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coltsdad
07-25-2018, 10:08 PM
We decided to purchase a Cheap Heat after looking at several rigs with it installed. One of the main reasons was being able to heat the coach while its stored in my shop and not worry about propane exhaust and the heat from it is a huge plus.

I started by removing the basement wall and trying to figure out a plan of where I was going to place the controller and circuit disconnect boxes. One of the first things was I found I needed to do was re-route the water lines behind the udc. The lines were going to interfere with the new plenum outlets on the Cheap Heat.
While I was looking at the water lines and duct routing. I found the underbelly heat duct laying flat in the insulation and blocked off. So I added a duct outlet to run a duct further back under the coach to provide better heating.

After blocking of the original ducts off on top of the original plenum. I installed the new plenum and attached the ducts.
I decided to mount the control box and circuit breaker box behind the basement wall as I hopefully will not need to access is very often. I placed them on the main floor level laying flat toward the off door side. I took the 50 amp power from the output side of the progressive industries surge protector and fed it to the circuit breaker.

The most difficult part of the install was running the wiring to the switch that sets the system to gas or electric. I decided to place it beside the thermostat and on our rig it is on the half bath wall. I could see from the basement there were studs in the way, so I had to pull the paneling down inside the half bath and drill holes through the studs to route the control wire to the basement. All the while hoping Audra didn't come out to the shop to see I had torn a wall out of the rig!

I made all the electrical connections on the outside of the unit and double checked all the other wiring connections. With my fingers crossed I flipped the breakers on and fired the heater up.

One thing I noticed there was more airflow out of the most rearward duct in the floor and could feel heat pretty quickly. It hasn't been cool enough since the install to really try it out yet.

I kept track of my time and have about four and a half hours over the period of several days doing the install. The instructions are well written and laid out. I talked with Larry from Cheap Heat before ordering and he stressed if I had any questions to call him.
58769587705877158772

TravelTiger
07-26-2018, 12:31 AM
Looks great!! Envious!


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davebennington
07-26-2018, 05:34 AM
Nice job, looks good

dave

jbeletti
07-26-2018, 08:34 AM
Nice work Jason. One can tell you're a professional mechanic, having completed this job in 4.5 hours - wow! I too spread my install out over several days but likely spent 12 hours doing mine :)

Like you, I removed the 2" duct that heats the underbelly and knocked out a full-size duct on the Cheap Heat cabinet and ran a full-size duct to the underbelly and actually made sure it pushed back into the mainframe versus spill into the drop frame.

I recently assisted Gregg Wibbels, our CO chapter leader with his install. His was a bit of a bear as his Silverado has a floor plenum. Gregg had to use the Sawzall to change the size and location of the opening in the floor into the plenum. Luckily, I missed out on that fun :) My effort was more on the electrical side. I'm getting pretty confident on that aspect of this product.

Thanks for sharing your install with us!

coltsdad
07-26-2018, 01:30 PM
Erica go ahead and order yours and we'll get it installed. I have Jay's sitting on the shelf in the shop to install when he get's back to Texas. Jim your pictures of your install helped me figure out how I was going to install mine and saved me lot of time.

jassson007
07-26-2018, 04:03 PM
Erica go ahead and order yours and we'll get it installed. I have Jay's sitting on the shelf in the shop to install when he get's back to Texas. Jim your pictures of your install helped me figure out how I was going to install mine and saved me lot of time.

Well dang Jason you plan on coming to Louisiana next spring or will I see you in Conroe in November? If so....


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RoadJunkie
07-26-2018, 04:37 PM
Nice install, but I’m wondering—and always have—why did the manufacturer settle on the name CheapHeat? Certainly the expectation, based on the name, is that the product will either be inexpensive to purchase or to operate. Does the math suggest the unit is cheaper to operate than propane? I personally would not put this in the category of a cheap purchase and install.

danemayer
07-26-2018, 04:50 PM
If your campground rate includes electric, heat is no extra cost. If electric is extra, it's just very convenient. If you only use your rig in warm weather, you don't need it.

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jbeletti
07-26-2018, 08:08 PM
When I look at all my nights out (~250+/-) in an average year, most nights are travel nights. My travel night CG rate always includes AC power.

When I think back on my stays at CGs that are 'not' single overnights, I can think of maybe 3 since 2004 that charge separate for electricity. So for me, it really is Cheap Heat in terms of operating cost.

I understand that some people stay for a month or more at a time at a CG. And for a good many of them, electricity is billed separately. For them, in the heating months, incremental AC power costs to run Cheap Heat may not net them savings. But their back, neck and shoulders will thank them for not humping propane tanks every week.

This all said, like anything really, it's not for everyone as the need or economics just isn't there for everyone.

I'm glad I have it as I hate humping tanks. Now I only do it for propane used for the stove (very minimal) and for the generator (quite a bit on hot travel days only).

dave10a
07-27-2018, 09:32 AM
Nice install, but I’m wondering—and always have—why did the manufacturer settle on the name CheapHeat? Certainly the expectation, based on the name, is that the product will either be inexpensive to purchase or to operate. Does the math suggest the unit is cheaper to operate than propane? I personally would not put this in the category of a cheap purchase and install.

I did the math with propane furnace at 80% and electric at 90% efficiency. Propane at $3.34/gal and electricity at $0.14/KWH would the break even point.

jayc
07-27-2018, 01:45 PM
I'm excited to get started on mine! We spend about half (and usually) the coldest part of the winter in a state park, where I don't have to pay for electricity. And like Jim B. I HATE schlepping the propane tanks. I REALLY hated the 40# tanks on the old Grand Canyon.

coltsdad
07-28-2018, 08:48 AM
Andy you know enough Abita and gumbo could be very persuasive for me to make a trip down your way!

jbeletti
07-28-2018, 10:05 AM
Andy you know enough Abita and gumbo could be very persuasive for me to make a trip down your way!

Abita? Yum! I could be persuaded to help with 'that' install :)
58785

jassson007
07-28-2018, 12:50 PM
Andy you know enough Abita and gumbo could be very persuasive for me to make a trip down your way!

You let me know what flavor you like and I can make sure we have plenty.


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jassson007
07-28-2018, 12:51 PM
Abita? Yum! I could be persuaded to help with 'that' install :)
58785

How many 6 packs would it cost? Lol


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jbeletti
07-28-2018, 01:08 PM
How many 6 packs would it cost? Lol
1 works for me to assist Jason :)

jassson007
07-28-2018, 01:14 PM
1 works for me to assist Jason :)

Well I can handle that. Guess I need to get it ordered now.


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porthole
07-28-2018, 10:35 PM
His was a bit of a bear as his Silverado has a floor plenum. Gregg had to use the Sawzall to change the size and location of the opening in the floor into the plenum.





What was the change that required a sawzall?

jbeletti
07-28-2018, 10:45 PM
What was the change that required a sawzall?Mostly, it was due to the Cheap Heat cabinet extension. Plenum clearance for it was required.

Gregg's furnace is flat on the floor. The bottom (under the heat exchanger) of the furnace was open to the plenum. All good there. But when you attach the Cheap Heat cabinet extension that holds the electric heating element, you increase the overall length of the furnace cabinet. This extension fits "onto" the furnace back end, once the back plate is removed. That extra length needed to be accommodated in the floor hole into the plenum.

porthole
07-28-2018, 10:48 PM
Got it.
Floor plenums can be a bit of a twist to the install.

jbeletti
07-28-2018, 10:52 PM
Got it.
Floor plenums can a bit of a twist to the install.My data point of 1 says yes :) But for those in need, it's worth the one-time effort.

DaveTyler
07-30-2018, 11:39 AM
The one comment I would add is that some units actually have room in their own breaker box instead of a separate box. Three units that I assisted on installs, Dykes, Don Smith’s, and Tyler’s. All had room in breaker box. We did discuss with Larry. You actually need two spots for double breaker. Siemens was the brand of breaker. On my unit, I only had one space but a 20 amp breaker for washing machine/dryer that I replaced with the double breaker. This is a option. Regards.


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wdk450
07-30-2018, 09:37 PM
Has anyone considered adding the heat strip option for the Duo Therm Air conditioner? It seems like a lot less money, and a lot simpler installation. The heat strip pulls the same 12.7 amps the 15k BTU cooling compressor does, so the trailer wiring and circuit breaker do not have to be changed.

jayc
07-30-2018, 09:55 PM
We have a heat strip on the bedroom a/c and it works pretty well in keeping the b/r warm but it does nothing for the rest of the trailer and especially the underbelly. That was one of the features about the Cheap Heat that I like. We stay in the Texas hill country until January and it can get pretty cold there. Need to keep the pipes warm!

gwalter
07-31-2018, 12:05 AM
It is definitely worth the time and effort. As Jim said the area was tight to work in as it was under our sink. I also have to slightly enlarge the 3 floor registers width as Larry was concerned there might be too much restriction on the plenum and cause some possible overheating. I also had to cut one 4" hole in the extension to feed the bath and bedroom plenum which is separate. We used the furnace 2 weeks ago in the mountains where lows were in the 40s all week. My wife is a very happy camper now. ;)

Jim definitely has the wiring setup figured out.


My data point of 1 says yes :) But for those in need, it's worth the one-time effort.

porthole
08-01-2018, 05:30 AM
Has anyone considered adding the heat strip option for the Duo Therm Air conditioner? It seems like a lot less money, and a lot simpler installation. The heat strip pulls the same 12.7 amps the 15k BTU cooling compressor does, so the trailer wiring and circuit breaker do not have to be changed.


Bill, we used heat strips in both AC units for 9 seasons.

When we ordered the Cyclone the Dometic plant had just had a large fire which put heat pump units on back order, so the dealer added heat strips at cost. $105 each.
Besides the heat strip you need a heat strip specific thermostats.

For what they are they worked fine. We supplemented the heat strips with a Pelonis ceramic heater on the floor.

Things to keep in mind with the strips. The heat is coming from the ceiling, and as we all know, heat rises.
The heating of the area takes awhile, especially if already cold. It might takes several hours before the trailer is comfortable.

On ours, once the trailer was warm the main ducted AC did an OK job of keeping the trailer comfortable overnight, in conjunction with the Pelonis.

The Pelonis was only needed in the main living area. The 'upper deck' stayed sufficiently warm since it is a smaller area and higher.


And when I replaced the main AC unit two years ago, I again added the heat strip.