Ok. I give in. Crank up the furnace! - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 01-07-2017, 12:50 AM   #1
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Ok. I give in. Crank up the furnace!

So 9 months into full-timing, all along feeling smug about not needing propane for anything, thus never even cracking open the valves on the dual tanks,.........

Well, Canada seems to have huffed & puffed and managed to have pushed a sufficient breeze all the way down to the Gulf Of Mexico. And tonight will be my first freeze. (barely. Tomorrow predicted into mid 20's)

Although my little infrared block heater would keep me warm enough, I thought I'd test the propane infrastructure just in case.
Opened both tanks, because I'm still confused about that fancy valve that joins them.
Went in and first tested the stove. One click lit each burner. All 3 burners looked clean and steady. FIRE in the house!

So next, I hit the button on the thermostat until the little green light next to "Furnace" lit. Quickly down adjusted the setting from 90F to 74F.
Within seconds a fan came on down by my feet. Never heard that fan before.
Got on my hands and knees and stared through the grating. A few seconds later I heard the igniter click just once.
Suddenly there was a visible long blue flame through some tiny site window.
Within a minute, the cold fan air had warmed and toasty air started to immediately change the feeling in the tinyhouse.

By the way, since it's the first official burn, the smoke detector complained. It wasn't a thick or easily visible smoke, but more like a light oil burn. Along with the faint odor of some burned insects. Only lasted about 1 minute.

So, I suspect all is well.

So is it true that some of this heat gets trapped or directed into the underbelly where all that insulation is stuffed? Does it aid in protecting the plumbing for a mild or barely freeze?

That's really the only reason I'd even choose this source of heat over my little electric heater.

Thanks for any opinions you long time campers might have for this 1st year adventurer.

Have I said how much I love this dang camper?
Knock on wood but it just continues to do exactly what is advertised.
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:01 AM   #2
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Looking at single digits here tonight with the wind chill.
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:08 AM   #3
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Lol. I wasn't whining.

If it's cold here, it's downright FREEZING north of Interstate 10!
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Old 01-07-2017, 03:18 AM   #4
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I am not familiar with your particular rig, but if they claim 4 seasons it usually means that the tanks are enclosed and heated by the furnace.

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Old 01-07-2017, 03:28 AM   #5
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If you think tonight will be chilly , wait until tomorrow nite, 27 and Sun nite 28, the days are not going to be very warm either especially with the wind chill factor added in. Also a black ice warning in the mornings too.
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Old 01-07-2017, 05:06 PM   #6
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Mine has a small piece of flex pipe that runs from the heater to under the shower, and that's about it for a 'heated" underbelly. As I'm sure you know, all of the waterlines are run on the inside of the camper, so I doubt you'll have a problem as long as the inside is kept at a reasonable.

Those furnaces are awesome... at going through massive amounts of propane, it does beat freezing to death in a pinch. I run a small fan sitting on the kitchen counter pointed at the bed at night for the noise factor, it works well in the cold to keep the air circulating. I keep the small space heater as close to the bathroom door as possible.

Currently 13f here, it's terrible.
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Old 01-07-2017, 05:13 PM   #7
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Well, I went to sleep without letting it worry me.

Woke to no water. 27degrees per the smartphone app.

Investigated in the daylight.

Yes, the point of entry to the TT for water & electric are just below the refrigerator and its external vented access panel. On the inside of the TT, just below the fridge is the furnace.
So it is easy to believe that furnace likely keeps that "space" warm and protects, to some degree, the temperature of the plumbing "inside" the trailer.

However, that doesn't keep the city water hose from freezing!
And the 4" long brass thingy that is between the water hose end and the actual TT city water connector (came in the kit with the trailer) is exposed to mother nature and indeed had frozen as well.

Hooked up a new unfrozen hose and removed the brass filter\regulator\whatever and all is well.

So yes, I believe short of a wicked long subfreezing extreme cold, the trailer itself is designed to stay functional. I assume the only way to keep that 25' of hose from freezing overnight would be to let it trickle all night?
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Old 01-07-2017, 05:22 PM   #8
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Hey dawniewest, how'd you actually discover that flexpipe pointed under the shower? I'm guessing you removed that one panel below the fridge just to snoop?


14F? While the sun is up?
Wicked.

I couldn't take but a short spell of temps like that.

And yes, as fast as that furnace heated up the whole camper, it must be a propane glutton.
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Old 01-07-2017, 06:14 PM   #9
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Winters are ruff in these trailers. I keep at least a gallon water jug in the trailer
so I can have water for coffee and cooking in the AM. My tanks freeze up regularly here. I also always disconnect from city water and rely on the pump and stored water in the tanks when I know it is going to get cold. Keep warm and also keep an eye on your propane level it will go down quickly.
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Old 01-07-2017, 08:53 PM   #10
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Hey dawniewest, how'd you actually discover that flexpipe pointed under the shower? I'm guessing you removed that one panel below the fridge just to snoop?


14F? While the sun is up?
Wicked.

I couldn't take but a short spell of temps like that.

And yes, as fast as that furnace heated up the whole camper, it must be a propane glutton.
Yup, I snooped behind that panel. You can let the water trickle, but if usage is a concern you can rig up a heat tape or you can buy a heated water supply hoses(expensive).
18f here now, coldest day of winter here by a mile.
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:53 PM   #11
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Well, I went to sleep without letting it worry me.

Woke to no water. 27degrees per the smartphone app.

Investigated in the daylight.

Yes, the point of entry to the TT for water & electric are just below the refrigerator and its external vented access panel. On the inside of the TT, just below the fridge is the furnace.
So it is easy to believe that furnace likely keeps that "space" warm and protects, to some degree, the temperature of the plumbing "inside" the trailer.

However, that doesn't keep the city water hose from freezing!
And the 4" long brass thingy that is between the water hose end and the actual TT city water connector (came in the kit with the trailer) is exposed to mother nature and indeed had frozen as well.

Hooked up a new unfrozen hose and removed the brass filter\regulator\whatever and all is well.

So yes, I believe short of a wicked long subfreezing extreme cold, the trailer itself is designed to stay functional. I assume the only way to keep that 25' of hose from freezing overnight would be to let it trickle all night?
When we are camping in below freezing weather we put water in the on board storage tank and bring the water hose in for the night. You can buy heated hoses but they are pretty pricey. I could possibly see one of those if I were living in mine full time.

FWIW we are headed for single digit lows tomorrow night.

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Old 01-08-2017, 12:40 AM   #12
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Trickle it will be tonight. No concern of usage.

I'm on a well and 500gpday aerobic septic.

Unlike much of the world, fresh water isn't ever going to be an issue in these parts. Basically the tropics with about a 25' water table. Well is 485' so we could get below oil.
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Old 01-08-2017, 05:16 AM   #13
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Not camping this weekend, but it is going down to 19 degrees tonight, here in SC! Our local campground which has heat-tape full-hookup sites on one row only, asks that we bring a heated water supply hose if temps will be below freezing. Either that, or fill the fresh tank when the sun is up. They don't want their plumbing freezing, either. We bought one, about $100. Comes with extra foam, enough to cover each end, including pressure regulator. Internal thermostat kicks on at approx. 50 degrees, according to mfgr.
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Old 01-08-2017, 04:03 PM   #14
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Trickle it will be tonight. No concern of usage.

I'm on a well and 500gpday aerobic septic.

Unlike much of the world, fresh water isn't ever going to be an issue in these parts. Basically the tropics with about a 25' water table. Well is 485' so we could get below oil.
I was watching my aerobic system spray the other night when it was 20 degrees. Throughout the night the temperatures dropped to -2, the spray water was frozen on the ground and one of the pop up heads was stuck in the spray position Now I have to wait to see if the head is frozen or if any damage has been done.
I hope not at 15 bucks each, frozen and rocky ground to deal with also.
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Old 01-08-2017, 04:19 PM   #15
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Not camping this weekend, but it is going down to 19 degrees tonight, here in SC! Our local campground which has heat-tape full-hookup sites on one row only, asks that we bring a heated water supply hose if temps will be below freezing. Either that, or fill the fresh tank when the sun is up. They don't want their plumbing freezing, either. We bought one, about $100. Comes with extra foam, enough to cover each end, including pressure regulator. Internal thermostat kicks on at approx. 50 degrees, according to mfgr.
I would be interested in hearing how well the heated hose works.
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Old 01-08-2017, 06:29 PM   #16
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I would be interested in hearing how well the heated hose works.
There's a neon light in the plug to tell you it's getting power. The electrical cord extends about 2 ft from the end of the hose. Both sides of the hose are female, and they include a male/male connector. That way, you can decide which end, camper or water outlet, gets the plug. They come in 12, 25 and 50 ft lengths. Since the 25 was only about $10 more than the 12, we got it. However, the thing is large, bulky, and heavy. I used my propane tank cover as a prop to keep the weight of the hose from straining the water inlet on the TT. It's not supposed to be coiled up either, so we had to spread the 25 ft of hose around the back side of the site. But we go to several sites, even in chilly weather, so the 25 is probably better. I can't say for sure I'll always be within 12 ft. There is no indication of when the heating element cycles on or off, but the site we go to is full of them, and I have not heard of any failures. As long as the 20 amp outlet is on and working.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:43 PM   #17
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Well, just to update.........
Started the trickle at the kitchen sink around midnight, just as the app stated 32. Woke around 4am and glanced over to verify the trickle was still.....well, trickling. It was! 27F


Woke again around 7am and decided to make a cup of espresso. Since the grinder, beans, and espresso machine are in the outdoor kitchen, I dressed and braced for the chill.


My beans were frozen? Must be because the grinder had a hint of complaint in its growl, and the 7.8 seconds of grinding resulted in a much smaller dose than expected. For those that know, it meant too fine a grind and a much smaller but stronger dose of liquid heaven.


Didn't really matter because your taste buds are less sophisticated when they are shocked by the rare arctic blast.


Anyways, survived another day of 4-season camping. The wrong 1 of 4!
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:19 PM   #18
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27?

That would be a heat wave! We didn't get about 24 here in central NC today, but we will be up to around 70 by the end of the week.

I have the RV parked out in front of the house where it can get direct sunlight, that fancy pants dark paint job actually comes in handy sometimes. Had it plugged in with the small electric space heater going to keep the chill off, the gas furnace is on, but set on 55. I heard it kick on early this morning when we got down to 14. Supposed to be even colder tonight. Only reason I have the RV active is in case the power goes out we have somewhere to bail too. The current house isn't set up for the generator yet. On my honey do list.

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Old 01-08-2017, 10:26 PM   #19
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Yea, no doubt many of you folks aren't intimidated by these temps. But we folks down here live in the air conditioning capital of the world. Literally. More cubic feet of cooling power than any spot on the planet.

You can imagine that "heating" down here is usually getting a blanket out of a closet in the hall somewhere.

And yes, it'll all be over as fast as it arrived. Be back to riding a motorcycle daily, soon enough. (Summer is when we put the bikes away)
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:29 AM   #20
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You can imagine that "heating" down here is usually getting a blanket out of a closet in the hall somewhere.

And yes, it'll all be over as fast as it arrived. Be back to riding a motorcycle daily, soon enough.
Yep, we'll be 70* by Wednesday.
When it gets this cold here, I just toss another dog on the bed. They seem to be all too willing to accommodate.
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