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Old 02-10-2016, 07:53 AM   #1
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Opelika , Alabama
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One furnace or two?

My 91 Excella 34 footer has 2 furnaces, a Suburban 25k and a Suburban 30k. Neither work at present, not sure why yet. I'm doing a big restoration of the airstream and am wondering if I went up in size to a 40 or a 45, if I could get by with just one furnace? Any suggestions?

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Old 02-10-2016, 08:16 AM   #2
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Unless you are headed north I can't see any reason for 2. My 34 does fine with just one and the addition of a small catalytic heater aimed at the sofa. We only use the heater to bring the trailer up to temperature when we first go in it and while we are still moving around in it.

The problem with the heaters is the purge cycle of close to 30 seconds at the beginning and ending of each heating cycle. Sitting in front of these is very uncomfortable.

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Old 02-10-2016, 09:09 AM   #3
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My 93 34 footer has one Hydroflame Excalibur (Atwood?). Seems adequate to me. My AC also has a heat strip. If you want 2 of something you might consider 2 AC units if you do much hot weather camping.
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Old 02-10-2016, 02:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by racecannon View Post
My 91 Excella 34 footer has 2 furnaces, a Suburban 25k and a Suburban 30k. Neither work at present, not sure why yet. I'm doing a big restoration of the airstream and am wondering if I went up in size to a 40 or a 45, if I could get by with just one furnace? Any suggestions?
Capacity isn't a problem -- the 30k would be enough to keep your trailer warm down to 0 degrees by itself. The problem is heat distribution.

Some years ago I modified my then-new Airstream to add some ducts to the bedroom. The factory ductwork was giving me a bedroom that was around 10-15 degrees cooler than the rest of the trailer (depending on outside temperature). I travel with family and so we have people sleeping in both areas, and this is Minnesota, so it was a problem. It was a worthwhile mod.

Since your factory ductwork is designed around two furnaces, you won't have any heat to the bedroom if you don't put in the back furnace since the front furnace doesn't have ducts that go all the way back. Unless you undertake to add ductwork that will pose a serious problem, at least in cold weather.

Depends on where you're going to camp and how tolerant you and yours are of a cold bedroom, I guess.
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:02 AM   #5
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1998 34' Limited
Lawrenceville , Georgia
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Probably bad gas valves. I have a 34 footer with two furnaces, had the same problem. It will almost always be either the sail switch on the fan, the igniter, the circuit board, or the gas valve. For us at least, with several different trailers, it has been the valve. Replacing them would probably be overkill, unless they have somehow been damaged in an unusual way.
Parts are available and repairs are pretty easy to install.

As mentioned by others, distribution of heat is an issue. We tend to run one at a time, depending on where we are, but on occasion, we do run them both. Probably will do so this weekend. Good luck. Let me know if I can help you with diagnosis. I'm not too sharp, but have had some experience with them.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:41 PM   #6
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
Franklin Park , Illinois
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I have a 345 (35') motor home with 2 LP furnaces
I had to repair both when I bought it a year ago
It is kind of about Distribution
I've camped using only one and it was ok but back bedroom was kind cool
Two makes for a nice toasty warm RV but it is a little noisier and probably uses more gas
It is my personal opinion that if you have two heaters you always have a backup if one fails
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:04 PM   #7
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I have a 39' Super C and. I'm VERY happy it came with two furnaces. With two furnaces (and or A/C units) it's VERY easy to have two separate temperatures. At night, I've used only the front furnace which means it's MUCH quieter in the rear bedroom. With a second HVAC unit, should one fail, you still have heat / cool from the second unit. Of course, as there's extra equipment, you spend more.

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