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Old 12-05-2007, 08:44 PM   #1
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Using the heat pump/heat strip instead of furnace.

Greetings.

While camping this last Thanksgiving, we went through alot of propane and one tank emptied.

Since we were paying for electric hook-ups, I decided to try and use just the heat pump to warm the interior. Running the heat pump on the Duotherm continuously kept our interior at a more than comfortable 70 degrees. And since it is the same motor as the AC, it was not any noisier. So, I decided that we will just use that for our heat, saving us propane and $$$, especially since we were already paying for the electric. At night, the air got real dry, so I went back to the furnace.

I don't think there is a thermostat that controls the temp, but I'll have to look into this.

I guess I never really gave much thought to using the heat pump much except in the cool early morning to get a little heat in the coach. I will definatlly use this option much more frequently especially in cold weather and when we are paying for the electric.

This set up would not work when using our Honda 2000 generator, to much wattage draw.

Jonathan
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:54 PM   #2
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What were the outside temps? The heat pump will not heat the tanks. Do you have seperate tank heaters?
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:23 PM   #3
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Lucy's heatpump is thermostat controlled and we use it a bunch. We have done a lot of cold weather camping, and find that the heatpump works great until the temperature drops below 30 degrees. Then we use the furnace. We also use the furnace to take the chill off, then switch to the heatpump.

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Old 12-05-2007, 09:26 PM   #4
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Check out your user's manual...the heat pump is on a thermostat, but it doesn't work efficiently when the outside temps drop into the 40 degree range...it will begin blowing cool air...and when it reaches even lower temps outside, supposedly the thermostat will automatically switch to the furnace...but this doesn't seem to work for everybody. We've never let the heat pump try to heat at those low switch-over temps so I don't know if ours works the way the manual describes or not. We use the heat pump successfully in the mornings and evenings to keep the Bambi warm and to take the chill off, but if it's really cold, we go to the furnace...it's quieter and seems more efficient. We tend to sleep cold with lots of comforters at night anyway...we always leave a vent or window open for some fresh air, too.

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Old 12-05-2007, 09:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecatsandi
...The heat pump will not heat the tanks...
In a pinch (Outta propane, Mrs. HiHo raising... ) it's possible to use the electric heat and let the furnace fan run. Shut off the propane bottles, flip on the furnace and it will try to start but won't fire so the fan runs by it's self. It will circulate the warm air inside the trailer to the tanks. Not exactly toasty but will suffice until the propane dealer opens.

Note- I know this works with the older furnaces but some of the newest units may have different controls and possibly shut off the fan if the furnace mis-fires
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:38 PM   #6
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on a shorty trailer the heat pump or even the heat strip on some units works fine...

above 30 and in lower humidity environments...

the heat pumps are thermostatically controlled, but i don't think the heat strips are...

a 40 buck ceramic 1500 watt spaceheater doodad also helps to reduce furnace times...

but using 'electric can only go so far...

IF the water heater and fridge and heater and tele, are all suckin' juice...

kick on the microwave or a coffee maker and BAM! you'll be over the 30 amp limit and start kicking breakers....

also just like when using the ac in summer, MANY rv parks have marginal voltages...

so be sure to be sure to use some sort of 'voltage meter' device...

cuze running 'lectric gadgets on low voltage is not a good thing...

cheers
2air'
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Old 12-05-2007, 10:31 PM   #7
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Using the space heater option

As we approach celebrating our 1-yr. anniversary with the trailer, I am reminded of our camping experience this late Jan. in the desert. The night temperature low was 45 degrees. With full hook-ups, we found that the heat pump was too noisy and interrupted our sleep each time it kicked in. The furnace did a nice job warming the cabin with only the sound of the fan.

We later obtained a small thermostatically controlled electric space heater that sits on the kitchen counter. The fan is relatively quiet and sufficiently kept the chill out of the cabin without disturbing our sleep.

A friend suggested our using electric blankets when camping with hook-ups. The woven wire is so fine that it is hardly noticeable. We will be using these for the first time, later this month, and report our findings.

While dry camping, we will be setting our furnace to 50 degrees. A synthetic down comforter and blankets kept us comfortable at this temperature last month.

Wishing you all warm, cozy holidays,
Larry
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
..snip..

also just like when using the ac in summer, MANY rv parks have marginal voltages...

so be sure to be sure to use some sort of 'voltage meter' device...

cuze running 'lectric gadgets on low voltage is not a good thing...

cheers
2air'
2air'...funny you should mention that. We keep on of those inexpensive voltage meters plugged in an outlet near the dinette so it's in eye-view all the time. When we were in a state park with electricity in October (that we have visted many times and is relatively "upscale" for a public park), we used the AC a couple of times during the day and the voltage stayed "in the green" as it has always done in the past...but I noticed—to my surprise—that when the heat pump kicked in, the voltage dipped to just below the low side of the "green zone" so we stopped using it. Then when we were in another park a couple weekends ago, the voltage meter stayed "in the green" when the heat pump or the AC was in use. I was surpirsed that running the AC was OK (according to the voltage meter) but the heat pump was not...in the same park...and that in a different park they were both OK. Do the AC and heat pump draw differently? Or am I missing something here?

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Old 12-05-2007, 11:31 PM   #9
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hi tb...

not sure about the total amp load when using the heat side and it depends some on btu's and compressor size.

my unit runs in the range of 3.3 amps for fan and 12.0? amps for compressor.

but these low voltage times are usually related to what others in the park are doing...

it's sort of like an old time telephone party line or shared bandwidth on cable...

how many other folks were running a/c at the same time or heating with electric?

also what else in ON in a single unit.

for example when the a/c is needed, it's not likely the water heater will be running.

but when the heat is needed, the water heater may also be on, along with more lights and the tele, and so on...

that's the beauty of having the gas option...

too bad we don't have gas air conditioners or gas televisions...

what a neat thing that would be for boondocking!

ok not the tv but ac 4 sure!

cheers
2air'
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:08 AM   #10
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thread title update lev?

c'lev....

i notice you have a 19ftr...

these come standard with the 11000 btu a/c and a heat STRIP, not the heat pump.

so basically that is a little electric space heater element thing, under the ac unit.

and you've got no worries about the heat pump issues (icing up, cycling, cold temp usage, compressor loads and so on)

but i don't think it feeds on the thermostat.

the upgraded (optional) ac for these does have a heat pump....

pumps and strips is very different.

but heat is heat.

cheers
2air'

below is a pic of the typical dometic/duotherm heat strip element.

the heat pump feature other units have, basically uses the existing ac compressor/coolant, in reverse, pumping heat from the outdoors INTO the unit.

that's why they are only so effective as outdoor temps drop.

http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/...mp/booklet.pdf


i'm sure there is an rv hvac guy/gal out there, who can sort this out correctly.
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Old 12-06-2007, 10:59 AM   #11
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Great info. And a good point about the lack of/ or no heat to the tanks when using the optional heat source.

I guess I was confused. 2Air has it right. I was looking at the Safari SE line that does have a 13,500 HEAT PUMP. The 19' CCD has a 11,000 HEAT STRIP.

Not sure what the difference is, but the pump sounds more impressive.

Also the outside temps were around 15-25 degrees, with a good lake wind blowing.

Reminded of the fact that the tanks don't get any heat might make me reconsider using just the "strip" for main heat if the temps drop below freezing.

Jonathan
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:10 AM   #12
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The heat strip equipped A/C units do not have a thermostat to control them. You turn them on and when the trailer gets too warm you turn it off. My Safari had the heat strip and I really didn't like it due to the need to manually control it.

In our Classic, once it dips below 40, the benefit of running the heat pump tends to fall off and by the time we hit 38 or so, we switch over to furnace. We tend to use the heat pump as our main source of heat unless we know the temps will drop below 40. It obviously saves a lot of gas.

One other thing to remember on those plug in analog power meters that you use to monitor voltage with. I have one too and while the position of the meter, in the red or green area will catch your eye, the actual voltage that the meter is showing is subject to an error margin of + or - 10%. So unless you use something with a tighter tolerance, you really can't trust those when you get on the line. I carry a digital measuring device that I use when I notice the analog meter is getting into the marginal area. That gives me a comfort level as to what the voltage really is.

Jack
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:21 AM   #13
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What we do is use a Holmes Dual Ceramic space heater. It oscillates if you want it to, has digital thermostat control, and two speed fan settings. You can't hear the fan at all on low, and barely on hi. Place it in the sitting area, faced towards the sleeping area, crack open roof vent...and it is awesome! Can get one at Target for $40! Snug as a bug in a rug! Save the propane for cooking, and that hot water shower.
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:22 AM   #14
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Oh yeah...forgot
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