Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Fuse Heats Up

I have not gone crazy.  I live in Florida and am writing about the heater in the Winnebago Fuse.   Well unlike what the Division of Tourism would lead you to believe, Florida extends further North than Disney World and the entire state is not just one large beach.

Tallahassee Fl

We actually live in Tallahassee.  Up here in the North Florida Mountains (198' above sea level) it gets cool.  From December until March the lows are normally in the 40s and for 5 to 10 nights a year we will have a freeze.  Two of those nights just occurred.

This is RV winterizing Florida style:

Safety First.  Make sure that your smoke detector and CO detector are working before using any heating system.

Winnebago Fuse partition

Second note.   I took some advice from other Fusers and used a blanket to screen off the driver's area from the rest of the unit.  This reduces the space you are heating and does not let the heat out the big windows up front.  I also closed all of the blinds and shades to keep as much of the heat inside.

The Fuse comes with 2 methods to add heat to the unit.  

Winnebago Fuse furnace

The first is a traditional LP furnace.  It is a manufactured by Suburban.   It has an output of 20,000 BTU.  It is controlled on the Fuse 23a via a thermostat located above the driver's side bed. To turn it on, all you do is move the lever from off to the desired temperature.  Once you do this you can hear the faint sound of a fan and feel some air moving from the heater ducts located on the floor.   In 30 seconds the burner will come on.  You will know because of a different noise and you will feel the air starting to warm up.  It starts putting out hot air very fast  (even faster than a politician.)

The furnace in our Fuse works well.  Really well.  During our last cold spell it brought the temperature up very quickly.  When I entered the Fuse it was 40 degrees inside.  After turning on the furnace by setting the thermostat to 70 degrees I walked back in the house.  When I returned 15 minutes later, the furnace had gotten the temperature inside the Fuse to 65.   It works really well and really fast.

The downside of the Furnace is that it burns your propane.  This might not be your best method if electricity is available.

Winnebago Fuse air conditionerWinnebago Fuse air conditioner

The second method is a heat strip in the Air Conditioner.  The Air Conditioner comes with an 1,800 watt heat strip.  To turn this on,  you turn the rotator switch on the Air Conditioner to low heat.  With the thermostat on the A/C pointing in the red it should start running and you should get some hot air.

My experience is that if you turn it on to low heat all you get is warm air moving.   It is not hot air by any standard.  Although the manual says it is 1,800 watts, I would believe that 800 watts is probably closer to what is coming out of the vents.    I was somewhat concerned about 1,800 watts since I have my Fuse plugged into a 15 amp circuit and running an 1,800 watt appliance puts the electrical close to maximum for that circuit.

Hunter space heater

I had a third approach up my sleeve that was recommended by people in the Fuse Facebook Group.   Use an electric space heater to heat the interior of the motorhome.   So I purchased a medium space heater at Home Depot.   I selected one that would consume 900 watts or 1500 watts depending on the setting you choose.

So how well did that work.   Well it took a while to get the interior up to temperature, but it was able to keep the Fuse at a comfortable 60 degrees while it was in the mid 20s outside.  A 35 degree advantage using the 1500 watt setting.    While the Temperature was in the 30s, I put it on the low settings and it held the interior temperature at 60 degrees.

Winnebago Fuse with hunter space heater

If you want to try and replicate this, the heater was placed on the floor in the doorway to the bathroom.  The temperature readings were taken on the top of the stove.  I had one of our little USB fans running to circulate the air.  And finally the cabinet doors and drawers were all opened slightly to let the heat into some of the dead spaces.

I think the space heater was a great success.  It accomplished what I wanted in that it kept the Fuse at a comfortable temperature.   It did not use my propane.  As a bonus, it was much quieter that if I used the air conditioner heat strip.

1 comment:

  1. The wife and I are retired so we have time to spend making sure our RV is up to traveling and in tip-top condition. Thankfully, we also have the financial means to let other people handle it. It seems like air conditioners are a special thing that need a special treatment. I think. Since other people handle all of this for us, I don't know for sure.