It’s cold out there!

20 Nov

Today I turned on the propane furnace for the first time. The outside temp was 34* when I woke up and the electric heater couldn’t keep Towanda’s interior at 60*. After last year’s furnace debacle I was so relieved when it turned right on and pumped out the heat.

I’ve been avoiding turning on the furnace for a couple of reasons:

  • propane is a very “wet” way to heat – for every gallon of propane you use, you pump a gallon of moisture into the RV, or so say the Old RV Dudes. That means I also have to run the dehumidifier every day, which I don’t always remember to do.
  • it ain’t cheap, but at this time of year it might be cheaper than electric heat – I haven’t done an analysis yet.
  • I have to haul the tanks to a gas station to have them refilled. All gas stations that carry propane in this small town close ridiculously early so it means a trip during my 1/2 hour lunch “hour” and unhooking and re-hooking them up in the dark. I hate that part!
  • the furnace is only about 70% efficient, according to all online sources I can find, so a lot of fuel is spent doing nothing at all.
  • it’s noisy and blows dust around because someone doesn’t vacuum every day like she should. I’m looking at you Sabu, shedder of mountains of fur!

Last year I ran everything full-out to see how long two tanks of propane would last. I ran the furnace, cooked on the propane stove (even heating tea water) and used all the hot water I wanted to. Two weeks drained the tanks, so I don’t know what my hesitation is this year – an irritating trip into town twice a month is not really that big a deal, is it? It’s not like I have to listen to the narc whine about energy consumption when I’m wearing four layers of clothes, but there you have it – years of training still in effect.

Sigh. I guess Winter is here.


Posted by on November 20, 2013 in RV Living



20 responses to “It’s cold out there!

  1. djmatticus

    November 20, 2013 at 9:18 am

    I think hooking it up in the dark is probably the worst part of the whole process… Have you thought about only filling one at a time, so you keep one hooked up at all times, then you could swap them out in daylight as you had time… I know that would mean more frequent trips to get the tanks filled, and more interrupted lunch breaks, but maybe that will make it less of an ordeal?
    Just spitballing, as they say. They do still say that, right? What do you mean, “Who is ‘they?'”
    Sorry, lack of sleep makes me sillier than normal. Well, at least I think I’m sillier than normal. I could just be delusional.

    • Sofia Leo

      November 20, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      You don’t sound delusional 🙂

      The tanks have a cover that has to be unbolted each time. There are 27 sets of tiny nuts and bolts (just let me say here that this setup was obviously not designed by a woman. I say that because tools are required every.single.time. and no woman has time for that. Had I designed it, there would be a couple of knobs that are easy to operate while wearing gloves and there would be tabs and slots so the knobs easily lined up. The whole procedure would be quick and easy) that have to be corralled and accounted for (no extras) each time. It’s a huge PITA, so, no, filling one tank at a time would not be practical.

      I could buy a larger tank and have the propane company come out and fill it every month or so, and that may be the route I take if I can rent the tank – the idea is to get rid of stuff so I can travel some day…

      • djmatticus

        November 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm

        Traveling… yes, getting to that point is the way to go. 😀

        27 bolts? I’m not sure who designed that… but, you know, they should get the street/shot treatment for sure because that is ridiculous.

      • Sofia Leo

        November 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm

        I know, it’s crazy! I mean, it’s great for when you’re going down the road, but otherwise it’s a PITA.

  2. overitblogdotcom

    November 20, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Wow that sounds like a whole ordeal. We have hot water heat here in our building, it’s so hot that I have almost all the windows every day.
    The “training” takes awhile to go away, I had a nice luxurious bath today, of which I added more hot water a few times,laid back and read for a hour. It was pure absolute BLISS!
    Stay warm and revile in it!

    • Sofia Leo

      November 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      Oh, how I wish I had a big bathtub and unlimited hot water! That would be so wonderful! I could rent a hotel room, but I’d have to drive to the next town over as my little town has NO place to spend the night. Srsly. Visitors not welcome.

  3. wepoetsshowit

    November 20, 2013 at 11:31 am

    It sounds like a hassle. 😦 We’re at -32 here today. It’s cold!

    • Sofia Leo

      November 20, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Supposed to get down to the mid-twenties for the next week or so here, but the sun is shining and it’s hard to feel bad about anything 🙂

      Where are you that it’s -32 already?

      • wepoetsshowit

        November 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm

        Yay for the sun!! I’m in Northern Alberta Canada. Don’t tell anyone that’s actually private info. I’m in hiding..

        We get really sunny winter here thankfully!

      • Sofia Leo

        November 20, 2013 at 1:33 pm

        Sunshine does make the cold more bearable!

  4. JackieP

    November 20, 2013 at 11:35 am

    It was 5 degrees here last night, supposed to get colder. I like djmatticus’s idea of hooking one at a time out. Can you do that? Or do both need to be hooked up together? At least you would be hooking up in daylight. Or can you buy a couple of extra tanks and have then on ‘stand by’ so you can hook up during the day and refill on weekends? Just an idea.

    • Sofia Leo

      November 20, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      This particular setup does not make it practical. Sigh. I hesitate to buy extra tanks because this town is filled with tweakers and they are getting more desperate now that it’s cold outside and might jack them right off the patio.

  5. Twindaddy

    November 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Isn’t adding humidity to your house in the winter a good thing? Doesn’t the moisture in the air help retain the heat? Cold air is dry.

    • Sofia Leo

      November 20, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      If one lives in a very dry environment and uses wood for heat, yes, adding humidity can be a good thing. Yours truly, however, lives in a fairly-well-sealed aluminum box that holds in the humidity in a place that is not known for being dry at any time of year. Granted, it’s not the Coast (where I spent last Winter) so I shouldn’t have mold sprouting overnight, but it’s still plenty wet. Just breathing puts out an amazing amount of moisture if it doesn’t have anywhere to go. I had no idea until I started living in a travel trailer how very different it is than living in a house…

      • Twindaddy

        November 20, 2013 at 2:36 pm

        Oh…well then I obviously have no idea what I’m talking about.

      • Sofia Leo

        November 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm

        LOL! It’s not that – the rules are very different when you’re living in a travel trailer. I had no idea – it’s all on the job training 🙂

      • Twindaddy

        November 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm


  6. goldfish

    November 20, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    BRRRRR. Stay warm.

    • Sofia Leo

      November 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      Doin’ my best 🙂

  7. Awana

    November 20, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Sigh…it has begun…running the water tonihgt….glad I am not working; that’s when it gets really nerve-wracking…


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