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Old 12-07-2011, 11:56 AM   #1
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Class A basement heat options

Hello all,
If you're any place but southern Florida right now you're probably in the same cold snap I'm in. I have a Country Coach with hydronic heat that also heats the basement when the temp gets below 38 degrees and it does a great job. But with the high cost of fuel I'm looking for recommendations on a small convection wall mounted heating unit I can put down in the basement that I can use when I'm plugged in. I have found some that will heat a floor area of 130-150 sq' but I'm looking for something smaller. I know I could put a small fan operated electric heater down there but I get nervouse about the fire hazard with all the stuff we have down there.
Any suggestions?
Thanks
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:42 AM   #2
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I don't know the answer to your question, but I have a follow-up question on yours! We have just been talking about our 06 Country Coach Intrigue and wondering (it's still relatively new to us) if the basement gets heated when it gets really cold. Is that a feature they all have? Is there an easy way to tell if we have that?!
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:42 PM   #3
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Heat cables can be wrapped (or coiled in the compartment floor) around critical items such as tank drain valves, water filter canister, water pump etc. They come in multiple lengths, wattages and have built in thermostat. I used them on my previous class C with exposed drain valves. They are widely available in home improvement stores.
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Old 12-08-2011, 02:32 PM   #4
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Depending how cold it gets and how big the compartment is, you might be able to use a 75w or 100w light bulb (if you go with 100w light bulbs, stock up on them; the government has banned manufacturing them begining 1/1/2012).
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:04 PM   #5
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DO NOT use a strip heater. Ceramic heaters are safe, they will not light tissue paper.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:18 PM   #6
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we don't have a cc
but our rear basement gets warm air from the main furnace.
last January when it was a week or so of 19F, i used a small ceramic heater in the forward bays...it pulled 5-6 amps on LOW heat/speed setting.
i moved everything from around it and made sure the cord wasn't looped on its self. this kept the basement at a nice 60-65 F which IMO helped keep the floor above it (where my bare feet are, warmer)
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:49 PM   #7
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Pumper--- try walmart I just picked up two heaters there they are called my personal heat 200 watts each about 4x4x8 inch in size and work great in the wet bays. You can find them on line as well about $12 hope this helps
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Old 12-09-2011, 01:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by num1dgh View Post
I don't know the answer to your question, but I have a follow-up question on yours! We have just been talking about our 06 Country Coach Intrigue and wondering (it's still relatively new to us) if the basement gets heated when it gets really cold. Is that a feature they all have? Is there an easy way to tell if we have that?!
Most likely there is a vent (or two) that run from your furnace to the basement. Nose around down there and you'll probably see it (them).
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by LadyFitz... View Post
100w light bulbs, stock up on them; the government has banned manufacturing them begining 1/1/2012).
When incandescent bulbs are outlawed, only outlaws will.............!
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:29 PM   #10
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I made a metal wire/screen cage from a cookie sheet and metal screens (originally designed for rolling off paint from rollers in a bucket) to keep anything from coming in contact with the electric heater for the basement.
(Galvanized "hardware cloth" would work as well). For light bulbs also.
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:50 PM   #11
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I seriously doubt that the temps in the basement are going to go below 32 degrees unless you are in ambient temperatures way below that for extended periods of time. The thermal mass of the coach and the stuff in it will make it very slow to cool down, not even factoring in the the heat that radiates through the floor from the heated living space above.

But irrespective of all of this, I'm not sure why you are considering doing this unless you get your electricity for free. Keeping the cargo bays heated electrically versus using the hydronic heater is going to take roughly the same amount of energy (maybe 20% more if you include losses in the burner). On relative basis, electricity is usually an expensive fuel for space heating compared with alternatives. Even if you end up saving a bit, it's probably not going to amount to very much money saved. IMHO that is.
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Old 12-10-2011, 05:00 PM   #12
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Get a couple of the old style automotive trouble lights with the metal cage and hang them in the bays. As a bonus yor get a 15' cord to run outside to a separate outlet if needed. Use a 75 or 100 watt bulb.
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by docj View Post
I seriously doubt that the temps in the basement are going to go below 32 degrees unless you are in ambient temperatures way below that for extended periods of time. The thermal mass of the coach and the stuff in it will make it very slow to cool down, not even factoring in the the heat that radiates through the floor from the heated living space above.
This is generally true; however, I've a friend with a brand new Tiffin Allegro Bus who had his pipes burst on both sides of the water filter in the wet bay. They were completely without water. I guess that isn't so bad unless you have to flush And, of course, the water pumps are DEMAND, so as soon as a pipe AFTER the water pump bursts, the area floods with however much water you have in the fresh water tank (DOUBLE )

The snap bay heater uses 20 amps. If you are plugged into 30 or 50 amps, it is no big deal. If your coach is stored and your power is a 15-20 amp circuit, the circuit will trip or overheat.

I agree with LadyFitz. A 15 amp circuit will run a bunch of 75 - 100 amp bulbs; a single 75 watt bulb puts off enough heat to keep a basement bay from freezing.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:29 AM   #14
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basement heatg

First off thanks to all who have replied I appreciate your suggestions. A couple of replies to your suggestions. First off the basement heat thermostat is set to come on a 38 degrees. I haven't figured out how to reset that and I'm not sure I want to. As far as cost between electric and fuel. When I'm plugged in I'm paying for the power I may as well use to my advantage. We are trying full timing and right now are just trying to get all around the country so we don't do any multi month stays in any one location and we don't pay a meter fee. Right now the ambient temp outside is 34 and the basement heat is running burning fuel. We're plugged into a 50 amp service and it makes sense to have some electric heat in the basement. I appreciate the light bulb thing and have use that trick in the past. But I'd prefer something else. As far as heat tape it works well in static situations but if it's wrapped around itself it can cause a fire. With the vibration of running down the road the tape will stand a good chance of slipping and if you use and adhesive the heat will degrade the adhesive. As far as portable heat I've seen those small electric heaters at Wal-Mart but I'm not crazy about electric filaments, even with the cage. The wife tends to push, shove, and force things into the storage area and I could see the cage getting knocked off and heater knocked over. I think I've found a small 450 watt convection heater that may work but it runs about $120. When I get it figured out I'll post with the results. I also have to find where I can look at one to see if it will meet my needs before I buy it.


Please keep those suggestions rolling in they are a big help.
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