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Old 09-14-2007, 10:56 AM   #1
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Mr. Heater propane heater

Have any of you ever used one of those Mr. Heater propane heaters that fit on top of a 20# LP tank in your bus while sleeping? I know they are not rated for indoor use bus I can't imagine that an old school bus would be too airtight, especially if I left a window cracked a little.
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Old 09-14-2007, 02:22 PM   #2
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Re: Mr. Heater propane heater

This is a touchy subject. I will start by saying don't do it. If you want to use a portable heater like that spend the extra money and get the catalytic version which IS rated for indoor use.

That said...we live by Mr. Heaters up here in northern Minnesota. They are one of the most common ways you see people heating up their ice fishing houses. Even the people that have the fancy ventless wall hung heaters often have a Mr. Heater as a back up and to get the place warm quickly. Our hunting shack is a 1970 wobbly. The big old fuel oil stove (it has a carb/metering block thing...no electricity...it's old) does a reasonable job of keeping up, but on a clear, windy night the temp drops in their dramatically. I know the old men use a Mr. Heater up until before they sleep but they are probably 50 feet from the furnace. Our room is much closer, but we crack ours on in the morning before we get out of our sleeping bags. The common point is that at no point are they used when we are sleeping and that mobile home is less air tight than the bus.

In junior high school a fellow football player and kid I graduated with lost his brother to carbon monoxide poisoning from a Mr. Heater in a travel trailer.

My recommendation? Take it and use it when you're awake. Get a catalytic version for when you're sleeping (or even one of those ventless heaters) and install CO detectors. Your life is not worth the few extra bucks to buy an indoor rated heater.
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Old 09-14-2007, 04:07 PM   #3
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Re: Mr. Heater propane heater

Myself I have not tried using any propane heater in the bus yet. Currently when at a campground I'll use a electric heater on top of the sink covers where I have plenty of space for the heater. I do sleep comfortly doing this. If I was boondocking somewhere and needed heat I would either run the generator or just fire up the bus for a while until it gets warm enough inside and shut it down until I wake up cold enough to do it again. But then again I can sleep comfortably at 50 degrees using a couple heavy blankets. My problem is during the summer since I don't care for 90 plus days and nights.

I'd recommend more blankets myself.
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Old 09-14-2007, 05:35 PM   #4
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Re: Mr. Heater propane heater

I bought one of those indoor rated Mr. Heater "big buddy" heaters last fall and tried that in the bus. They look like this.



I never had much luck getting it to work. It would turn on and heat up, but I don't think it ever really heated the bus... and this was the big model - rated for 18,000 BTU's. After what seemed like less than an hour of use it kept shutting off. I thought it was the low O2 shutoff making it do it but when I removed the 1lb propane tanks they felt empty. I ended up returning it to the store.

Last week I bought one of those wall mount ventless propane heaters off Craigs list for $40 bucks. They guy says he only used it for about 2 weeks. In the store this same model is $160



I need to get the right kind of hose to hook it to my 20lb grill propane tank. When I do I'll let you guys know how well it works. It's rated for 30,000 BTU's so it should keep the bus nice and warm.

I also have a carbon monoxide detector in my house that's removable, I plan on taking it with me in the bus when I intend on using a heater like this.
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Old 09-14-2007, 07:25 PM   #5
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Re: Mr. Heater propane heater

That heater is very similar to what we use to heat ice houses during the winter. They seem to work rather well though they can be a bit slow to do the initial heat up. Of course that is from 0 degrees to 70 degrees. I would imagine a bus would be nice and warm when you parked it.
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:57 PM   #6
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Re: Mr. Heater propane heater

i agree that a mr heater is fine when you're awake and moving about the bus, but you should absolutely not sleep with it on. Every year in michigan hunters end up dead because they fell asleep inside their tent/cabin with a heater that's not rated for indoor use filling the space with co. I believe in safety 3rd, and i wouldn't sleep with one of those heaters on.

Sleeping when 20 degrees outside isn't bad if you have the right sleeping bag....it's getting out of bed in the morning that is really a drag!

in my first bus i installed a regular house propane forced air furnace. WOW! it made so much heat that I could leave the windows down and the front door open and still keep it hotter than haties in there. The problem i had with it was regulating the temperaure in teh bus. The thermostat would tell the furnace to shut off at 70 degrees and the flame would go out, but the fan would continue to run until the heat exchanger inside cooled off, which might not be until 80 degrees or higher. I did like the furnace though. It was a scrap furnace i got from the heating cooling guy for $40....it would have been free but it was natural gas and he switched it over to propane for me.
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Old 09-14-2007, 10:11 PM   #7
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Re: Mr. Heater propane heater

Well it looks like the verdict is not to use it. I did read the instruction manual that came with it today and it does have some specs for running it indoors. From what what I gather it will be fine as long as I have two bus windows down, one in the front and one in the back. Seems to me that would let all the heat out though. I'll give you a report on Monday how it went. We are going to use it for tailgating so I'm sure people will be awake off and on all night long, there won't be much sleeping tonight.
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Old 09-16-2007, 10:14 AM   #8
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Re: Mr. Heater propane heater

please get a co detector. It could save your life. I used the wall mount ventless in the first bus. it heated well, but all the heat went up to the ceiling leaving the floor cold. After the conversion, the bus was almost airtight, the heater's low o2 sensor would shut the heater off if I covered the ceiling vent, this was before the co detector went off. That being said, read the specs, if it has a low o2 shutoff, it SHOULD shut off before there is even enough co to set off the co detector. Just be careful!
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Old 09-16-2007, 01:05 PM   #9
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Re: Mr. Heater propane heater

Last winter, I bought a radiant plaque heater for a basement room I spend a lot of time in the winter months. The heater is a ventless and has a thermostat that regulates when it is on/off. I find it very comfortable and convenience. I am cautious about trusting it though. I never leave it going for sleeping or leaving the room for any length of time. I have thought of using it for my newly bought bus, I just want to be more confident in how it will work in there. I will use it in a couple of weeks but I will probably will continue the practice of turning it off for sleeping and when we are not in the bus.

Radiant heat is instantly warm. Its much like the warm sun that hits you when you are out on a cool morning. Anyone one else use radiant heat? The dealer I bought my heater from gave me pros and cons about selling it. He said that he has had customers that were displeased with it because it put too much water in the air. I found out that those customers were running it flat out in a large room with no inside to outside air exchange. The dealer had me take it for two weeks to try and make my own thoughts. Mine is just supplement heat and is wonderful for the basement room. It will be a learning experience to see what it does in the bus on a cold fall day.
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Old 09-16-2007, 08:30 PM   #10
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Re: Mr. Heater propane heater

I purchased a 3-brick, 16,500 btu, indoor ventless propane heater for my bus and have been VERY happy with it! I also have co2 detectors, but I simply choose to turn the heater OFF when I go to bed just to ensure I have no co2 or fire-in-the-hole issues. I intentionally bought one without the automatic thermostat as they don't waste as much propane. It does an amazing job of warming the whole bus up quickly (especially when I turn on a 6" fan to circulate ambient air), and once warmed, maintains temperature very well at the lowest setting.

I replaced my vented, blue flame-chambered unit with it and don't use HALF the propane I used to. That vented, blue flame unit heated outside the bus better than inside. I have never regretted the swap!
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