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Old 01-25-2017, 11:03 AM   #1
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Propane "wood stove" or fireplace

Anybody out there using a propane woodstove or fireplace in their bus?

We've used a conventional woodstove in our old bus for years but we want to be more portable in the new bus so we're thinking of going the route. We just did a week long trial run with a propane stove in the old bus and it was way too expensive for us to seriously consider. I figure we must be missing something.

Anybody having luck using a propane stove and not going bankrupt?

Yes I know there are propane heaters that work great but we have a real penchant for
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Old 01-25-2017, 11:34 AM   #2
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Ya...propane can be gone through quickly in anything other than a superinsulated rig, and then there is the condensation. My choice would be a combination and to use what fits the situation.

Engine heat for OTR.

Electric for when you can plug in.

Propane for short boondocking stays (the catalytic are most efficient).

Wood for extended boondocking (but you need a big supply).

No one solution will really cover all scenarios IMHO but, there is no replacement for extreme insulation if you plan on any cold weather stays...except driving further South.
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Old 01-25-2017, 01:58 PM   #3
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There are some really small high tech wood burners on the market now. But high tech always means high dollar.

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Old 01-25-2017, 02:32 PM   #4
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PS...by "Wood"...I am also including chip & pellet stoves, some of which are pretty darned efficient.
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Old 01-25-2017, 04:59 PM   #5
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My concern for wood stoves is insurance. For a home, wood stoves are insurable but full of regulations, for a mobile home, insurance gets tricky. For a converted bus, I doubt they would insure it if they knew about it. And if you had a wood stove without their knowledge and had a fire of any kind, I bet you would not be covered. Consult with your insurance provider before installing a wood stove.

I'm going propane/electric. Are there any propane heaters that are recommended? Like most people, I need something economical and well built.
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Old 01-25-2017, 05:08 PM   #6
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I bought the Olympia Wave 8. It's a propane powered catalytic heater and I haven't noticed any considerable moisture from it. It gets HOT and has been pretty fuel efficient as well.
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Old 01-25-2017, 07:15 PM   #7
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How is the smell with the Olympia?

I've looked at them, but the only catalytic heater I own, a Coleman, has a rather distinctive smell when it's running.
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Old 01-25-2017, 10:11 PM   #8
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I have a Diesel boat stove with a 40gal. tank between frame rails used during winter for heat and cooking
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Old 01-25-2017, 11:48 PM   #9
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Supposedly the Cat heaters are the most fuel efficient by a pretty big margin and generate less moisture as well.
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Old 01-26-2017, 12:13 AM   #10
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I have a propane fireplace and it is great for heating a 8ft bedroom area. Controlled by thermostat. About a $9oo unit bought on CL for $75. Wont touch the entire bus when it is below 50, but heats the bedroom nicely and i can sleep with it on. About $80 to $120 in propane during really cold months when it is on constantly. Other cold months maybe $50. Quite different from the wood stove that heats the living room to 70 and uses free tree limbs i find drivjng around town.

Good luck!
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Old 01-26-2017, 02:28 PM   #11
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We don't like propane because of the cost and because it is a wet heat. It can lead to real mold problems from it producing so much condensation. We have a Dickinson Marine Wood Stove and it heats about 200 sq ft. Our bus is 161 sq ft. Nothing like the crackle and smell of a real fire!
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Old 01-27-2017, 02:50 PM   #12
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An RV propane furnace (not a catalytic heater) puts no moisture in the bus, it is vented to the outside and the combustion air is also taken from outside. If used in cold climates you will need a larger capacity tank than a BBQ tank or you will be filling it quite often. but they are not super efficient but heat very well. When freezing temps last for a month I can go through 60 gal.
just remember with a wood stove you need to supply it with plenty of air for combustion and should be installed with a fresh air intake from outside the bus or it could deplete the air in the bus very rapidly. install the way they are installed in a mobile home . When I run my diesel stove I open the fresh air vent that is in the front of my bus for the driver down by my feet or open a window and you will be able to feel the air rush in. fire needs a lot of air
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Old 01-27-2017, 05:39 PM   #13
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I'm planning on using a dickenson marine P9000/ or P12000, propane stove. It is vented so it is not wet nor dry heat. I am quoting below an exerpt from this airstream forum post about heaters. Basically it says that the P9000 model will last 5 hours off 1lb of fuel on HIGH or 7 hours on LOW. Assuming it lasts 6 hours off 1lb, that would mean that 24 hours would use 4lbs, which would mean it would use about 8 cylinders a month max. Which is about $160/month. This is assuming the heater is running 24/7. I'm okay with that.

From "doorgunner"
Quote:
Last night low was 18F I had the Dickinson on all night on low without the blower. No other heat making devise was on. The low inside the AS was 49F as per the recording thermometer. Past nights when it has been 30F outside the inside low mid 60'sF. This unit is frugal on fuel, 7 hours on low fuel use 1 lb.On high 5 hours use 1 lb of fuel. Pretty good seeing as 1 gallon of propane is 4.2 lbs. That means this heater can run on low for 6 1/2 days straight on a tank like you use on the barbie.No power is required but the unit does have a 12VDC blower installed. without the blower the heat is silent. 5500 btu low,7500btu high.Cost $625. The direct vent design takes outside air in for combustion so there is no depletion of O2 in the AS. very nice indeed.This would be a great choice for anyone redoing a AS and not wanting to use the furnace
I have a tiny wood stove that I bought intending to put in the bus, but I have recently (like two days ago) decided that I am going to try and stick to propane only. I really want to have a wood stove, but having extra 20x20 counter space sounds irresistible. Also it will be easier to insure initially without a wood stove anyway.

I plan to get an AC/dehumidifer to help combat any moisture which makes it's way into the bus.
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Old 01-27-2017, 08:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TAOLIK View Post
I'm planning on using a dickenson marine P9000/ or P12000, propane stove. It is vented so it is not wet nor dry heat. I am quoting below an exerpt from this airstream forum post about heaters. Basically it says that the P9000 model will last 5 hours off 1lb of fuel on HIGH or 7 hours on LOW. Assuming it lasts 6 hours off 1lb, that would mean that 24 hours would use 4lbs, which would mean it would use about 8 cylinders a month max. Which is about $160/month. This is assuming the heater is running 24/7. I'm okay with that.



From "doorgunner"





I have a tiny wood stove that I bought intending to put in the bus, but I have recently (like two days ago) decided that I am going to try and stick to propane only. I really want to have a wood stove, but having extra 20x20 counter space sounds irresistible. Also it will be easier to insure initially without a wood stove anyway.



I plan to get an AC/dehumidifer to help combat any moisture which makes it's way into the bus.


The Dickinson wood stove I linked is a wall mount. I wouldn't have a wood stove if it was on the floor because of losing the space like you mentioned. We are moving into a bus for less-no bills. I certainly don't want a $200 propane bill every month. It cost us $200 to drive the entire east coast. I can't justify spending that every month. Wood is free, everywhere.


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Old 01-27-2017, 08:31 PM   #15
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Where'd you get $200 from? I laid out pretty conservative calculations running the heater 24 hours a day for 4 weeks, and said $160. Your ego is hurting my efficiency by 20%.

Wallmount or floor mount, taking up space is still the same. Since our two heaters are about the same size, I won't debate the size further.

On the note of space though, you may want to consider upgrading to pellets from free wood. I have no idea what kind of free wood you're planning to burn, where/how you're going to cut that free wood to a size that will fit into your stove, where you store that wood, and how often you tend to it. If I had that sweet stove you have, I would probably burn pellets in it. Going out in the cold to gather free wood, cut the wood to size, store them in the bus, it's just too much space/time for me to rely on soley.

I do like that solid fuel stove though, I watched some videos and think it's very cool.

Also East coast gas must be cheap/your bus must get much better gas mileage than mine. I'd be surprised if I got more than 700 miles with $200 here.

Best regards though, your bus looks sweet, your website does too.
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Old 01-27-2017, 09:03 PM   #16
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Ego? Just having a conversation. Rounding up is certainly better than undershooting. With a wall mount you still have plenty of space under it. You can wall mount it over a kitchen cabinet and not lose that cabinet. It burns coal too but I'm not into that. Free wood comes from fallen trees. I would like a pellet stone but even the smallest one is too big and again, takes up floor space. All things to consider I suppose.


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Old 01-27-2017, 10:16 PM   #17
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Dickinson Newport Diesel Fuel Heater p/n 00-NEW | eBay
diesel model, no electric required. so with our fuel tanks under the heater we would need a little pump to feed it. any one hook one of these up?
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Old 01-27-2017, 10:26 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by superdave View Post
Dickinson Newport Diesel Fuel Heater p/n 00-NEW | eBay
diesel model, no electric required. so with our fuel tanks under the heater we would need a little pump to feed it. any one hook one of these up?
Nope, makes good sense to me though. I'd like to know as well.

Quote:
Ego? Just having a conversation. Rounding up is certainly better than undershooting. With a wall mount you still have plenty of space under it. You can wall mount it over a kitchen cabinet and not lose that cabinet. It burns coal too but I'm not into that. Free wood comes from fallen trees. I would like a pellet stone but even the smallest one is too big and again, takes up floor space. All things to consider I suppose.
I generally don't round up other peoples numbers to discredit them, but we can put that behind us.

I still think space is space. If it goes above a kitchen cabinet, it's taking up counterspace. But since the stove I'm planning on takes up the same size, I'm really not trying to argue about this.

What I conclude from this is, that you would rather scavenge for wood and process it and prepare it for your 3/4 cubic foot stove. I totally respect that, I'm lazy and I would rather pour a half an hour of minimum wage into a propane tank on a daily basis during the winter instead of using that time to scavenge for fallen tree branches. Especially in an urban environment when the drive to find free wood (or pallets) could cost that in gas. We all build our busses to our own preferences.

However you could argue that if you burn pellets in that stove of yours it would be cheaper and more efficient than any of my suggestions. Definitely something for me to think about. It makes your stove much more appealing.
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Old 02-06-2017, 04:39 PM   #19
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You might consider a direct vent propane model like the ones from Empire.

Empire Direct Vent Space Heaters

I don't see many direct vent (vs non-vented catalytic or blue-flame) wall mount propane heaters which are able to run without a constant 110v supply. Empire heaters seem able to do that, since they are installed with millivolt thermostat modules and the blowers are listed as optional equipment.

Of course, there are also marine style options. These 5,000 btu direct vent propane heaters are pretty compact, and I'm debating the use of these or the Empire models for my build:

"Cozy Cabin" Propane Heater
https://www.westmarine.com/buy/dicki...2?recordNum=13

I'm leaning toward the Empire model because I don't think the Dickinson is thermostatically controlled.
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Old 02-10-2017, 01:01 PM   #20
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There's a lot to consider when debating heat source and fuel type. We live in MA and have both a Jotul Wood stove and a Dickinson Marine Propane Heater. Our bus is moderately well insulated but with original bus windows. The Dickinson heater would NEVER ever be able to keep our bus comfortable by itself once the outside temp drops below say 40F. Once is gets freezing or below I dont think anything other than a good hot wood stove would keep us warm. We do use the Dickinson to keep the bus above freezing when we are away for more than several hours at a time, and we sometimes even use it in conjunction with the wood stove on very cold nights. The Dickinson stove is nice, but realistically does not put out that much heat. I think you would need a very very very well insulated bus to rely on it alone.

my 3 cents
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