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Old 01-05-2016, 08:51 AM   #15
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My suggestion. Run the generator enough so that you have 100% battery charge before going to bed. Unplug all your wall chargers, unplug DVD player, sat receiver, and turn off fridge, all at bed time. Unless you open the fridge it will keep its temp at a safe level. Leave your furnace on and set to about 68*.
That should get you comfortable through the night. Start the genny in the morning to recharge the batteries and turn on fridge and "stuff".

Second question. If you use an electric heater in the RV you must have at least a 100 watt light bulb in the wet bay (if not a small electric heater) to prevent pipes from freezing. You have water pipes that run under the floor and through the basement. Just putting a heater in the living space will not protect those pipes.

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Old 01-05-2016, 09:18 AM   #16
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At 27 degrees F, the mud and water on the ground only frosted over, no ice much.
Inside should be fine so long as it warms up enough during the day time.
I do access the gas water heater from the outside through the door, also from inside beneath a booth seat. Self enclosed fresh water tank inside.
I guess it will be a look and see how well the batteries hold up and how well I hold up inside with it cold. Blankets should do fine. Generator has a switch to use the engine battery to crank for power if needed.
Thanks for all the advice.

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Old 01-05-2016, 06:54 PM   #17
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One thing not mentioned is if you have leveling jacks or not. If you do then you should place boards between the ground and jack pad. Freeze-thaw cycles can lock the jacks into the ground!
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:02 PM   #18
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Had no issues at all. No heat until 20 minutes before time to get up. Slept under a couple of warm blankets. Temps 27 F. The LP gas central heater warmed the place up nicely. Fixed a little breakfast with the microwave and made some coffee while the batteries got a boost.
Lots of fun being comfortable while working away from home.
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:47 AM   #19
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I wondering why not start the genie and turn the furnace up and be comfy. I can sleep with the genny running, of course I can sleep next to a 18 wheelers Thermo King running all night. I like too sit in shorts and a tee shirt.
Keep your tanks filled. buy a small heater (depending on size of MH) I have a 30fter and use a small heater very small when the genie is running (does it good too run under load) and use the furnace as needed.
Be comfortable,
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Old 01-09-2016, 04:15 PM   #20
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I'm living in Southwest Missouri in an old beat up 1991 Rockwood motorhome. It's probably somewhat similar to your old rambler. (about 28 feet long, no slide outs, basement compartments for the electrical and holding tanks, all water plumbing is inside underneath the cabinets and the couch)

I'm plugged in most of the time but I'm pretty sure I would be OK if the power was out for a few days. A couple of things I'm doing:

* I don't use the city water hookup and instead only run off the gravity fill and fresh water tank which are inside the RV.

* my city water connection's check valve is busted and there is a ball valve hooked up on the outside that has a slow leak. So I only have the pump on when I need to run my water. Over time the pressure will go down in the lines when I'm not running water which should give me extra protection if I do have a freeze. Having the pump off also means if there is a busted pipe I don't have the pump emptying the entire contents of my tank into the inside of the coach.

* My holding tank/electrical bay has a very large, very hot old style magnatec converter that puts out a decent amount of heat. For extra protection I have added a 150 watt light bulb and a thermocube (tm) thermostatically controlled outlet to plug it into so that if the inside temp of the compartment ever gets close to freezing the light will kick on until it reaches a somewhat sane temprature.

* I don't ever fully disable the furnace because it keeps the cabinet areas warm where my plumbing is and also gives some heat to the basement below.

I also have the heatstrip kit installed in my overhead AC and use it for supplimental heat.

As far as sleeping is concerned the bed area has two windows: a rear window that doesn't open right behind my head and an exit window to my right. That makes things very chilly unless I have the heatstrip going while I sleep. So I have 3 very heavy military surplus 100% wool blankets (about 5 pounds of wool for each blanket). To keep from itching I just put a sheet under the blankets. I also have a memory foam pad on top of the matress as well.

The sleeping arrangement keeps me nice and toasty warm no matter what temps I have inside the coach.

In the daytime I might run both the furnace and the overhead to stay as warm as possible but at night to save propane I will turn it down to about 60 or so. and just run the propane. That works pretty well over all. I had to shell out a good deal of money for a 120 gallon ASME tank from the propane company to make the propane heat practical though. That said even a grill tank would keep me going for a few days or so.

I have a 29 gallon internal tank that I have topped off also as an emergency reserve just in case the propane company can't fill my big tank in time. (and of course I have the alternate hose I can plug into my extend a stay to hook up grill tanks if I really get desperate. )

I don't know how well you are set up for charging the batteries off your generator set but one of my upgrades I want to do this coming year along with work on my generac N52G is switching out the magnitec with a smart converter that has a 4 stage battery charger/manager (I think the one I want says it's a battery wizzard or something like that) so I could just fire up my gen set for like an hour and charge my batteries up from nothing and be good to go for the rest of the day. As it is now I'm not sure how long it would take a plain old converter to really charge my bank of marine batteries but I bet it's a lot longer than an hour.

I can also run the main engine to charge my batteries using the alternator if I can't run my genset (and I suspect that would charge them faster anyhow).

Lots of rambling there but that's how I'm currently operating and it seems to be working. I will see just how well this works once we get into the teens for a few days straight.

Another thing worth mentioning is you really don't want to keep your holding tank valves open in cold weather and also if you fill your fresh water tank try not to top it completely off since when it's full some water can stick around in the gravity fill and possibly freeze in there.

Someone also mentioned turning off the fridge. I would not recommend that if it's a propane fridge since the water and ammonia solution inside of it could possibly freeze. I would just run it off propane if possible. I also second the suggestion of leaving the hot water tank on so it can't possibly freeze up on you.
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Old 01-10-2016, 07:55 PM   #21
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I have a 1500 watt electric heater, so when my gen set is running in the morning to charge the batteries, I run the electric heater as well.
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Old 01-11-2016, 09:59 AM   #22
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FWIW When staying in weather like that we just button up the unit and run the generator until bed time then set the heat for the low 60's. In the AM if the genset starts that is fine. IF not then start the engine and let it charge the system a bit then use the boost button to start the generator. After than runs a bit to warm up then shut down the main engine. Our setup does not charge the main engine from the genset so I may plug in a separate generator or just leave the genset running and use the boost switch if needed to start the main engine
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Old 01-11-2016, 10:59 AM   #23
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I wouldn't shut the heat down fully. I would try and at least keep the interior temps in the high 50's low 60's. If you're trying to reduce propane usage at least set the thermostat to minimum.

I cover the interior windows with reflective insulation which helps a lot to reduce heat loss. I also have a small 12VDC to 120VAC inverter that will run an electric blanket that pretty much sips power with regards to energy usage.

With the windows covered, electric blanket, a bed hog of a dog and the occasional hot flash from my Navigator I usually set the furnace to 60 or so and I'm good on house battery reserve in the morning. And don't forget there's usually a trunk line of warm air off the furnace to the water pump fresh water tank area to keep it from freezing.
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Old 01-16-2016, 09:13 PM   #24
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Just wanted to F/U with you guys and say the week went fairly well. Going back this week, temps for 3 nights calling for the 20's and one day will only get to high 30's!
Makes for a cold time to be had!
I will just have to run the gen, electric and gas heat to get warm. Plan to leave the thermostat at 60 for the night. The generator would not crank a couple of times last week but I fell asleep with the TV on using the inverter one night!
I had to crank the driver engine then use the remote switch and fire up the generator.
Wondering how much gas the Onan, 2 cylinder generator burns per hour and how long should I let it run to give the house batteries a good charge?
I have a push button meter to measure the volts. When it read 10 1/2 they would not crank the gen.
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Old 01-16-2016, 09:33 PM   #25
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You shouldn't let the batteries get below 11.9 volts. Every time you do, they are suffering life shortening damage.

Most folks run 2 hours in the AM and 1 to 2 hours in the PM.

I read that a 2 cylinder generator will burn around 1/2 a gallon an hour at 1/2 load.
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Old 01-17-2016, 07:49 AM   #26
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If you read up on lead acid battery chemistry it takes a few hours of bulk charge at a minimum to do most of the fill. I take that as running the generator for around 2 hours. That also allows a pattern of using electric hot water and an electric supplemental heater to bring up the temperature inside or warm up the bedroom/bathroom while getting ready in the morning. Then let the main engine generator do the topping off while driving.

The accepted number for the 4 KW Onan seems to be about 0.5 gal/hour. Not bad in the great scheme of things. It takes more BTU's to raise the temperature than it does to maintain. Pushing up the temperature with a combination of electric heat and the gas furnace reduces the load while driving thus letting the engine heater pick up a reasonable part of the load if possible,
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Old 01-17-2016, 08:33 AM   #27
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According to my research, the twin cylinder 7KW Onan in my RV get's between 0.75gal/hr to 1.25gal/hr depending upon load. I don't use it much, mainly in rest areas between destinations so it's not an issue for me. However, it is nice when taking a 2 hour lunch/travel break to have AC (or heat) when enjoying my break. Since I winterize my rig (as needed) for winter travel I don't worry about anything freezing. When I stop for the night, even if it's in the teens, I just pile on the blankets, put on a stocking cap and go to sleep.

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Old 01-17-2016, 11:51 AM   #28
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Have avoided this thread till now.
If RV has plumbing with water in it use the furnace, You can set it low, but use the furnace, This keeps pipes from freezing.

Joke: Get a nice warm spouse to cuddle as well. Best way to keep warm.

Home is where I park it!
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