come into the equation.

So, all in all I didn't really add anything concrete to this discussion (other than maybe gave a few more aspects to consider.)
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Golfer Guy -- It all depends how far away you`re parked from your neighbor -- Both the generator & Aqua Hot put out exhaust fumes -- Some people I know are very senstive to them -- Sometimes you just have to stay cold like I`ve had to do while at Q -- Bill Willard
Why on earth would someone set-up close to you, in the desert, then expect no fumes to come from your coach !!!
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Old 03-23-2015, 08:03 PM   #9
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Why on earth would someone set-up close to you, in the desert, then expect no fumes to come from your coach !!!
That post was in jest -- We were parked in the circle at the iRV2 gathering in Q -- Most of the coaches there are equiped for dry camping -- We are not -- I pulled out of the circle so we could use the generator & AquaHot -- It was just a short distant -- We kept warm at night using our electric blanket & any other heat source that we wanted -- I did the same thing last year -- I know before we go down there what the spacing is -- The post was more about being aware of the neighborhood -- Bill Willard
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:18 PM   #10
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When running the generator I would run the heat pump or an electric heater just to load
up the generator. The generator engine needs a load to keep it happy
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Old 03-24-2015, 09:39 AM   #11
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The Aqua Hot is so much quieter than the A/C so it's a simple choice for me. Plus it's more efficient as far as putting out heat.
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Old 03-24-2015, 11:24 AM   #12
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The generator engine needs a load to keep it happy
True, when exercising the generator, you should load it to at least 50% capacity. And you should periodically exercise the generator if you are not otherwise using it.

But if you use the generator frequently, it's not necessary to also have explicit exercise sessions. And if your routine usage frequently loads the generator while using it, it's not necessary to add loads just to give it something to do when it's otherwise running - that just increases fuel usage.

You want to run the generator's engine periodically to keep the fuel in it fresh and to keep the moving parts lubricated. And you want to load the generator periodically to warm up and dry out the electrical coils. The best way to do that is with regular use, but you don't have to do it every time you use the generator.
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Old 03-24-2015, 11:28 AM   #13
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Plus it's more efficient as far as putting out heat.
Efficient or effective?

I don't think there's any question that it's more effective (and comfortable.) The question is which method is more efficient (best at turning fuel into heat.) The AquaHot can put out more heat (BTUs per hour) than the heat pump, but while doing so is it using more or less fuel per BTU than the heat pump?
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Old 03-24-2015, 11:36 AM   #14
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If all you need is heat, (no 120v for other things), I'm going to say cheaper to run the Aqua hot.
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