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Old 01-11-2019, 09:10 PM   #1
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looking for heating advice

Purchased a new 2018 Dutchmen Kodiak Ultra-Lite 255BHSL last year (30 ft long total, 26 ft box length). One thing we noticed is that are NO heating vents OR ducted heating (trust me - there are no heating vents anywhere on or near the floor, and we popped the belly open and there are no ducts). There is a heater for sure near the rear bunk beds, but it only puts out heat from that one location into the main space of the trailer. I have seen these types of heaters in small pop-up trailers. We were concerned about the master bedroom getting heat as it is the farthest away, and especially if/when the bedroom doors are closed. We were also surprised to see that nearly every other 2018 Dutchmen travel trailer, both longer AND shorter, had heating vents.

I called Dutchmen and they looked up my trailer by VIN, and said the plans show ducted heating AND vents at multiple locations. They committed to "fix it".

My question is this: Assuming Dutchmen and my dealer are willing and able to somehow convert to a heater with ducts and vents, is it a good idea? I keep hearing stories of the bathroom being too hot etc.

Is there any downside, risk, or liability in putting vents/ducts into a trailer that for whatever reason, didn't come with them? Should I just keep what we have and keep our bedroom doors open a crack?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts/advice!
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:26 PM   #2
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If it's free and convenient I would do it. If not and you camp mostly with electricity, I would go the small electric space heater route. We can heat our entire camper with one small heater, I find the furnace to be annoyingly loud and a propane hog.

Of course, with a dealer you always run the risk of them messing something up under there.
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:41 PM   #3
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your specs say you have a heater somewhere...

HeaterHeater Type
Automatic Heater 30,000 BTUs

Do you have a thermostat? Is it down low beside the fridge? from the sounds of things, that should be large enough for the whole RV. I use a supplemental Ceramic type heater (electric) to head the bedrooms.
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Old 01-12-2019, 11:40 AM   #4
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What model number furnace do you have? Any pictures of it? Quite often the heated underbelly is nothing more than a couple of holes cut in the floor to allow air to circulate into the holding tank area.

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Old 01-12-2019, 04:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by wildwest450 View Post
If it's free and convenient I would do it. If not and you camp mostly with electricity, I would go the small electric space heater route. We can heat our entire camper with one small heater, I find the furnace to be annoyingly loud and a propane hog.

Of course, with a dealer you always run the risk of them messing something up under there.
Our intent is to dry camp too. It would be "free", but certainly not convenient (dealer is located far away). And yes - I am indeed worried about them messing something else up, once they rip out the underbelly, start, cutting, etc.... We are new to RVing, but it is too bad that this is a real concern.
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Old 01-12-2019, 04:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
your specs say you have a heater somewhere...

HeaterHeater Type
Automatic Heater 30,000 BTUs

Do you have a thermostat? Is it down low beside the fridge? from the sounds of things, that should be large enough for the whole RV. I use a supplemental Ceramic type heater (electric) to head the bedrooms.
Thanks franktafl - yes, we have a heater. It is a Suburban NT-Q model...either 16,000 or 19,000 BTU (not sure which one I have). And yes - it is controlled by a thermostat mounted on the wall. As I mentioned in my original post, what we DON'T have is any separate vents or ducting on or near the floor. We JUST have the heater grill that puts out heat in that one single location only.
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Old 01-12-2019, 04:51 PM   #7
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What model number furnace do you have? Any pictures of it? Quite often the heated underbelly is nothing more than a couple of holes cut in the floor to allow air to circulate into the holding tank area.

Aaron
wahoonc - I should have posted a photo (not sure why they are sideways). Here you go. I cited the make/model number in a previous post just now. This model of furnace has ONE cutout for a single duct which it appears they ran to the underbelly so it is heated (as it should be per the specs).
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Old 01-12-2019, 06:01 PM   #8
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That's a heated underbelly? They should have just ran that duct out of the roof for all the good that's going to do.
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Old 01-12-2019, 06:35 PM   #9
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Well, it is our first trailer and yes...I suppose this is the heated underbelly. But curious -- how else might the underbelly be heated for dry camping?
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:13 PM   #10
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If it were me I would have the dealer install the duct work, especially if you plan on having the doors shut. Even with them open and fans to try and circulate the air you will probably end up with it being too hot in the bunkhouse area too cold at the other end.

As far as even heat with the ducts, just get adjustable vents and use them to balance things out. This is what I had to do in mine.

I use mine for dry camping at soccer tournaments from early spring to late fall, so freezing temps all the way to 90*+. This is what I do.

1. I have a portable 2500w generator that I carry. It allows me to recharge my house batteries, run my MicroAir equipped AC, run a small electric space heater along with other 120v items.
2. I also have a Mr Buddy indoor safe propane heater. I puts out a ton of heat. I use it briefly to quickly raise the inside temps. It can run off the small 1lb tanks or you can add a line to run it off the trailer tanks.
Once the temp comes up I use the furnace or electric space heater to maintain temp. Usually electric heater during the day and the furnace at night.
3. I make sure my propane tanks are full to allow the use of the stove/oven and hot-water heater. Also the fridge if it is a 3 way one.
4. I installed fans in all 3 of my roof vents. On hot days I run them to pull the heat out and open the windows. When it starts to get too warm I fire up the generator and run the AC. Since I added a MicroAir to it I can run it on my 2500w inverter generator. Smaller generator, easier to transport, quieter and less fuel.

Any other questions, just ask.
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:38 PM   #11
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Jayro88 - yes, good stuff. We have a Mr. Buddy propane heater too that we have used on camping trips. I too am worried about the bedroom temps, and I think I will pursue to have Dutchmen/Keystone and the dealer put in the ducts/vents as they should have been. That means they will probably add one in the bathroom, perhaps one or two in the main cabin, and one in the bedroom. We have a 2200 watt Honda generator, but I don't think it will run an A/C without another generator or a MicroAir attachment.
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:50 PM   #12
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Jayro88 - yes, good stuff. We have a Mr. Buddy propane heater too that we have used on camping trips. I too am worried about the bedroom temps, and I think I will pursue to have Dutchmen/Keystone and the dealer put in the ducts/vents as they should have been. That means they will probably add one in the bathroom, perhaps one or two in the main cabin, and one in the bedroom. We have a 2200 watt Honda generator, but I don't think it will run an A/C without another generator or a MicroAir attachment.


Here is what I bought. It is the 364 model. With it your Honda will run the AC with no issues. MicroAir guarantees it will. Installation was easy. They have step by step instructions for just about every model of AC unit.

It reduces the surge needed to start the compressor. Without it you need a 3000w generator to start the AC compressor. Once it is going the generator runs at about 25% capacity. Spending the $300 on the MicroAir saved me twice that on the generator I had to buy. Plus now my generator is lighter, quieter and uses less fuel to accomplish the same goal. It will still run my microwave and electric water heater element as well. Just separately, not at the same time. I did find out that it will run one of my electric ceramic space heaters consistently, but not both.


https://www.microair.net/collections...-soft-starters
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:56 PM   #13
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Forgot to add. To carry the generator etc I added these from Mount N Lock to my rear bumper, their 2 hitch mount and a cargo carrier. Worked great so far.
https://www.mount-n-lock.com/mnl-car...bumper-failure

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Old 01-13-2019, 11:44 AM   #14
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Been digging around online...

The brochure for the Kodiak is very ambiguous. It just says "automatic furnace", it does not call out size or ducting. The NT-Q comes in a couple of versions, from the looks of it you have the NT-SEQ which only has a single duct outlet. I looked at several units like yours on line at various dealers. None of them appear to have furnace ducts.

Not sure how the dealer plans to run ducting unless they are going to swap the furnace out. Good luck if you choose to go that route and let us know how it works out.

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Old 01-13-2019, 01:38 PM   #15
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I would absolutely let the dealer fix it (and cross your fingers and hope they put an experienced technician on it). Who is the dealer?
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Old 01-13-2019, 05:58 PM   #16
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You are correct. The furnace would have to be switched out, and I am seeing it about a $500 part (retail). Dutchmen may say to "pound salt", but we will see. I have spoken about this with Dutchmen just prior to purchasing the trailer. They did commit to fix it and "take care of me", but we will see how it really goes in reality. Again, they looked it up by VIN, pulled out the plans, and even spoke to the Dutchmen product manager for the Kodiak line. I was told I should have vents and that they will address.
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Old 01-13-2019, 05:59 PM   #17
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Yes - I will be requesting a very capable/experienced technician. The dealer is not a chain, but still a very large single dealer here in Northern Utah.
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Old 01-19-2019, 09:50 PM   #18
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Hello, I am not sure it will be cost effective to have a dealer do it (a good job I mean) I have a Kodiak 201QB and just installed a Dometic (Attwood AFSD16111) 16000btu ducted unit to replace the suburban 19000btu direct discharge, noise maker. I have 2 x 4" vents in the main area and a 2" outlet in the bath which controls any heating / overheating issues. I used all insulated ducting and took a 2" , restricted flow duct to the belly as well. the unit is mounted just forward of the water heater and slightly above it which is in the bathroom. It was a massive undertaking but I can assure you it was well worth the pain and sore joints, we can now sleep at nights. It is very quiet and I can hardly hear it running. heats better than the larger 19000 Sunburn. If you do it yourself be sure to follow vent sizing, especially return as these issues are very important so as the furnace itself does not overheat and become a fire risk. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-19-2019, 10:16 PM   #19
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I had a heater just like that one in a 24 foot Toy Hauler with a separate garage. The heater worked fine for the living area and the bedroom would stay fairly warm but the garage would freeze. On mine there was no ducting the heater was direct discharge.... (same for the AC)

I don't know If I would go though the hassle and expense of installing a new furnace unless they will do it for FREE!
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Old 01-20-2019, 12:01 AM   #20
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Hello, I am not sure it will be cost effective to have a dealer do it (a good job I mean) I have a Kodiak 201QB and just installed a Dometic (Attwood AFSD16111) 16000btu ducted unit to replace the suburban 19000btu direct discharge, noise maker. I have 2 x 4" vents in the main area and a 2" outlet in the bath which controls any heating / overheating issues. I used all insulated ducting and took a 2" , restricted flow duct to the belly as well. the unit is mounted just forward of the water heater and slightly above it which is in the bathroom. It was a massive undertaking but I can assure you it was well worth the pain and sore joints, we can now sleep at nights. It is very quiet and I can hardly hear it running. heats better than the larger 19000 Sunburn. If you do it yourself be sure to follow vent sizing, especially return as these issues are very important so as the furnace itself does not overheat and become a fire risk. Hope this helps.

His RV was supposed to be equipped with the heater and vents. Dutchmen has told him that they will make it right.... waiting for other shoe to drop.
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