Canadian Winter - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-12-2009, 11:26 PM   #1
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Hi,
i just bought my boler today and consider living in it throughout the fall term of my last university semester. Now November and December in the Maritimes can get quite cold. I wouldn't have to worry about water or anything, its just heating I am concerned about. I am planning to use a 12 volt electrical heater. Is this doable or not recommended? How save are the propane furnaces, I have one but it scares me
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Old 07-13-2009, 12:37 AM   #2
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The propane furnaces are quite safe if well maintained. They tend to put off a 'moist' heat. I know on the BC coast you could do it as I lived in a 8' import camper from January on tree planting but I don't know about Ontario - I hear a lot of horror stories about winters back east...


... brrrrr
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
The propane furnaces are quite safe if well maintained. They tend to put off a 'moist' heat. I know on the BC coast you could do it as I lived in a 8' import camper from January on tree planting but I don't know about Ontario - I hear a lot of horror stories about winters back east...


... brrrrr
With the propane, you could be better off than a lot of people, if the power went out. You would be as cozy as ever, while they would be freezing.
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:25 PM   #4
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As i have no idea how to properly maintain a propane heater I am quite intimidated by it
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:41 PM   #5
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There really is not much to do as long as it is working properly. If for some reason it starts acting up, you can get them serviced. The ones installed in trailers are very safe, with all the combustion gases vented outside. Should there be an issue with gases, the CO2 detector, or propane detector will alert you to a problem, if they are installed and working correctly.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:12 PM   #6
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JonE...We've camped in sub- freezing weather (not by choice, mind you ) in the Grand Canyon, in Arizona, in Big Bend Texas, and we were able to take those days in stride (well...SORT of!) by running a 1500 watt electric cube or a 3oooBTU catalytic heater (at one night in Williams AZ we ran BOTH )...we slept in down-filled duvets wearing our fleece and Polartec tuques...and... we ain't NEVER gonna do that again by choice.
Now, us Canucks are a hardy sort ...but December in Halifax??? that's just crazy, son!
When I go out to work in the Trillium in December in the Stor 'n Lok in balmy Southern Ontario- to get it ready for January's southern escape, a half day's efforts - even with the Cat blasting heat- there's condensation everywhere. Ask folks in "live aboard" boats in the harbour...EVERYTHING gets damp. Blankets, cushions, clothes in the closet, everything will be moist and, consequently, feel cold and clammy.
That being said...university is a voyage of discovery ...and with a mild November and couch-surfing in the dorm on freezing nights...you might prove that Canadian youth is resilient and tough as a three dollar steak
So, you might just be able to pull it off... and escape hypothermia, snowplows piling up mounds against the door in the night, frozen locks and window winders, and some drunken frat boys unplugging your electric cable, or towing you to the middle of the campus.
Go fer it ...and don't pay any mind to old farts like me.
Best of luck!
ps Cool looking trailer!
Alistair Queen's class of '72

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Old 07-13-2009, 09:56 PM   #7
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hahaha thx! . I esspecilly love the quite possible scenarios! But yeah the condensation thing may be a pain . Ill update u on how it goes!
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:08 PM   #8
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Your apprehension about a propane furnace can be set aside by being prepared for any eventuality. Make sure you keep an extra bottle of propane on hand, and purchase a spare thermocouple from a RV service shop and have them show you how to change if you have to. (A half hour job) the furnaces in your trillium are a sealed combustion chamber unit, and if in reasonable shape are very safe. Good luck with your egg.
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:54 PM   #9
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My understanding is that only catalytic or open-flame type heaters would produce moisture as a by-product of the combustion process. Any direct vent propane heater with the intake and flue going to the outside should not affect humidity levels on its own. But the fact that people tend to close windows and vents in colder weather while they keep breathing out moisture does add to the problem. December can be quite cold but then again, there are some crazy people who do winter camping in tents, so you may actually survive.
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:23 PM   #10
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A good 120 V heater would do the trick I would think. I don't think a 12V electric heater would be very effective at all...
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Hi,
i just bought my boler today and consider living in it throughout the fall term of my last university semester. Now November and December in the Maritimes can get quite cold. I wouldn't have to worry about water or anything, its just heating I am concerned about. I am planning to use a 12 volt electrical heater. Is this doable or not recommended? How save are the propane furnaces, I have one but it scares me
Jon,

You asked about a propane furnace, but most people actually replied as if you were speaking of a propane heater.

Apples and Oranges.

A propane furnace (like I have in my Casita) is a built-in appliance (you can buy them after-market and have them installed like a factory installation, of course) is JUST like a gas furnace in any home. They use pressurized gas feeding a burner that warms a heat-exchanger (through which the trailer's interior air is circulated), with the exhaust 100% vented OUTSIDE.

A furnace introduces NO combustion by-products (including water vapor) inside the trailer, so produces zero CO, CO2, or water condensation in the trailer.

A propane "heater," on the other hand typically unvented, has an open flame (except for the catalytic heaters), or one contained roughly within a ceramic grid that glows red, and does emit the combustion products in the trailer. The more modern heaters, such as the "Little Buddy" have oxygen sensors to prevent the heater from consuming too much of the oxygen in the air. I DO have a Little Buddy (google it) and like it for taking the chill off when using my van to camp in, but I don't run it overnight.

In any case, even with a furnace, where CO is highly unlikely without a failure of the heat exchanger, I would install a battery powered CO monitor for safety.

Furnaces are noisy in little fiberglass trailers, but they can handle any weather and run on the battery itself or via the converter. Personally, I wouldn't be w/out mine, but when I have access to 110vac I use a 1500watt electric heater for quiet and clean heat.

You can view an assorment of alternatives here:
http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-furn...ood-parts-1.htm

Bob
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:56 PM   #12
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thanks very much for replying and catching that point!
And I will def have a look!

yay i love this forum!


Quote:
Jon,

You asked about a propane furnace, but most people actually replied as if you were speaking of a propane heater.

Apples and Oranges.

A propane furnace (like I have in my Casita) is a built-in appliance (you can buy them after-market and have them installed like a factory installation, of course) is JUST like a gas furnace in any home. They use pressurized gas feeding a burner that warms a heat-exchanger (through which the trailer's interior air is circulated), with the exhaust 100% vented OUTSIDE.

A furnace introduces NO combustion by-products (including water vapor) inside the trailer, so produces zero CO, CO2, or water condensation in the trailer.

A propane "heater," on the other hand typically unvented, has an open flame (except for the catalytic heaters), or one contained roughly within a ceramic grid that glows red, and does emit the combustion products in the trailer. The more modern heaters, such as the "Little Buddy" have oxygen sensors to prevent the heater from consuming too much of the oxygen in the air. I DO have a Little Buddy (google it) and like it for taking the chill off when using my van to camp in, but I don't run it overnight.

In any case, even with a furnace, where CO is highly unlikely without a failure of the heat exchanger, I would install a battery powered CO monitor for safety.

Furnaces are noisy in little fiberglass trailers, but they can handle any weather and run on the battery itself or via the converter. Personally, I wouldn't be w/out mine, but when I have access to 110vac I use a 1500watt electric heater for quiet and clean heat.

You can view an assorment of alternatives here:
http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-furn...ood-parts-1.htm

Bob
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:18 PM   #13
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Just to clarify the above comment from Bob.

I was discussing the built in furnace in the Triliums, not an external unit. Daniel is probably correct in that any moisture I feel is from built up condensation.

The one's in the Trillium do not have a built in 12/120 fan so they do not have fan noise. However, they do have 'pinging' as they heat up and cool.

Personally I would never run an open flame furnace in my trailer - as it is if we use the stove burners the door / windows and top hatch are wide open.
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:12 AM   #14
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If you have a gravity furnace (without the fan) you have the advantage of having heat even if you have no electrical source. The heat is more evenly distributed if you run a small fan to move air vertically inside the unit. But it is not nessecary to survive. You will get a dry heat from the DuoTherm gravity type furnace and it will help dissipate moisture. Having your roof vent open Slightly will keep you safer inside. I hope this helps.
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