Safely camping in a 13' Burro (heaters, AC etc.) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-06-2009, 04:37 PM   #1
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As we are getting closer to taking out my 13' Burro on her first camping trip since the 1980's, I was wondering a couple of things about safely heating and cooling it. (No installed insulation, but all new seals on doors and windows.)

We have installed a removable AC unit in the front window for the Summer, but for Winter time I am looking for something to keep us warm in the egg. Now, I am in Texas, and plan on doing my camping in the south, so I doubt it'll ever see anything below about 25deg F. Would one of those little cube ceramic heaters be sufficient?

Also, what is really needed for safety as far as venting etc, both when using the heater and when using the AC unit in the Summer? There will be 2 adults and 2 children sleeping in the camper, so how can I best be certain that we get proper ventilation, while still keeping in the heat/AC? Should I install a CO2 detector?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!!
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Old 09-06-2009, 04:48 PM   #2
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I doubt it'll ever see anything below about 25deg F. Would one of those little [b]cube ceramic heaters be sufficient?

Also, what is really needed for safety as far as venting etc, both when using [b]the heater and when using [b]the AC unit in the Summer?
Should I install a CO2 detector?
As far as I know, ventilation safety only becomes an issue when using propane powered appliances, and not for electric appliances.
I could be wrong...

I would think that you'd need to close the windows and vents when using air conditioning.
I have one of those cube ceramic heaters in my [b]un-insulated 16' Fiber Stream, and it heats well.
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:33 PM   #3
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As far as I know, ventilation safety only becomes an issue when using propane powered appliances, and not for electric appliances.
I could be wrong...

I would think that you'd need to close the windows and vents when using air conditioning.
I have one of those cube ceramic heaters in my [b]un-insulated 16' Fiber Stream, and it heats well.
Thanks for the reply. I think one of those cube heaters is just the ticket. I agree that I don't want to let out too much AC, but at the same time, I want to make sure that I have enough ventilation that it is safe to have 4 people sleeping in such a small camper.
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:47 PM   #4
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Hmm.. So I guess I am wondering, are these things just not air tight enough to worry about having 4 people in such a small space?
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:02 PM   #5
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I had a 13 ft Burro for a long time, with insulation. When I had hook ups, I used the electric cube heater exclusively, down into the teens. It did fine for heat. You will have a bigger problem with condesation, which makes itself readily appearant on those glass walls. Even with the cube heater, 1 person and 2 dogs, it can be a pain.

You will want to crack your roof vent for sure, to allow moisture to escape from the condensation, but *COs* and other byproducts are not an issue unless using propane. (As far as I know)

Nope, even when they appear to be sealed up, air will still get in. The windows, when slid shut, will still have a gap where the two meet, and the cupboards will get it from vent openings like the fridge etc, if you have one. They are not airtight by any means.


Bring lots of paper towels and keep the windows wiped down, or it will seem like a damp goey mess in there.
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:43 PM   #6
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I had a 13 ft Burro for a long time, with insulation. When I had hook ups, I used the electric cube heater exclusively, down into the teens. It did fine for heat. You will have a bigger problem with condesation, which makes itself readily appearant on those glass walls. Even with the cube heater, 1 person and 2 dogs, it can be a pain.

You will want to crack your roof vent for sure, to allow moisture to escape from the condensation, but *COs* and other byproducts are not an issue unless using propane. (As far as I know)

Nope, even when they appear to be sealed up, air will still get in. The windows, when slid shut, will still have a gap where the two meet, and the cupboards will get it from vent openings like the fridge etc, if you have one. They are not airtight by any means.


Bring lots of paper towels and keep the windows wiped down, or it will seem like a damp goey mess in there.
Thanks Gina D. I'll do just that. I would guess this condensation issue will only be a problem in the Winter though, as the AC should keep the air pretty dry in the Summer I would think. We do plan to cook in there so I will be getting a carbon monoxide and smoke detector for safety.
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:41 PM   #7
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As we are getting closer to taking out my 13' Burro on her first camping trip since the 1980's, I was wondering a couple of things about safely heating and cooling it. (No installed insulation, but all new seals on doors and windows.)

We have installed a removable AC unit in the front window for the Summer, but for Winter time I am looking for something to keep us warm in the egg. Now, I am in Texas, and plan on doing my camping in the south, so I doubt it'll ever see anything below about 25deg F. Would one of those little cube ceramic heaters be sufficient?

Also, what is really needed for safety as far as venting etc, both when using the heater and when using the AC unit in the Summer? There will be 2 adults and 2 children sleeping in the camper, so how can I best be certain that we get proper ventilation, while still keeping in the heat/AC? Should I install a CO2 detector?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!!
Craig,
While I have used several of those cube heaters on a sailboat for several years without any problem, you have to be very careful with them. We never had an issue, nor do most people.
However, in the office where my wife used to work, one suddenly erupted in flames. Suddenly, and with no warning. This was a relatively new unit and an expensive one at that. Not some cheap thing.
If that should happen, then you need the correct type of fire extinguisher to use to put out the flames. Remember that you are spraying an electrical appliance. There was a huge amount of smoke from the incident.
I would suggest that they are great while you are awake and able to cope. I would shut them off while sleeping and use a down comfortor or something similar.
Perhaps our experience is one in a million, but you should at least be aware of what can happen.
Best regards and enjoy your trailer.
Mike


post edited to remove electric blanket. Gina D. made me aware of what can happen with those as well.
Mike
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:58 PM   #8
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use an electric blanket or something like that.
Perhaps our experience is one in a million, but you should at least be aware of what can happen.
I can tell you from personal experience, 2 skin grafts on my left leg and 2 mos. in a wheelchair recovering with my leg stretched straight out that the spontaneous combustion "1 in a million" happens with electric blankets as well.

Down comforters, however, never spontaneously combust, and that is what I use now. I *rarely* sleep with the heater on, but in some cases, such as sub freezing weather, it is not only required for your health and comfort, but to keep the trailer from freezing.. water etc.

The heater wont do much for the outside lines, but it is heart wrenching to see a Beagles face when it wants a drinky at 3 am and the only thing in the bowl is ice.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:18 PM   #9
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I can tell you from personal experience, 2 skin grafts on my left leg and 2 mos. in a wheelchair recovering with my leg stretched straight out that the spontaneous combustion "1 in a million" happens with electric blankets as well.

Down comforters, however, never spontaneously combust, and that is what I use now. I *rarely* sleep with the heater on, but in some cases, such as sub freezing weather, it is not only required for your health and comfort, but to keep the trailer from freezing.. water etc.

The heater wont do much for the outside lines, but it is heart wrenching to see a Beagles face when it wants a drinky at 3 am and the only thing in the bowl is ice.
Gina, I am so sorry to hear of your burns from an electric blanket. Most importantly, I hope that you have fully recovered from that awful ordeal.
I have gone back and edited my post to remove any suggestion of electric blankets and instead suggested down comfortors as you now use.
Best regards, and thanks for sharing your personal experience.
Mike

corrected spelling error
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:33 PM   #10
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Thanks, that was a long time ago and the scars have faded... but remember "Scars are souvenirs you never lose" :-P

My point, actually, was that there are any # of items that can cause harm in your rig.. your fridge could burn up as well.. someone here had that happen to them.

Common sense should prevail in any situation, but keep in mind that safety is not just an afterthought designed into these items, it is generally the first consideration given by reputable manufacturers and engineers. (And they fear lawyers as much as anyone does too!) Stuff happens tho.. and the very very rare failure of an item in this regard should not deter one from using one responsibly and safely.

There is no doubt a greater risk to the kids health to sleep in and wake up in sub freezing conditions than there is from a heater OR an electric blanket.
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:48 PM   #11
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My preferred heater in the trailer is a baseboard style unit, no fan. But when it gets down around freezing in my 17' a cube's fan will circulate the heat around more effectively (and I can point it at wherever I am besides).

About comforters: you'd be surprised how warm a silk comforter can be. I think ours is warmer than down, with less bulk and no bunching inside. Then of course there's always good old (but heavy) wool blankets.
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:31 PM   #12
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Craig,

To eliminate condensation I do what Gina does, I also use a solar tarp over a comforter (uhaul blanket) I place on the roof when in 20 or below, this does away with condensation. Use of the cube heater when shore power is available or my propane passive convection furnace is more than enough.

Avoid the "buddy" heaters, I have seen some awful things from these.

The cats are good to a point but the moisture issue is worse using them as they release water.

On propane...the rule I follow is this...it must use an outside supply of air, and exhaust combustion products into the outside environment...with kids never compromise on this.

Happy Camping, Safe Trails.

Harry
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:35 AM   #13
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I'm glad I read this, I was considering buying an electric blanket for the Northern Oregon gathering next month. I have one of the little cube heaters that I bought at a garage sale. I've used it several years. The only trouble I have with it is that it gets too warm in my 13 ft. casita even at the lowest setting. I have to keep unplugging it periodically. fortunately the plug is by the bed.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:57 AM   #14
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Anything that generates heat and has an electrical cord can develop a short circuit. When I was a kid, we almost lost our home because of a coffee pot that shorted out. Fortunately my father saw the fire and was able to get it under control before anything truly bad happened. So, if you have a coffee pot, toaster oven, electric blanket, cube heater, waffle iron, toaster, etc., etc., this is something to watch out for.

I have an electric blanket that I've started using while fall/spring camping. It's made the sleeping experience wonderful. I nearly froze my buns off at last year's Fall NOG....no more! If I go to bed cold, I can't seem to warm up. Now, I crank the ole electric blank up on high... get the bed toasty warm, crawl in and get my body warmed up, then unplug it. Most times I can sleep through the night without plugging it back in, but if I need to the plug is right by the bed. Repeat the process. It's a twin bed size, I don't tuck it in... just lay it out and allow it to crawl up the walls. Crimping and folding wires is never a good idea in any electric appliance.

I'm really, really sorry Gina suffered a horrible experience because of an electric blanket. But, it won't prevent me from using one. Neither should the fact my home almost burned down because of a coffee pot prevent anyone from having and using one either.

Your mileage may vary.
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