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Old 12-27-2017, 04:14 PM   #1
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Conserving propane when using the heater

We have just bought a 31K and will not take it out until late March. I am concerned that the 18 gallon propane tank will not last long when using the heater, stove, and water heater. I have bought a Blackstone gas griddle to cook outside instead of using the stovetop. I have also thought I would turn the water heater off at night to conserve gas.

I have thought that it might be a good idea to get an electric space heater to take the load of the gas heater but I am concerned that it may cause damage to the RVs electrical system. The one I like is the Broan Big Heat Cube. I also considered a portable propane heater but it appears that it would use a lot of propane.

Any suggestions?

Dan Brown
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Old 12-27-2017, 05:31 PM   #2
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If you in a campground with un-metered electricity included in the camping fee, then run your water heater in electric mode. Use a electric heater as well. It won't cause damage to the electrical system. If in a campground with metered power then depending on your rate per KWH of power chances are it will be cheaper to heat both water and your RV with propane. You can install an Extend-a-stay and use a portable external tank so you can replenish the propane without a trip in the RV.

If your RV is 30 amp service then you have to learn to juggle things. The electric heater and the water heater together will use over 20 amps so you have to remember to turn off the water heater or electric heater when using hair dryer, coffee pot, toaster, etc. Your RV will have a energy management system that will switch off the electric hot water heater when it senses the microwave is running so that's not an issue.

If it is below freezing then heating with propane will minimize the chance of anything in the basement freezing up, the propane heater has a small duct that blows warm air into the basement. If heating only with electricity you have to figure something else to put heat into the basement. Lots of threads on that on irv2.
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:05 PM   #3
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Thanks Randy. Good information. My heater and hot water heater. Are both gas only.
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:14 AM   #4
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If dry camping rather than plugging in, these indoor propane heaters work great and sip propane. Follow directions (crack open a window for ventilation) and they are very safe to use.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Oly...eater/29764626

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mr-Heater...pter/168869361
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:36 AM   #5
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We have a gas only water heater too, go figure? The one thing I wish we had that it doesn't is the electric water heater. I've been turning on the water heater around 5:00am'ish during my morning bathroom run. It's hot come morning shower times. I turn it off after showers, then on again while fixing supper. Off again after supper dishes are done. It's insulated pretty good and does retain heat fairly well through the day, recovers quickly too. I've been kicking around the idea of a 12vdc timer to control it, but have other things ahead of it on the list of priorities.

https://www.amazon.com/FAVOLCANO-CN1...s=12v+dc+timer
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:45 AM   #6
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The furnace is definitely a gas hog - most of the heat gets blown out as exhaust.
If you're dry camping it will run your battery down too - IIRC mine is about 6ah running - that wouldn't take long to run 200ah bank half down.

Get a down comforter and set it at 55-58.

I think I have the same tank - could never quite figure why thought that was big enough for a 32' coach - it's a 25gl that accepts 80% fill. duh. When we camped out in the dez over winter it would burn up half a tank over a few days. IMO the water heater doesn't use much but shutting it off can't hurt since you're not maintaining the temp all night in the cold. Cooking grill uses nill.

All of my gas appliances are 110v as well, except the furnace, so plugged in they run on shore power.

Even better, drive to the southern part of the country. LOL
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Old 12-30-2017, 03:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macnut View Post
If dry camping rather than plugging in, these indoor propane heaters work great and sip propane. Follow directions (crack open a window for ventilation) and they are very safe to use.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Oly...eater/29764626

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mr-Heater...pter/168869361
Catalytic heaters are safe, but like all appliances burning gas they produce a lot of condensation.
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Old 12-30-2017, 05:44 AM   #8
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Thanks Chris & Sherry. Heading south is a good idea, particularly now with the Canadian air coming in.
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Old 01-01-2018, 09:01 AM   #9
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If'n I was going to spend much time boondocking in the cold I'd install one of those camco olympian heaters. It would still use some propane, but surely less than the furnace, but even more importantly it wouldn't run your battery down. Just enough to take the chill off.
I suspect you'll need to run for propane once a week or so if you're dry camping in cold weather. An alternative would be to install a second tank somewhere under the chassis. Ya I know, PITA.

If it's really cold - below freezing - you're going to have problems with frozen waterlines too.
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Old 01-03-2018, 02:14 PM   #10
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Mr. Randy - thanx for the info - What is an "Extend a Stay"?
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:43 PM   #11
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Camco 59123 Propane Brass Tee with 4 Port with 5' Aux Tank Hose and 12' Accessory Hose. The Tee is not patented so there are many brands. Can buy just the tee and the Aux Tank Hose of the length you prefer vs. the kits that generally come with only a short Aux Tank hose. One sells by the trademark Extend A Stay, and you will get lots of results if you google search this. This installs just ahead of the RV's propane regulator on the high vapor pressure side. Note that this will move over the regulator several inches and on some RVs there is not space to do this. Or moving the regulator over requires reworking the outlet hose on the regulator.
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:01 AM   #12
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I was concerned with my propane usage too... but at some point I realized it was 18 gallons, not pounds. This equates about the same as FOUR 20 pound gas BBQ grill tanks. It gets confusing when manufacturers list gallons while some (Thor) list pounds in their specs.
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:41 PM   #13
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Use electric heat

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbrownmcse View Post
We have just bought a 31K and will not take it out until late March. I am concerned that the 18 gallon propane tank will not last long when using the heater, stove, and water heater. I have bought a Blackstone gas griddle to cook outside instead of using the stovetop. I have also thought I would turn the water heater off at night to conserve gas.

I have thought that it might be a good idea to get an electric space heater to take the load of the gas heater but I am concerned that it may cause damage to the RVs electrical system. The one I like is the Broan Big Heat Cube. I also considered a portable propane heater but it appears that it would use a lot of propane.

Any suggestions?

Dan Brown
Hello Dan (and others)

We have the 31KP Minnie Winnie and gas only water heater and heater. However, we carry TWO space heaters and have actually used them at times.
You simply have to watch you overall use. Some suggestions:

1. Go through the coach and label each circuit. I think we have 2 or 3 and I labeled them with little pieces of green and orange labels. This helps you to not put too much on one circuit. Of course, total you are limited to 30 amp on a 31K. But it helps you to divide stuff. So if we do run two space heaters we make sure it is separate circuits.

2. We installed a separate 120v input on the outside of the coach. It is a UL receptacle that accepts a standard hd extension cord. From that I installed a plug in inside and labeled it as such. Most campgrounds have that extra 120 V and I use it all the time. That gives me a separate 120 V. line outside of the 30 amp in the coach.

3. Get a nice electric skillet - we just got a new copper plated one and the wife loves says it is great. She still uses the propane burners some but not a lot.

4. Get a "pizza go round" - electric. It allows you to cook pizzas on electric. HOWEVER, it will cook biscuits and many other items - just Google for lots of hints.

We do use propane for the fridge but only when traveling and some people turn off the fridge when traveling and that is no doubt fine too for a few hours at a time.

With the above strategies we go quite a few months on the 18 gallon. Just filled it today because the meter was showing 1/3 and it only took 6 gallons. And we are on the road about half time.

Good travels.
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Old 01-10-2018, 07:31 PM   #14
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Consider the Extend a Stay connection. You can run your furnace and everything else while parked from a propane tank like the ones used for patio bbq's and not have to keep filling your on board tank. Also an electric blanket is nice to have.
We just went through a week of 0 degree nights and were very comfortable. And we never had to worry about taking down camp to go get propane.
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