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Old 12-10-2013, 09:59 PM   #571
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

One other consideration regarding fuel efficiency is the unit that burns it. While I don't have any figures on the others, catalytic heaters are far and away the most efficient "users" of fuel. Somewhere around 95% when you factor in opening a window or such for oxygen supply. And because they are considered "100% efficient at the source" they require no venting. All in all, the "Cats" are a good choice for most heating demands.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
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Old 12-11-2013, 05:49 AM   #572
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

Yes, propane is dangerous. But, so is gasoline and even diesel fuel. If you maintain a diligent check for leaks, you will not have any problems. Plus, you can smell leaks because of the stinky stuff that is put in propane.

In the winter, there is low humidity. That causes dry air which can lead to dry flaking skin. Many people use a humidifier in the winter. The small amount of "moisture" that emanates from a propane catalytic heater is minimal, and is a useful thing in the winter.

I refer you to some info that I wrote in my thread about propane catalytic heaters.


Well, let's talk about them heaters for a bit, shall we?

Propane catalytic heaters are made up of a fibrous pad that is platinum strands. It looks similar to a steel wood pad.

Now, somehow magically, when the platinum fiber strands mix with a fuel source (propane) and oxygen, it produces a "glow heat".

The heaters are 97% fuel efficient and they do not have to be vented. You must, however allow for some oxygen intake from one of your windows.

The reason that they are 97% fuel efficient is because the fuel never combusts. In all combustion systems, whether it be automobiles or heating systems, there will be a carbon monoxide output.

On regular furnace type heating units, 30% of the heat value goes up the chimney (or, vent in the case of motorhomes). Those are the carbon monoxide exhausts from the combustion process.

With propane catalytic heaters, the only exhaust is carbon DIOXIDE, which is what we humans exhale, and water vapor.

Carbon dioxide is a non poisonous gas. When someone tells you to talk to your plants, it is because all plants strive on the breath you exhale while talking to them. The water vapor is also welcomed by the plants.

You may turn on many types of heaters in your abode, and you may notice how long it takes to warm the place up. That time frame is different with each type of heating mechanism.

I had a wood stove in my 64 International. I was living in Connecticut and doing carpentry. When I got home from work on a cold winter's day and the wood stove had died perhaps around noon that day, my bus was almost refridgerator temperature.

So I would load it up and keep my winter clothes on for an hour watching the flame and anticipating when it would be warm enough to play guitar. An hour later, I could remove some of my garb, but it was not for another hour that it would be warm enough to move my fingers on the guitar.

I love wood stoves, but for them to be a primary source of heat, they need a tender.

The great thing about a propane catalytic heater is that it is a radiant heater. It heats the mass of objects as opposed to heating the air. So start it up, sit in front of it, and instantaneously, it is like you are sitting in front of a fireplace. Those heat rays seek you out.

These types of heaters were developed in 1929 by the French. They wanted to develop a heater that they could use while working around airplane engines. It needed to safe as to not ignite the engine fuel.

Being that the catalytic action works at a significantly lower temperature, there is not enough temperature to ignite a combustion.

I have three of these 3000 BTU propane catalytic heaters. On low setting they put out 1000 BTU, on high, they put out 3000 BTU. The way your bus is insulated, it would be easy to heat it up with these heaters. You can also get larger heaters up to 8000 BTU.

They are called Safety Heaters because if, for any reason, the glow from the pad stops, a thermobulb will trigger a spring that shuts off the flow of propane. I have never had the glow stopping. From what I understand, that could only happen with a sustained flow of air across the surface.

They are silent, unlike RV furnaces that need 12 volts to drive the fan blower.

I have used my catalytic heaters while driving my my vehicles.

Here is a pic of one of mine.


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Old 12-11-2013, 08:59 AM   #573
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

While I am no physicist...I am in complete agreement with accordion. Did a fair share of reading and chatting with more than a few full-timers on different heating systems, and all things considered will go with a cat. I too LOVE a good wood burner and may include a small one. But more for the emotional/esthetic value than the heat. But hey, that's just my opinion...and ya know what they are like.

That's what's so great about these custom builds...we all get to try out our own ideas. For better or worse.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:02 AM   #574
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango
While I am no physicist...I am in complete agreement with accordion. Did a fair share of reading and chatting with more than a few full-timers on different heating systems, and all things considered will go with a cat. I too LOVE a good wood burner and may include a small one. But more for the emotional/esthetic value than the heat. But hey, that's just my opinion...and ya know what they are like.

That's what's so great about these custom builds...we all get to try out our own ideas. For better or worse.
The hydronic heat came free and is only a year old in my bus. If it does not work out, I can install another system. What, once the build is done we are not alllowed to tinker with them.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:33 AM   #575
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

"Tinkering" never ends mate! Ain't life beautiful!?
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:05 PM   #576
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

I finally figured out how to use my heating system. I have been using it all wrong.

This is how my system is hooked up.



It takes more than an hour to get the water up to 170. When I turn on the radiators the Wabasto runs almost nonstop. I could not figure out why the rear radiator was hooked up this way. Water does not really flow well through it and it puts out luke warm air. I was tired of wasting diesel heating the engine.

Then this morning light bulbs went off. Durango ran into the bed room because he could smell burnt rubber.

What happens when I shut off the shut off valve? I get this setup.



Now the water flows through the rear radiator and the engine acts like an expansion tank.

While at home for lunch, I tried it out. It took less than 15 minutes to get the water up to 170, and it is 28 out. When I turned on the radiator fans I had good heat out of the rear one. After another 15 minutes it was warm enough to be in a short sleeve shirt. Guess what, I'm not heating the engine.

Now I can turn on the shut off valve and the second water pump to pre-heat the engine when I get ready to travel.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:25 PM   #577
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

I was wondering about this. With it looped into the engine permanently you're heating that whole 1000lb+ hunk of iron, like trying to melt an iceberg with a candle. A simple cutoff and bypass will make that thing run much more efficiently and use very little fuel, and heat up quicker. If you wanted to get real fancy you could use a couple of electric solenoid valves so you just flip a switch to bypass it.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:31 PM   #578
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

Quote:
Originally Posted by porkchopsandwiches
I was wondering about this. With it looped into the engine permanently you're heating that whole 1000lb+ hunk of iron, like trying to melt an iceberg with a candle. A simple cutoff and bypass will make that thing run much more efficiently and use very little fuel, and heat up quicker. If you wanted to get real fancy you could use a couple of electric solenoid valves so you just flip a switch to bypass it.
I thought about a solenoid valve, but it would need a way to turn it on manually if it fails. For now I can walk out and turn it on myself. It only takes about 30 minutes to get the engine warn enough to start.
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Old 12-12-2013, 06:43 PM   #579
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

So I'm sitting in my bus hooking up my house batteries. It is 27 outside and 69 inside. Running the heat this way made a big difference.

I got my battery cables today, only cost $300.00. 60' of 1/0 cable at $4.19 a ft plus 40 copper lugs. Not a bad price, they don't charge to make them.

So now to move my heat over to the house batteries and run it off a thermostat. That and finish insulation is my goal for the weekend.
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:57 PM   #580
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Re: The Journey Visvi 1999 Thomas MVP ER

If you keep track of inside, and outside temp, how many times and for how long the heater cycles, I can calculate how many BTU per hour your bus is using to stay at set temp.

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