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Old 09-19-2006, 09:43 AM   #1
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HEAT

So Winter is comming up and I'm starting to think about heating options for my bus. I was at Menards last night and seen one of these 18,000 btu portable heaters on sale for $99 - I wrote the specs down and looked around online and see them going for $125 + shipping on most sites. So it seems like a good deal.

http://www2.northerntool.com/product-1/200307957.htm

I like the idea of one of these rather than a wall mounted unit because 95% of the time I really dont need a heater in the bus.

Anyone use something like this to heat their bus?

It claims to heat 400 sq/ft. which seems like it would be enough to keep the bus warm. But busses dont really hold heat that well. It also can run off 2, 1lb cyl's or a 20lb tank (same as a grill tank?) which I usually have with me on a trip anyway.

What do you guys think?
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Old 09-19-2006, 03:14 PM   #2
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I've been kicking around the idea of using hydronic baseboard heat in my bus. It's unobtrusive and easy to do. I'll put valves on my radiator totally isolating it from engine cooling system so that 100% of the coolant heat goes through the system. That along with the weather front on the motor to keep it from being air cooled as much as possible should help make hydronic heat work. Even with basebaords on both sides for the whole length of the bus, I'm prepared to have to also install a head exchanger coil with some forced air heat as well. I just like that hydroic heat makes it easy to use an electric boiler, propane boiler, the engine, even solar to heat the bus.
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Old 09-19-2006, 04:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_experience03
I've been kicking around the idea of using hydronic baseboard heat in my bus. It's unobtrusive and easy to do. I'll put valves on my radiator totally isolating it from engine cooling system so that 100% of the coolant heat goes through the system. That along with the weather front on the motor to keep it from being air cooled as much as possible should help make hydronic heat work. Even with basebaords on both sides for the whole length of the bus, I'm prepared to have to also install a head exchanger coil with some forced air heat as well. I just like that hydroic heat makes it easy to use an electric boiler, propane boiler, the engine, even solar to heat the bus.
I have the stock rear heater core & fans in my bus which do a fine job when the bus is running. I was thinking of something to use when camping - mainly overnight. We camped in Canada last May & it was down in the 30's at night - I froze my ass off. I think something like this portable heater would work great for a situation like that.

I could have left my engine running all night but I like the idea of an indoor approved, portable heater better.
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Old 09-19-2006, 04:17 PM   #4
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What about a boiler like Jason runs for the jacuzzi? Those portable heaters are great, but cost $$$ to run.
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Old 09-19-2006, 07:41 PM   #5
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I used the smaller one of these - 9000 btu's and just holds 1 one pound bottle instead of two.
It would be better if it had a fan in it to push the hot air around - seemed as though if you were 6" from it it would catch your pants on fire - if a foot away it was like it wasn't even there. This winter I'll just try putting a fan behind it or something. It did heat the ceiling right over itself very well.

Used about one bottle a night as I remember on the high setting. I got an adapter and hose and ran it off of a 20 lb. cylinder, as those little ones get kinda pricey after a while.

I've wondered if those Olympian wave (I think that's what they're called) ones are any better? Anybody use one of those? Everyone speaks well of them, but they don't appear to be any different than the 'Buddy" heaters, just more expensive.
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Old 09-19-2006, 09:18 PM   #6
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Don't you guys worry a little about carbon monoxide poisining? I too am planning to put in hydronic heating in my bus. I figure on using a dedicated water heater (suburban 10 gal DSI) for the heat source. I just have to figure out the manifold layout as well as the mechanics of it all. Hope it works...
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Old 09-19-2006, 09:53 PM   #7
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I've lived in my Travel Trailer for the last 2 winters, and hope to be in the bus this winter. Even though the TT had a propane furnace (one that is properly exhausted to the outside) I rarely used it, only on occassion when I wanted some very fast heat. For regular heating, I used one 36" baseboard style electric space heater, and only used it on the low/600W setting. If it got really cold (we had a few nights down into the teens) I had a second fan forced electric space heater, I also would run it only on the low/700w setting. The two of them together used less power than a single unit on full power/1500w setting...I placed them forward and aft in the trailer.

I plan to use the same thing in the bus, but perhaps utilize two of the basebaord units...one in the rear bedroom, the other in the living room. I just feel much safer with the electric heat than the propane due to carbon Monoxide. I also get electricity supplied in my monthly rent here at the campground, propane I have to pay for!!

Be that as it may, the fifth wheel donor trailer had a nice 18,000btu ducted furnace in it...not sure if it still works, I don't think it was ever used and looks like it's in really great condition. Even if one or more components are bad, I can buy the parts and pieces as needed. Long story short, I'll have a furnace should the need arise...but still would rather use THEIR electricity than MY propane!!
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Old 09-20-2006, 12:05 AM   #8
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Wood stoves.... Hmmmm..... Open flame, dirty, fuel is bulky and relatively expensive, takes up a lot of room, but otherwise I can't really see anything basically wrong with them.
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Old 09-20-2006, 02:28 AM   #9
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If you have the coin, I think a pellet burner might be the way to go. They are quiet, cheap, and really crank out the BTU's. Unfortunately they are pretty spendy and cumbersome. That's why I still want to go with hydronic heat. It's unotrusive, and inexpensive. I can use the engine to heat the bus or use the secondary boiler to heat the engine. As for carbon monoxide...most new heater have low oxygen shutdowns. The catalytic ones say they are for indoor use right on the package. That combined with a CO detector and all the air leaks the average bus has, and I think you're safe.
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Old 09-20-2006, 08:55 AM   #10
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Yeah a pellet furnace or even an RV furnace would be the ideal way to go if I had the money. The boiler idea would be nice as I could use it to make hot water too. I'm not to that point with my bus yet... maybe next summer

In the mean time I really like the idea of portable heat like one of these heaters makes. I'm not too worried about the carbon monoxide since these are rated for indoor use and have a low O2 shutoff.

I used a ready heater last winter while I was working on the bus & mann does that stink the bus up, I had to have a few windows open a few inches for ventalation. My main need for this type of heater though it to use while camping on cold nights. Depending on the cost to run it I may also use it while working in the bus in the winter.

Anyone know how many BTU's are needed to keep a bus warm? Would 18,000 be enough? The outside dementions of my bus are 8X34 so Thats less than 272 indoor suare feet. I wonder if a heater rated for 400 would be enough in a drafy, poorly insluated, 16 year old bus.
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