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Old 12-06-2011, 09:44 PM   #1
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Worthless Electric at Storage Facility

Man, it sure is frustrating to pay $125 / month for covered storage with electric hookup and there isn't even enough power to run 1 little electric heater tonight to minimize the effects of freezing weather.

Each site at the storage facility has its own dedicated plug in. But is it possible that those huge motorhomes all around me are drawing so much power that it's robbing from the rest of us? If yes, is there any way to ensure they are not negatively impacting our availability of power? Other than complain?

Since I can't even get enough power to run 1 little electric heater my only other option is to fire up the little propane heater - one of these:
Mr. Heater Little Buddy Propane Heater - Product - Camping World

But this option seems too risky without spending the night camping out at the storage facility.
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:00 PM   #2
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If there is too much load on the line, everyone will see the same low line voltage, with the possible exception of someone closer to the feed, or input to the line.
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:26 PM   #3
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You may have only 3 or 5 amp service at the storage facility. This is usually not sufficient to power even a small electric heater which will typically require 10 amps.

I would check with the storage facility to see if they have it set up this way.

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Old 12-06-2011, 10:48 PM   #4
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A "little electric heater" taking 1000 watts run all month takes 720 kwh. (1 kw x24 hours x 30 days). At the usual US rate of 11 cents per kwh, the cost to the lot renters could easily be over $80, and you are "only" paying $125 per month. Even thought it probably would not run every hour of every day, you can see why the owners might be concerned about how much power you use. I expect they figure the power they supply would be for battery maintenance only, and maybe a little extra, not enough to run heaters (or AC units) all month.

Even leaving the refrigerator on 120 volt power would probably take 200 watts an hour on average (RV refrigerators are very inefficient) which is .2 kwh. Those same 720 hours times .2 kwh times 11 cents would be a cost to them of about $16 a month.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:16 PM   #5
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Well, there's that Suburban furnace Airstream installed in the thing...

Is the power off? Or would the heater just not run? If there's enough to keep the batteries charged, the trailer should be able to maintain 50F inside for a couple of days without sucking down all the propane.

I don't trust my 36-year-old furnace but yours should be reliable, no?
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:20 PM   #6
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If you really want to know how much power other RVs at your storage are using, you could buy/borrow something like this ammeter.

Yeah, I know I'm a nerd.
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Old 12-07-2011, 04:18 AM   #7
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Have you ever considered actually winterizing your trailer so this is not an issue? That way you would not need to run a heater. If it won't run a heater, you might also not have enough amps to properly run your converter.

This would just be a silly question if you lived a little further North, it would have had been winterized a month ago and there would not be any worries.
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank&Mike View Post
Man, it sure is frustrating to pay $125 / month for covered storage with electric hookup and there isn't even enough power to run 1 little electric heater tonight to minimize the effects of freezing weather.

Each site at the storage facility has its own dedicated plug in. But is it possible that those huge motorhomes all around me are drawing so much power that it's robbing from the rest of us? If yes, is there any way to ensure they are not negatively impacting our availability of power? Other than complain?

Since I can't even get enough power to run 1 little electric heater my only other option is to fire up the little propane heater - one of these:
Mr. Heater Little Buddy Propane Heater - Product - Camping World

But this option seems too risky without spending the night camping out at the storage facility.
that an electric heater inside the coach doesn't protect the plumbing under the floor, in the under belly. Only the furnace can do that. Even tho there is insulation under there it still could freeze. At least drain the water out. Safe & happy travels, John
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:57 AM   #9
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Mike,
I think that David's suggestion to use the furnace is your best choice.

Well Frank, this short snap of unusual cold does not make it worth winterizing. It is still prime camping weather here in Texas. It will be 65 again this weekend.
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:59 AM   #10
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If it's indoor storage, and you don't have to worry about wind, set the furnace for 40-45 degrees. It may only run a few times over the next few days, and the converter will be easily able to keep the batteries charged using the power available. It will take the building a lot longer to get to 32 degrees than if the trailer was outdoors.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
If it's indoor storage, and you don't have to worry about wind, set the furnace for 40-45 degrees. It may only run a few times over the next few days, and the converter will be easily able to keep the batteries charged using the power available. It will take the building a lot longer to get to 32 degrees than if the trailer was outdoors.
Are there issues with running propane furnace in enclosed storage or is the ventilation good enough?
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:17 AM   #12
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Last winter I forgot to turn the thermostat to off, it was set at lowest 50, came back to an empty propane tank after a couple of days.

Don't use the furnace if you are in a closed space, it can produce monoxide if not burning with a blue flame.

AS did make it easier to winterize with valves to drain but it's not going to do it with gravity. You would need to put in a compressor to blow the water lines out, for complete draining, should be able to retrofit one for less than the cost of electric or propane for the season.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:20 AM   #13
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The popular arrangement in TX is covered but not fully enclosed storage. It's probably easier to meet code that way, what with all the propane, gasoline and diesel. That's how mine is laid out, as well as several other facilities I checked when searching for a storage space.
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:19 PM   #14
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Some Clarification

Not running the heater every day. We rarely get this unusually cold. Fully understand and respect the financial impact to the owner of the storage facility. But one of the reasons we chose to store there is for the ability to keep the fridge running and on the rare occassion to run a little heater. I doubt that a couple of nights of

Winterizing. As stated in a previous reply ... this is prime camping season here in south Texas. Rarely do we have to winterize. Already did some winterizing but didn't do the full winterizing because we're attending a rally this weekend.

Ok, now that those items are clarified, thanks to those who kindly answered my original question without all the other dialogue.
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:28 AM   #15
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quick fix

Guys,
Sometimes in my full timing travel I can hit cold weather like this but usually not for many days at a time. I drain the water tank and add 5 gal of antifreeze from walmart to the FW tank. That seems just enough to pick up in the pump and get pink color out of the kitchen and bath faucet..dont forget to turn on the shower to get some pink in those lines too. The last gallon, drop some down the drain in kitchen and bath and shower and then the rest in the toilet. For about 25 bucks your pretty covered for short durations. I carry a small adapter from walmart that attaches to the city water hookup and has a air adapter on it. Stop at a gas station to blow out the rest of the lines then follow the above if it looks like a real low cold spell.
My coldest travel was 26 below zero, blowing snow and traveling 45 mph. My trailer with the furnace going was 52 degrees when I stopped for the night. Wally knew how to put a trailer together!!
Happy Trails,
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Old 03-09-2012, 03:44 AM   #16
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From a safety standpoint, we never leave any appliances turned on when we are not actually using our Airstream. When you go on vacation, would you leave a portable electric heater or your gas barbecue on at your house? Just my opinion, but I would think that would be inviting disaster. (The only exception to this is using the converter to charge our batteries overnight, once a month; and our Bambi is parked next to our house.)
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:46 AM   #17
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The difference between Phoenix and Durango is about 50 degrees at night! Been using oil filled heaters in the winter in RV's for 15 years without any issues. Keeping a constant temperature inside prevents expansion and contraction of cabinets and other built ins. I remove the batteries and put them in the shop.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:09 AM   #18
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We leave Lucy plugged in when not in use when she is stored at our house or at SuEllyn's Dad's house in Jacksonville. We leave the refrigerator running and the heat pump or air conditioner running during these periods. Lucy is rarely in this status for more than thirty days at any point during the year. We have been doing this since we got Lucy in 2006.

As a matter of fact, Lucy is now resting in Jacksonville with her heat pump on set at 60 degrees.

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Old 03-09-2012, 08:20 AM   #19
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I know the OP's question was quite a while back...but I'll add this.

If a little piece of mind would help. I ran across some 200 W heaters. That would give you a few degrees of heat rise based on this post about my gasketless Overlander...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f150...ml#post1100479

2 or 3 degrees would turn a questionable 25 degree night into a no-worries for me.
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