Condensation and all propane - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-09-2015, 12:00 PM   #1
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Name: Lisa
Trailer: Boler 1974 13 ft
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Condensation and all propane

Hi, a question for this who have all propane appliances in a small fgrv. I have a 13' Boler, planning a reno and considering a propane fridge and heater for boondocking. I already have a two burner propane stove inside. Anyone have a problem with condensation in a small space? I have heard of problems with this in tiny homes that are 2-3x bigger than my Boler. Of course I plan a gas detector for my safety.

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Old 04-09-2015, 12:17 PM   #2
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Condensation and all propane

I believe propane fridges and forced-air RV furnaces isolate combustion from the cabin air, so they shouldn't contribute to condensation. Cooking on the stove, especially boiling, will, but, since use is intermittent, opening a vent or window should minimize the problem. The serious condensation problems I have read about involved use of catalytic-type heaters (like Wave heaters). Which type of heater were you thinking of installing?
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:32 PM   #3
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Lisa, you are addressing two mostly unrelated issues. Condensation is going to be a problem on cold days. The colder the bigger the problem. If you are cooking, crack the ceiling vent. That should help. Condensation is not much of a problem anyway. Most of the materials on your trailer are synthetic and not prone to rot.

A gas detector is another thing, I have a hand held three gas detector. It measures carbon monoxide, (CO) propane, (LEL) and oxygen, (O2). Which gas do you want to detect?
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:43 PM   #4
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Breathing while sleeping with cold outside temperatures is the primary issue. We keep a shammy handy and wipe the windows near the bed in the morning.

Cooking's no so much of an issue because we just open the window over the stove and crack the vent.
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:58 PM   #5
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Jon is correct that both the forced air furnace and the fridge have air intake and exhaust for combustion outside.
Condensation is another issue. I have solved the problem by keeping the inside at about 50F when sleeping, yes on cold night the furnace does come on. The thermostat takes care of it. The air space inside any 13' trailer is small, therefore it is always best to have some sort of air circulation all the time. You can use up the oxygen quite easily. One of our members with just herself and two dogs used up enough of inside oxygen that the cook burners wouldn't light until she opened the vent.
We sleep with ceiling vent open a crack and there's a small window over the cook surface that we keep open a bit, even in 5F weather. I like to wake up alive in the morning.

Any kind of catalytic heater will put a lot of moisture into the air and not all are vented to the outside.
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Old 04-09-2015, 09:12 PM   #6
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David T, I want to detect gases that will kill me, my dog and cat, while sleeping or awake. I was thinking CO or CO2

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Old 04-09-2015, 09:17 PM   #7
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Gas detectors in your trailer. CO (Carbon monoxide) Smoke detector, propane detector. Some add an low oxygen detector, if you keep things so there's always air coming in and going out the low oxygen detector might not be necessary. FYI I don't have one, but I air moving through the trailer.

CO2 is Carbon Dioxide, used in fire extinguishers and dry ice. You breath in Oxygen (O) breath out CO2.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:44 PM   #8
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Lisa, you will have a condensation problem in cold weather even if you use no propane. It is from the cold and heat whether generated by an electric heater or propane heat. You need a window or two cracked and a vent above to help.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa in FL View Post
David T, I want to detect gases that will kill me, my dog and cat, while sleeping or awake. I was thinking CO or CO2

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As Byron pointed out the three gasses I mentioned can kill you. CO is likely the most dangerous. It is generated by incomplete combustion. But propane can blow you up, and a lack of oxygen is also bad.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:23 AM   #10
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We leave the roof vent open every night, at least 2 inches, frequently more. It helps with condensation accumulation but that's still a problem on cold nights. I also believe an open vent helps keep odors from lingering in our Scamp. Two folks in such a small space do tend to concentrate smells. I like to move them out. Our roof vent is only closed when towing.

During our 60 day February/March SW trip we used two tanks of propane, maybe $28.00 mostly to keep the frig cold. The open vent may have cost 3 or 4 of that in extra furnace duty, but it seems worth it. We slept at 55-60 degrees under a down quilt with nighttime temps near freezing most of this trip.

Happy Camping, john
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:32 PM   #11
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We have never noticed any condensation in our Trillium. We keep the roof vent cracked open (or wide open in warmer weather) plus opening a window a wee bit. The furnace and fridge are propane. Maybe the trick is ventilation? We prefer an extra blankie to more added heat.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:29 PM   #12
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Condensation will happen when there's a difference between the outside temperature and the inside temperature. Sleeping under warm covers and vents cracked open balances the temperature. Turn up the furnace when you get up in the morning. And remember, when you boil water for the pasta dish or perk coffee on the stove... you're adding water to the inside of the trailer.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:42 PM   #13
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Hi John, Michael here from VA. I'm a relatively new to the group. I hope to do a winter sw trip as well, and I'm wondering if you guys were boondocking or primarily were hooked up? The heart of my question is that I've read that running the furnace will kill your battery quickly and I'm wondering how you dealt with this? Thanks!
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Old 04-11-2015, 01:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbbear View Post
Hi John, Michael here from VA. I'm a relatively new to the group. I hope to do a winter sw trip as well, and I'm wondering if you guys were boondocking or primarily were hooked up? The heart of my question is that I've read that running the furnace will kill your battery quickly and I'm wondering how you dealt with this? Thanks!
We have spent 3 months (Jan, Feb, and Mar) in the SW for the past 5 years. No hookups. Quickly is a relative term, so I'll tell you how my battery lasts when using the furnace. The coldest temperature was in TX when it got down to 5F for a couple days. Was in the teens for few days also. I ran out of battery on the 4th day of such cold.
There are several methods to keep from running out of battery. The furnace draws some current, but not as much as you might think. The need to use the furnace is a lot less in the SW that in the NE.
The first thing I did was replace all the lights with LED lights. Incandescent lights take the battery down faster than the furnace. The furnace only runs for a few minutes at a time, lights are on all evening sometimes in the mornings. Next I bought a 65 Watt solar panel and set it up to be portable so I could chase the sun. This year I went one better and bought a true deep cycle batter that's rated at 100 amp hours instead of the normal hybrid battery rated at 74 to 80 amp hour.

The past winter in southern AZ, (Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in January) I could go about 4 days without recharging. The solar panel did the job is less than a day.
In Bullhead City, AZ it was closer to a week. In Death Valley about 10 days. (only used the furnace a little bit on a couple days in Death Valley).

There are other ways to charge your battery, one is to move more often then the tow will charge while driving. Solar is a good way to go, cheaper initial cost and no maintenance cost. A generator has a large number of drawbacks, one it's initial cost is high, you have keep feeding it gasoline, and in many places usage is greatly restricted with more places increasing usage restrictions.
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