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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2018, 10:08 am 
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Joined: October 19th, 2015, 7:09 pm
Posts: 17
I'm in Joshua Tree and they are having a nasty cold spell. It's a no generator-at-night campground. It was probably below 30 last night. I had the furnace on all night and it wouldn't warm things up. It ran continuously but early in the morning-1:30 or so the inside temp had dropped to 48 and I turned the engine on and ran the cabin heater the rest of the night. Should that propane furnace be able to handle a 25-30 degree night? I'd be fine with an inside temp of low 60's. By the way my Scangauge shows 0.7 gal/hr at idle. That's makes for a pretty pricey heater. There's a '01' Concourse from Washington 15 spaces away. I'll get his heater performance comments later today.


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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2018, 10:40 am 
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Joined: February 17th, 2015, 1:57 pm
Posts: 276
Location: Marysville, WA
Something sounds amiss. Our furnace keeps us toasty at that temp. Check that your vents are not obstructed and blowing warm air. Also with our thermostat it must be set to "heat".

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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2018, 10:58 am 
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Joined: June 26th, 2017, 9:38 pm
Posts: 154
Location: Southern CA
The furnace in my rig is usually too warm for me, and I can deal with 90F+ without problem.

It is odd that So Cal is colder than northwest Alaska, but this is the case in past few days.

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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2018, 11:28 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 2029
Location: 1999 Concourse
I'm in western Arizona, so I hear you! My outside thermometer sensor needs batteries so I don't have an outdoor "min," but the indoor min the last three nights has been 39º, 3xº, and 36º. And that's at about 5' off the floor. Brrr! I think the actual outside lows have been around 6 degrees lower than that.

I mention it because I choose not to run heat overnight. But, I was toasty warm, thanks to my usual winter comforter with an extra down sleeping bag spread out inside the duvet cover. I also use a "head blanket" on the coldest nights, which is basically a small square of fleece draped lightly over my head (I don't sleep well with sleeping bags in the usual zipped up mummy position, and hats overnight bug me).

I realize that's not everyone's idea of fun, but I would be awake all night with the furnace kicking on and off. I have run my Wave 3 overnight once or twice (with appropriate ventilation), but I don't bother with that anymore. I DO try to make sure to set up camp with one of the big windows facing ESE. Since it's usually sunny when it's cold in the SW, this warms things up nicely in the morning (with a built in excuse not to get up before the crack of dawn :D).

But okay, that doesn't address your furnace. I have never run mine, so I can't say whether it would normally keep you warm in these temps. But I will toss out some thoughts, in case one might help (hey, it's a technique :lol: )

1) The oft-touted "Arctic foam" insulation in the Chinooks is a great concept. Fits all the nooks and crannies, keeps any condensation from forming on the inside of the shell, etc. BUT, I've had the walls down, and it's pretty darned thin. I've seen/read the same from other Chinookers, so I think it's typical.

2) Was it windy? An icy wind can really make a difference (in the brrrrr way).

3) Did you by any chance have anything blocking the intake vent that's on the front of the forward seat box (whether that be dinette or club chair)? It would be behind the passenger seat and I could see someone storing something there. The furnace needs that return air. A friend with a non-Chinook Class C had a huge furnace (like 24k btu), BUT, the RV mfgr had not put in the specified amount of venting. You could put the thermostat on 90º but the furnace would stop heating long before that, which we surmised was because it was not getting enough return air. The blower would still run, but you could hear the little "clink" and then the heat would stop coming. After a while of just blowing it would "clink" again and more heat would come, rinse repeat ad infinitum. I don't *know* that was the problem, it was just a guess. It would only get things up to around 65º with those short heating spurts (vs. full time blower).

As I said, I have not run the furnace. In my mind I could see it having trouble keeping up on a windy/cold night, but my guess would have it 50-ish in the living area and "don't sit down!" cold in the bathroom. Just a gut feeling but don't know for sure.

BG

PS: I would say 99% of campgrounds don't allow people to run generators between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. so that's typical. (I'm one of those people who thinks listening to them from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. is horrible, so I don't go to campgrounds anymore if I can help it. I wish they would change that at least in the nice little primitive forest service type campgrounds, so I could go back). But my views aside, not being able to run them overnight is pretty much normal in even the most generator friendly campgrounds.

PPS: If you find that your furnace is running normally and that's the best it can do, there are some other options, but I won't clutter up this post (any more than I already have :roll: ).

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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2018, 12:06 pm 
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Joined: February 16th, 2018, 4:46 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Maryland, USA
I've used just the furnace for heating when it was around 20-25F outside and it was fine. I did have a learning curve for when it got down that far. Some points to consider, like some others said:

All my suggestions are from my 2000 Concourse with the Dinette. Modify ideas according to your own rig :)

1) Check the return air vent behind the passenger cab seat. It is the larger, box, vent near the wall. If it is obstructed, not only will the furnace not heat well, but the extra sucking it does can break the fan inside the furnace. Mine now has a slight bearing sound, where it used to be totally silent before I forgot one time and it was sucking something fierce for an hour or more before I realized it.

2) Check the heat vent that is next to the return air vent. This is the small round vent. I always turn off its louvers, because otherwise you're shooting out half your hot air up against the passenger seat! That seat and floor gets hot, but hardly any warm air will make it to the coach area. Especially if you have an added privacy curtain between the cab and coach. I added that curtain a while back and find it also keeps the heat in the coach, not warming the cab or causing frost on its uninsulated windows. Note for my curtain I have to be careful to tuck the bottom corner piece of it into the passenger seat back, or it obstructs the return air vent!

3) Open the heat vent under the dinette all the way, and try to point the louvers a bit out, so all the air doesn't go directly into the opposite dinette seat. I tend to have something under there that is at an angle, so air goes up against it and then slides out towards the couch. A thick plastic panel is best, as they don't absorb heat much. Do not angle it up, as the coldest part of the coach in very cold temps is along the floor - you want the hot air along the floor and let it rise naturally.

- Note this heat vent on the inside of the seat under the dinette should get very hot blowing air, or something is wrong.

4) I have found that opening the 'compartment door' at the base of the couch also helps. Much of the warm air then goes under the couch and rises, warming the fresh water tank and pipes, and the couch itself. I've had the couch open as a bed and get too warm that way at 25F, and had to get up and close that compartment in the middle of the night :)

5) Don't forget to make sure the heat vent at the back, near the closet, is open. Mine tends to close by itself for some reason when driving (vibrations, I guess). Aim it straight across and leave the bathroom door open - the air slides along the door and moves forward. This also blocks a bit of the coldest back part of the coach at the rear door.

6) And if it is well below freezing, for me anytime under 30F, I make sure to have the doors under the sink open, to let the pipes there get some warmer air. Since I've left everything under the sink open (no more dividers or shelves), some of the air goes back behind the shower, also. Of course that is really only a concern if you're like me and spending a few days below freezing somewhere and have not winterized the rig. And even then I have some RV antifreeze to put in the traps on real cold nights (or when 2-3 days in a row stay below freezing) - I had to replace the trap under the shower my first year, and the pipes for that trap under the rig are full of angles and weird stuff, and you have to custom cut and match everything exactly, not fun. Though to be fair I was in much colder temps when the trap got bad, below 10F, when I wasn't in the RV for a few weeks - I had the pipes all cleared for those weeks, but forgot the traps.

Bob


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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2018, 12:18 pm 
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Joined: November 29th, 2016, 9:06 am
Posts: 32
Location: Houston, TX
Mine keeps me toasty even in frosty weather.

This may be a little too obvious, but I'm going to throw it out anyway because nobody else has said it and I had an :oops: moment with the same symptom (the furnace was running but never warmed things up) that turned out to be... user error.

A few years ago when I was camping in the mountains and freezing and it took me AGES to realize that the reason the furnace was not warming things up was because I'd forgotten to turn the propane back on (I mostly don't use the propane appliances any more, so I'd cut it off months before and then forgotten). Now I always listen to hear the furnace light, and check for hot air after a few minutes to make sure it's working properly.

If the propane is on, but the furnace isn't lighting, it might be worth restarting it a couple of times to see if it lights. My fridge (RIP) and water heater have both had days where they wouldn't light on the first try, and a safety mechanism cut off the flow of gas - maybe it's the same with the furnace?

If it's lighting and heating a little, but not a lot... I got nothing. This is all I know about furnace troubleshooting. Good luck!

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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2018, 1:35 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 2029
Location: 1999 Concourse
Bob, good point on the cab curtain. I pretty much always have one up and completely forgot to mention it. Cab is very often too hot or too cold, and/or I want privacy and the cab curtain (i.e. a flat curtain that runs across between the seats and the living area) is so much quicker to pull across than a bunch of windshield pieces/side pieces/snaps/etc.

Also... you have a heat duct back by the closet?!? Now I'm envious :geek: . With the Club Chair layout there was only the two round vents in the forward club chair pedestal itself. One facing "across the hall" and one pointing aft.

I removed my furnace a few years ago, but I do miss having something I can just reach out from under the covers and fire up (had that in my campervan). I've been thinking of installing a Propex furnace and including a duct that runs well aft (the bathroom can be a meat locker!) The thermostat will be within reach of the pillow :D

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