Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-07-2012, 11:21 PM   #1
Rivet Master
 
KYAirstream's Avatar
 
1979 31' Sovereign
Northeastern , Kentucky
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 622
Supplemental heaters and furnace setting

For those that use a supplemental electric heater, what do you usually keep the furnace thermostat on?
__________________

__________________
KYAirstream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2012, 11:28 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
2005 22' Safari
Gresham , Oregon
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 621
Off, if we are using electric heating, we do no use the furnance. If we are boondocking and using a generator, we will turn the furnace off at night, hubby pops up in the am and turns it on to warm up. Then we turn it off again until we feel chilled. So far we haven't camped in freezing temps that would make us be concerned about frozen pipes. I am up a little later at night, but for the most part, I just have my pj's and robe along with a blanket wrapped around. Flannel sheets and comfortors. Snuggle up.
__________________

__________________
sempi2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 06:37 AM   #3
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
sandlapper's Avatar
 
1993 34' Excella
York , South Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,429
Images: 7
We don't like to be cold, or even chilly, when relaxing in the friendly confines of our trailer. If we are using a cube heater we set the furnace at a setting we think might be the lowest temp we'd like to be, maybe 62-64, then adjust it as nite temps fall and/or we become uncomfortable. We sort of let the electric supplement the furnace, hopefully without using an excess of either. We are not fulltimers(gotta work till we drop) so propane consumption becomes part of the necessary camping evils like a few extra beers(wifey), full bottle of single malt(me), extra thick steak(both), and the $4.00 a gallon diesel fuel to get there and back. Safe & happy travels. John
__________________
John
WBCCI #3892
Region 3 , 1st VP

Go often to the house of a friend, for weeds choke the unused path........Emerson

Never pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight he will just kill you........a wise old man.
sandlapper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 07:17 AM   #4
4 Rivet Member
 
Zigidachs's Avatar
 
2011 30' Classic
Ridgefield , Washington
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 297
Images: 1
We keep our thermostat set at 54 at night and warm up the AS in the am with the furnace. At night before bedtime, we use the Vornado electric space heater in the "living room", because it is safe ( especially around grandchildren) and reliable...about $40 at Costco.

Our biggest problem with colder weather....around freezing... is condensation inside the AS so we use an electric dehumidifier, especially in the BR to minimize the condensation. Works fairly well. In colder weather, we simply have to use the furnace to protect the holding tanks and keep us toasty.
__________________
Zigidachs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 07:37 AM   #5
Rivet Master
 
dznf0g's Avatar

 
2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 9,402
Images: 5
Furnace 64*, one 1500watt electric, and sometimes and electric mattress pad.
__________________
-Rich-

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
dznf0g is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 07:53 AM   #6
Wise Elder
 
Jammer's Avatar
 
2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,119
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYAirstream View Post
For those that use a supplemental electric heater, what do you usually keep the furnace thermostat on?
We have an electric heater permanently mounted in a wall in the center of the trailer. It has its own thermostat.

When electricity is available we set the electric heater thermostat at whatever temperature we want the trailer at, usually 70 degrees. If it's cold out we set the thermostat for the propane furnace a few degrees lower so it will run when the electric heat can't keep up by itself, usually around 50 degrees or so with no wind.
__________________
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 08:16 AM   #7
Rivet Master
 
2005 30' Classic
... , ...
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 511
Images: 12
We learned very quickly that the forced air furnace can go through a tank of propane in just 2-3 days, saying nothing about the required electricity. So we don't like to use it any more than we have to..

When hooked up to electric power (and we don't have to worry about dead batteries come morning), we will set the thermostat at 50 degrees. We sleep under down, so its not like we freeze. In the morning, we crank it up, turn the stove top on to get the coffee going, and turn on the cat heater I installed. Once the chill is gone, the forced air gets turned off, and the cat takes over (we like its raidient heat much better). Clearly we haven't camped in extended freezing weather, mostly because the Airstream is winterized, and I don't want to deal with that more than once a year.

I have also installed an on-board generator that runs on propane, which we use once a day for a half an hour when boon docking to top off the batteries.
__________________
GetOutDoors is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 08:30 AM   #8
Rivet Master
 
KYAirstream's Avatar
 
1979 31' Sovereign
Northeastern , Kentucky
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 622
Thanks for all the replies! So when it's cold out (below freezing), what keeps tanks from freezing when using a supplemental heater. When does it become an issue that the electric heater prevents the furnace from kicking on, thereby causing frozen tanks to be a concern?

Or are the BTU's from electric heaters never enough to maintain temps on nights when it is cold enough for frozen tanks to be an issue, as long as the furnace is set at 40 degrees or more?

But wouldn't electric heaters be able to maintain a 40 degree temp even on COLD nights, thereby preventing the furnace from kicking on and possibly resulting in frozen pipes or tanks?

Jammer - do you happen to have a pic of your heater permanently mounted in a center wall?
__________________
KYAirstream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 08:35 AM   #9
Rivet Master
 
KYAirstream's Avatar
 
1979 31' Sovereign
Northeastern , Kentucky
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 622
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetOutDoors View Post
We learned very quickly that the forced air furnace can go through a tank of propane in just 2-3 days, saying nothing about the required electricity. So we don't like to use it any more than we have to..

Yes, I've experienced that and it gets expensive when camping in cold temps a lot. I'm playing around with supplemental electric heaters, but want to make sure I don't create problems elsewhere with frozen pipes/tanks.

I've considered installing heat tape or an electric mat around the tanks, but I'd rather not go that route if I don't have to....
__________________
KYAirstream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 08:39 AM   #10
Rivet Master
 
dkottum's Avatar
 
2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7,716
We "snowbird" six months in the Southwest each year. Use a Dyson Hot heater (near perfect temp control, comfortable volume of warm air) under the front dinette set at 66 degrees at night, and aimed aft towards rear bedroom. Furnace thermostat in bedroom set at 65. Crack the bedroom vent. The two bath roof vents always open, unless there is wind-driven rain.

The Dyson keeps temps even all night until near freezing outside. Then the furnace comes on to supplement it, and begins to protect the storage tanks.

We use an electric mattress pad for a warm bed to crawl into, and set it very low while sleeping.

doug k
__________________
dkottum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 08:56 AM   #11
Rivet Master
 
KYAirstream's Avatar
 
1979 31' Sovereign
Northeastern , Kentucky
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 622
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
We use an electric mattress pad for a warm bed to crawl into, and set it very low while sleeping.
doug k
I've considered getting an electric blanket or mattress pad for those really cold nights. Any benefit of a pad over a blanket? Any safety concerns?
__________________
KYAirstream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 08:57 AM   #12
Rivet Master
 
WineStream's Avatar
 
2005 30' Safari
Jeromesville , Ohio
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,873
Images: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYAirstream View Post
Thanks for all the replies! So when it's cold out (below freezing), what keeps tanks from freezing when using a supplemental heater. When does it become an issue that the electric heater prevents the furnace from kicking on, thereby causing frozen tanks to be a concern?

Or are the BTU's from electric heaters never enough to maintain temps on nights when it is cold enough for frozen tanks to be an issue, as long as the furnace is set at 40 degrees or more?

But wouldn't electric heaters be able to maintain a 40 degree temp even on COLD nights, thereby preventing the furnace from kicking on and possibly resulting in frozen pipes or tanks?

Jammer - do you happen to have a pic of your heater permanently mounted in a center wall?
We have a ceramic oscillating heater that we take with us for the cold nights. It has it's own thermostat, so it's pretty much a set it and forget it type of thing. We used to keep it in the bathroom (rear bathroom floor plan, 70's trailer). However, since the thermostat for the propane furnace is just into the bedroom from the bathroom on the wall, with the ceramic/electric going in the bathroom, we had to crank up the propane themostat setting in order to make sure the kids sleeping in the front didn't get too cold. We've since changed things a bit in that the ceramic heater goes in the kitchen overnight (near to the propane furnace). This way, the two heat sources are producing from the same location in the trailer. Now we set the propane furnace thermostat set a little lower so that it would only kick in if the ceramic one can't keep up in the lowest temps. of the night. It's a little chilly if one needs to visit the bathroom for a sit down session during the night, but it's better than trying to set thermostats really weird to control two sources. Plus, I'd rather my wife an I get chilly than my kids.

As for heating the tanks...I don't worry about it. I'm not camping when it's that cold outside for an average temp. on the day. If it dips below 32 over night for a few hours, my pipes and tanks aren't going to freeze especially if I'm living in there with heaters on. On the days where it's below 32 all day and for multiple days; the Airstream is winterized and parked in the barn!
__________________
WineStream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 09:12 AM   #13
Rivet Master
 
2005 30' Classic
... , ...
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 511
Images: 12
Since the forced air pushes warm air down to the tanks (you can access the furnace plumbing that goes to the tanks), it is evident that supplemental heat sources, without either tapping into the same duct work or having it's own, will not heat the tanks. There must be a process to get the heat to the needed area if it is to be heated.

However, just because the temps go below freezing at night does not mean stuff will freeze - which, for example, is why though the temps at night reach the freezing point, a blanket placed over a tomato plant can keep it from being killed.

So I assume what is really being asked is in reference to longer term - below freezing temps that will do damage without a source of heat.

In other words, the real issue I hear you asking about is how to get heat to the plumbing and tanks without using the very inefficient forced air furnace. Is that correct?
__________________
GetOutDoors is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 10:29 AM   #14
Rivet Master
 
TG Twinkie's Avatar
 
1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,139
Images: 2
Blog Entries: 5
You can keep the grey and black water tanks from freezing by using windshield washer fluid (winter formula) in the tanks. It is relatively cheap. You would not get much protection below 20F.
I have been doing some modifications to our '74 Argosy 26'. The FW holding tank is across the front of the trailer. The pump is right next to it under the dinette seat. The main water line runs down the street side behind the refer, closet and under the bed. All of the pipes are PEX.
There were two areas of concern with the main water line; first where it crosses the intake vent for the refer; second the area under the bed. I routed the pipe behind the refer about 24" high on the wall instead of on the floor. By doing this I hope to take advantage of some of the heat the refer puts out. The pipe drops back to floor level in the back of the closet then runs next to the wheel well and under the bed to the water heater location, then both hot and cold go into the bath. This area is closed off to any heat source because of the cabinets and storage compartments under the bed. I installed a small 12volt fan which I salvaged from an old desktop computer in the toe kick area under the bed immediately across the aisle from the furnace discharge duct. There is a switch inside the bath cabinet to turn on the fan. The fan pulls heated air from the aisle way and pushes it into this dead space.
On the curb side the furnace duct runs right next to the water lines to the galley. I installed the bubble wrap foil type of insulation by taping the edge of it along the length of the heat duct, then draping it over the water lines, kind of like a little tent. Thinking that the warm duct will provide enough heat to keep the lines from freezing if the heat can be held near the lines.
The small fan I installed ran way to fast and was noisy. To eliminate this problem I wired a 5 ohm 10 watt resister in series with the fan motor. Resulting in a slower fan speed and very little noise. The fan motor draws less than 1/4 amp.
What led me to make these "improvements" was on 2 occasions last year. Once in May in the Colorado mountains 7,000 ft elevation and in October on a trip to Iowa the temps dropped to below 20F at night and we woke up to frozen pipes. Nothing broke and within 20 minutes of the trailer being in the morning sun the pipes had thawed and we had water.
My conclusion was since it didn't take much for the pipes to thaw, it wouldn't take much to prevent them from freezing. I ran a test when the outside temp was 20F here, while these "dead" spaces I call them were not as warm as the cabin they were well above freezing. So I am happy with the results so far. The real test will be on the road.
__________________

__________________
Knowledge: "A gift to be shared. A treasure to receive."
TG Twinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Catalytic heater vs. furnace HoosierGypsy Furnaces, Heaters, Fireplaces & Air Conditioning 25 12-16-2011 11:15 PM
Need new LP heat source for short bursts of winter use pyrenees Winter Living 12 01-04-2011 09:41 PM
Electric heaters vancouverG Full-Timing, Winter Living & Workamping 20 06-18-2010 08:04 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.