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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Dry Camping - Heat with Propane, or electrically w/Inverter?

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dedmiston

The West

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Posted: 09/25/20 12:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

corvettekent wrote:

We use a Big Buddy to heat our RV. It is much more efficient than the furnace.


Same here.

pianotuna wrote:

I will not use an unvented combustion heater. There are plenty made that do vent.


I agree in theory, but I also think it depends on the cubic feet volume of the trailer. Ours is a 44' fifth wheel with three slides and high ceilings. Our buddy heater won't burn through all that O2 in one night.

People need to be careful with those heaters around pets though. We had an old (and not very bright) dog who singed her tail on the heater once. That was a scary lesson for us. She was a good ol' girl whom we inherited after my mother in-law passed, but she was "as dumb as a bag of hammers", as my pop used to say. She was lovely though, and we adopted the same breed after she passed.


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JimK-NY

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Posted: 09/25/20 12:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would not want to run a Mr Buddy or similar unvented heater while I slept. In fact I rarely run my furnace at night. Instead I keep the RV fairly warm in the evening then I turn it off at night. I have a couple of oversized hot water bottles to warm the bed and I have a pile of blankets. I rarely camp when it is colder than the about the upper 20s. Even so it might be down to the low 40s in the RV when I first get up.

2oldman

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Posted: 09/25/20 01:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't know what you mean by heat 'electrically', I guess that means a space heater? No, your batteries won't like that, but your furnace would be fine.

A mattress heating pad will keep you nice and comfy all night on batteries. They use very little power.

time2roll

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Posted: 09/25/20 01:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Battery will be used plenty just running the propane furnace.


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ktmrfs

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Posted: 09/25/20 01:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

my issue with the unvented heaters (buddy etc.) is that for every gallon of propane burned you release 3+ quarts of water into the trailer air. If you are camping in an area with low humidity, may be fine. If you are camping in an area with higher humidity, the result can be fogged windows and condensation even with a vent/window open.

Same with the propane cooktop or propane oven.,

This is NOT an issue with the propane water heater or propane furnace since they vent combustion air outside.


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2oldman

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Posted: 09/25/20 01:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ktmrfs wrote:

my issue with the unvented heaters (buddy etc.) is that for every gallon of propane burned you release 3+ quarts of water into the trailer air.
Good point. I wouldn't like that. And you're most certainly not going to have open windows.

Itinerant1

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Posted: 09/25/20 03:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

phemens wrote:

As with others, we use a Big Buddy propane heater. I installed a quick connect to a fitting that runs a hose outside to a separate 30lb tank that it shares with the camp stove. Provides plenty of heat until we go to bed, at which point we fill a couple of hot water bottles to keep our toes toasty. In extreme cases when we know it will go below 0C, we set the RV furnace to 12C. Do not leave a Mr. Heater running while you sleep!
As reference, I have 6 100A LIFePO4 batteries, with 1200w of solar. Typically I wake up to 70% charge, but we are heavy users - residential fridge, coffee makers, TV and media center, cell phone booster, etc. On a sunny day I’m charged by noon. On a day like today, which is overcast, I pulled out the generator as I was down to 60% this morning (all my percentages of remaining battery are based on available capacity, I set it to 80% to be conservative, or 480AH of usable capacity).

I wouldn't even think about the generator with 60% in the morning but then I wouldn't think of the generator with 60% after dinner. 60% will still give 30% in the morning that's enough for the Mr Coffee pot and run the microwave for breakfast. Then let solar do what it can the rest of the day. 50-55% at 7pm is my pull out the generator and run it for an hour to dump 100ah (25%) in. If in the morning it's going to be just a poor solar day due to rain or heavy overcast then I'll run the generator for 2 hours dump a 200ah in and take what ever the solar will produce.


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Posted: 09/26/20 09:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Let's say SHTF and you are surviving, not camping...
Save batteries at all cost! If, IF you have enough solar to run an electric heater and have extra to also charge batteries to full during the day then that is an option only during the day and will save propane (because SHTF and propane no longer available).
The furnace fan will use a lot of battery overnight also, so that will deplete batteries. Yes, u can just recharge batts the next day on solar, but every time u deplete a battery it dies a little.
True camping means getting a sleeping bag that will keep you warm. You can stay toasty warm at 10 degrees in a bag with no external heat. In the day time you will be moving around so would want heat then if you are stuck in the camper.
I would never, even in prosperous times, use batteries to heat a camper.

time2roll

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Posted: 09/26/20 10:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you must use battery power for heat... at least use a heat pump as you will get about 2.5 times the BTU by moving heat vs creating heat from resistance. Propane is still a better choice for most conditions.

Bert the Welder

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Posted: 09/29/20 11:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Do like my wife does and have things automated. By the time she gets up, the Buddy heater has automatically come on. Additional heat has been generated buy the automatic stove top coffee maker. Her morning comfy clothes even automatically get inserted under the covers to pre-warm via secondary heat absorption. Very efficient. No worries about tanks freezing either as they would just get automatically repaired too.
25 yrs to build up the software to automate all these things. But the up keep is pretty basic as the machine is pretty simple/ not complex. Maybe takes a bit longer at this point as some parts are showing wear due to their age....


"> 1998 GMC 2500, 10.5 Okanagan, My better/smarter half, George and Finnegan(APBT), all I need.


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