What size propane cylinder/tank----gallons??
In those temps you are getting up to a week on propane use then you are doing GREAT? Unless you have a motorhome with a large propane tank
In -14*F temps we had to get a 30# (7 gallon) filled every other day
'Golden_HVAC' makes a good point about the design of RV water heater.
That combustion chamber is wide open and runs up thru tank sucking cold air in/around water inside tank
That's alot of surface area in contact with the water.
In (-)degree temps I wouldn't experiment and just pay for the propane
Looking at the picture above, you can see there is a lot of surface area inside the tank to allow heat to escape into the nighttime air.
If the water is 120 F, then more air will be drafted out, and you will have much more heat loss than if the tank is only 40F. However at night, you will not be able to turn on and off the burner (unless you wake up hourly) to keep the tank at around 40-60F. During the day, if you are diligent, you can cycle the burner for only about 5 minutes per hour, and keep the water in the 40- 60F range to keep it above freezing, and not drop below 30. Because the temperature difference between outside air and tank water is less (at 50F average instead of 130F average) you will save propane. You will have about 1/3 the heat loss with a 50F tank compared to a 130F tank.
But leaving the tank on all the time is the SAFEST way to avoid it freezing and cracking. Otherwise consider draining all the water lines, and then you can shut off the water heater and use portable water jugs for any water use. Then you can lower the inside temps to less than 50F safely without damage to the RV.
However it is much more comfortable to keep it at 65F inside and enjoy the fresh hot and cold water, pay the propane bill, and not worry about pipe damage.
If you have both the burner and electric on, I think the electric trys to keep it at 180F while the burner comes on once the water in the reservoir is below 150F until it reaches 170F, then it goes off until cooled by use (either domestic hot water or running a hot water coil to heat the coach).
The hot water tank being in the basement should help keep the basement warm.
Like said above, you might have 1 or 2 electric heating elements. One is normally rated at 1,500 watts 120 volts, the other might be rated at 3,500 at 240 volts. But it can change - depending on your model number.
Is it cheaper to run on diesel or pay for electric? Here in Portland OR, the hydroelectric power is pretty low cost, $0.10 per KW. 1 gallon of propane is 95,000 Btu's and in a LP heater will produce about 80,000 Btu's of heat, or what would take 22 KW in a electric heater. Diesel is about 135,000 Btu's per gallon, and can produce about 105,000 Btu's per gallon burned, given some heat goes out the flue. This is equal to about 32 KW. So it would cost $3.20 to offset one gallon of diesel in this area, more than $4.50 in Southern California with their higher $0.16 per KW power. For me, it is less expensive to run electric heat $2.20 than to buy propane. Diesel costs would be about equal up here in Portland.
Like stated above, if it gets below 30F, then leave the aqua hot on, it will not freeze. To save fuel, run the electric if at home, or a campground, but run it on diesel if you need to - if on battery power. You will need something to recharge the battery (solar or plug it in) if it is parked in a driveway or something.
If it is -10F outside, then you need to keep the water heater on all the time to keep it at least over 40F all the time (so unless you plan on getting up every hour at night, just leave it on.) You can shut it off during the time you can monitor the water heater temp, at at least run it every hour or so for 5 minutes. however the burner is only 8,800 Btu's and can run 11 hours burning only 1 gallon of propane. Most of the time the burner is not on all the time, so it is off more than on, so 11 hours might take 2 days to use 1 gallon, perhaps 4 - 10 days in the summer when cold air is not robbing most of the heat out of the water heater.
You can leave the water heater off all the time it is warmer than 30F outside, but colder than that temp will cause the water to quickly freeze inside the tank, and damage the $400 tank. No savings there. There is a huge flue pipe going through the center of the water heater tank that will quickly let 25F air through the tank and freeze it faster than even a glass of water or dog dish left outside.
The furnace can use 40,000 Btu's per hour, there is 95,000 Btu's in one gallon of propane. So you can run the furnace for 2.2 hours per gallon. The stove burner is about 9,000 - 12,000 Btu's on high heat setting while a RV oven is around 18,000 - 22,000 Btu's. Home ovens have about 30,000 Btu oven burners.
My guess is most of your propane use is through the furnace. If you plan on staying in one place for a long time, then consider a 100# tank that is refilled at your site.
What I did while living in my motorhome in Portland OR in the winter of 2008 was run 3 electric heaters. I have a 30 amp 120 volt service, and ran 2 heaters on low heat setting. The third heater I would run on a #12 gauge extension cord and could run it on high (1,500) or low 800 watt setting. I also used a electric mattress warmer, and my lowest outside temps where only 26F, so not nearly as cold as you have.
I used bubble wrap insulation (Reflex) in my windshield, and most of the outside windows. This helps slow the heat loss. You can get this at Home Depot / Lowes. Look for it in 24" and 48" wide rolls. I had bought a 48" X 75' roll from a HVAC contractor supply house. You can buy 24" wide X 25' or so at Home Depot, and use that to place between the ground and RV sidewalls. This will keep air from blowing under the RV, and thus will stay warmer.
Camping World also sells a lightweight pillow that goes into a 14" square roof vent, and helps insulate it from the cold coming in.
Just wondering if you have already installed a coolant filter? It helps prolong the life of the 6 Liter diesel engines.
Napa #4070 filters for the coolant, and kit #FIL 4019 to install it in a heater hose line. Some are putting them in with tiny ball valves, so they can shut off the coolant lines to prevent coolant loss while changing the filters. The first one will clog in about 800 miles, then second should last 2,000 miles, third will last until the end of next summer. Then change them at the end of each summer, just before fall, when you will need the heater again.
PS: I also have a coolant filter on my 460" gas engine motorhome, and keep changing it each year since it was new. Never had a problem with the engine, water pump, or any overheating.
I had a 1975 F-350 supercab with a 9,600 pound GVWR, I suspect yours will be the same. I also had the 460" engine (7.5 liters). I also got around 10 MPG and it had a 3.73:1 rear axle ratio. Remember they only had a three speed auto, so no overdrive, and with the 3.73 you had about 3,000 RPM at 65 mph, the 4.10:1 rear axle really kills the mileage.
My current motorhome is a 97 Bounder with 5.34:1 rear axle ratio and .21% overdrive giving it about the same effective rear axle ratio as 3.73:1 without overdrive.
The "Super Camper Specials" where built from 72-74 with the regular cab and pictured above side mounted spare tire in the bed. The wheelbase was stretched by 7" from 133 to 140", thus giving better ability to carry a 11' long cabover camper. More of the weight would be forward of the rear axle, so more weight can be carried by the front axle. To bad they don't still make the super camper special. I know a lot of people who would prefer a longer wheelbase and shorter distance from the tailgate to the rear axle. It would also be great for fifth wheel owners who wanted a short bed truck, because the hitch can be mounted just in front of the tailgate, further from the back window, not requiring a special sliding hitch.
Good luck on your truck. Be sure to keep an eye out for leaks on the seals for the first few hundred miles. If it has sat for a long time, you might need to replace the transmission rear seal or something like that.
Also brake fluid needs to be changed every 7 years, and is often overlooked - even by people who diligently change the oil every 3,500 miles. Rear axle fluid is every 15,000 - 20,000 miles and also overlooked.
When I had my engine rebuilt, it still did not produce a "Lot" of power. However after rebuilding the distributor, it made lots more power. I guess it might have had a bad spring, or bad vacuum advance or something, but ran great afterwords. I took it to "Clutches unlimited" in Midway City, CA.
The Grand Canyon is around 6,500' elevation at the south rim, and 7,500 at the North Rim. So they close the North rim around October, depending on the first big storm, they do not plan on plowing the roads out of there (67 miles to Jacob Lake). They get feet of snow at the North Rim, and normally the roads are not open until the end of April, but it changes year to year..
I found out all about driving on ice back in 1987 when I thought "Thanksgiving is a great 4 day weekend to try out my new to me camper - lets go to the Grand Canyon!" And I got to see a lot of snow and ice. The canyon was foggy, but the road was open to those who wanted to get there. I had a friend check their newspaper for weather temps at Flagstaff AZ, looking for a good time to go back, it did not get above 60 until late spring (7,500' elevation).
My uncle was telling me about a school bus driver from Pennsylvania who was stuck in the snow around Flagstaff in June, and was the only one with chains in his car, so the highway patrol said he could drive in the snow. So to answer your question - some Octobers can have snow, and in May too. But just a few miles south in Prescott, or Congress, at a much lower elevation it can be fine weather.
Check out the Congress Escapee's RV park. Very large lots, and you can rent them for a low cost per day or month. There are Escapee's RV parks all over the south, near Yosemite, and one in Oregon and one in Washington. They are basically built for full timers by full timers. THey have a mail forwarding service, and other things you might find useful while full timing.
Look for it on Craigslist in a nearby state.
Hope that you had good insurance on it.
You can buy a tracking device. It basically uses a cell phone chip in it, and has GPS tracking. You buy a monthly phone at Wal Mart or someplace, and pay by the minute plan, not a monthly rental. Then put the chip from that phone into the tracker. If you decide to track the car or whatever the device is put into, you call the "Phone number" and it activates it's GPS, telling you exactly where it is located.
It also works on computers. I-Pads can tell you where they are located within about 75 feet. Close enough that law enforcement can obtain a search warrant if required to get your stuff back.
Yes take measurements of the roof. If you find a great deal on a 230 watt model that is 48" wide and 75" long, it probably will not fit anyplace on your roof without going over a vent or something. I have a pair of 39" X 60" panels on my roof, they are only 120 watts, that is about the maximum size I would recommend. Lay them out in cardboard first, making sure they will not get shaded by the antenna or A/C or something.
It is best to have them mounted 1" above the roof, the air circulating under them will cool them, and they produce more power when cooler.
I used 2" angle aluminum from Home Depot, 6" long to make brackets for the 4 corners. Ran the power lines down the back of the refrigerator to the controller. Use UV rated grey romex, rated for direct burial works fine (Home Depot).
You want to look for 12 volt panels with nominal out out of around 19 - 21 volts "Open circuit".
Look for a PWM controller rated for 10 - 20 amps.
You can use multible controllers for one battery bank, they will all try to keep the battery full, and will all shut off once you reach 13.8 volts.
This place has a great price on solar panels. SunElec.com
You can look for the balance of the system there or from many other places. I bought my solar panels from this place back in 1999. SolarOnSale.com
I found out about solar systems from this magazine. HomePower.com
Going past Tucson can get above 3,600' elevation towards New Mexico where it can reach 5,000' elevation, before going back down into the Rio Grand Valley. Once you turn north on I25 you will start out around 1,500' elevation if memory serves me well. By Albuquerque it is close to 5,000 again.
You can look at Google Maps and zoom out far enough to click on "Terrain" (it is a option under traffic and other options). It will give you elevation lines for any part of the country. You have to zoom in enough to read some of the lines, it will give you an idea of the elevations.
By the way, going to Flagstaff is around 7,500' elevation and has many hills to climb over, so I would not recommend that way to anyone in the winter.
Yes you will have to climb some mountain passes, even I8 is over 4,000' at mile marker 60 near Boulevard CA. You might check going through Campo, it might be a lower elevation, that is the way the trains went, to avoid going over the mountains.
14.1 to 14.3 volts is very high in the SUMMER. In winter, it is actually normal with a alternator that has temperature compensation. Your battery will heat up and boil out a lot of water (meaning you would need to refill it monthly with about 1 quart of water) if it ran 14.1 volts all the time. However in the winter, you would not go through nearly that much water, probably only 1 quart in 3 months. For driving, the battery is not overcharged for a long enough time to worry about, the battery water level will be fine.
It is OK to "Equalize" charge a battery for a couple of hours at 14.4 volts. It will break up any sulfur deposits on the battery plates, and is recommended for home based battery systems that run on solar panels and a inverter to equalize charge once a month.
I prefer to buy a small electric heater at Wal Mart, and use it to blow heat at my feet. As long as my feet are warm, then I am warm.
Any electric heater will produce up to 3.4 Btu's per watt of input electric. Nothing more. Using a quartz lamp some claim they can make more heat, but they don't. Might be even less heat, because some of the heat is turned into light, not heat.
The only way to make more heat from a electric system is to run a heat pump, and transfer heat. But that is not the subject.
As for saving money, 1 gallon of propane can change in price from one area to another, depending on shipping from the refinery and greed of the retailers among other things. Electric costs also vary from one area to another. Here in Portland Oregon, where they have lots of hydroelectric, it is around $0.10 per KW, and electric heat makes sence.
To get about 80,000 Btu's, you can burn 1 gallon of propane or have an electric heater burn 22 KW. So my cost is $2.20 for electric heat, or about $2.49 currently for propane. To run a heat pump at 40F outside temp, it would take about 8,000 watts to collect and transfer 80,000 Btu's inside. Or about $0.80. At less than 20F, heat pumps become less efficient, however continue to work, and will keep you warm.
Modern R-410 freon heat pumps are even more efficient, and will produce much warmer supply air than a R-22 based system that might be more than 6 years old. The designers have figured out they needed to move more outside air, and the R-410 has a much higher boiling point, so the pressures are higher in both the heating and cooling modes. Of course RV heat pumps change over automatically to electric heat or the furnace at 40F outside air temperature, however home heat pumps can work at 0F by cooling the outside air to -20F discharge temperature, and frequent use of the defrost cycle when the outside coil gets to cold. RV heat pumps do not use the defrost cycle, but would rely on the fan blowing air more than 33F across the coil to remove any frost from it. Thus they just chut off with a built in thermostat at around 38-40F.
When I was living in my RV in Portland Oregon, I had a 120 volt extension cord plugged into the main panel, and my 30 amp RV too. Then I ran one 1,500 watt heater from the extension cord (12 gauge) and from the RV had 2 electric heaters run on 800 watt setting. Also ran the refrigerator on electric too. Never tripped a circuit breaker all winter.
I don't know how "Unlimited" the heat is, but it has either a 45,000 or 60,000 Btu heat input from the diesel boiler, that works out to heating about 1.5 GPM from 50F to 140F. The Aqua Hot needs to start out warm to keep up. The built in tank will cool down a bit with use, but still stay above 110F when a normal shower is done.
Fuel usage is another thing. 1 gallon of propane is about 95,000 Btu's while diesel is closer to 135,000 Btu's. My guess is a normal propane burner is about 80% efficient, while a typical diesel boiler is only about 75% efficient. So the diesel one is going to cost less per 100,000 Btu's of heat in most areas.
There is also a typical electric back up for the Aqua Heat, so you can run a 2,000 - 4,000 watt electric element (depending on model and if the RV manufacture wanted to install a 120 or 240 volt element) to warm the tank over a long time. Typically they warm 10 gallons of anti-freeze, and then there is a hot water coil that the domestic water goes through this heated (160 - 180F) tank and it will instantly warm the domestic water to 140 - 160F, then cool it with a mixing valve on the outlet to the desired 120F outlet water temp.
Many systems also include a hot water loop for the engine too. So a 3/4" heater hose line from the diesel engine will go through the Aqua Hot tank, and warm it to the engine running temp (up to about 200F) and also because the engine starts out cold, the 140F tank temp will preheat the engine quickly, then the engine will start supplying heat to the Aqua Hot after a few minutes. So with that option, you have unlimited free hot water while on the road, and about 15 gallons just after you park. Many times this allows you to not turn on the burner at all, if you are not running the furnace and don't need much hot water.
If you think it's cold where you are at.........Look what us in Southern California are dealing with.........
I like the quote "It would have snowed if it had been a few degrees cooler, but it has warmed up to 42 right now in Lancaster (CA)."
It was snowing in Portland Oregon Friday, however not enough moisture to stick. It has been in the 20's and 35 for a high today, but very sunny and clear at night to make it even cooler tomorrow. By Wednesday we should be back to normal and have some rain. The clouds hold in the daytime heat to keep us above freezing.
Considering that you are plugged into the HOST electricity, I would be running a couple of 120 volt heaters, electric blanket, and other heaters.
Like one on 800 watts near the fresh water tank and pump. It will at least keep the fresh water tank over 55F. That will lead to warmer showers.
800 watt heater (normal one on low heat setting) near where your water lines froze, such as under the kitchen sink.
Electric blankets are only about 35 - 45 watts.
You probably will need to run one 120 volt cord for each pair of heaters on low heat.
The Ford Transit in Europe also offers a all wheel drive option. Don't know if the Ford Transit in USA will have all wheel drive or not.
Yes it would be great for those of us who wanted to drive in the snow safely.
Yes I put Herculiner on my RV roof when it had started leaking and was about 14 years old. Yes it sealed all the leaks, and living in it full time, the odor it left behind made me think that the solvent that is applied with the herculiner did soak into the roof coating, then into the RV, and left behind a water tight sealant. It has been 2.5 years since I applied the Herculiner. THere where some cracks around my shower skylight, but I was able to seal them with a thicker coat of Herculiner. I guess I should have put it on thicker where it would be moving, or the skylight is shrinking and growing at different rates than the surrounding roof structure.
All other areas of the roof, including the ladder have been trouble free for 2.5 years.
Herculiner has 101uses, including on shower floors in a prison, no place tougher than that! The best price I found was at JcWhitney.com and they gave me free shipping just because I asked for it. You can buy it in stock black, or extra cost white, red and gray. I picked white.
If you are worried about the cost of changing over a couple of fixtures to LED's, then go to this website, and search for 24 LED 5050 panel. THen click on "Lowest price" at the top. Most of the first page will be 1000 minimum quanity, but by page 2 you will see 10 each for about $1.95 each.
What I did was cut off the wires going to the old lamp, and use little blue wire nuts to connect two adapters to each old fixture. Then I can install 1 or 2 of the light panels, depending on how much light I want. In my bathroom, I have 2 panels in each side of my old fixture, or 4 total, 96 LED's all for about 0.4 amps.
Others have removed all the light bulbs and ballast from a florescent light fixture, then glue in 4-8 of these panels, and wire them up for much more light with less power.
There are a couple of LED light fixture posts. You can search for them.
To really extend the power of your battery you can install a Olympic Catalytic safety heater, it will not use any 12 volt power, and can put out up to 6,000 Btu's of heat.
and install a couple of 100 - 120 watt solar panels, nominal cost right now of around $100. Get a $18 solar controller (they have 20 amp PWM solar controllers for $18 with free shipping. These will recharge the battery each day - if you are camping or not.
Home Power Magazine has many advertisers. One is SunELec.com
You can find a $15 20 amp 12 volt PWM solar controller here. AliExpress.com and search for 20A PWM solar controller. Then search for "Lowest price" in the upper section above the first post.
My suggestion is to spend more on solar panels, less on the lower cost PWM controller, and you will have a system that will recharge your battery by noon. Some might recommend a $169 MPPT solar controller. Sure it might put out about 10% more power each day than a PWM solar controller. however you can also buy a 100 watt solar panel for that same amount of money, and add to your total wattage in to the battery for less money.