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Old 11-27-2010, 11:56 AM   #1
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I'm curious how much propane seems to be normal for running the furnace. We started Wednesday afternoon with most of 2 full 30# tanks. By Friday we had used one 30# and into the second one a little. Tonight one is empty and the second is down about 50% so I'd pulled the empty and put a spare 20# in just in case.

I've also put in a couple of ceramic heaters to help keep the cold down and not to run the furnace so much. Tonight we'll turn the furnace back to maybe 60° or so and run the ceramic heater in the bedroom. We keep the Seville in the 60's during the day to not have to heat up so much of the camper at night.

Temps on Wed night were a little nasty at 9°F and -1°F wind chill. It's been a little better since but still in the 20's or so at night.

What are others seeing in terms of propane usage? Is this out of line or normal? I can see that this idea of camping in cold weather is going to take some rethinking on how to keep it warm.





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Old 11-27-2010, 11:23 PM   #2
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Sounds like normal propane usage to me with those outside temps. Burrrr..
We were camping in the 40/50s f. one time. We started sucking propane. Could not imagine when the temps are as cold as yours.


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Old 11-28-2010, 12:32 AM   #3
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I agree with Dan...sounds like what I experience as well. It's amazing how much the furnace sucks up. I have two gauges (one on each tank). When I pressurize the lines (with nothing running) and then close the valves, my gauges will stay on full for 12 - 18 hours before they drop down. I am pretty sure that indicates no leaks.

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Old 11-28-2010, 01:14 AM   #4
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I checked the tank this am and since it was a bit warmer last night plus I had the electric heaters in and running, it looks like I dropped maybe an inch or 2 at the most. With the cold and humidity, I get an ice line at the top of the liquid in the tank which gives me a rough idea as to where the level is.

Stan, what kind of gauges are you using. That sounds like a good idea at any rate to check. I don't smell any leaks and the detector is not fussing (always a good sign).

Dan & Stan, Thanks to both of you for your thoughts. This is our first 5th wheel so it's a bit different than what we had in the past. We did use our previous campers at those temps but I don't remember how much propane we used. What I do remember is that none of them were as warm as this one is.


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Old 11-28-2010, 02:35 AM   #5
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Camping in those temps will certainly eat up your propane in a hurry. The biggest problem in my opinion would be the condensation that occurs in those temps. You can't be to vigilant in keeping an eye out for it. If it goes unnoticed very long, then you stand the chance of mold getting started. We found moisture in the cupboards, shirt closets, etc. Windows cracked open on each end of the rig plus an over head vent cracked open certainly helps.
I plumbed into my gas line and hooked up an Olympian Wave 6 catalytic heater with a quick disconnect, and hose. All are propane OK. They are very economical to operate, don't emit any CO, (according to the company) but they do burn oxygen, so you have to crack the windows. I found a lot of good info on them on the Airstream forum. There is a lot of full timers with in the Airstream group. One of the things we like about the heater is--NO NOISE. Just even nice heat.


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Old 11-28-2010, 03:17 AM   #6
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sounds normal to me too
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Old 11-28-2010, 03:28 AM   #7
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Those ceramic heaters will help a lot. I regularly camp when it gets down into the 20s in late fall. For the temps you experienced that seems about right. Not too many times I've had to crack a window, but I too really monitor the condensation to make sure it doesn't become a problem. Always have one or more roof vents cracked open.
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Old 11-28-2010, 03:40 AM   #8
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Al and Linda, the gauges are like ones they sell at Wal Mart, Amazon, etc. They are brass construction and screw directly to the tank and then the RV pigtail screws into the gauge. Usually run $10 -15.00. Have had them for 4 years without problems.

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Old 11-28-2010, 03:40 AM   #9
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We didn't see any kind of condensation in the camper but we were only sleeping there, not cooking. I did check inside closets (thanks to all that pointed that out), cupboards, under the sink, and in the basement but didn't see anything. There was a little moisture on the windows (ours has the thermopane option) and had minimal moisture on the windows. What I did notice is that the wall around the bed (curbside slideout) was dry and not near as cold as I'd expected.

I'll probably invest in a couple of new ceramic heaters for this one and take a look at the catalytic heater suggested earlier as well. The heaters we were using used to be in my office until I retired and are several years old. It didn't feel like they put out near as much heat as they used to. The ceramic units as well as the furnace will take some moisture out as well but opening a roof vent sounds like a good idea. I did run the ceiling fan and that seemed to spread the heat a bit better.

Our previous camper was a Sunnybrook and you could occasionally feel the moisture on surfaces. The campers before that would have moisture condensing at night in the cold and dripping on the front bed (ours). Fortunately, the first campers we had were both bunk units and the kids were away from the outside walls for the most part.

Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions. I'm getting ready to store ours for the winter and think I will get some of the drying stuff from the camper store and just set it around. My neighbor uses kitty litter in a big pan in his and that seems to work well. He thinks it keeps rodents out as well. I've got mothballs hanging around outside and will hang them from the frame once it's parked inside. I do have 2 more openings to stuff steel wool into and then foam before it goes into the barn.


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Old 11-28-2010, 07:25 AM   #10
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One hint I can give you to reduce the amount of propane is to go to a UHaul rental center and get some clear bubble wrap. Cut it to the size of each window put alittle moisture on the wrap and put it on the window. Usually they will stick by themselves otherwise put a piece of tape on them.
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