I'm trying to figure out the best and most economical way to heat the inside of the bus, and heat water for showers and faucets, without using propane or shore power. My bus is diesel powered, so I'm hoping to tap into the diesel tank for heating purposes.
The trouble is, diesel heating units, especially ones that include water heating, tend to be terribly expensive and would cost more than I paid for my bus. So far I've come up with the idea of using some marine products, Dickenson in particular. Here's one option:
A wall-mounted Dickenson heater with water heating coil. Advantages: Single heating unit for both purposes. Much lower electrical usage than an RV furnace. Possible disadvantage: Heating water may also heat the cabin, which I would not want during warm weather.
Here's an example:
Another solution might be to use the above heater only for cabin heat, and a separate heater for water. In this case, to save money since specialized diesel water heaters are incredibly expensive, I might go with a engine heat exchange / electric unit like this one:
http://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-mari ... --13915111
This would require some planning in order to not waste fuel or electricity, since I'd have to either run the engine, plug into shore power, or run the generator to get hot water. I could plan to take my showers shortly after arrival after motoring somewhere. Then the hot water heating would be essentially free. I might even be able to combine this unit with the Dickenson stove and water coil so that when I am
using the cabin heater, I can also heat the water in the tank at the same time.
Do any of you have other ideas that might help to figure out an optimal solution? What have you done in your buses?
In case you're wondering what about cooking, I think I'm going to go with a microwave oven and a butane countertop stove like this:
Yeah, I know the fuel canisters are relatively expensive, but the advantages as I see them are these:
--Inexpensive to buy
--Safe for indoor use
--Portable. I can move it to the picnic table in warm weather.
--Can be stowed in a drawer to free up counter space when not in use.
--Safety. No risk of a big tank explosion in the event of an accident on the highway. Fuel leakage limited to what's in a small canister.
Or maybe one of these so that I can do some baking:
This is a propane unit but I think it can be used with those relatively safe small Coleman propane bottles. Not sure if it's safe for indoor use.