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Old 10-23-2010, 11:11 AM   #15
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We "camp" in our nephew's driveway when we visit relatives in Denver during the holidays. Our experience is that the electric heat strip in our 11,000 BTU air conditioner will keep the inside around 60 overnight when outside temps drop into the 20's. During the day, when it warms to above freezing, the inside rises to 65-70+, and we switch the heat strip off.

We usually leave the furnace set at around 55-60 during the day, in case we don't come "home" until late in the evening. Then, when we do return to our Airstream, we turn on the heat strip and use the furnace to warm the trailer, initially. Then, we turn the furnace off as soon as temps start to approach a comfortable setting and leave the heat strip on overnight.

During a few really cold days, we left the heat strip on 24/7. The air conditioner blower is a little noisy, but after awhile you don't notice it.

By the way, home heat pumps don't work very well when it gets really cold. Also, they tend to heat and cool slower than with regular air conditioners and furnaces; although that may correspond to the BTU rating. Here in Arizona, if you have a heat pump in your home and live where it gets down to freezing, optional auxilliary heat strips can be installed. Winters are pretty mild in Phoenix, so home heat pumps don't have the extra heat strips. However, I would guess that heat pumps in Flagstaff and the White Mountains would have heat strips, or that most homes probably don't have heat pumps. Perhaps, someone who lives in colder climes will enlighten us.

In any case, if you consistently use your Airstream in subfreezing weather, you may want to consider getting the regular air conditioner and using the heat strip in conjunction with the propane furnace. From experience living in a home with an electric heat pump, that "gentle heat" they advertise seems to take forever to raise the temperature on the thermal mass in our house after the thermostat has been set low during a long holiday vacation. Heat pumps just don't give you that blast of heat you get from a gas furnace.
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Old 10-23-2010, 12:57 PM   #16
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On my current Coleman's the Heat Strips work in conjunction with the Thermostat. When the proper heat is optained the strip shuts down but the fan keeps running. I would prefer having this type of system.
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Old 10-23-2010, 02:49 PM   #17
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After seeing Mike Leary's motorhome and his having a matched set of Penguin's, I don't like the looks of having one Coleman up front and the Penguin in the rear. My thoughts are to replace both; the front one being a 15,000 BTU with the Heat Pump and the rear one being a 15,000 BTU AC only with no heat. Do you agree that having one Heat Pump would be better than having two Heat Strips and would the Heat Pump be sufficient to push the heat to the rear bedroom area?
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:19 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by gunner View Post
After seeing Mike Leary's motorhome and his having a matched set of Penguin's, I don't like the looks of having one Coleman up front and the Penguin in the rear. My thoughts are to replace both; the front one being a 15,000 BTU with the Heat Pump and the rear one being a 15,000 BTU AC only with no heat. Do you agree that having one Heat Pump would be better than having two Heat Strips and would the Heat Pump be sufficient to push the heat to the rear bedroom area?
That'a 30,000 BTU's of cooling. I really don't believe you need that much....unless you are going to run them staggered. Daytime you run the front unit with the back in the bedroom at night. Unless you are doing some 100 degree camping, that 15K unit might be enough for you. Another possibility would be to go with the 15K unit front and 11K in the rear.
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:37 PM   #19
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We have a 13,500 unit with a heat pump... The hear pump works well, but it is noisy...like the AC. Since our space is small, when we have electricity, we take the chill off with the furnace, then use a small ceramic heater with its own thermostat for sustained heat. That works nicely. When we don't have electricity and need heat, we use a small propane catlytic heater...
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Old 10-23-2010, 05:29 PM   #20
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I have two 13,500 BTU now and they cool the motorhome as long as you start them in the morning and keep the drapes closed to keep out the sun because we do go camping in 90 to 100 degree weather. I would rather have too much cooling than not enough. I have considered not having any heat strips but we do go camping in October and do use the heat strips. The alternative for the minimum times we use heat is to use a ceramic heater. I do have two furnaces but we tried them when I purchased the units, they work fine but I have not used them since.
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:09 PM   #21
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I was in Eutaw, Al last week the outside temp was 42 deg using a new dometic 15,000btu for the first time in heat pump mode, the output temp was 121.5 deg no need for heat strips.
This was in a 36' 1994 classic IKE
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:32 PM   #22
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That'a 30,000 BTU's of cooling. I really don't believe you need that much....unless you are going to run them staggered. Daytime you run the front unit with the back in the bedroom at night. Unless you are doing some 100 degree camping, that 15K unit might be enough for you. Another possibility would be to go with the 15K unit front and 11K in the rear.
For a rear bedroom layout, it's easy to outrun the 15k unit in the front especially when cooking.

The rear unit in the bedroom can usually keep up fine.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:25 PM   #23
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I have two of the Penguin Lo Profile A/C units in my 34' S/O. Both have heat pumps that work off a two zone wall thermostat. I ran them one time and decided that listening to that noise was a last resort for heating. One or two little ceramic heaters work great if you have electric included in your camping fee. For boon docking. I stuck a little Olympian Wave 3 in the bedroom for day use only and a Wave 6 in the front. Both units have safety shut-offs. The taps into the gas line are a cinch. I spliced into the refrig. line then behind the bathroom cabinets to get to the bedroom and simply spliced into the range line under the kitchen sink.

Back to the Penguin Low Profile. If someone knows the answer for this quetion it would be great. On the exterior, the Penguin has little vents on the bottom of the A/C unit where you can see the cooling fins. If I get a vinyl A/C cover that fits tight down to the roof, can I still run the heat pump or does the heat pump require those holes to be open for ventilation? I'm trying to stop drafts from dropping fown out of the A/C Unit during the winter.

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Old 10-23-2010, 10:11 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOAZRK2690 View Post
I have two of the Penguin Lo Profile A/C units in my 34' S/O. Both have heat pumps that work off a two zone wall thermostat. I ran them one time and decided that listening to that noise was a last resort for heating. One or two little ceramic heaters work great if you have electric included in your camping fee. For boon docking. I stuck a little Olympian Wave 3 in the bedroom for day use only and a Wave 6 in the front. Both units have safety shut-offs. The taps into the gas line are a cinch. I spliced into the refrig. line then behind the bathroom cabinets to get to the bedroom and simply spliced into the range line under the kitchen sink.

Back to the Penguin Low Profile. If someone knows the answer for this quetion it would be great. On the exterior, the Penguin has little vents on the bottom of the A/C unit where you can see the cooling fins. If I get a vinyl A/C cover that fits tight down to the roof, can I still run the heat pump or does the heat pump require those holes to be open for ventilation? I'm trying to stop drafts from dropping fown out of the A/C Unit during the winter.

~ALK 2690
You will need to keep the cover unobstructed. The outside coils are cold when you run in heat pump mode. They will condense moisture outside and need to have air passing through them to minimize icing. The heat pump models actually have a defrost mode where the unit valves will automatically reverse and the unit will go into cooling mode (without the blower running). This heats up the outside coil and gets rid of any ice. The first time this happens, it really freaks you out since you hear the compressor running, with no fan operating.

Jack
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:48 AM   #25
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I do run both air conditioners in the summer at the same time; have a seperate electric cord for the rear air conditioner. This helps with the cooling tremendously. Reading the threads regarding the heat pumps are they louder than regular air conditioner noise? Would one heat pump be sufficient for a 34 ft. motor home or should I go with two?
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:44 PM   #26
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One comment, the heater strips don't make any noise, except for the blower motor (the heat pump compressor has to run to make heat or cold). Also, the built-in heater strip in the air conditioner will run on one generator, and I suspect the heat pump will take two, like the air conditioner. So, the heater strips use less electricity, although I would use the furnace before running a generator to make electricity to heat the trailer. -- All moot, if you are hooked up to shore power...
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:34 AM   #27
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Based on all the information you provided and speaking with Dometic, I made my decision. Dometic is telling me that their standard air distribution box, which by the way is the best looking will not take the heat from the heat strip, it will melt. You have to go a different style of air distribution box, which does not look as good. I decided to go with two 15,000 BTU air conditioners with no heat. If I want heat I will go with as some suggested ceramic heaters or turn on my furnace. I will be changing these out later this year. I will try to sell my current Colemans with heat strip, one works great one works intermittently and has a new starting capacitor and starting relay also have a new thermostat that I haven't installed yet.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:26 AM   #28
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Thumbs up Penguin Air Conditioner

Gunner:
My 310 has Coleman units (13.5) front and rear with heat strips. I use the heat strips quite a bit in the mountains to break the chill in the AM. On my previous unit I had 15K units with heat pumps, and they are louder, but you can heat with them and save propane down to about 35 degrees.
My advice: Get the biggest BTUs A/C with heat pump or strips for an AS MOHO. Insulation in these aluminum Prince Albert Cans is minimal, and you have to have a good A/C to keep them cool in the summer. Of the 13 RVs I have owned, the AS is by far the hardest to heat and cool, IMHO.
Mike
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