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Running the Furnace While On The Road


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#1 rrlowther

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 09:30 AM

Hello Everyone,

I have a question regarding the furnace on our 2000 Safari Zanzibar DP. We purchased our coach for work mainly. Which requires winter driving and use of our coach. For example we will be leaving Denver, CO in mid February heading to a Boston suburb for three weeks to wrap up a project we have there.

We've spent a lot of time and yes, a lot of money to make the coach usable in winter weather. The list of improvements is pretty lengthy.

We recently did a trip from Denver to Las Vegas and back. The weather there and back was really cold and it snowed most of the way there.

While driving down to Vegas we were in a snow storm most of the trip. We had pulled over for a bathroom break and I fired up the furnace to take the chill out of the coach. Then turned it off as we got back on the road.

The temps outside dropped dramatically and it became an icebox inside. We were running the dash heat at full blast and were still shivering.

Here's my question, is it possible to run the furnace while driving down the highway? Or is that not a good idea? If not, what about running the generator while driving and plugging in a couple of space heaters?

I welcome your thoughts and ideas!

Thanks.
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#2 smokeater75

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 09:53 AM

Hi , my wife and I leave from Winnipeg in Feb. for Palm Springs California, I have our motorhome parked on the driveway plugged into a 50 amp service, three days before we leave. For that time I have two electric heaters running. The morning that we leave I start the generator and if its - 39 like it was last year I turn on both of my gas funaces. Our first day is our longest, I usually drive straight south to Lincoln Nebraska about 650 miles. I run the generator the whole time and ususally don't shut down the gas furnaces until we get into South Dakota. I have been doing this the last 3yrs without any problems, the temp inside the coach is a comfortable 72F. Hope this helps Smokeater75
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#3 rrlowther

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 10:01 AM

Thanks Smoke Eater!

My concern was the furnace cycling off and not being able to reignite because of air flow bast the exhaust vents. Just don't want to end up falling asleep behind the wheel because of carbon monoxide. We do have a CM monitor but it's located all the way back in the bedroom. At 70MPH and sitting at the front, I doubt we'd hear it.

Thanks for the feedback!
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#4 smokeater75

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 10:23 AM

Your welcome. I should mention that every fall when I am getting my motorhome serviced I always have my gas appliances checked as well as the supply system.

As a retired Firefighter I have total respect for propane and what it is capable of .

Good Luck.

Smokeater75
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#5 LarryAlida

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 02:58 PM

We never run with the propane turned on. We have a curtain across the and behind both front seats, when on the road. I really have to pay attention to my Mirrors .And to my copilot when changing Lanes ect. However the front heater will keep us pretty warm. We take the RV out Whenever we can in the winter. If you watch the American Pickers show.You can see what they use in the van they travel in .Not pretty, but it works.
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#6 TBUTLER

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 08:32 PM

When the dash heater won't warm our coach, we turn on the furnace. We have never had a problem with carbon monoxide, the furnace flame doesn't connect directly to the indoors and the venting well to the rear of the coach when traveling with air flowing by at 60 MPH would rapidly dispatch and dilute any CO unless your furnace is faulty. You are much more likely to suffer the effects of CO from running the generator when parked than from the furnace though it can also be a cause of problems. Checking the furnace thoroughly is a given, if you aren't doing that each season, it's time to start.

We never run the generator when turning on the furnace unless we have been running for a long time. Our furnace runs on the 12V house batteries and needs no AC current to operate. Using it without the generator is what we do at night, there should be no difference when traveling down the road. In both cases, the house batteries will discharge but when they do, we'll run the generator as needed to recharge the batteries and then shut the generator down.
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Tom and Louise Butler
2004 Monaco Windsor, Cummins 400 ISL
Roadmaster Sterling Tow Bar, Brakemaster, GMC Acadia, BikeE Recumbent Bicycles

After 9 1/2 years full time in our motor home and being Winter Texans we are now living at Sandpipers Resort in Edinburg, Texas. Now we are Summer Chickens!

"The tipi is much better to live in; always clean and warm in winter, cool in summer, easy to move... If the Great Spirit wanted men to live in one place he would have made the world stand still." -- Flying Hawk, South Dakota Oglala Sioux


#7 pancanbob

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 08:43 PM

HI, Rriowther

All most all RV are design to be driven with the heater, and or the generator running
In you coach you should have a CO2 and Propane detector.
You should always check them before you go anywhere in your RV.
Hope this helps
Bob
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Pancanbob
2005 Rexhall, Vision, 27 Ft. Class A
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#8 bizsmith@yahoo.com

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 07:02 AM

One thing we do to aid the dash heater is to hang a shower curtain behind the driver's seat. This reduces the area to be heated by the dash heater tremendously and a comfortable temp can be maintained. Same thing in summer. The dash air can keep this area cool and we don't run the generator and roof AC's.
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#9 rrlowther

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 11:27 AM

Our coach uses a 12V ignition too. What power source does your heater use for the blower? If it's the house batteries, how long do you recommend running the heater without completely draining the batteries?
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#10 rrlowther

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 11:28 AM

Now that's a really good idea. How do you hang the shower curtain?
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#11 wolfe10

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 11:42 AM

Our coach uses a 12V ignition too. What power source does your heater use for the blower? If it's the house batteries, how long do you recommend running the heater without completely draining the batteries?

All coaches(possible exception-- a few OTR bus conversions) use 12 VDC ignition and all RV appliances are 12 VDC.
Both furnace and dash HVAC fan use 12 VDC. The furnace will be powered by the house battery. Most dash HVAC fans are powered by the chassis battery. To verify which battery powers the dash HVAC fan, turn off your house battery disconnect switch. Turn on the ignition (don't have to start engine). If the fan works, it is powered by the chassis battery.

If you are driving, the alternator charges both battery banks, so no worries about fans taking down the batteries.

If plugged into shore power or running the generator, the converter, charger or inverter charger charges the battery (at least house batteries-- may or may not charge chassis batteries).

If dry camping, indeed you need to monitor battery drain by ALL your 12 VDC appliances and especially by inverter-powered items.

Brett
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