Quieting the Suburban furnace model NT-16SE, same as the NT-20SE - Page 6 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-10-2011, 10:30 AM   #71
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I vote for continuous hot water heat, rather than intermittant hot air. A 'food grade' radiator with a low flow fan behind it.

The water heater would have catalytic propane heat, no jet engine, simply external silent heat as well as electric heat. Two thermostats are required, one for water temperature, the other for inside temperature.

I could imagine something not significantly larger than the present water heater eliminating the need for a seperate electric heater or propane furnace.

Throwing around ideas is fun
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Old 11-10-2011, 11:19 AM   #72
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The new propane instant rv water heaters operate a little different than conventional water heaters. You only turn on the hot water and the amount of flow determines the temperature. You open all the way and it gets cooler, turn back the flow and it gets warmer. You do not turn on the cold side. Thus something that would pump the water thru a circuit may cause it to overheat. A conventional water heater would be better suited to a hydronic system.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:13 PM   #73
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There are better propane furnaces available. Lance, a truck camper and now trailer manufacturer, offers Atwood's 2 speed furnace which is a variable low/high speed 15-22,000 furnace which can operate at the lower speed if the owner selects. It comes on high and then drops down to the lower setting and has the digital thermostat option.In addition there is the 12,000 low draw 1.2 amp Atwood Everest heater which has a slower speed. The digital thermostat and it's placement should allow the furnace to run longer and then remain off longer, depending on your trailer's insulation and windows. Unless you have better insulation and windows, replacing the thermostat is futile, all your heat is leaving the furnace as quick as you provide it, retaining the heat is a better solution, IMHO.
Agreed - The Atwood furnace is considerably quieter. Heap loads quieter, if you ask me. The suburban is cheaper, that is really all there is to it. The Everest Draws 1.2 amps like you mentioned, yet still boasts the impressive 12,000 BTUs. They are also significantly smaller in size, for the record.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:59 PM   #74
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Agreed - The Atwood furnace is considerably quieter. Heap loads quieter, if you ask me. The suburban is cheaper, that is really all there is to it. The Everest Draws 1.2 amps like you mentioned, yet still boasts the impressive 12,000 BTUs. They are also significantly smaller in size, for the record.
Harley and David,
Thankyou for that info!
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:49 AM   #75
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I have done some sluething into these Atwood furnaces, including a call to Atwood. These furnaces have one huge advantage. They run all squirrel cage fans. That eliminates the crazy blade noise right there. Pretty much all blowers use squirrel fans for that reason. A little sound proofing on an Atwood is probably all that would be needed. The smaller 12Kbtu comes in 2 flavors. The multi-ducted 7912-II comes with a 3.4amp blower. The front discharge only 8012-II comes with a 1.2 amp blower. The only differences between the two with respect to parts are the motor, room blower wheel, and sail switch. I'm sure the sail switch could be adjusted for the lower blower output.

I also talked to the Atwood tech guy about BTU rating. He said that their rule of thumb was 1000btu per foot of trailer. 16ft trailer needs 16Kbtu. A lot depends on the trailer of course, and the conditions expected. It's also worth noting that the quoted btu ratings for all these furnaces are INPUT btu, not output. They typically run about 75% efficient so a "16K btu" unit is actually about 12K, and a "12k btu" is about 9K. I still say 9k output is plenty for my egg.

After spending alot of time working with this Suburban, I honestly think we are trying to spin silk from a sow's ear. This furnace has too many fundamental flaws. I do believe they can be overcome, but the cost/benefit gets mighty slim. I don't want to end up with a $1000 Suburban that works just fine. I've done that sort of thing in the past because I just don't know when to drop the bone once I lock on . I'd rather start with something more intelligently built and polish it a little. Now I'm reluctantly looking at shifting gears to another platform.

David
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:53 PM   #76
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Here's an interesting factoid that puts the issue into perspective in easily understood terms. A 1500 watt electric heater running on high continously puts out only 5,118 BTU/hr. How cold would it have to get before you could even stand to be in the trailer?
David
RV furnace mfrs are not accustomed to FG eggs. They are thinking in terms of heating some big, drafty boxes. I had a 23' Rockwood for 3 years (bought new in 2005) and once in winter I tested a cube heater in the trailer while it sat in my back yard in 25 degree weather. After 2 hours on high, the cube only had the inside temp up to 38 degrees. And 23 footers are considered borderline between small and medium size trailers nowadays. So they design units that will adequately heat a poorly insulated stickie, and any small trailer just has to make do with the same unit.

I wonder if a person could take a basic design like a small catalytic or "buddy" heater, build a heat exchanger and venting, add some sort of thermostatic control, and create a custom furnace that will produce a worry-free trickle heater, properly sized for an egg.
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:57 PM   #77
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David,
People have been using the cheap digital thermostats from Walmart, and that is what I plan to do. Don't buy an RV digital because they cost way too much! I've used cats before too and I like them. I especially like the quiet. I designed an exhaust hood for mine that eliminated most of the moisture. It came down over the top of the cat slightly and served as a heat exchanger as well as an exhaust. It was all made from aluminum sheet. My trailer came with the furnace but if I can't successfully quiet it, I will probably go back to using a cat.
David
Whoops, I missed seeing this post. Guess you've already been down that route! So much for any originality in my "idea".
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:59 PM   #78
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Whoops, I missed seeing this post. Guess you've already been down that route! So much for any originality in my "idea".
Mike,
Great minds think alike right There are very few new ideas you know. We just keep thinking up the same stuff over and over. Interesting data on the sticky! These eggs do retain heat well actually. The fiiberglass does not conduct heat quickly which serves well in summer and winter. That thin insulation they use works very well too. I used it inside a truck camper once and heated that with the smallest cat I could get. In fact, I turned down the gas pressure at the regulator to drop it even lower than it was originally. The coldest nights I spent in there were 10 below zero. It is so hard to regulate a single setting heater though. I don't understand why they don't offer thermostats for cats. They could.
David
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:10 AM   #79
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. I don't understand why they don't offer thermostats for cats. They could.
David
I have wondered that too. Some of them have a standing pilot light, they could have a mechanical thermostat. Probably gets down to cost. Using the regulator to tune output is a little risky for CO potential I would think. But obviously you are still here to tell the tale .
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:35 AM   #80
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Thermostats

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I have wondered that too. Some of them have a standing pilot light, they could have a mechanical thermostat. Probably gets down to cost. Using the regulator to tune output is a little risky for CO potential I would think. But obviously you are still here to tell the tale .


There are CAT heaters with thermostats. It would be nice if they were more prevalent.
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Old 11-21-2011, 05:39 PM   #81
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David,
I especially like the quiet. I designed an exhaust hood for mine that eliminated most of the moisture. It came down over the top of the cat slightly and served as a heat exchanger as well as an exhaust. It was all made from aluminum sheet.
David
I currently hold a desk job, but I used to work in the field in oil and gas industry, mostly gas. They use large CAT heaters on methane, (mostly), because they won't start a fire.
In the last few years they have started to add a similar exhaust hood. Totally passive air flow.
Previously large, (~3'x3', or larger) heaters just vented into the room. I guess they were depending on poorly sealed buildings.
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Old 12-23-2011, 12:02 PM   #82
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Hot water heating

There was some discussion about using the output of the hot water heater for heating the trailer.

I'm thinking of gifting myself a small transmission cooler 12" x 8" x 1" and plumbing it up to my 12,000 BTU hot water heater with a couple of thermostatically controlled muffin fans. Simply a $50 dollar experiment.

Has anyone done it?
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Old 12-23-2011, 12:41 PM   #83
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There was some discussion about using the output of the hot water heater for heating the trailer.

I'm thinking of gifting myself a small transmission cooler 12" x 8" x 1" and plumbing it up to my 12,000 BTU hot water heater with a couple of thermostatically controlled muffin fans. Simply a $50 dollar experiment.

Has anyone done it?
I mentioned earlier that Truma has a Diesel powered space/water heater but it seems as too complex to be duplicated. But someone has done what you are thinking about doing which is combining water and space heating functions.

How are you planning to circulate water through the radiator? I would likely use just gravity circulation, which can be done by keeping the space radiator 2 above the water heater. Old cars did not have water pumps and circulation was reasonably sufficient. One caution I would have is to pick a radiator which would not contaminate hot water.

Good luck,

George.
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Old 12-23-2011, 02:08 PM   #84
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Gravity

GeorgeR,

I planned on gravity just for the simplicity.

As to water contamination, what should I be concerned about an an aluminum brazed transmission cooler?

Thanks
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