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Old 01-07-2013, 06:56 PM   #1
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1970 31' Sovereign
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how do you heat this thing?

So my husband and I are renovating a 1970 Sovereign and will be living full time in it starting in July, or close to it. We will be in the pacific northwest, so a decent heat source is crucial, and we have considered a wood stove (although from what I've read, they're not popular), and an electric wall mounted fire place.
The issue is, we have a dog and a cat that will be living there too, so I don't want to have to cut the heat when we leave for the day and it's really cold.
Has anyone dealt with this issue before?
What are the options for a safe heat source that can stay going while we are out?
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:02 PM   #2
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How about the furnace when it is really, really cold (side benefit is that your furnace is ducted to the tanks) and one of those oil filled heaters when it is only really cold. And if it only regular cold, the heat strip in your a/c.

That's what we do.

Enjoy,

Mike
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:03 PM   #3
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How 'bout the furnace?
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:04 PM   #4
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...a wood stove in a camper?

Yeah, a forced air furnace or heat pump is usually the best bet.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:44 PM   #5
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Check out Marine wood stoves and fireplaces. But a big problem you will have is condensation (and frost if it is cold enough outside) inside the Stream.

I would not leave animals alone inside in the winter up north while you are gone for any length of time. Bad idea. Too much could go wrong especially with a 43 year old trailer.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:53 PM   #6
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He Emmaaton: I'm up in Bellingham, WA. I use a small ceramic (electric) heater. They are efficient and unless your pets lay on top of it; it won't set them on fire;-).
Not sure "where" in the PNW you are moving to but usually it does not freeze up here.
F'cast for next week being the rare exception where we'll be looking at 0C to -5C.
I only use the furnace when I'm present and usually just before a shower so it's nice and toasty when I get out.....but then it gets turned off for the night.
The heat pump is also an option but they tend to be noisy. I have removed the grill/filter and blocked it with insulation as a lot of heat goes out the air intake.....dito for the fantastic fan and skylight.....
Welcome to the Pacific North Wet...it's the wet that'll get ya, but you'll get used to it.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:59 AM   #7
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At first I thought this was a duplicate thread, but it turns out it's a very similar question asked at almost the same time. I suggest keeping an eye on that one since it has more responses already.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:04 AM   #8
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We heat our stick house with a wood stove, and have since the house was built in 1985. The best and most comforting heat source, in our opinion, that can double as a cook stove if needed.

I think wood stoves are actually very popular. Like many other things, they have their own niche and following. They're not for everyone.

We have the usual forced air furnace, too, which we turn on and set at 55 when we are away for more than a day.

A small stove will need regular stoking to radiate the heat you need. We get ours going good when we are going to be gone for just the day and don't need the furnace. Came home Saturday after being gone 13 hours, and it was 61 in here. Temps were below freezing outside.

That said, trailers are notoriously not as well insulated as a house. Might set your furnace to kick on at 60 or so, also think about getting one of those electric, heated pads that are made for dogs who sleep outside, in a garage, etc., where your animals can snuggle and stay comfortable when inside temps are cooler than they would be if you were home.

I second the concerns about leaving your animals unattended for long days in a trailer, if you are out where no one is able to intervene in the event of an emergency. There is a forums member here who had a trailer burn to the ground while he was off hunting, and parked in a remote area, his beloved dog inside and no one around to help her when the fire started.

If there are neighbors, perhaps alert them to the presence of your pets in the event of an emergency. If you are parked in a remote area, I'd rethink the plan to leave them alone.

Good luck,


Maggie
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emmaaton View Post
The issue is, we have a dog and a cat that will be living there too, so I don't want to have to cut the heat when we leave for the day and it's really cold.
It is not my experience that dogs and cats suffer in cold weather. My cat likes to go outside even when it's well below freezing, and used to be a barn cat that more or less lived outdoors all winter. I suppose it could depend on the breed.

Plumbing, on the other hand, is relatively less tolerant of freezing temperatures.

Quote:
What are the options for a safe heat source that can stay going while we are out?
Ordinarily people use the furnace. Your trailer came with a propane furnace when new although it may have been removed for whatever reason by a former owner, or may be due for replacement if not.

Sometimes people use electric heat, mainly to avoid the expense or logistics involved in filling the propane tank often.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:28 PM   #10
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You could use a cataletic wall heater. They use no electric. Theres one in the clasifed now.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:44 PM   #11
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My recommendation (as a full timer in Alaska with 5 cats and a dog). Forced air furnace for when you aren't home and a wood stove. I have a wood / coal stove, but it gets cold when I am gone all day, so I use a propane catalytic heater as a back up. The cats get too close to the propane and burn themselves! I do not recommend the catalytic with pets, I have switched to coal only and I just keep it going. On the coldest days, I drive home on lunch to add more coal. The furnace would not be dangerous for the pets but keep them comfortable, but the wood stove would cut down on propane use.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:05 PM   #12
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Read this somewhere, have not tried it...A candle under an upside down terracotta flower pot. Hole in bottom of pot lets out smoke, flame heats clay and it radiates heat. Person used two in an emergency and was surprised at how well worked. Not to be left alone for sure.
As someone now paying for replacement water pipes, Protect and insulate those babies!!
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:27 PM   #13
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I think it depends largely on how cold it is expected to be.

When we have electricity available we use a small ceramic electric heater ... we have a small trailer, so it doesn't take much ... a larger trailer may require a couple or larger electric heaters. We hesitate to leave that on while we are gone and our 2 dogs are in the trailer.

I would not be without the regular propane furnace even if you have another heat source that you use most of the time. It's safer and an up side of it is that it can direct warm air to your holding tanks to keep that area from freezing it it gets that cold.

When we just need to take the chill off and we do NOT have electric heat, we use a small propane canister catalytic heater, but we do not leave it one while we are away or while sleeping.

We don't use the heat pump too much because it's noisy and if we can run that, we can run an electric heater.

As mentioned above, increase your insulation by blocking areas where heat can escape easily.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:42 PM   #14
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Look under your trailer!

Have a look at these search results. This was done by inputting "winter camping" into the Google option in our search menu up top:

winter camping - Google Search

Lots of good results from our archives.

One thing I don't see mentioned here yet it that "skirting" your trailer, either with something as simple as straw bales or fancier frames with some kind of material will do a lot to keep the heat you have generated. Well-done skirting, with the addition of a couple of 100 watt lightbulbs, and help stop your tanks freezing, and your tootsies, too.
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