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Thread: Bighorn Cheap Heat Install

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    Texas-North Chapter Leaders coltsdad's Avatar
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    Bighorn Cheap Heat Install

    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.
    20180328_194932.jpg20180328_194557.jpg20180411_200642.jpg20180414_165645.jpg

    Jason & Audra Moses
    North Texas Chapter Leaders
    2017 Bighorn 3870
    2020 Chevrolet 3500 LTZ

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    Founding Texas-West Chapter Leaders TravelTiger's Avatar
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    Re: Bighorn Cheap Heat Install

    Looks great!! Envious!


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    Senior Member davebennington's Avatar
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    Re: Bighorn Cheap Heat Install

    Nice job, looks good

    dave

  4. Print this Post   #4
    Director of Owners Interests, Heartland RVs jbeletti's Avatar
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    Re: Bighorn Cheap Heat Install

    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!
    Jim Beletti


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    Texas-North Chapter Leaders coltsdad's Avatar
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    Re: Bighorn Cheap Heat Install

    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.

    Jason & Audra Moses
    North Texas Chapter Leaders
    2017 Bighorn 3870
    2020 Chevrolet 3500 LTZ

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    Founding Louisiana Chapter Leaders jassson007's Avatar
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    Re: Bighorn Cheap Heat Install

    Quote Originally Posted by coltsdad View Post
    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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    Senior Member RoadJunkie's Avatar
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    Re: Bighorn Cheap Heat Install

    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.

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    Moderator danemayer's Avatar
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    Re: Bighorn Cheap Heat Install

    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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    Director of Owners Interests, Heartland RVs jbeletti's Avatar
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    Re: Bighorn Cheap Heat Install

    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).
    Jim Beletti


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  10. Print this Post   #10
    Senior Member dave10a's Avatar
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    Re: Bighorn Cheap Heat Install

    Quote Originally Posted by RoadJunkie View Post
    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.
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