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Old 10-01-2003, 06:20 PM   #1
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Towards full timing (More on winterizing)

The date for full timing is getting closer. I have "part-timed" in excella for the last 5 months or so, and learned a lot. It has been a good experience.

My biggest concern at this point is heating. It's insulation is of course not as good as in the house which is why the last couple of nights have been cold.

I have only been running an electric heater which helps but doesn't seem to contain heat, it dissipates somewhere. I suspect I have an air leak. I checked all the windows and they seem more or less tight, except for a couple which need to be adjusted so they shut tighter.

But, if neither electric nor LP heater is running, is it normal for the inside temperature to be only slightly above the outside temperature? (or so it seems)

I tested the LP heater a couple of times. It does work (takes a few mins to get started), and does make the inside warmer. I have 2 30# tanks, how long does that last in the winter?

I keep thinking about the last winter, which has been really cold, it got into teens a few times (but it is atypical). Any comments would be appreciated.
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Old 10-01-2003, 07:33 PM   #2
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Physics state that any object without a heat source of its own will become the temperature of whatever medium it is in. So, yes, it is normal for an unheated Airstream - or even the best insulated house - to be no warmer than the outside air. Airstreams have lousy passive solar heating facilities.

Having said that, my experience is that a 1500 watt electric heater will keep my 25' Sovereign quite comfortable down into the mid 30's. Of course, there are two of us, and each additional body puts out a lot of btu's. Down to 30 or so the furnace will run about 15 minutes out of the hour. Below that, you get out of the realm of my personal experience.

There was an extended thread on this topic which ran for much of last winter. It will be in the archives, but I do not remember the thread title. Perhaps someone does.

You do need the furnace to run any time it is below freezing as it heats the holding tanks as well.

If you are going to be anywhere an extended amount of time you can usually get a local gas company to set a 100 lb. bottle for you.

Good luck,

Mark
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Old 10-01-2003, 07:53 PM   #3
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This is probably the thread that j54mark was thinking about.

You are dealing with single pane glass and 2 aluminum skins connected by aluminum ribs and not a lot of cavity to hold insulation.

John
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Old 10-01-2003, 07:58 PM   #4
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That's it. You should be able to click on the link below and be taken directly there.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...&threadid=2738

Mark
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Old 10-02-2003, 12:25 PM   #5
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That thread is worthy of a bookmark. I took notes and here is what I learned:

1) apply heat tape to pipes under the unit (where exactly are they?)

2) skirting may be necessary to prevent heat loss (what exactly does it entail?)

3) electrical blanket is good idea (I should have thought of this one, makes things much more tolerable)

4) I will tighten the windows, a few of them don't shut really tight when they are shut and latched. Also apply "foam rubber" around the perimeter of the window (what is it
and where do I get it)

5) 100 lbs tank is a good idea

Here in VA, it doesn't really get as cold as in Kansas, or Colorado, or other states, but it can still get somewhat cold. Low 20's and rarely teens do happen although most of the time it stays around the freezing point, somewhat below and somewhat above.
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Old 10-02-2003, 12:45 PM   #6
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1) apply heat tape to pipes under the unit (where exactly are they?)

You will not have any. You will need heat tape on the water hose that supplies you city water connection.

2) skirting may be necessary to prevent heat loss (what exactly does it entail?)

Skirting will help considerably, but is not required. People use all kinds of stuff - plywood, tin roofing, hay bales, just about anything which will stop the wind from blowing beneath.

3) electrical blanket is good idea (I should have thought of this one, makes things much more tolerable)

Maybe.

4) I will tighten the windows, a few of them don't shut really tight when they are shut and latched. Also apply "foam rubber" around the perimeter of the window (what is it
and where do I get it)

I'd rather spend money and time putting plastic around the inside of the windows. Creates a cheapskate's themal pane window.


5) 100 lbs tank is a good idea

It is likely you can go a month in all but the coldest month(s0 on a single 100 lb tank.

Mark
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Old 10-02-2003, 10:53 PM   #7
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It should have been obvious that, as pointed above, without any heating at all, the unit becomes essentially as cold as outside, minus the wind chill factor. (and that significant). So I heated it.

1) Tried 1500W electric heater. I had previously set it at 600W overnight, even 900W, but neither was really sufficient. Once I set at it full 1500W, it made a huge difference. I think I will leave that in the bedroom overnight. Maybe even full time. It is quite.

2) The optional catalytic heater mounted by the door. Works nicely, very quick if you are cold. I realize about its issue of draining all the air, if you let it run overnight, for example. I don't think I will use it extensively other than maybe for 30 mins to heat up. Plus, I am constantly in and out, so much heat must exit through the door given that is by the door.

Messing with it gave me a headache almost immediately, perhaps because I did not light it immediately and had some gas escape
while trying to light. What's weird, according to instructions, turning clock-wise should make it warmer while counter-clock-wise lower, and I seem to experience just the opposite. Not sure yet.

3) The main furnace, of course. Took me 4 tries to get it to turn on. The first 3, it comes on, hear a "click", it blows air but the air stays cool and doesn't get warm. Finally on 4th try, the air got barely warm, then warmer. Then it got cold again, and I turned it off and on again and that repeated twice. Warm, then cold, then of course it shuts off. Nor does it get warm instantly after cutting on, it takes a few mins. I had it set at 70F. It seems like per each 5 minute heating interval, I only get a few minutes of warm air, and the rest is cool air. Is that normal?

Overall, I feel much more comfortable and confident about winter full-timing. This isn't a really cold state, after all. Given a combination of the electric heater + main furnace + electric blanket overnight to heat up the interior. Then of course a layer of plastic on the inside over the windows. That should cut down on leaks substantially.
Still, it will be interesting to see how long I last on 60# that are in 2 default tanks. I also have one of these huge long tanks which I presume hold 100 lbs.
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Old 10-03-2003, 06:29 AM   #8
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Heating issues...

It sounds like your furnace(s)/catalytic heater may need to be serviced. This is one area that I, as a do-it-yourselfer, DON'T!

The Minuet I bought, I got cheap because the PO had tried to fix the furnace and had just gone outside to walk around the trailer when the inside exploded in a fireball and vented through the windows while melting all of the fabric in the trailer.

Further, if you don't know what you're doing or looking for, but 'seem' to have gotten it right, you may go to sleep and never wake up again. Carbon Monoxide isn't something to mess around with, and is generated by catalytic heaters (as well as furnaces with blocked vents). It's worth the few $$$ to have an experienced furnace service technician clean, adjust and repair whatever may be wrong.

A couple of other tips: cover your airconditioner outside. Take the plastic cover off inside and block the vents with blocks of styrofoam cut-to-fit (just don't forget to take them out in the spring!). Also, remove the screens from your ceiling vents and insulate the vents with styrofoam, then replace your screens, and cover them with a vinyl overlay or something similar (ours use velcro). You'll be AMAZED at how much heat loss that will prevent.

Good luck, and stay warm.

Roger
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Old 10-03-2003, 09:07 AM   #9
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The furnace does come on - just not the first time. Of course, this is the first time I used in 6 months. The last time I tried it, it was in March or so. I will try it several times and see what happens.

I shouldn't be surprised that heating the unit is a necessity unlike a house. (the latter too needs to be heated, but will tolerate lower temperatures without heating).
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Old 10-03-2003, 01:34 PM   #10
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The Suburban furnace works as follows:

Thermostat calls for heat.
Fan on for 20 seconds.
Igniter fires pilot, which ignites gas burner.
Thermostat reaches desired temperature.
Gas valve shuts off gas.
Fan continues to blow until internal temperature drops.

So, on a properly functioning furnace, both the beginning and end of the cycle has the unit blowing "cold" (unheated) air.

When the igniter fails to ignite the burner, the gas valve shuts off, but the fan will continue to run indefinitely (except, apparently, those with the very newest circuit board). This is a safety feature and is by design. A furnace which has not been run in some months may not ignite the first time as there may be no gas in the line. It may take three or four restarts to move enough gas down the pipeline to light it up. However, if this is a problem when the unit has been inactive for just a few days then look for a gas leak.

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Old 10-03-2003, 02:14 PM   #11
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Yeah, that's what happens with mine, too. I for some reason expected hot air to blow out of it immediately and until the very end. But that explanation makes sense.
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