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hotrod4x5

Southern Calif

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Posted: 11/20/10 05:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Flying dog are you saying you cover the windows with black cardboard and that provides heat from the sun somehow?


Rodney Former Owner of: 2005 Laredo 29GS 2002 F250 V-10 Yamaha EF3000iSEB (and NOT a GS Member)


camperpaul

Wherever I park my travel trailer

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Posted: 11/21/10 04:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That is what the man said...

And he is right...

A crude solar heat system like that can be as much as 75% efficient.


Paul
Extra Class Ham Radio operator - K9ERG (since 1956)
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Was a campground host at IBSP (2006-2010) - now retired.
Single - Full-timer
2005 Four Winds 29Q
2011 2500HD 6.0L GMC Denali (Gasser)


SunTen

Kansas

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Posted: 11/21/10 09:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My husband and I are going to stay in our 5th wheel for a winter in Kansas.

I have a 2007 Holiday Rambler Presidential 5th Wheel 35ft. It has three slide outs.

I have purchased the new heated water hose. We turned the female end into a male end and the male end into a female end. We will then connect the heating element to the inside of our water connections.

We are going to keep the dumping hose out so there will be no water in our grey tanks and will dump the black tank as needed.

I am having a heavy vinyl skirt made to snap onto the 5th wheel all the way around it. I will hold it in place with water tubes made to hold down pool covers. They are made to be out in the winter and will take up less space to store than sand bags.

I am going to place a ceramic heater in the large storage area with the inside slide door open going to the pumps and the majority of piping. It will be plugged into a digital plug in thermostat. My RV dealer suggested that on the very cold days I have it go to 55 degrees. Otherwise it will see that the heater comes on to heat to 45 degrees. I will also have an outdoor temp sensor in there so I can monitor the temperature from inside the unit. This sensor is connected to the clock I have inside to also monitor the temp on the inside.

I have the pads to close off the ceiling air vents. I was not planning on sealing up the skylight over the shower.

The RV park is loaning us a 100lb propane tank which they will keep filled for each of us. We have had the hose made so that it goes back to our on board tanks when they disconnect to refill.

I do wonder if I should have a humidifier because of the furnace running so much. I am use to having one on my furnace at home. I was thinking about purchasing a small portable one to sit on the counter.

I have heard we should be concerned with moisture but I am not sure where they are referring to.

Also should there be at least a one window with a little crack in it so that everything is not closed up to tight with the furnace running.

I would appreciate some answers to my question from those of you that have done this and also any things you think I should change on the way I am going to set the unit up. We will be parked from about the middle of Dec. to the end of May.

We are looking forward to using it and I want to make sure that we are doing things right. There does not seem to be anyone place that can really tell you all the ins and outs of your particular unit. this includes the dealer. I have picked up bits and pieces by visiting with some folks that have thought about it but have not done it and I spoke with the service tech at my dealership. They had the heated hose which I think will be very helpful.

I am looking forward to your ideas and suggestions.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 11/21/10 10:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi SunTen,

It would be better to not let the grey water drain continuously. Over time it may build up a layer of ice inside the hose--eventually it may block it totally.

I strongly advise against a digital thermostat. If the power even flickers it may default to an "off" setting. Use a mechanical thermostat instead.

I suggest a cover that is velcroed in place for the shower sky light.

What you need to be concerned about is dew point and condensation. Adding a humidifier may intensify the problem.

It is not necessary or desirable to leave a window open when running an RV furnace.

I would add some radiant electric heaters to the inside of the RV. This may dramatically cut down on propane usage.

I'm outside a local Church in Lancer Saskatchewan running about 4700 watts of heaters (including my electric anti freeze pump heater). It is -6F and I've not burned any propane yet tonight.

SunTen wrote:



We are going to keep the dumping hose out so there will be no water in our grey tanks and will dump the black tank as needed.

I am going to place a ceramic heater in the large storage area with the inside slide door open going to the pumps and the majority of piping. It will be plugged into a digital plug in thermostat. My RV dealer suggested that on the very cold days I have it go to 55 degrees. Otherwise it will see that the heater comes on to heat to 45 degrees. I will also have an outdoor temp sensor in there so I can monitor the temperature from inside the unit. This sensor is connected to the clock I have inside to also monitor the temp on the inside.

I was not planning on sealing up the skylight over the shower.

I do wonder if I should have a humidifier because of the furnace running so much. I am use to having one on my furnace at home. I was thinking about purchasing a small portable one to sit on the counter.

I have heard we should be concerned with moisture but I am not sure where they are referring to.

Also should there be at least a one window with a little crack in it so that everything is not closed up to tight with the furnace running



Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, soon to have SiO2 batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

SunTen

Kansas

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Posted: 11/22/10 08:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I appreciate the information. How do you use heaters and keep heat going under the 5th wheel to keep things from freezing? My dealer said I should always have the furnace working because it puts heat through the floor area of the 5th wheel where the furnace vents are.






pianotuna wrote:

Hi SunTen,

It would be better to not let the grey water drain continuously. Over time it may build up a layer of ice inside the hose--eventually it may block it totally.

I strongly advise against a digital thermostat. If the power even flickers it may default to an "off" setting. Use a mechanical thermostat instead.

I suggest a cover that is velcroed in place for the shower sky light.

What you need to be concerned about is dew point and condensation. Adding a humidifier may intensify the problem.

It is not necessary or desirable to leave a window open when running an RV furnace.

I would add some radiant electric heaters to the inside of the RV. This may dramatically cut down on propane usage.

I'm outside a local Church in Lancer Saskatchewan running about 4700 watts of heaters (including my electric anti freeze pump heater). It is -6F and I've not burned any propane yet tonight.

SunTen wrote:



We are going to keep the dumping hose out so there will be no water in our grey tanks and will dump the black tank as needed.

I am going to place a ceramic heater in the large storage area with the inside slide door open going to the pumps and the majority of piping. It will be plugged into a digital plug in thermostat. My RV dealer suggested that on the very cold days I have it go to 55 degrees. Otherwise it will see that the heater comes on to heat to 45 degrees. I will also have an outdoor temp sensor in there so I can monitor the temperature from inside the unit. This sensor is connected to the clock I have inside to also monitor the temp on the inside.

I was not planning on sealing up the skylight over the shower.

I do wonder if I should have a humidifier because of the furnace running so much. I am use to having one on my furnace at home. I was thinking about purchasing a small portable one to sit on the counter.

I have heard we should be concerned with moisture but I am not sure where they are referring to.

Also should there be at least a one window with a little crack in it so that everything is not closed up to tight with the furnace running


pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 11/22/10 02:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi SunTen,

I'm in a Class C RV.

I've added electrically operated heaters to the waste tank and water pump areas. They are controlled by mechanical thermostats to prevent freezing.

The dealer is correct--it is possible to use too much electric heat, unless alternatives such as the above are carefully used.

Do read the first part of the thread--lots of good information there.

SunTen wrote:

I appreciate the information. How do you use heaters and keep heat going under the 5th wheel to keep things from freezing? My dealer said I should always have the furnace working because it puts heat through the floor area of the 5th wheel where the furnace vents are.


luvstorv

Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

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Posted: 11/23/10 05:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

camperpaul wrote:

That is what the man said...

And he is right...

A crude solar heat system like that can be as much as 75% efficient.


This is going to sound like a really dumb question, but do you put the black cardboard on the inside of the windows?


James & Judy
Full-timing since Aug. 2009.
2012 Cardinal 3625RT Fifth Wheel 39 ft.
2008 Ford F-350 Lariat Super Duty V8 Power Stroke


camperpaul

Wherever I park my travel trailer

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Posted: 11/25/10 11:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yup - on the inside... Leave about a half inch clearance at the top and bottom for the warm air to circulate. Close that gap at night because it will allow cold air to circulate.

flyingdog

Land of Enchantment (or something to that extent)

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Posted: 11/26/10 12:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I really would recommend steering clear of a "total electric camper" setup for winter if you plan to use water at all. Electric heat doesn't seem to keep things from freezing up well at all while propane, being already more efficient for heating compared to electricity, and being quite a bit cheaper per BTU, does an excellent job. I use electric only as an auxiliary when needed to enhance the comfort level (i.e. on really cold nights when you can feel the cold seeping in).

For water hose, I always set up a hose with a simple heat tape and pipe insulation - takes 45 minutes to rig up and costs less than buying a pre-built. Even if I *was* made of money, I can't justify spending it on overpriced foolishness if I can do it myself [emoticon]

As far as leaving your gray tank dump valve open, there is a chance of some ice build-up in your dump line but that's easily remedied with a piping hot shower every day or so, assuming you're not running more than 15 to 20 feet to the sewer connection. The other alternative is to put a bit of RV antifreeze down the drains occasionally to help stave off freeze-ups, especially important if you close the valves for more than 12 hours (don't use regular antifreeze - it's highly toxic). This might even be a good idea to use in the black water tank even if you keep that open, though I never bothered and hadn't had issues. If you close the blank tank dump valve, you need to use something in there to keep it from freezing up. I had a neighbor once who didn't heed the warnings and things backed up a bit...not fun.

The real issues come in when you have to run more than 20 feet to the sewer connection. I've run up to 30 feet one year without issues (sewer pipe was run mostly underneath the rig, inside skirting, and wrapped with fiberglass insulation and plastic), but when I ran 40 feet I froze solid. The angle must be right for things to run through fast enough...too slow and you'll freeze even hot shower water.

Lastly, for those simple solar window heaters, the concept is really so simple that you'd think it wouldn't work at first, but it does and it takes only about 10 minutes to set up. Paint one side of a cardboard sheet black (flat black spray paint, don't use glossy - $1/can wally world) and secure it over the inside of your window with a space at both the top and bottom of the cardboard. Make sure there's at least 1" of air space between the cardboard and the window itself. The black-painted side of the cardboard heats up as sunlight hits it, which in turn heats up the air between it and the window (think of a car in the sun with the windows up). Since hot air rises, the warmed air comes out the top space while colder air from inside your rig goes in the bottom space to replace it. You want as much direct sunlight hitting the black cardboard as you can get, so this works best when it's a south facing window (for the northern hemisphere). Needless to say, shadows from tree branches, etc, will reduce the efficiency, as will certain types of window glazing or even dirty window glass.

The spaces at the top and bottom should be large enough that the air doesn't get too hot - it's more efficient if the air gets to roughly 90-95*F before coming out the top during peak sun angle (noonish). If it's getting hotter than that, make the spaces on the top and bottom larger to increase the air flow.

Of course, the more collector surface you have in the sun, the more heat you generate. Good air flow is very important as it moves that heated air out of the collector to where you can use it, so make sure the temp isn't getting too high. You can use a cheapo clip-on type fan to circulate the heated air around your rig.

The only drawback to this overly-simple design is that at night or on especially cloudy days, the heater becomes an effective air conditioner, cooling your warmer inside air through reverse flow. Some people add flaps over the vent spaces to prevent it, but you can easily just cover the whole thing with a window quilt or a bath towel [emoticon]

There's lots more to designing a really effective system, but if you're looking to do it quick, cheap and simple, this would be my recommendation. It's something that you can even do in an area like Albuquerque where the campgrounds don't even allow skirting on your rig during the bitter cold months (really cheeses me off, btw)

* This post was last edited 11/26/10 03:46pm by flyingdog *   View edit history

miller8179

Austin, TX

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Posted: 11/26/10 11:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey all,

I am curious where I can get a "load divider" like mentioned here? I found this thread on google when searching for options to run 2 15 amp heaters in my RV. I have one in the back, and one in the front but not enough power to push them at the same time. My initial thought was to put both on a timer, essentially alternating them so that only 1 runs at a time. This "load divider" sounds interesting though!

Thanks!





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