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Old 10-16-2019, 09:07 PM   #1
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Default Water heater and heater

The colder weather is coming and I canít figure out my hot water heater and heater on my 2006 FF 160. I donít want to mess with propane if I donít have to. I looked at the water heater access outside and I cannot find a switch to change it to electric. I looked where pictures said it should be but itís not there. Also, I assume that since there is a suburban thermostat that the heat comes from the same furnace, but then why do I have a Duotherm brisk air unit? I wish the owners manual gave more information, or maybe I am just missing some of the original paperwork.
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Old 10-16-2019, 11:22 PM   #2
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I'm not sure why you would want to avoid propane?? Are you sure your water heater works on electricity? Not all do. (Mine does not.)

And I am pretty sure that the furnace will not work at all without propane.

The furnace is usually separate from the air conditioner, if I am understanding your second question correctly.
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Old 10-17-2019, 04:43 AM   #3
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I'm not sure why you would want to avoid propane?? Are you sure your water heater works on electricity? Not all do. (Mine does not.)

And I am pretty sure that the furnace will not work at all without propane.

The furnace is usually separate from the air conditioner, if I am understanding your second question correctly.
I’m kind of afraid of how long 20# of propane will last and about running out in the middle of the night ��
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:38 AM   #4
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Not all Suburban water heaters have the electric option. What is the model number? If it is something like SW6D, then it is gas fired only. The gas/electric version would be SW6DE.

Your AC unit is not Suburban because Suburban doesn't make an air conditioner. Funfinder used Dometic AC units. Regardless, there should be a thermostat mounted somewhere that will switch between the AC and heat. It will be Dometic though not Suburban.

Your furnace will be propane powered only, not electric. And it's totally separate from the water heater.

A 20 lb propane cylinder should last you quite a while running both the heat and hot water. I would think you could go at least a week or more on a full tank. Probably more than that.

I'm guessing you will be camping with electric since you're looking to run the water heater that way. So if you're worried about using too much propane you could get a portable 1500W electric heater available places like Wally World for about 20 bucks. They are also much quieter than Suburban one.
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:46 AM   #5
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Magellan, just to set your mind at ease, we often camp in freezing weather for a couple of weeks and our propane does not run out. We have two tanks and I have never had to switch to my backup tank.

But obviously you'd have to monitor the level in the tank -- at some point, the tank will be emptied, but it takes a while!
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:01 AM   #6
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From my experience, dry camping. The heater will drain the battery faster then it will empty a 20lb propane tank.
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Old 10-17-2019, 07:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by LJAZ View Post
Not all Suburban water heaters have the electric option. What is the model number? If it is something like SW6D, then it is gas fired only. The gas/electric version would be SW6DE.

Your AC unit is not Suburban because Suburban doesn't make an air conditioner. Funfinder used Dometic AC units. Regardless, there should be a thermostat mounted somewhere that will switch between the AC and heat. It will be Dometic though not Suburban.

Your furnace will be propane powered only, not electric. And it's totally separate from the water heater.

A 20 lb propane cylinder should last you quite a while running both the heat and hot water. I would think you could go at least a week or more on a full tank. Probably more than that.

I'm guessing you will be camping with electric since you're looking to run the water heater that way. So if you're worried about using too much propane you could get a portable 1500W electric heater available places like Wally World for about 20 bucks. They are also much quieter than Suburban one.
Thank you for your reply. Great idea! I’ll just use the propane for the hot water and I have a portable quartz heater at my house that I can use, I’ll pick it up next week when I visit next week.����
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Old 10-17-2019, 07:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LJAZ View Post
Not all Suburban water heaters have the electric option. What is the model number? If it is something like SW6D, then it is gas fired only. The gas/electric version would be SW6DE.

Your AC unit is not Suburban because Suburban doesn't make an air conditioner. Funfinder used Dometic AC units. Regardless, there should be a thermostat mounted somewhere that will switch between the AC and heat. It will be Dometic though not Suburban.

Your furnace will be propane powered only, not electric. And it's totally separate from the water heater.

A 20 lb propane cylinder should last you quite a while running both the heat and hot water. I would think you could go at least a week or more on a full tank. Probably more than that.

I'm guessing you will be camping with electric since you're looking to run the water heater that way. So if you're worried about using too much propane you could get a portable 1500W electric heater available places like Wally World for about 20 bucks. They are also much quieter than Suburban one.
Thanks for replying back. My suburban is gas only so I think I will go with using the propane for the hot water and i have a quartz heater I’ll use, it’s got a really good temperature control mechanism. This way my 20# tank will last awhile. ��
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Old 10-17-2019, 07:58 PM   #9
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From my experience, dry camping. The heater will drain the battery faster then it will empty a 20lb propane tank.
Thanks for replying back. You may be right. I think I’ll go with using the propane for the hot water and i have a quartz heater I’ll use, it’s got a really good temperature control mechanism. This way my 20# tank will last awhile. Although...I may try the furnace. ��
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:08 AM   #10
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Thanks for replying back. You may be right. I think Iíll go with using the propane for the hot water and i have a quartz heater Iíll use, itís got a really good temperature control mechanism. This way my 20# tank will last awhile. Although...I may try the furnace. ��
You will discover, a 20# tank of propane will last far longer than you are thinking.
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:43 PM   #11
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You will discover, a 20# tank of propane will last far longer than you are thinking.
Okay!! Y'all have convinced me and I bought a tankful of propane and I'm gonna give it a go. Thank y'all so much!!
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Old 10-20-2019, 10:25 AM   #12
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Magellan, here is a tip for gauging the amount of propane you have left, even if you don't have a gauge. Weigh the tank when full. Each gallon weighs about four pounds. So if the tank is down 8 pounds, you have used two gallons.
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Old 10-20-2019, 04:37 PM   #13
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Thank you for your reply. Great idea! Iíll just use the propane for the hot water and I have a portable quartz heater at my house that I can use, Iíll pick it up next week when I visit next week.����
How do I turn the furnace on? 215 wsk model 25'. Thanks
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Old 10-20-2019, 05:08 PM   #14
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IF it's like mine, both furnace and A/C contols are on the thermostat and just set the temperature.
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Old 10-20-2019, 06:41 PM   #15
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IF it's like mine, both furnace and A/C contols are on the thermostat and just set the temperature.
Gas must be on?
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Old 10-21-2019, 03:52 AM   #16
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Yes, the gas must be turned on at your propane bottle(s).
I always turn propane on at the propane bottles and then light the kitchen stove top to purge air from the gas lines. That way, you are sure propane is in the line to the furnace as well.
If the furnace hasn't been used for several months, it may take a little bit before it ignites and a little longer before the furnace fan kicks on.
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Old 10-21-2019, 08:59 AM   #17
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Thank you very much for your help.
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Old 10-22-2019, 06:30 PM   #18
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I'm not an active "boondocker" so when we camp we almost always have, at least" electrical hook ups. Water is always nice but most of the State Parks in Wisconsin aren't plumbed for water at each site. Most DO tho have electric hook ups. Same is true for the National & State Forest campgrounds that we've stayed at over the years. I have a small, relatively quiet,1500 Watt space heater that is perfect for our X210. I have used the propane heater only a few times with a couple of those times just to be sure that it still works properly (and to burn the cobwebs out). The propane heater is pretty noisy but it does put out a fair amount of heat in a short period of time.
As an aside, we do have a heated mattress pad (again electric hook up required) that makes for toasty sleeping! I usually don't run the heater overnight. If it was very cold (sub-freezing), I might do so and even then augment with the propane heater. With the water plumbing running low and near the outside of the camper shell, I'm concerned about freezing. If I was a "hardcore Winter camper" I would definitely take steps to insulate and perhaps even heat those plumbing runs.
I have been camping when temps drift in and out of that freezing range. I don't know how effective it is but I will turn on the tap most distant from the water heater to fill the line with hot water. Since the lines are generally running along side one another, it's my hope that the hot water line will warm the surrounding area enough to prevent freezing. That may be wishful thinking ��.
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Old 10-29-2019, 02:00 AM   #19
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I can’t figure out how to get either the hot water heater nor the furnace to work. There is a flame and my stove works so I am assuming I am not turning something on. So I have decided to use my small heater, just as you did. But I would like to have hot water so I may just call the guy who comes around my RV park to take a look at it. I tried watching a YouTube video but it didn’t help LOL
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:49 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magellan View Post
I canít figure out how to get either the hot water heater nor the furnace to work. There is a flame and my stove works so I am assuming I am not turning something on. So I have decided to use my small heater, just as you did. But I would like to have hot water so I may just call the guy who comes around my RV park to take a look at it. I tried watching a YouTube video but it didnít help LOL
If the stove works the propane is on for the heater and water heater. The water heater and furnace need electricity to work. I would check the fuses for them to see if they are intact. There is a thermostat for the heater and a lighted switch for the water heater. Check to see if they work.
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