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Old 11-06-2019, 07:14 AM   #1
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Newbie here

We just bought a 1990 Sierra by Cobra 35' travel trailer because we needed a place to stay in because of a house fire. We were told everything worked but discovered that the furnace isn't working. We understand that the age may require us to just replace the furnace. So here's my questions: what type and where would I look to buy one. I would like to get one that's propane and can handle Sub-Zero temps as it gets quite cold here in the snow belt hills south of Buffalo NY. I've seen mini split systems also but don't know much about them. I've also seen ppl getting Mr Heater big buddies and running those. I'm sorry for the dumb questions but I have 2 teenagers and my husband and I are doing the best we can and this is something completely new to us as we usually tent or hammock camp. But with snow here and cold temps that's not practical nor is renting a house while we wait on our house to be fixed (looking at over a yr before we can get back into our house, with $1200 Mon mortgage). We have the trailer parked at my in-laws so trailer is already winterized but we need it for sleeping only as in-law house is too small for everyone inside. Any and all help is appreciated, Thank you!

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Old 11-06-2019, 07:32 AM   #2
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If you are only sleeping in it, have 30 amp or better electric, and don't have top worry about the water lines freezing, buy a couple of electric ceramic heaters or oil filled radiator style heaters. They will keep it warm, are inexpensive, and don't require the refilling of propane tanks constantly. you can most likely have a 50 amp service installed for what the propane costs would be over a few months and you will be good to go for air conditioning when it warms up.

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Old 11-06-2019, 07:46 AM   #3
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My in-laws really don't want us running extension cords. That's why we were thinking of just replacing furnace as we are planning on using this trailer after we're back into our house. I did buy a generator (6250 start up wt, 5,000 running wt) Coleman powermate but not sure if it's big enough to run this trailer as trailer is 30amp and generator has 2 regular 120 plugs (like home) and 2- 120 amp plug/240. Then a twist and lock plug
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Old 11-06-2019, 09:13 AM   #4
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Spdrar39 actually gave you some very good information, if at all possible have a dedicated servers brought into where you are parked. Yes you can have a pedestal actually mounted and real power running from the pole to you no. It will definitely be an expensive over the long run compared to buying propane all the time. You are thinking extension cords that's not what you're going to do actually have an electrician come in and put in a power pole. No it will not be extremely cheap but over the long run compared to propane it will be cheaper in the extreme. Propane is not going to be inexpensive at all. I can understand wanting to replace the furnace take yourself one step at a time.
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:09 AM   #5
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Fixing the furnace is not a bad idea. Future use as a TT is a good one. Cost of propane is an issue, but it is not necessarily more expensive than electricity. Price of both vary in different places. However cost of propane also depends on how you buy it.

Buying exchangeable 20# cylinders is often the most expensive. Getting them refilled at a propane supplier is next up.
You can get a large tank and have a propane supplier deliver on a "keep full" basis. Tanks come in all sizes. This is the lowest price and most convenient.

Fixing the furnace:
If the furnace has been inspected and found "not repairable" then of course replacement is a good option.

Furnaces in TT's are similar to furnaces in homes. The are not necessarily related to the TT model itself. There are a couple of TT furnace manufactures, so start with finding make and model of the one you want to replace. Then search by make and model for a replacement or a "drop in" of more recent design.

I am guessing you have a ducted TT furnace. You will need one that is similar to attach to the existing ducts.

Temperature controls come in all sorts of varieties. I am guessing yours is a simple thermostat. Some consideration should be given to a compatible thermostat.

You need to charge batteries to run a TT furnace. You may find, running a generator for required 14 hours periodically to be annoying to your host and the neighbors. I have 200 amp hours of battery capacity. It is good for 3 to 5 days in above zero weather.

You could lay out an exterior grade extension cord every third day or so to charge the batteries. Remove the cord when not in use. This may be less of an issue than running a generator for 14 hours. Your existing battery may not be large enough or in good enough condition to run for 3 days.

Note: Don't buy engine start batteries used in cars and trucks. Buy batteries designed for TT or house boats.

Having grid electrical service is actually the best solution. An electrician can easily install the necessary outlets on your hosts house or extend one to a pedestal near the TT. You may need to work out a monthly payment agreement for electricity with your host.

A standard 15 amp 120 volt outlet with a 14 gage extension cord would run your onboard battery charger. You may be able to run one small portable electric heater in addition to the battery charger.

15 amps may not work with both battery charger and some higher wattage electric heaters. A 12 or 10 gage cord would be much better for a portable electric heater and/or electric blankets. A 20 amp outlet would run the battery charger and one electric heater.

Running an electric heater on a long cord would benefit from a 10 gage cord. Standard heavy looking cords are often 14 gage and would be fine for battery charging only.

Running a small cheap electric heater with the propane furnace works much better for me. Fully heating a 32 foot TT with electric will probably require using two portable heaters.

A 30 amp 120 volt would run your trailer appliances and with care could run two portable electric heaters.

Note here that many electricians think a 30 amp outlet must be 240 volts. 240 volts will destroy your TT electricals and electronics. You can not emphasize enough to the electrician it must be 120 volts. He may not believe you. You must insist.
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:32 AM   #6
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Where to buy

Originally Posted by mmch244 View Post
… where would I look to buy one. I would like to get one that's propane and can handle Sub-Zero temps as it gets quite cold here in the snow belt hills south of Buffalo NY. I've seen mini split systems also but don't know much about them. I've also seen ppl getting Mr Heater big buddies and running those. …
You can buy a replacement TT furnace from any TT dealer or TT repair shop. The brand of your TT rarely matters. Most all service all brands. It is a good idea to have them install it if you are not a skilled and experienced furnace person. Propane and combustion devices can kill.

You can buy TT furnaces on line from many sites. Use your favorite search engine to find them. Look for make and model. Call the mfg help line for advice on which to buy.

Open flame inside a TT is a difficult subject. Some owners report being able to use a Big Buddy or similar open flame propane heater in a TT.

These catalytic propane heaters emit carbon dioxide and water when they are working perfectly. Many have oxygen sensors that will shut them down under low oxygen conditions.

They also emit carbon-monoxide and other combustion gasses when they malfunction, are starved for oxygen, or have low propane pressure. This of course can become deadly.

I used a big buddy a few times to reduce 12 volt electric use. I am still alive to tell about it. Significant ventilation was required, compounding the heating issue. The large amount of water vapor emitted required opening vents to get outside air.

My wife became ill from the smell. The heater may have been malfunctioning. The TT stunk for about 6 months after I stopped using it.
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Old 11-07-2019, 01:01 PM   #7
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The best place I found to buy propane is Tractor Supply. Usually $2.50 - $2.80/ gallon. If you were told everything worked maybe talk to that person again and see if they are telling the truth. If they pass the smell test then it is probably something simple that you are not doing exactly right. A wasp could have built a nest to stop the propane flow or a mud dauber.

Make sure the furnace is getting propane. That is an old trailer so it might have an manual process to get it started. Ask that person how to work the furnace.

Again, it could be something simple.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:47 AM   #8
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Welcome to the IRV2.COM

Hello, I am a member myself and wanted to take some time to welcome you and your family to this IRV2 Forum. As you may feel somewhat overwhelmed by all there is to see, read and learn here from others.

So, if you will let’s sit and have a cup <[_]””[_]>’’’’’’ Here is the place to share what’s on your mind as it relates to RV’ing. Everything is here, just for folks and Families. I have some TIPS which I hope will make your visits here more enjoyable. Kind of your FORUM Driving Instructor lol.

Some TIPS:

On top are two menus and the one on top is the forum and the one below that is more helpful and personal for you to tell your story by clicking on USER CP.

So now I would like to show you your SIGN IN Screen. On top RIGHT, is where you click to login and you will find your name, but also are the messages sent to you by the IRV2 Administrators who keep everything running like a well-made Grandfather’s Clock. Now move your eyes to the TOP LEFT and you will see the HOME key, click and you will find a very easy forum menu for your review. But going all the way down to the bottom at the STATS MENU for the over-all Forum DATA. Now panning over from HOME to FORUMS, click and a small MENU will open showing you Community, RV Lifestyle, Reginal and RV Camping Forums. But there is more. The next two are RV FORUMS, OWNER FORUMS, PHOTOS, CLASSIFIEDS, CAMPGROUNDS, and MORE. One last point if I may, when you POST a NEW THREAD go down under the TEXT INPUT and add some TABS, anywhere between 1 or 5-TABS, EXAMPLE: dog, dogs, pets, Campfiredogs, and make sure to add a comma between each TAB. TABS act as FORUM addresses to get your post to others who are interested in reading about? “your dog stories” lol

But before you explore each of them something you should know about is THE MEMBERS MENU. Under the MENU I just told you about is your menu and lots to see and do here as well.

First, click on USER CP and once this opens a menu on the left from top to bottom will appear. Just take them one at a time adding your information as to what you would like the IRV2 forum folks to know about you? Next is about your REGISTER, FILES over to writing your own BLOG moreover to LOGGING OUT.

There is a lot to a Motorhome we call our Recreational Vehicle, RV. One last point as from time to time at the end of a word you will see down arrow ^, yes, I know it’s up, sorry did not have a down arrow on my keyboard. Clicking on them you will find sub-menus and more information to guide you on each of your IRV2 Travels.

Make sure to read and review the rules.

Any questions just post and ask the group as a whole or having IRV2 Forum Friends in your Personal File can also be helpful in asking bouncing questions off. Now we're coming to the end of this very quick intro

So, explore and when ready SHARE your knowledge skills and abilities with IRV2 forum.

Looks like my CUP is almost empty…[_]>’’ “”” ‘’

Safe Travels and Happy Trails, as you explore by RV the Freedom that is the American Road Trip.


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