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HVAC, Air Conditioners, Aqua Hot, Primus, Webasto, Chassis Heaters, Furnaces and Water Heaters Questions and information about the wide variety of Heating and Air Conditioning as well as Water Heater systems available are discussed here.

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  #1  
Old 12-24-2010
jabrams jabrams is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Lakewood Ranch
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Default bay heater

I was at the coach today and the bay heaters were running but had no heat. Both electric water heater and diesel burner for the aqua hot were off. Do one or both of these need to be one? Do not mind the electric being on but worry with the diesel left on when I am not there. Thanks
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Jody, Angela, Alex, Abbie, Asa and Leah
1997 41 WB
Lakewood Ranch Florida
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  #2  
Old 12-24-2010
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susanmarycamilleri susanmarycamilleri is offline
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Some where in your basement there is a thermostat, mine is a house hold one. That thermostat turns on the fans in the basement at the temp set, whether or not the aqua hot is on. So likely your fans are all running in the basement because the thermostat is on, just turn the thermostat off.
When the aqua hot is on- the circulation to the basement runs all the time ( allows the aquahot to heat up evenly and just circulates the coolant in the tank somewhere). The thermostat then sets the temp at which you want the basement heated (fans on).
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Peter Haggins
Courtenay, BC
Canada
96wb42
Mid Door
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  #3  
Old 12-24-2010
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bubbletop bubbletop is offline
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On my '97 BMC, the Aqua Hot manual says that the electric heater for the AH is on whenever the coach is plugged in. It says nothing about a separate switch. Perhaps the BMCs are different from the Wanderlodges? Is your coach plugged in?
I wasn't aware of what Peter mentioned. I would have thought the thermostats would be tied into the heater circuit???
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Steve George
1997 BMC 40'
Lunenburg, MA / Epping, NH
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  #4  
Old 12-24-2010
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susanmarycamilleri susanmarycamilleri is offline
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Actually now that Steve mentioned it mine has been modified a bit. The PO put a switch for the electric element right at the aquahot unit. Therefore on mine the CB in the fuse panel can be on, but the heating element is shut off at the aquahot unit, this would likely still power the fans through the thermostat.
You can shut power off to the aquahot at the fuse panel. I think it is normally called "water heater".
Thanks Steve, good pick-up. You forget that POers have done mods.
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Peter Haggins
Courtenay, BC
Canada
96wb42
Mid Door
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  #5  
Old 12-24-2010
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bwinter1946 bwinter1946 is offline
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The electric heat on my Aqua Hot is controlled by a circuit breaker in the 110 volt panel. It is labeled "water heater". It must be on for the element to heat the water. Your basement fans will run but they will not provide any heat unless the electric element or the diesel burner is also turned on. One or both (Electric and/or diesel) must be used to provide hot water to the bay heaters.
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Brad Winter
Madera, California
1997, 37' BMC
1999, Jeep Cherokee, Toad
1970, VW Baja Bug, Alternate Toad
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  #6  
Old 01-21-2013
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Ironbutt62 Ironbutt62 is offline
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I realize this is an old thread (started by PO of my coach, actually) but question is relevant. I am keeping the coach in an enclosed but unheated garage for the winter. There is a 50 amp hookup.
If I understand the preceding discussion correctly, when I plug in to shore power the bay heat from AH 110 element should keep pipes from freezing. Winters are pretty mild here, but I don't want to take chances.
Was thinking of buying a standalone heater but its a big space to heat.
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Deet Lamade
Chesapeake, Va
1997 WB41 "It's All Good"
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  #7  
Old 01-21-2013
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peteaeonix peteaeonix is offline
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The AH electric element will keep the pipes, tanks, and other items in the storage bays from freezing if the coach is plugged in and the electric element is not manually turned off.

I note that, depending on the local electricity rates, that the electric element will be quite noticeable on your electric bill. (In Northern California, where rates are quite high, the electric element added $30 to $50 per month to my bill -- until I learned to better manage it.)

Obviously, you don't need the basement heater, if freezing weather is not expected. So, in that case you should turn off the AH heating element when above freezing weather is expected with no chance of freezing.

My coach did not have a separate switch for the AH electric element, but it could be turned off by switching off the relevant circuit breaker on the 120 VAC panel. I kept my coach plugged in at all times, even when it was not in use, as that kept the batteries 'topped up'.

When parked, I'd switch the house/engine batteries to the "both" setting (dashboard switch). That allowed the chargers to provide current to both the house and engine batteries. If I was not plugged in, the batteries would drop down to dangerously low current in 3 to 4 days. There is a lot of "phantom" current draw in a 'bird. Again, after the fact consideration, I could have probably found and shed some of that phantom current draw -- but at most that might have only increased the offline storage by another few days.

In my case, living in the San Francisco Bay Area (in the East Bay, behind the first ridge of hills), we did not experience significant or lengthy periods of below-freezing weather. However, most years, in January, there would be two or three weeks where below freezing temperatures would occur during the early morning hours -- jumping above freezing shortly after sunrise. Still, this could have frozen some of the plumbing in the coach (the outside water faucets on the house would sometimes freeze up, but not be damaged). Thus, I'd turn on the AH electric heating element by Christmas, and leave in on through the end of January. I'd monitor weather reports to see if there were any frost warnings during December and/or February that would require my turning on the AH sooner or leaving it on longer...

Otherwise, for storage purposes (longer than a week or two), I'd unplug the refrigerator and prop its door open and flip the breaker for the AH. My coach had a separate compressor for the Microphor that I'd also turn off. (The refrigerator was hard to turn off... since the door was propped open, I wanted the inside light to be off. Flipping the breaker automatically switched the refrigerator over to the inverters! The only effective method was to actually unplug the refrigerator.) I assume that there was some way to turn off the inverters (and they're a source of considerable drain on the batteries) but I wasn't sure if that would also cut off the battery chargers. I never took the time to try and figure that one out.

Now that I live in southwest Washington (just north of Portland, OR), I would either fully winterize my 'bird or keep the AH electric element on, probably from about mid November through mid March. (My Roadtrek is fully winterized, but plugged in to keep the three-stage battery charger active.)

If freezing conditions are colder than 28 and/or remain cold for longer periods below freezing, the basement heater will be insufficient to protect all the pipes in the coach, since the interior would not be heated. I'm not sure if the electric element in the AH is robust enough to keep the interior (as well as the basement) above freezing. In part, due to the inside thermostats have a minimum of 55 degrees (or so). The basement thermostat is a special low-temperature unit that allows a setting of 40 as a minimum. If the interior thermostats were "on," that would likely cause the AH to run continuously, but the electric element would not be able to bring the interior temperature above 55 degrees. Indeed, it might actually allow the basement to freeze up by drawing the available heat into the interior. What I'm suggesting is that you may wish to use some sort of supplemental heating for the interior. Be sure to open the cabinets under the bathroom and galley sinks to warmer air can reach the pipes located there. Select the best choice of heating system that meets your "comfort level" with leaving it untended for an extended period. This could be turning on the diesel burner on the AH ... or using the toe-kick electric heaters. Or bringing in an external electric heater. (Again, I never faced this problem. When staying in cold weather locations, I'd use the toe-kick heaters to provide a minimum level of warmth (because the bill went to the RV park). If you use them, be sure to pull them out and thoroughly service them once or twice a year to remove built up lint and to check that everything moves ok (no bad bearings).
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(former) 95 WBDA 42'
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Ridgefield, WA
aeonix1@me.com
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  #8  
Old 01-21-2013
fxdwg fxdwg is offline
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Deet,

Your 97 is closer to my 96, than Pete's 95. I've got the same scenario as you- garaged w/50A. I leave the electric AH element on and the thermostats set to 40. Inside, only zones 2 & 3 allow for this, while the bay thermostat is just a dial, which is set low. If you really want to economize, you can install a valve in the engine loop from the AH. This will prevent convection heating of the engine and minimize the electric usage. So far, I don't know that I've ever hit the minimum $20/month the electric company charges me with this set up (I have not installed a shut off).

Most of the time, I'll switch the A/T switch and 12v master off. This will turn off most everything off. You can also throw the breaker for the microwave, to further reduce usage. Mine draws about 7A while hibernating like this.

Congrats on your new bird. Where'd you guys go skiing, "Massanothin'"? Sounded like good times!
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96 WTOS 42'
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  #9  
Old 01-21-2013
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G_man G_man is offline
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Just to add what my early '99 had which may be similar to your '97, the electric element was controlled by a breaker in the main panel labeled "Hot Water Heater". The bay loop was a slave off the bathroom zone. Bathroom thermostat had to be set to heat or the bay heat would not work. In storage I ran just the bathroom heat and left the doors to the bedroom and kitchen ajar to let some heat into those areas. Bath stayed at 50 while bedroom and kitchen went down to the low 40's. Dash switch for the AquaHot was "On" but the diesel would only run on the rare occasion that the electric would not keep up.
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  #10  
Old 01-21-2013
tmabbott12 tmabbott12 is offline
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1. I just put nozzles and fuel filters for my AH in my '97. Ran it for quite some time and checked the exhaust, the AH had shut off. Looked at the dash and the light by the AH switch was still lit. Shut the switch off for 20 minutes or so and the AH came back on (heat coming from exhaust). Does the AH run a cycle and shut off and on when it calls for more heat?

2. Didn't realize my water heater breaker does everything my AH button Does on the dash. Did I understand this correctly?
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97 BMC 40'
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