Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:27 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:45 am
Posts: 461
Location: Ames, IA
Most of our coaches have a heat strip in the overhead A/C, but only a few control the heat it produces with a thermostat. The heat and blower is either on or off in most of our units. I set out to install a thermostat in our unit, the process and result, I share.

I could have done it two ways, have the thermostat control both the fan and heat or just the heat strip. I chose the latter, thinking every time the blower came on in the night, it would wake us up. We also use just the fan for "white" noise when we are camping near a highway or train track, so I wanted that to run constantly whenever the heating circuit was on.

Materials are 6' of #12-2 Romex, 4 wire nuts, an outlet box and an electric heat wall thermostat. NOTE: The heat strip is 1500 watts, making smaller #14 wire a bit marginal.

First I removed the A/C interior shroud. On the passenger side, I found black & white wires going from the switch to the heater. I cut the black one somewhere in the middle and stripped the ends. There is a built in chase AKA wire channel on each side of the A/C going toward each side of the coach (thwartships to you sea faring men). I removed the microwave oven and ran the Romex through the chase into the oven cavity. Cut a hole in the plywood facing forward and installed the outlet box and thermostat. Then I installed wire nuts to connect the Romex to the black heater wires I had parted. After I put everything back together.

Note that the thermostat needed for this purpose should be a 120-volt AC, line voltage thermostat rated for at least 20 amps.
However you could use a low voltage (24 VAC) furnace thermostat, as long as you incorporated a relay to handle the 120 VAC line voltage (and wattage) needed for the heat strip. This method would be more costly and a longer way around the barn, but it would work fine.

Also make sure the thermostat is the type (i.e. RV type) that does not use a mercury bulb as a switch. Mercury thermostats, normally used in homes, have to be installed perfectly level to work accurately. As one quickly realizes------that style would not suitable for an RV for obvious reasons.

Turn the A/C switch onto heat, the fan runs, turn the thermostat up and the heater comes on. The whole job cost less than $8, thanks to that yard sale thermostat.

George Boley
"Driving Miss Daisy" in a 1999 22' RD
knowledge can't be lost, provided it is shared

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