Heater Option - Fiberglass RV

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Old 05-03-2008, 05:36 PM   #1
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Trailer: Casita 17 ft Freedom Deluxe 2008 / Toyota Hawaiighlander
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The new egg we are looking at (17' Casita) offers a 16,000BTU furnace as an option. I thought it was a no brainer - yes! Then I talked to two regular Casita users (from California) who "never" use their furnaces. If you do not choose the option you get another small storage compartment that's a plus.
We will likely do most of our camping on the West Coast as we are in Northern California. So now it is a question.
So the question to you is" do you use your furnace? Often? Are you in Alaska? Would you consider not including the option if you started over with a new rig?

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Old 05-03-2008, 05:40 PM   #2
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Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
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I use mine all the time, and I am in southern california.

Nites get cold here. I like to camp all year, and I won't let a little thing like outside temp stop me. I have done winter camping in No. Cal and Oregon, I used it all the time then.

You could consider alternative heating such as a Coleman Blackcat or a Mr. Heater Buddy. I use mine when I have no power, or when I don't need the full blast of the furnace.

It depends on your "heat" requirement. I am the type that needs to stay warm, and bundling up doesn't cut it for me. Your milage may vary.

If I were to buy new, yes, I would get a furnace.

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Old 05-03-2008, 06:00 PM   #3
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Nobody likes to think resell prior to even buying, but that may be a consideration worth thinking about.

I've never used my propane furnace, I'm always hooked up (and paying for power) so prefer a cube heater. I've thought about yanking the propane out of my trailer, then someone mentioned using their trailer when they had a major power outage in their town (or other catastrophe), that alone told me it would be a smart thing to leave it in... stove, furnace and three-way frig. That would fall into the "you never know when you'll need it" category!
Donna D.
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Old 05-03-2008, 06:05 PM   #4
Trailer: 2008 Casita 17 ft Spirit Deluxe / 1997 Toyota 4Runner LTD (Draw-Tite WDH
Posts: 64
Yes, we use our furnace --- often --- because we actively avoid campgrounds that have electrical hookups but have an aversion to being chilled. We live in the San Francisco Bay area and spend most of our weekends camping in state or national parks within a 3 hour drive, on the coast or in the Sierras.

On the coast, in spring, we turn the furnace on for a short time in the morning to take the chill out of the air before I make coffee. At night, we've turned it when it was raining.

For us, the built-in furnace is also a backup when we're camping at ski resorts, with full hookup, in the winter: even if the power fails, our pipes won't freeze while we're skiing.

The alternatives to a built-in furnace are stand-alone propane heaters (e.g. Mr. Buddy), shore-powered electrical heaters, and layers of warm clothes. However, stand-alone heaters are not recommended for use while the occupants are sleeping and shore power may not be available.

That said, you should know that furnace fan is quite noisy and consumes battery power (assuming you're not hooked up to shore power). The noise is actually a good incentive to leave it off overnight and use it sparingly during the day.
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Old 05-03-2008, 06:20 PM   #5
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I have a furnace also but dont use it.. i have to agree with Donna D.. ya never know when ya might need it...
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Old 05-03-2008, 06:31 PM   #6
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Would you consider not including the option if you started over with a new rig?

"It is better to have something, and not need it, than to need something, and not have it."
Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
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Old 05-03-2008, 06:36 PM   #7
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Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
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I do spend a nite or two in my rig in to driveway during power outages here, if it looks like we will be down awhile. It always goes down when it is

I have gas heat in the house, and an old wall furnace that doesn't require power, but it provides little light :-P

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Old 05-03-2008, 07:03 PM   #8
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I'd get it without the furnace, have the space, buy a Mr Heater Portable Buddy with some of the saved money and consider investing the remaining money in beer!

Don't take the Buddy when you don't think you need it, take it when you do, take it to the potty, take it to warm your backside at the campfire, take it to warm your garage, and take it into your egg parked in the driveway when the power is off, smugly knowing that the people with the RV furnaces won't be using them when their batteries run down and won't get as many BTUs out of a pound of LP as you will!

That's what I'd do...
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Old 05-03-2008, 07:38 PM   #9
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Trailer: Casita 17 ft Freedom Deluxe 2008 / Toyota Hawaiighlander
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Thanks for all the good info. It looks like I will get the heater.
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Old 05-03-2008, 07:38 PM   #10
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Trailer: 2005 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
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Our camping is about 40-60 without 110v electric hookups and with. When we're off-grid we use the furnace, but switch to the quieter and less-expensive cube heater when we have hookups. We also have a Portable Buddy ceramic cartridge heater that runs on 1 lb propane cylinders as a back-up and for nights when we want quiet. I don't think Lynne would even consider camping without a heater.

Two downsides of the furnace are that it's noisy and consumes 2.4 amps (29 watts) of battery power. The battery power issue could be a problem for you if you boondocking without a generator for several days at a time or depend on solar for your electric supply. If you like warm, quiet evenings far from civilization you might consider a catalytic heater or ceramic cartridge heater, which have the downside of creating water vapor in your trailer but are quiet, gas-efficient and consume little or no electricity.

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Old 05-03-2008, 08:28 PM   #11
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We removed the propane heater that came in our Scamp. We always camp where there are hookups & prefer to use an electric cube heater. It's so easy to heat the Scamp that we only have to turn it on once in a while. I don't think there's as much condensation with electric heat as there is with propane, so that was a consideration too.

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Old 05-03-2008, 09:27 PM   #12
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If you're going to burn propane in your trailer without exhausting you may as well just light a stove burner or two, oven if you have one. They all make carbon dioxide and water vapor. No extra expense and no storage.
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Old 05-04-2008, 02:27 AM   #13
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We use our furnace on almost every trip, generally very lightly - and, yes, we do live in Alaska.
If you'll be camping in the spring and fall, in the rain, in the mountains, etc., you might be glad to have it.
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:17 AM   #14
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Trailer: 2000 19 ft (formerly 17 ft) Casita Freedom Deluxe ('Nuestra Casita') / 2000 4WD V8 Tundra
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Pat M,
Our air conditioner has a heat function, so when we have hook-ups there is theoretically no need of another furnace. As others have said about their furnace, they are noisy. So is the air noise created by the fan on our roof air conditioner when we use it for heat or A/C.
In actual practice, we use a small quiet electric cube heater which has a good thermostat. It can safely be used while we sleep without any adverse effects.
The storage for food stuffs is a requirement for us, as we like to take long trips. The space that a forced air furnace would permanently occupy, would mean having a box of food on the floor, underfoot.
One of the selling points, when we bought "Nuestra Casita", was that it did not have a forced air furnace!
Again, as others have mentioned, propane portable heaters are available which work great for temporary use when there are no hook-ups. In the seasons when it is not needed, it can be left at home.

I'd suggest making a list of your camping plans, as to duration of trips and seasons when you'll camp. Then make another which includes pro's and con's of having a furnace, which reflects your personal needs.

Enjoy the planning process, it's part of the fun!!!
Kurt & Ann K.

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