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Old 07-28-2016, 01:03 PM   #21
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We bought the 2 way water heater as well. We found that the propane cooled the fridge better (the real story is we couldn't figure out how to make the 120v work with the fridge-I think I may have succeeded now, with a little help of "DUH!"), and it seems to help heat the water faster and longer when combined with the electric heater.

And oh yes, we also found we like the quick-connect and the fire pit. So we deserve high propane costs based upon our high propane usage!!
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:08 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by nathanj04011 View Post
I don't know how much the individual units use, but I suspect that the fire pit might consume a fair amount of propane
The rate of propane consumption is proportional to the heat production rate of the appliance, which is always shown on the appliance. For something like a furnace, you use the heat input rate, not the output. This is normally given in BTU/hour, so it's inconvenient to turn into sensible units that are meaningful to people, but the numbers can at least be compared. Remember that heaters and refrigerators only use propane at this rate when running the burner, and that they cycle the burner on and off as required.
  • Atwood furnace in Escape: 12,000 BTU/h
  • Suburban SW6 water heater in Escape: 9,000 BTU/h
  • typical small RV refrigerator: a few hundred BTU/h
  • Outland Fire Bowl: 58,000 BTU/h (on high)
  • stove burners: 4,000 to 10,000 BTU/h on high (depending on burner size)
  • grills: 10,000 BTU/h and up on high

With enough propane in a 20-pound tank to produce about 400,000 BTU, you can burn the whole tank in under seven hours with the fire bowl, but a refrigerator would take about 500 hours of burning (which would take weeks, how many depending on ambient temperature) to use up the same tank.
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:13 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by nathanj04011 View Post
... it seems to help heat the water faster and longer when combined with the electric heater.
Definitely. The electric element and propane burner will run together, so you get the combined heat input from the two sources and thus much faster heat-up from cold or recovery from having used the water that had been heated.

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Originally Posted by nathanj04011 View Post
We found that the propane cooled the fridge better (the real story is we couldn't figure out how to make the 120v work with the fridge-I think I may have succeeded now...
Unlike the water heater, the refrigerator is an either/or energy choice, but still the propane burner usually produces heat at a greater rate than either of the electric heating elements (12V DC or 120V AC), so it is normal to find that the refrigerator cools better on propane.
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:16 PM   #24
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Wow, Brian, That was helpful!! Better than my generalization for sure. But that's how I roll. Yeah, will have to watch how often or for how long we use the fire bowl. Or maybe I should call it our Outland Money Pit...
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:43 PM   #25
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Yeah, will have to watch how often or for how long we use the fire bowl. Or maybe I should call it our Outland Money Pit...
Once you'e buying propane at a reasonable price (US$3/gal or CA$1/L) the fire bowl at full blast costs less than US$2 an hour (plus the environmental "cost" of burning fossil fuel at about the same rate as idling the tow vehicle). And you can turn it down. I'm sure that's a reasonable price for many people who like a fire... and it's not like anything else in life is really free, either.
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:51 PM   #26
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We swear by propane supply shops for refills. If you google search you can usually find one near where you are. Most of them welcome individuals for small refills, although their main business is large commercial customers. The average rate we've paid in such places is around $2.25 a gallon, although we've paid as little as $1.80.
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Old 07-28-2016, 03:42 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Once you'e buying propane at a reasonable price (US$3/gal or CA$1/L) the fire bowl at full blast costs less than US$2 an hour (plus the environmental "cost" of burning fossil fuel at about the same rate as idling the tow vehicle). And you can turn it down. I'm sure that's a reasonable price for many people who like a fire... and it's not like anything else in life is really free, either.
Agree wholeheartedly!

Years ago I used to complain about reduced mileage when towing, and the price of gasoline to do so. Then my good neighbor told me if RVing was something I really wanted to do, I had to accept the fuel cost as the price of doing what I enjoyed. So if I want to use the fire pit, I fire it up even though it is a propane hog. It is simply the price of enjoying a fire. My attitude is that life is too short to worry about a few extra dollars spent on propane. I just returned from a ten week trip and used three (3) 20 pound cylinders. Assuming a cost of $15 per fill, that's $45 worth of propane (actually, I paid less). That's a little less than I typically pay to fill the tow vehicle one time. But for me, the 15 or so hours spent sitting around the campfire was far more enjoyable than the "more expensive" hours sitting behind the wheel driving, and while enjoying the fire, I was also able to enjoy an adult beverage or two. The cost of the propane does not bother me; it's removing the tank, finding a place to get it refilled, and reinstalling it that is a pain in the butt.
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Old 07-28-2016, 03:55 PM   #28
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it's removing the tank, finding a place to get it refilled, and reinstalling it that is a pain in the butt.
I can suggest a place for you to fill your tanks if you are ever up here in Maine...It's a little pricey, but I know where it is!
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Old 07-28-2016, 10:28 PM   #29
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I can suggest a place for you to fill your tanks if you are ever up here in Maine...It's a little pricey, but I know where it is!
With a smart phone, it isn't difficult to determine where propane can be purchased, it's having to drive in unfamiliar locations to find the retailer. And pricey is a relative term. I spent 2 weeks in Canada after the rally in order to go to Jasper and Banff and to travel the Icefields Parkway. Gasoline was pricey in Canada, approximately $1.15/liter, or roughly $4.40/Canadian/gallon. Given the exchange rate, that equated to @ $3.60/gallon in U.S. funds, while gasoline in the U.S. was fluctuating around $2/gallon. But I gladly parted with my money because it was a necessary expense if I were to go where I wanted to go. Having lived half my life in New England, I have been to Maine, and I would have no trouble finding propane there. But if I were out of propane and wanted it and the only place I could buy it was charging two or three times the current going rate, I would buy it anyway and run my refrigerator, my grill, or my firepit and be happy that I was able to do so. The bottom line is that the adventure and the memories are more important to me than the extra money I might have to spend to have an enjoyable time.
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Old 07-28-2016, 10:38 PM   #30
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I'm stingy with propane, water heater on for an hour twice a day. I have an electric heater built in which I use with hook ups which is about 75% of the time, most cooking outside, I do go through maybe 3-4 little propane bottles in a year and I've switched now to charcoal. Refrigerator is on 120v while sitting and on propane while under tow. I may try battery with the new 160 watt solar so my propane should last me awhile longer, at least till the next new and improved Escape comes out.
Jim would rather get a new trailer than get his propane tanks refilled. Loren
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