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Old 10-18-2012, 10:03 AM   #1
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First time AS owner question

We are heading out on our 2nd trip this weekend, so excited.

But we do have a question, I know that you are supposed to be level to run the fridge, but what about when you tow? Can we leave the fridge on when we are towing?

Also, which is better to heat the AS. The heater on the floor, or the unit on the ceiling?

Thank you,
Karen
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:18 AM   #2
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While traveling the fridge (with everything else) moves around and this should not be an issue. If you are hitched correctly, your trailer should be close to level as well.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:19 AM   #3
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You can leave the frig running while in motion with no problem.

If you are hooked to elec. go with the heat strip. We're just fine in cool weather with that and it's cheaper than propane. When it gets really cold we switch to furnace.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:21 AM   #4
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The leveling issue for the fridge is about gas being trapped in the wrong part of the system (as it's been explained to me) and the motion from towing effectively prevents that. There's a difference in philosophy regarding towing with the refrigerator on. I and many others tow with the refrigerator running, but it's best to take precautions before refueling.

The heat pump is pretty noisy (though the furnace is also far from silent.) It will work OK down toward the lower 40s, but becomes less effective as the outside air temperature drops. Some people see its use as free because it's powered by the electricity you're paying for with your campsite. At lower temps another advantage of the furnace is that (in most models) it circulates warm air around the tanks to keep them from freezing.
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pricilla View Post
We are heading out on our 2nd trip this weekend, so excited.

But we do have a question, I know that you are supposed to be level to run the fridge, but what about when you tow? Can we leave the fridge on when we are towing?

Also, which is better to heat the AS. The heater on the floor, or the unit on the ceiling?

Thank you,
Karen
Karen,
In addition to all the great suggestions, you can also pick up a $35 portable electric heater from home depot if noise level is a factor.
1500 - Watt Ceramic Electric Portable Heater-LH-1012 at The Home Depot
I use mine as a back up when I just want it quiet in my AS or when relaxing in my home basement or working/cleaning in my car garrage at home. It has automatic short off too. Just a suggestion.
Can we leave the fridge on when we are towing?
As a routine practice for me, I always switch the refrigerator from gas to electric (meaning off) before I drive into the gas stations and switch it back to gas when away from the gas stops. Most times I fill up my diesel (110 gall tanks) before hooking up my AS, that way I don't gas stop more than once in any 1500 miles trip.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:35 PM   #6
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Baseboard heaters

Karen:
You can also consider using a couple of baseboard heaters.
See my post from a while back.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...ers-76452.html
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:57 AM   #7
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i might be confused here ( frequently happens) but I think I remember that when the trailer is hitched up to the tow vehicle, and you turn the ignition off, doesn't it shut the fridge down for fifteen minutes to make sure there are no sparks going on while you are refueling?

The situation with the fridge being level is so that liquid ammonium returning to the bottom of the system doesn't form pools in some of the low spots and block the circulation. the shaking and movement of the fridge going down the road effectively sloshes this stuff around in there and prevents it from forming a blockage.

ditto on the electric space heater. you're paying for campground electricity, why not use it rather than putting the hours on your heatstrip or burning propane.

With ours, we found that putting the space heater in the other end of the trailer with a small fan to circulate the warm air is the quietest, and most even heating method. The circulating fan even helps when using the furnace. The thermostat for the furnace is in the bedroom while the furnace itself is in the other end of the trailer, in our case. By the time the thermostat is up to 70 deg, it's about 80 in the dinette. With the fan blowing the heat thru the trailer, it evens out a lot better and the furnace runs less often.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:33 AM   #8
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We have not experienced any problems running with the refrig on propane and keep the refrig auxilary fan turned to the on position.

Also we heat our 20' Safari very comfortably with a small ceramic electric heater that we purchased for about $25.00 on sale. Usually when we travel the night time temps are in the mid 40's or higher.

Happy streamin'
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:04 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Goin camping View Post
You can leave the frig running while in motion with no problem.

If you are hooked to elec. go with the heat strip. We're just fine in cool weather with that and it's cheaper than propane. When it gets really cold we switch to furnace.
Heatstrip? What is that? My unit has a furnace but not sure about a heatstrip.

Where is it found and controlled?
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:07 AM   #10
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Ditto

Good advice from all posters. The "non-level" refrigerator was much more of an issue with vintage refrigerators than with the current ones.

Running with your fridge on... I've always done it, but I'm rethinking it now. Here in Virginia Beach, most ways out involve a tunnel and all of the tunnels require you to turn off your propane bottles before going through. In Canada it's apparently illegal to run with the bottles on. On my last trip out I saw a bad accident between a 5th wheel and a tractor trailer - I wouldn't have wanted a fire added to that!

Running with the refrigerator OFF can be a very minor issue - especially in a teensy unit like yours which has a fridge that holds a so little. If your refrigerator is full and the contents are thoroughly chilled before you take off, you can go several hours without worrying about spoilage. Add a bag of ice or dry ice added to the reefer can give you even longer chill.

Unless I'm going boondocking I'll buy groceries near the end of the trip, not before I go. Boondocking where I want my frozen food to stay frozen - I use a cheap styrofoam cooler with bagged ice. On long runs, I make sure to turn on the fantastic fans whenever I stop for a break - to keep the inside temp down, I always run the fantastic fans for the duration of the stop.

Turning your gas appliances back ON after running can be just a bit hinky as air can get in the lines. I light the stove first - because that will purge the air and I'm right there watching. Then I tun on the water heater and the refrigerator. On my 2006 the water heater and the refrigerator will both get a check light and shut off the gas if flow is interrupted... but I don't like betting my life that they will always work perfectly.

I fulltime, and leave the water heater on all the time. Maybe not the smartest thing either, but you need about 10 minutes warmup time before you use the shower if your water is cold.

Paula
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:50 AM   #11
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Karen,

To answer your questions without additional opinions I would say:

Yes, you can run with your fridge on, it won't hurt the unit.

When parked your trailer should be "relatively" level but does not need to be perfectly level.

If above freezing you can use either one of the heat sources. Choose the one you like the best, at least noise wise.

If at or below freezing the furnace provides the added benefit of sending heat below the floor where the water tanks and plumbing reside.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:39 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by bonginator View Post
Heatstrip? What is that? My unit has a furnace but not sure about a heatstrip.

Where is it found and controlled?
It's found on your A/C and controlled off the same thermostat as your furnace & A/C.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
.

I fulltime, and leave the water heater on all the time. Maybe not the smartest thing either, but you need about 10 minutes warmup time before you use the shower if your water is cold.

Paula
I recently saw a post on a forum, not sure which one, in which the poster had done a little trial. He had gone through a tank of propane with the water heater left on, and then another tank of propane turning the heater off until he needed it. Stove usage remained constant, and no furnace as I recall. Summertime stuff. Surprisingly enough, he got the same number of days of use
whether the water heater was on full time or off. It evened out.

I haven't been leaving ours on full time, thinking of fire hazard and that I was saving gas. Also I don't like the noise. But at least in the future I won't sweat it if I forget to turn it off.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:48 AM   #14
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Paula - We do not travel with our refrigerator on. Like you we use an ice chest to keep our refrigerated goods cool while on the road. When we stop and turn on the refrigerator (either gas or electric operation) it usually takes 10 to 12 hours before it cools down to a normal and safe temperature to store refrigerated foods. Is that your experience as well? Some Airstreamers we know say their refrigerators cool down in 2-3 hours and others have a cool down time similar to ours. Our freezer does cool down quickly, it is the refrigerator that takes time.

I've read threads suggesting installing a fan to pull the air through the rooftop vent will help cool down the refrigerator faster. I've also read threads about using battery operated fans inside the refrigerator to circulate the cool air. Are either of these worthwhile options to improve refrigerator cooling?
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