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Old 10-26-2013, 09:42 AM   #1
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Cold Weather Heating Question

Hi, Newbie question. We are on our second outing with our 2013 Winnebago Sightseer 35G in the NC foothills where it is getting down around freezing at night.

We have dual heat pumps and the main cabin has a gas furnace. We had the bedroom heat pump on and the main set to gas last night and they didn't maintain the temperature with it getting down to about 60 in the bedroom. The bedroom seemed to blow out lukewarm air from the overhead vents making it feel even chillier. It did seem to blow warm air from the one floor vent (at least I'm assuming it was the bedroom unit and not the main unit).

Am I missing something, I was surprised that the temperature wasn't maintained? Would we be better off not having the bedroom heat pump on when it is so cold? In the future, I could see cutting some relextix panels for the roof vents and some windows, especially I the bedroom.

Should any vents be cracked open?

Thanks for any suggestions.


John & Dorene with the Sleeping Dogs - Lexie, Bailey, & Brie (Bernese Mountain Dogs), Chloe (American Eskimo), and Ember (GSD)-2015 American Coach Revolution 42G and 2013 CRV
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Old 10-26-2013, 09:47 AM   #2
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Keep widows closed. Furnace uses outside air and vents to outside.I would use one system or the other. Heat pumps or furnace, not both. JMO

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Old 10-26-2013, 09:56 AM   #3
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One or the other but typically the heat pumps aren't capable of working much below 40 degrees.
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Old 10-26-2013, 10:01 AM   #4
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The heat pumps tend to be like your AC. While the AC can drop ambient temps about 25* (give or take) the heat pumps will only raise temps about the same, again give or take. We don't use our heat pumps after the outside temps get below about 45* otherwise we just know we are going to use a lot of electricity and not get beyond lukewarm.

The only twist is that Sandee and I are still working until the end of November so if the day time temps during the week drop to about 40* we will still run the heat pumps because we dial down the MH to 60*. The only reason we do that is to preserve our LP but that will change after Monday when we get a 100# LP tank set up.

That should meet our needs for the month we have left before we head south. That leaves us about 1/2 tank (about 40#) in our MH tank in case we need it for some reason. I just don't want to disconnect my MH from power and water, drive around the CG to get the MH tank filled unless I really have to.

You should consider venting the coach a little bit, especially if there have been some showers taken or boiling water for cooking and other things that might add humidity to the coach. We keep an eye on the windshield and if we see moisture building up between the inside of the windshield and the windshield shades we will air things out a bit. This is usually pretty easy if day time temps and sunshine warm things up...kinda gets harder to do if it stays cold, dreary and wet.
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Old 10-26-2013, 11:05 AM   #5
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Your furnace should certainly warm up the rig fast and warm. If your floor vents aren't real warm, I'd check to make sure if it's working right. I wouldn't run the heat pumps below 40 and not with the furnace on.
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Old 10-26-2013, 03:38 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice. It is only going to be in the mid forties tonight so hopefully won't be a problem. I'll try furnace only the next time it is cooler. The floor vents were hot.

John & Dorene with the Sleeping Dogs - Lexie, Bailey, & Brie (Bernese Mountain Dogs), Chloe (American Eskimo), and Ember (GSD)-2015 American Coach Revolution 42G and 2013 CRV
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Old 10-26-2013, 04:00 PM   #7
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As others have stated, heat pumps are only operable when the outside temps are above 35-40 degrees. Even then they are not all that efficient. During their operation as heat pumps during the winter, the compressors are operating as if they were cooling the coach during the summer, so wear and tear is happening year around. If the outside temp will be 40 or above we use 2 small 1500 watt electric heater with each running at half output of 750 watts. They are on different circuits and we run one in the lounge/kitchen area and one at the bathroom/bedroom area. Together they keep the coach at 70 or above when the outdoor temps are 35-40 degrees.

If the temps will get down into the mid to upper 20's, we use the furnace to make sure we don't encounter any freezing issues with the onboard plumbing.
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Old 10-26-2013, 04:07 PM   #8
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Down comforter.
Electric space heater in the bedroom, unless dry camping.
No heat pumps at lower temp. Furnace when colder.
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Old 10-26-2013, 04:27 PM   #9
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interesting replies. Keep in mind that from what I have seen and heard discussed most of the MH use the heat from the furnace with a vent to the water and tank area to keep them from freezing. If you are in freezing temperatures you are going to have to use the furnace if that is the case for you.

You might check and see how your thermostat works. On my allegro bus when the temp gets down to 35 degrees or so the thermostat automatically shuts the heat pumps down and switches over to the furnace.

If you use a small electric heater in your unit to heat. You want to make sure it does not run off of a inverter plug in. For example we have a 2000 watt inverter. The inverter feeds most of the receptacles in our bus and the inverter only has two 20 amp breakers to feed those receptacles. We tried plugging in a 1500 watt ceramic heater and almost immediately tripped one of the inverter breakers. I looked at the wiring diagram for the bus and found 3 receptacles not going to the inverter that were on a 15 amp breaker so I can plug the electric heater in those when it gets hot. I am also going to try an incandescent trouble light in the water area and run that on an extension to the power pedestal to keep those areas warm.

My last advice is that I have a indoor/outdoor thermometer I keep in the bedroom the outdoor thermometer transmitter I keep in the web bay area to monitor temps in there. I can look and see how cold it is in that area.
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Old 10-27-2013, 05:21 AM   #10
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On my unit the Rear AC only has Heat\AC the front unit has Heat\AC\Elec Heat. It is the one that controls the Heat pumps in both units. I place the bedroom on Heat and the Living 'room on Elec. Heat and they both with run the Heat Pumps, that is unless it's too cold then it will turn on the regular Heater.
Yes during Heat Pump operation the air comes out of the AC vents and yes its a tad bit cooler at first, but it does warm up.
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Old 10-27-2013, 05:36 AM   #11
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Currently in Myrtle beach, temps were down in the 30s overnight Friday and of course in the middle of the night the heat pumps went into defrost mode so I turned them off. Last night the temps were predicted to go down to 45 so no probs with heat pumps overnight.
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Old 10-27-2013, 06:48 AM   #12
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The problem might simply be that the area where the thermostat is warms up faster than the bedroom and then shuts off the heat. You could try setting the thermostat a few degrees warmer. Or, add supplemental heat to the bedroom. Either a small electric space heater or a propane catalytic heater. Or, get an electric blanket.

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Old 10-27-2013, 07:34 AM   #13
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We use our heat pumps all the time when the temp is above freezing. On our MH we can set the heat pumps and they will operate until the outside temp gets down too low, then they will automatically turn off and the furnace will come on. We use the heat pumps to save money on propane.

The air from the vents using heat pumps is supposed to only be warm, NOT hot.

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Joe & Annette

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Old 10-27-2013, 07:45 AM   #14
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If your gas furnace does not heat the coach properly at 32 degrees there is a problem with the heating system take it back to Winnebago before it gets colder. Don't use the heat pump below 42 degrees turn it off.

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