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Author Topic: Question on propane furnace  (Read 731 times)
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« on: October 20, 2013, 08:57:10 pm »

It's cold in these hills (35 degrees this morning). We are boondocking and using the furnace at night. John and I both think we were told that we cannot run the furnace without opening the window or running a fan... which seems counter-productive but we don't want to die from lack of oxygen. Any advice from you experienced folks?
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2013, 09:53:51 pm »

Sure hope you are wrong about the open window thing, we have been running our furnace for almost two years with all the windows sealed tight without any ill effects....that we are aware of.
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2013, 10:49:56 pm »

Full-timing from the middle of Oct 2012 to the middle of Jan 2013, living in various parks on the Oregon coast (Florence south to Bandon).  That section of the coast gets a lot of horizontal rain (60+ MPH winds), so we had to keep the windows and vents closed.  This was in our 26 ft 2551, the two of us plus our Airedale.

Don't know about other models/years, but our coach is definitely not air-tight.  Since then we've run the furnace many times with the unit closed up, and would do it again.  We suffered no ill effects (knocking on wood).

One side note:  with those 3 warm bodies, plus cooking and boiling water (coffee, tea, etc), we had to get a dehumidifier.  Because we had to stay closed so much of the time, we had a ton of excess moisture in the cupboards, under the driver's & passenger seats, also under the dash; almost seemed like it was raining under the seats.  There was even excess moisture in the outside mirrors controller, luckily we caught that in time.  On many occasions, we dumped several pints a day.  We haven't used it since then, but keep it handy in case we're in a similar situation.

GeorgeB
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2013, 11:34:05 pm »

6.5 years ago on our maiden voyage, the furnace didn't work the first time we tried it.  In desperation I removed the outside access panel and discovered a switch inside.  I tripped the switch and the furnace immediately started working.  I left the access panel off and it took but only a minute for my wife inside to start yelling that she was being overtaken by fumes.

The seals on the backside of the furnace access panel have life or death consequences.  Make sure they are in perfect condition and perfectly positioned, and the panel is properly screwed on.  Along with a properly working carbon monoxide detector, I'd say you are good to go in  sealing up the rig in cold weather.  If you want extra assurance, I would leave the dash board heater controls set so outside air can make it's way inside through the defroster or heater mode.
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2013, 10:06:13 am »

Been there,,, first night we used our furnace,,, do not think I slept very much scared I would not wake up haha,,,, second night slept a little better,, third night slept like a baby, and it is so nice to wake up to a warm coach,,, we do keep the thermostat very low,, 60's  easy to turn up in the mornings,,,  BTW, when we are in camp with electricity, we use a portable heater  I still do not like the furnace gas,,,scary,, how ever how many times do you read about Rver's having a problem
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2013, 01:34:18 pm »

All RV heaters are sealed combustion units.  They get their air from the outside and the exhaust goes back outside.  Look at your heater vent on the outside wall of your coach.  There are two openings, one for intake and one for exhaust.  That is the same for the hot water heater.   Although, when you are cooking on the propane stove you definitely need a window or vent open.
     Bob
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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2013, 03:58:20 pm »

I would suggest that you carry an electric heater as a backup. We picked up our 2910 in March and headed to Ohio to see my son and his family before heading onto New Hampshire. On our second day, while camped at a KOA with winter sites, we got six inches of snow. The next day our furnace quit working and the outside temperature was in the low 30's. Between Phoenix and Atwood I was authorized to get the unit repaired.
A mobile RV tech, who services that area, replaced a control board, but 12 hours without heat was a bit uncomfortable.

On our most recent trips the mornings were a little cool so we used the heater to take the chill off in the front of the PC. Makes the morning coffee more enjoyable.
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2013, 04:18:37 pm »

We carry an electric heater with us after having been at Danforth Bay in Freedom NH the first week of Sept. 2011. It will come in handy in an emergency (haven't had one yet, knock on wood). We did use the heater and heat strip when we were in NM this year. We had hail in August at Sugarite Canyon State Park. shrug

Next summer back "home" to New England-no hurricanes, snow, hail! Just beautiful weather we hope!

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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2013, 04:21:51 pm »

I agree, it's a good idea to carry an electric space heater.  When placed between the two front seats, I would think it would be effective in warming up any cool air coming from that area.

We've never camped in below freezing temps with shore power available.  Does the heat strip contribute significantly?  I assumed it could maintain a comfortable temperature after the interior gets warmed up by the furnace.

To you with slideouts.....Do you get any cold penetrating around the perimeter of your sideouts?
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2013, 04:58:41 pm »

We use a small upright tower that rotates back and forth. It does a very good job of heating up the front area. I prefer this to the heat strip because the heat from the strip tends to stay high and the heat strip is noisy.

We have the two slides up front for the 2910 floor plan but opted for the twin beds in the back. The slides seal tight against the opening so no significant air infiltration. There may some leakage under the slide. Would say we get more infiltration from windows and other penetrations to the outside. A winter project will be to locate and seal any areas that may allow infiltration.
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2013, 05:20:03 pm »

We do have a little ceramic heater that does a good job of keeping us warm. We've only used it down to about 40 degrees. We couldn't use it the last few nights because we were dry camping with no power hookups. We are now in the Asheville area and plan to camp with hookups for the week so we should be set with heat strip and/or electric heater. The forecast was calling for snow where we were camped so we decided to move on down the road. We hope to camp in the Smokies next so the propane heater will be back in play.
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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2013, 10:41:49 am »

Looks like we all carry a small electric heater,,,,, just curious does or has anyone tried using those small portable butane?

heaters,,, I use to have one in my deer stand, worked great,,, would probably warm up the smaller units easily....
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2013, 11:24:30 am »

Any combustionable heater runs a risk of asphyxiation (depletion of oxygen) in an enclosed vehicle like a well sealed PC.  That would result in death.  Electric heaters don't burn oxygen or give off harmful fumes.
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« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2013, 10:26:50 am »

We traveled to an agility trial in the metropolis of Fern Mississippi this weekend (population 6 maybe?).  We stayed at the trial arena that provided power and water hookups.  The forecast was a low of 42 and winds gusting to 15-20.  I bought an oscillating Lasko heater from Walmart (about $50) b/f we left based on recommendations from other rv forums.  It even has a remote, but I learned too late that the remote doesn't come with batteries!  Anyway we set it at 64 degrees at night and it did a nice job of warming about half of the 2552.  We had a north wind and were parked facing north.  I had the passenger seat turned around and was sitting in it and noticed I kept getting a draft hitting my right shoulder.  I checked to see if the windows were open (they weren't) and discovered the ventilation controls were set on vent and the cold air was blowing in through the dash vents!  I closed them and we were fine.
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