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Old 05-20-2010, 05:02 PM   #1
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Reviving Heat Pump Discussion.

Okay, so I did a forum search on the subject of heat pumps. Granted, there is some info out there but consensus on the subject seems to be inconclusive and somewhat out of date. So I'd like to revive the discussion on it. Specifically, I'd love to see lots of posts on the following:

1. Who here actually has a reversible heat pump installed in their skoolie? Does it do an adequate job of both heating and cooling? How much power does it consume in each mode?

2. All-electric compression powered, or electric/propane (or some other fuel)? Advantages/disadvantages of each?

3. Are there any heat pumps that can be sufficiently powered with the square footage of solar panels that can fit on the top of a bus (combined with a battery bank for energy storage in the daytime for use at night)? What about a combination of solar power and liquid fuel for those units that are powered this way?

4. Have any of you found and installed any adequate method(s) of both heating and cooling that does not depend on shore power ("the grid"), the engine or genset? Please explain your setup. Can you use it on the road or only parked?

5. Store-bought unit or homemade? Details? Cost to build/install? Operating cost?
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Old 05-20-2010, 07:03 PM   #2
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Re: Reviving Heat Pump Discussion.

Swamp coolers only work in low humidity areas. We had a heat pump with electric furnace back up on our dbl wide when we lived in SC (the area where SC/GA/NC state lines meet). We definitely will never have another heat pump again.

For our bus we are considering a diesel furnace and I would like to build a portable Heat Grabber or two (Mother Earth News). I like the "Apartment" version since it doesn't need to be "tilted". I have about 4 decades of MEN on CDs and it includes the original plans. Since we are keeping part of the original bus windows, we will modify the collector to work with the window size and the top opening unless I can rig the windows to be "double hung". Perhaps a little stand alone solar fan can added to the set up. What I like about it is I can move the collector from one window to another depending on which side of the bus the sun is. It will also have to be able to be stored under the bus in a "bin" so that will also determine the construction. I'm figuring using one of the "bins" under the rear of the bus will hold the collectors when not in use.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It...t-Grabber.aspx
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It...t-Grabber.aspx this is the one I might build a modified version of
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Moder...r-Is-Back.aspx
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Hands...t-Grabber.aspx

http://www.motherearthnews.com/searc...heat%20grabber the search turns up more solar collectors

For cooling... we will duct a regular AC unit eventually. First I want to try solar deck vents with Snow Roof Coating. I've used the Snow roof coating on our current RV and it does an amazing job. Since we will keep a fair amount of windows, I'm hoping the vents can exhaust out the warm summer air and pull in the cooler air from outside.

http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?...600&id=1193043 I'm near a West Marine store here in Corpus (David doesn't dare let me in there again... pretty toys!!!) and I've actually held one in my hot little hands (Defender Marine is cheaper than West Marine). They seem to be very well made. We are considering the 1000CF (4" hole -- 9" overall dia) ones and placing one in the living area and one in the bedroom (rear). The solar power should run them even if we Wally-dock in a parking lot. I figure the lights in the parking lot will power the vents all night.

http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?...20600&id=45886 7" no battery back up but might be good for bathroom/shower vent
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:48 AM   #3
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Re: Reviving Heat Pump Discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Diesel/fuel oil furnaces require an ignition transformer, wouldn't be the best choice for boondocking on a battery bank. Fuel-oil (diesel) furnaces need to be cleaned/serviced yearly for proper performance/max-efficiency (though most are ignored until they stop working)....not cheap if you can't do it yourself. lol, they're dirty & they stink,
We used to have a fuel oil (diesel) furnace in one of our houses in NC. We swapped it out for a woodburning stove... now talk about dirty and then there was all that wood that I had to split, stack to dry, then move it into the house, clean the ashes out, etc. I guess it's all in what you are used to. We do not boondock a lot. Just when we travel. And we rarely hire anyone to do anything for us. We do it ourselves. As for a yearly maintenance, the suburban LP furnace (which I hate) in the Class C required yearly maintenance as well. We have yet to have a heating system that didn't require yearly maintenance. We have our reasons for going with diesel fuel. It should end up being a back up system anyway. I'm still designing a hydronic system. I'm fond of a backup system when it comes to heating systems and I need heating that will work for a couple of different situations.
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:48 PM   #4
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Re: Reviving Heat Pump Discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
The OP is asking about heating/cooling sources he can run from a battery bank, not what's cleanest or easiest

Smitty
Sorry I thought you were replying to my post. Sadly a battery bank can only go so far. Unless you have LOTS of space to carry a really big one (and a way to charge it). Darn, why can't we just be able to have it all!!!
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:10 PM   #5
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Re: Reviving Heat Pump Discussion.

Quote:
Sorry I thought you were replying to my post. Sadly a battery bank can only go so far. Unless you have LOTS of space to carry a really big one (and a way to charge it). Darn, why can't we just be able to have it all!!!
Yeah, hard for an RV to be self sufficient for extended boondocking with currently available technology. What we need is photovoltaic paint so that the whole vehicle can be a solar collector! (Rumor has it that this idea is actually being worked on by certain solar cell companies.) Or maybe a chameleon paint--one that lightens in warm temperatures and darkens in cooler temperatures. Oh, well. I can dream anyway.
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:35 PM   #6
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Re: Reviving Heat Pump Discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Locutus
...Oh, well. I can dream anyway.
Well I'm still waiting for the washer/dryer that washes, dries, folds/hangs and then puts up the clothes. Along with the dishwasher that washes and puts the dishes away. Even if they did come up with one of those labour saving devices, I could never afford it. But I can still dream... perhaps teflon clothes... don't get dirty, don't stain and don't wrinkle... never needs washing! Saves on water!!!!!
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