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Old 01-06-2019, 09:03 PM   #1
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Heating RV in winter conditions without propane?

For those of us who are not lucky enough or smart enough to have purchased a coach with AquaHot heating or another type of diesel fired heat, we are constantly trying to conserve propane in the winter.

I am interested in successful ideas for alternate sources of heat in extreme cold conditions (snow, ice and sub freezing) as well as at near freezing temps. This includes at the campsite and when driving down the road when the furnace may or may not be as effective (I have a class A DP).

I have two space heaters that we use that are electric but they can only be used with hookups or a gen set.

What have you found to be successful and what has not worked? What are the pros and cons of different types of heat (propane space heaters, ceramic electric, diesel heaters, catalytic heaters) in your personal experience?

I envy those with diesel fired heaters but since I don't have it, what should I do since the propane burns up quickly and we are not sitting in the same location to hook up to an external propane tank? Suggestions based upon experience would be greatly appreciated! (by the way, driving south is not an acceptable answer )

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Old 01-06-2019, 09:15 PM   #2
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We went BIG

This probably isn't what you're looking for but I'll give it a shot:

We built a pole barn and put our Coach in it. It is heated with a high efficiency house furnace (shown in one of the photos), a dump station connected to a septic tank and drain field, a well and is well insulated.

Sorry the photos are sideways.
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:09 PM   #3
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Really nice barn. Since we full time and won’t be living in a barn,
I ll be following your post. This year we are staying in a CG with gas delivery...yea!
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:22 PM   #4
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Driving south is the only answer. Go where it's warmer, so you don't need to worry about building a campfire in your dinette or bedroom slide out.
Can't create something from nothing, aka heat, from "I wish it was warmer here".
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Old 01-07-2019, 06:43 AM   #5
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We use a couple of small electric heaters.My brother uses an oil heater in a small TT.Not much luck with ceramic heaters,they seem to lose efficientcy after a couple of years.There just are not a whole lot of choices.The DW bought us a really good dual control electric blanket .Sure helps when you need a good nights sleep and its cool in the MH.
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Old 01-07-2019, 06:50 AM   #6
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Use the generator and run both the furnace and ceramic heaters.
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:33 AM   #7
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I have an extend-a-stay propane adapter that connects to a BBQ but it has a second fitting to connect to a propane bottle. I use a 20lb bottle to keep the furnace going until I can fill the big tank. I also just tried out my Lil Buddy heater that uses the small green cans and I was impressed at the heat it puts out.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:29 PM   #8
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We have an external tank but the best thing we got was a heated mattress pad. If you get one, make sure it has mechanical controls (on/off switch and temperature dial) because it will work with a MSW inverter, if ever needed. MSW power will fry one if it has digital controls.
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:00 PM   #9
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If you don't want to burn propane and do not have diesel burner, electric is the only remaining choice. And you already have electric space heaters of some type, right? Watts are watts, so it doesn't make any difference if the electric heater is ceramic, radiant, or whatever. All electric heaters are 100% efficient, converting 100% of the electricity to heat.

You propane furnace, though, is nowhere near 100% efficient, so a propane space heater may consume less fuel for a given amount of heat. However, any portable propane space heater has the potential to consume all the oxygen inside and start emitting CO. It's also going to generate some CO2 and a tiny bit of exhaust gas smell. Ditto for a kerosene space heater. Both require some venting for safety.
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:06 PM   #10
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Propane heaters also output water vapor as a combustion byproduct which will increase interior humidity with potential condensation.

Venting when using propane to keep sufficient oxygen to keep you alive, dilute carbon monoxide and exhaust and mitigate excess humidity means opening a window which means letting in outside cold, winter air. That defeats the purpose of a heater.
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:30 PM   #11
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I just stayed in my mh for a week as we had a full house over Christmas. Temps were about 10F and between the extend-a-stay, Lil Buddy heater, and an electric mattress pad I kept the temp at 60F. Didn’t have any problems with condensation, I’m sure there are enough leaks to meet the 3” x 3” venting requirements of the heater but I cracked a vent in the front.
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:40 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Monacoach View Post
Use the generator and run both the furnace and ceramic heaters.
this is what I do, in fact just done it last week coming back from the gulf
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:42 PM   #13
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i have the easiest way.. we move mountains to avoid being anywhere that is below 40F for more than a day.

that being said
we use heat pumps until its to cold out, use the propane heater to warm the floor and some small ceramic heaters to keep the front window clear.
i hate being cold, feet hate it worse.

we also run the bathroom vent 24 /7 on low to extract water vapor build up, dry the shower after use and walls if moisture accumulates.

we also have a nice heated BARN . if we are at home base in winter...which this year with broken foot, we are
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:08 PM   #14
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With my Thor ACE which was a bit smaller than yours, I spent some time in sub freezing temps using a couple 1500 watt heaters. i would plug one into an inside coach outlet, and run an extension cord through the living room slide and plug it directly into the pedestal for the other (while I was 50 amps, all of the non GFCI outlets were on the same circuit and the heater would pop GFCI).

In my ACE, that wasn't quite enough when it was in the mid 20s, and the furnace would kick in now and then, but the ceramic heaters did most of the work. In addition, I put four Davis Dryers in the compartments with water lines/tanks, and even though the ACE had zero insulation in the storage bays (just rotex/blow molded plastic), they kept it above freezing. Some opt for heat lamps or ceramic heaters in the basement, but while a bit more costly, I believe the Davis dryers are safer.

Your Palazzo might have outlets on separate breakers, so you might be able to run two or three heaters off internal power (personally, I don't like to run more than one 1500 watt per loop/circuit breaker, as they draw 12.5 amps, so running two on a 15 or 20 amp breaker isn't good.

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