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Old 06-29-2012, 04:51 AM   #1
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Default Dogs and Record High Temps

Hi,
This topic might have been addressed before, but I haven't found a thread about handling dogs in Class B's in the heat.

We took a 2-1/4 hour trip to a state park, leaving early evening Tuesday and planning to return today (Thursday). Yesterday's temps were high, but not as bad as today. We left the dogs in the van for about an hour and a half at the outside. We were careful to park in the shade and figure the direction of the sun. We have done this once before earlier in the spring, when it was also hot, but not to today's extreme. We ran the generator and coach a/c. Upon our return, the coach was cool and they were fine. However, a few minutes after we returned there was a change in the sounds and the "fault" light went on, on the generator panel. My husband called Brad, the contact for LTV issues, who said that the generator was most likely overheated and suggested we give it a try again after cooled down. We tried it today and found that the generator wouldn't keep running when the a/c was on. The heat today was extreme.

No damage done at this point, as far as the dogs go. HOWEVER, we had to drive the 2 and 1/4 hour return trip from the park to home today. One of our two is a senior citizen. We have them in safety harnesses that attach to the seat belts on the rear sofa and are the same as we use in the car. I opened all of the windows in the rear for them and we were generally traveling at enough speed to keep up a breeze, but every time I went back there it felt unbearably hot. We would have had no problem running the generator for them to keep the house cool, but with the problems we had had we didn't want to do that. The overhead exhaust fan is scary because of its lid. You are supposed to close those before you travel, aren't you? We turned up the engine a/c full blast and directed the vents backwards as well as we could, but it was SO hot that cranking up the engine a/c, if anything, made it less efficient. We stopped along the way on the trip, but that wasn't much help given that the senior doggie has problems getting in and out, especially when she's stressed, and everywhere was HOT. The main goal seemed to be to get home to the a/c.

Today was like so many things in my experience with hiking, camping, and the like; it is sometimes the excursions that seem the simplest that end up causing the most problems. This was a trip that's an easy day trip. We never would have thought we would be putting the pups at risk. I especially wouldn't have expected to put them at risk by not running the coach air while traveling at speed. I keep water bottles in the freezer all day long and replace them with new ones as they are used. That way we have a constant supply of cold water and they definitely love it.

The whole experience was scary. I don't know what we would have done if we had been further from home. That's not entirely true, if it were an overnighter it would be easy to check into a hotel. What do other people do who travel with pets? I'm terrified of a gen failure.
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: Dogs and Record High Temps

Some sort of temperature monitor that will phone out an alarm might help.
You'd have to set the alarm at a low enough temperature to give you time to get back.

This iPhone app might do it:

Quote:
ALARMS
- Setup upper and lower limit alarms
- Call other phones (iPhone only)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/icelsius ... 12879?mt=8
with this accessory:
http://www.icelsius.com/index.php

I'd call them to discuss before purchase.

I don't recall reading about a generator overheating before.

There maybe other mobile temperature monitors out there.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Dogs and Record High Temps

Anyone know if Vernon Longhibler still makes the Pet Safety Heat Alarm System?

http://www.motorhomemagazine.com/rv-rev ... rm-system/

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's another:

http://www.tiptemp.com/products/34593/t ... ert-system
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Old 06-30-2012, 04:41 AM   #4
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Default Re: Dogs and Record High Temps

We usually let our small dog ride up front with us. She curls up on the floor between us where she's kept cool by the van a/c. We don't generally run the coach a/c while driving, but then we don't usually travel when it's exceptionally hot either.

I suppose having the dogs restrained on the back sofa would be safer from an accident point of view, but the back sofa ride is pretty bumpy, and our baby already has a sensitive tummy...we sometimes have to clean up throw up and, once, a diarrhea attack.
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: Dogs and Record High Temps

We have cats and haven't traveled with them, but if we did, we'd assume that there may be
times when extreme heat might be a problem. Keep water handy and let them roam forward
to the cooler area in the van cab is probably the only option if driving is necessary. You also
suggested stopping at a hotel/motel, or you could find a campground with electrical hookups,
and plug in and run your coach/roof air off electricity.
It's a risk you take when traveling with pets.

Re-read your post and saw you opened the windows at the rear of the van for a breeze?
I would probably have closed up the windows and vents and let the dash AC cool the interior
as much as possible. From personal experience, driving I-15 near Las Vegas in March, or I-17
near Phoenix in October, I think allowing the hot outside air to come in, would probably not be
much use to cool anything or anyone. Close it up, and set the dash AC as high as practical to
cool as much as possible.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Dogs and Record High Temps

Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is the first time I've been online in several days and I want to look up the alarm systems you all mentioned right away. However, I am about to leave to go into the city for the fireworks, even though we are having all time record heat for fourth of July. We are doing this mainly because we know we will regret it if we don't. Dogs are definitely not included in this event, not solely because of the heat, either. That's another story.

I wondered, also, about whether I should shut their windows. When we were kids none of the cars had a/c, so you always had to be patient until the car started moving and you cooled off. We would just fight to get the windows. But wow, when I went back there it was a hot wind, and I, too, thought of trips through desert country. If we had been stuck for a longer trip, I would have probably belted the senior citizen into the front passenger seat for a while and sat in back with the younger one. I really don't feel comfortable traveling with them unrestrained.

We are still figuring out the generator problem. Evidently it may be a warranty issue. I do want to check into heat warning systems. I wonder how they work in bad or no reception areas?

Happy Fourth of July!!
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Old 07-05-2012, 01:25 AM   #7
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Default Re: Dogs and Record High Temps

Happy Birthday, America.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:53 AM   #8
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Default Re: Dogs and Record High Temps

Wow, I was reading those sites and they were really scary. I'm such a newbie I have never experienced a campground power problem. I'd be willing to spend the money on one of those systems if I trusted it not to fail. Not sure I could.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:55 PM   #9
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We were on a trip out west last year when our AC stopped working and we had our "senior" dog with us. We were camp in Las Vegas with electric. After a day on the strip we returned and discovered the AC was running but no cold air. Inside tempts were in the low 80's. Long story short.....now when we leave for the day and it is warm/hot out, we open the rear windows 1.5"-2", open and set the Fantastic Fan to turn on when the temp's reach a certain temp inside, have a small fan blowing in the area the dogs (we now have 2) camp out (the bed), and run the AC. If the AC should stop working, we now have a safety net in place. We would rather have open windows and fans going while running the AC, then to come back and discover the worst case scenario. As far as cooling the back while driving, we keep ALL windows closed and the front AC keeps the entire area cool. If you have the Fantastic Fan, they guarantee it is ok to drive with the vent open. We never found a need to. We let our dogs roam freely all the time. They adjust to the movement of the van and mostly like sleeping on that big comfy bed in back
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Old 07-14-2012, 03:46 AM   #10
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Default Re: Dogs and Record High Temps

3 problems - unreliable AC, using a Fantastic Fan on thermostat as a backup for failed AC, and leaving
pets unattended in vehicles in hot weather.
Not much you can do about your AC except have it checked before you go. And hope it works well.
The FF is only going to move hot air from the outside through the inside of your van. Might help,
but probably not much if the temps are 85F or above outside. Your pets will be in distress pretty quick.
If you travel with pets, you have to assume the systems which will keep them comfortable might fail.
Keep in mind, your safety net (FF) could fail, too. It's battery operated.
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:04 PM   #11
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Mike, our back up plan is just that...a back up plan. The odds of the AC, FF and battery failing all at the same time IMO would be rare. It gives us peace of mind knowing that if we loose electric and/or the AC stopped working, the FF will create a breeze and draw out the warmer heat that rises to the top. The FF uses very little power and will run for several hours on battery. We also line ALL our windows with Reflectix to reduce heat inside. We know a family that accidentally closed the doors on their vehicle with their dog in it. There was no way for the heat to escape and their dog died a terrible death. The FF will draw in warm air, but also draw out the warmer air that rises to the top and cause a breeze. People without AC, you will find them sitting in front of a fan with the windows open to cause a breeze. Leaving your pets home in someone else's care is great, but not everyone has that option. And leaving your pets at a pet resort is good too, but they are not always available where you are stopped. One of the reason's we got our Class B was for our pet(s). Having a generator allows us to run the AC when needed (shopping, eating, hiking, biking..etc), and we still use our back up plan "just in case". Those of us who "love" our pets want to keep them safe, and having a back up plan in case our back up plan fails is peace of mind. We left our dog sit in an open cage with a 3 sided dog house, in direct sun, in sweltering heat and humidity, and a storm hit while we took a tour. We worried about her the whole time, then we experienced the AC stopped working. Hence...the back up plan was put into place.
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Old 07-14-2012, 05:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: Dogs and Record High Temps

Jim/Darlene, I understand the odds of all 3 systems failing is probably pretty remote, but I would hate to
have it happen, for obvious reasons. The reason I commented at all, was that I've used the FF in our van
overnight, just north of Phoenix in 90F+ daytime heat last October, and it did little to cool the inside
of the van. It did move the air some, but just replaced the inside hot air with fresh outside hot air.
It ran all night on the lowered thermostat setting, to try to bring the inside temperature down to the
"blue" zone on the dial, but the fan just ran all night. And that was in the dark, no sun beating down,
as could happen during the day. It was uncomfortable.
Have you tried your backup system in a hot environment to see how much cooling you can actually expect? It might be worth testing. Sorry, it's just the Devil's Advocate in me. Or, the Boy Scout?

BTW, did you find out what the AC problem was? Just curious.
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:08 PM   #13
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Default Re: Dogs and Record High Temps

I feel physically sick reading some of these horror stories about dogs, especially the one about the people who closed the doors.

We did find out what the deal is with our generator failing. This was a newbie error, I believe. The generator is okay. We were running the air conditioning, which as we all know draws a lot of current. Meantime, we had set the water heater to the electric setting to save on propane while hooked up. We thought it was switched back to propane, but there is a switch in the compartment outside the van that we hadn't switched back to propane. The generator service people told us that the water heater draws current continuously and that in combo with the a/c caused it to overload.

Now here are a couple of questions for the more experienced people. They told us that there's a 30 amp propane generator available that MIGHT fit into the space, but they would have to make the fittings, etc., even if it did fit. It would be a pricey upgrade. Question: if this is a viable possibility, how come I don't recall seeing this listed as an optional upgrade on the new vans?

Also about generators: my Dad was driving a 1970's model with a gas generator. It ran on gasoline and had a safety switch that would cut it off if your gas got below a certain level so you wouldn't get yourself stranded. The generator people told us that there IS such a thing as a diesel generator (also pricey) that would presumably be small enough to fit in the LTV. Also evidently it has a long, long lifespan like a diesel engine. Again, I'm wondering why, if this is a viable possibility, it isn't offered as an option on new vehicles.

TIA
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:13 AM   #14
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Mike, our AC coils froze up. When the AC wasn't cooling we were fortunate to find someone (highly recommended by the campground) to look at it. By the time we drove to their shop (20 min) it was working just fine. They said with the type of climate in Vegas these RV AC units should be run on high at all times. Since then, we run it on high almost exclusive now, and we have not had the problem again. When we returned home, we contacted someone locally who basically said the same thing. At first we thought it needed freon, but our local guy had us test the cold air with a temp gage to see if that was the case. Yes, we have tested our "back up" system in temps above 80 degrees. With the Reflectix in the windows it makes a big difference keeping the temp down. Walking into the van with the windows closed and no fans, it is very warm and stuffy. But with the FF going it's very warm and breezy. The most important thing is having the fans going, keeping the air moving and warmer air exiting out the top. Not the ideal situation, but hopefully, better results.
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:44 AM   #15
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TIA, don't feel like you are the only ones who makes mistakes. We did the exact same thing. Frustrated us why our genny kept shutting off. Then, bang, we thought it at the same time...WATER HEATER IS ON ELECTRIC!!! I'm not sure I believe the water heater draws current continuously tho. I believe it works just like any other electric heater, where it reaches a certain temp they turn off. We have not tested our "safety switch" to shut off when the gasoline got below a certain point (1/4 tank sticks to my mind), but it's suppose to be there. You'll have to contact the dealers about the options on their models regarding generators. I have read that the diesel engines run better, or have less problems, because they do not contain ethanol like gasoline does. With the gasoline engines, it is important to run them monthly for a couple of hours to prevent them from gumming up the engines. If they are not maintained properly, it can be very expensive to get it back in working condition. The gasoline engines are known to run for ever too, if properly maintained. We do like having our genny running from the chassis tank instead of having to carry around a separate container. There are pros and cons to all situations and preferences by everyone. There are advantages to having the genny "installed" vs carrying one separate...again preferences.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:13 AM   #16
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OK, here's a foot in mouth situation. Is TIA your name, or "thanks in advance"? My sister is a text-aholic
and I tend to look at short words in caps as some sort of texting acronym. If your name is TIA, hi.
Anyway, TIA, that's a good answer to the generator issues. I wonder if others might benefit from the
knowledge about dual source water heaters drawing enough wattage/amperage when set on electric
to shut down a generator when running the A/C at the same time. My Roadtrek manual mentions
running more than one high draw appliance (A/C and Microwave) at the same time, may cause
the generator to struggle or shut down, presumably.
Most generator equipped RVs do have a low fuel shutoff to prevent stranding the vehicle without fuel somewhere. They usually do it by setting the fuel uptake hose to a set level inside the vehicle gas tank
at the 1/4 tank level. When the vehicle gas tank gets down to 1/4 full, the generator starves for fuel.
For future reference, most generators will also shut down when they run low on oil.
A propane or diesel generator option is probably more expensive than the Onan gas models that most
RV converters use. Probably comes down to price, and keeping manufacturing costs down. I think the
gas models will work for a long time, if tested and serviced regularly. I run mine about every 3-4 weeks
with load for a half hour. So far, so good. I did have to get it repaired not long after we bought our
van and the service guy said it looked like it had suffered some corrosion from lack of use.

yizit - I've heard of A/C coils freezing in extremely hot temps when not run flat out. Good info that
it does happen, and to run your A/C at max in extremely hot weather. And, it wan't anything major,
and basically fixed itself? That's a bonus. We tried the Fantastic Fan in Phoenix overnight, because
we were dry camping and didn't want to run the genset to power the A/C. The fumes are dangerous,
and it's too noisy to sleep with it running, so we thought we'd try the FF instead. Experimentally
speaking, it was dismal failure. It just pulled hot fresh air in, but didn't provide much relief from
the heat. I hope it works as a solid, reliable, backup for you when you're on the road with "kids".

UPDATE: I just saw Jim and Darlene's post, got in just before this one, and we do agree on many
generator facts and fallacies. Particularly, running them frequently with or without load (in summer
run your A/C, in winter, you can run a small electric space heater for a while), and they will last a
long time. It's considered best to run them for a few minutes to let the generator warm up, than add
the load to them as exercise.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:20 AM   #17
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Default Re: Dogs and Record High Temps

re: 30 amp propane generators and diesel generators are not used because typical Class B use can make do without them. They would unnecessarily add to the cost and weight of the RV. It would be nice if they were made available as a higher end option for those that require more amperage or convenience of running the generator on diesel in a diesel van.

I think Sportsmobile is the only Class B with a diesel generator option. It is a 25 amp model and costs $2,700 more than the 20 amp propane Onan.
The 30 amp propane Onan is 60 lbs heavier, 6 inches longer, 3 inches wider and 2 inches taller. It is 2db quieter. It would only add $600 or so over the cost of the 20 amp model.

The water heater should not use too much propane. Try turning it on 10 minutes before you need it and turn it off when your done. The water stays hot for a long time and after evening use it is still warm the next morning in our van.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:30 AM   #18
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Default Re: Dogs and Record High Temps

For the true generator enthusiast - decisions, decisions?
http://www.generatorsales.com/order/033 ... age=H03369
I didn't realize how heavy these high amp brutes are. 222 lbs. for this one.
I think 73dB at 7 meters is pretty quiet, no?

markopolo: these guys are just down the road from you. sort of. 300 miles/6 hours drive.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:30 PM   #19
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73dB would be loud. I have a 7800w peak Champion rated at 74dB that is very loud. I dislike even periodically exercising it because of the noise. I have it in case we ever have an extended power outage at the house. Onans are typically rated 68 dB and some are 70 dB. Compare that to a Honda EU3000iS 58 dB(A) @ rated load, 49 dB(A) @ 1/4 load.
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:38 PM   #20
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LOL! Not my name either. Actually I just started using "TIA." Just trying to be trendy, I guess.

Anyhow, thanks for all the information. Our ceiling fan is really powerful and has worked well for most overnighters, so far. During the record highs that I mentioned, not so much, but we were plugged in overnight so a/c worked fine.

We are just going to have to wing it about leaving the dogs alone. Twice now we've been at places that offered kennels, but in each case they were unattended bare cages. At Mammoth Cave, they are outdoor and near some employee housing and can be locked with a padlock. However, they aren't 100% shaded and inevitably at some times of day would be in the sun. Even in April it was very warm and muggy there. We found a shady parking place in a picnic area and ran the fan. Worried about leaving them, but it worked okay. If the park had been more crowded during the regular tourist season, I don't believe we could have gotten away with parking where we did. The regular lot has NO shade.

We are about to leave on a trip and I forgot about the reflective stuff. I hadn't heard the "Reflectix" name before, but I am about to google it and see what turns up.

Thanks again!
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