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Old 10-11-2019, 07:39 PM   #1
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Question Wood Stove vs Radiant heater

So, I was looking at a conversion on Youtube yesterday and noticed that the couple had one of those heaters that resembles a radiator and is quite portable on wheels. I used one of these a lot when I lived in China, and loved it.

I've also seen a lot of lovely small wood stove implementations on both skoolie and tiny house projects, and while they seem really beautiful, most of the actual reviews of the Hobbit and a few others that I've watched indicate that the small stoves simply don't accommodate enough wood to keep a unit warm through the night.

Are the radiant heaters practical, from an energy consumption standpoint?

As always, all information and experience is useful and appreciated
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:49 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Beachvbguy View Post
So, I was looking at a conversion on Youtube yesterday and noticed that the couple had one of those heaters that resembles a radiator and is quite portable on wheels. I used one of these a lot when I lived in China, and loved it.

I've also seen a lot of lovely small wood stove implementations on both skoolie and tiny house projects, and while they seem really beautiful, most of the actual reviews of the Hobbit and a few others that I've watched indicate that the small stoves simply don't accommodate enough wood to keep a unit warm through the night.

Are the radiant heaters practical, from an energy consumption standpoint?

As always, all information and experience is useful and appreciated
We used one of those oil-filled roll around radiators in an unheated room of our house and it worked great. My gut says it would be pretty hard to pull off without shore power, but then again everything's possible with enough batteries.
If you're counting on keeping a fire burning through the night, you'll need something that can take larger pieces of wood. Our Cubic Grizzly needs pretty constant attention and it definitely won't burn through the night. I'm looking at those Chinese diesel heaters but I'm not really sure where I'd mount it.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:38 PM   #3
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We used one of those oil-filled roll around radiators in an unheated room of our house and it worked great. My gut says it would be pretty hard to pull off without shore power, but then again everything's possible with enough batteries.
If you're counting on keeping a fire burning through the night, you'll need something that can take larger pieces of wood. Our Cubic Grizzly needs pretty constant attention and it definitely won't burn through the night. I'm looking at those Chinese diesel heaters but I'm not really sure where I'd mount it.
Thanks.. Mfg/model for the diesel heater? Would you have a separate reservoir of diesel for that device? How safe does that feel for sleeping with it on? Traveling with it?
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:23 PM   #4
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When I was trying to get insurance, one of the questions they asked was about a wood stove. I said it will not have a wood stove. When that became an issue with the insurance I decided against a wood stove
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:55 AM   #5
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Thanks.. Mfg/model for the diesel heater? Would you have a separate reservoir of diesel for that device? How safe does that feel for sleeping with it on? Traveling with it?

I know very little about them, though there's a thread on here about Chinese diesel heaters. They're popular in the vanbuilding community and there are lots of youtube videos and a facebook page specifically about them. They can either be plumbed into the main diesel tank, or they can use a separate tank that usually comes with them (I think it's a 5 liter tank). Since the exhaust and air intake are all piped outside the bus, there shouldn't be carbon monoxide issues. You should have a detector installed anyway.
I'd just use my bus heater to travel, but I don't see why you couldn't travel with it running.


Aside from the size (5K or 8K) they seem to come in 2 flavors...the difference being one has a case so it's kind of a standalone unit. They're readily available on Amazon and Ebay. I know nothing about these specific brands, but this is the gist of it:

all-in-one unit


same thing, no case
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:15 AM   #6
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I have had one of those oil filled radiant heaters. In every RV I have owned over the last 25 years.

I only use them when I am connected to shore power. I used the propane forced air furnace when off grid in my RVs. Bus will have diesel heat.

I would love to have a wood stove just because I like sitting in front of the fire. Unfortunately, my insurance company has the same restriction so I am going to do without.

Regarding diesel heat: There is a thread here specificly discussing the Chinese diesel forced air heaters. I think Brokedown started the thread. Another option is a diesel hydronic heaters.

I am installing a Webasto Scholastic hydronic heater. It will be plumbed so that while parked it will heat my in floor radiant heat. When I get ready to go I can open the valves to the engine and preheat the engine. While underway I can turn the Webasto off and use engine coolant to heat my radiant heat.
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