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Old 10-24-2019, 08:38 PM   #1
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Kerosene space heater: safety issues

I picked up a kerosene space heater for 40 bucks today off of Facebook marketplace. It’s rated at 23,000 BTUs. It is the kind of heater that just exhausts right into the interior air space. The user information printed on the heater calls for fresh air circulation of 5 cfm. Any ideas on how to achieve that kind of air movement. Maybe my bus is leaking enough air as it is, but I don’t want to test that theory with my life. Anybody had any experience with this kind of heater in a bus? I have a new carbon monoxide detector that I am putting into service on the shelf above the bed at the same time.
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Old 10-24-2019, 08:43 PM   #2
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5 CFM is not very much. A computer fan moves 55cfm.

I had a 62 Corvair van back in the 70's , used a Coleman kerosene heater in the back of it, never had a fumes issue.
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Old 10-24-2019, 09:00 PM   #3
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My Happy Buy brand, diesel forced air cab heater came in yesterday too. I definitely prefer to go that route, with all of the exhaust directed to the outside of the bus. I have to figure out where I’m going to mount that and where to put the diesel fuel tank. I have a feeling I’m going to need more than one of those heaters because I probably won’t be able to do a proper insulation job until next spring.
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Old 10-24-2019, 09:13 PM   #4
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A bus without good insulation is a cold place to be in Wisconsin in winter. Anybody have an educated estimate of how many BTUs it would take to heat a 38 foot long Thomas safety liner RE, with only the factory installed insulation, to room temperature when is 0F outside?
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Old 10-24-2019, 09:38 PM   #5
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Well I’ve had the space heater running for about an hour and it’s nice and warm near the ceiling. I bet it’s 75 6 inches from the ceiling and maybe 60 3 feet above the floor. These are just guesses on my part. Need to get some proper thermometers do you know the truth. It would be nice to read some surface temperatures too. I have an infrared, no contact, thermometer somewhere. By the way, it is 37 outside as I am writing. Going down to 31 F tonight.
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Old 10-24-2019, 10:32 PM   #6
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Well Ive had the space heater running for about an hour and its nice and warm near the ceiling. I bet its 75 6 inches from the ceiling and maybe 60 3 feet above the floor. These are just guesses on my part. Need to get some proper thermometers do you know the truth. It would be nice to read some surface temperatures too. I have an infrared, no contact, thermometer somewhere. By the way, it is 37 outside as I am writing. Going down to 31 F tonight.


I had a couple of those space heaters years ago -'no venting needed' - I needed some heat in an unheated house to paint the interior - I didn't notice any fumes, but after a couple of long shifts of breathing that air, I started coughing up black soot - not sure, seems to me it was called a 'Sun Heater', or maybe a 'Moon Heater' - it wasn't long after that that the warnings of carbon monoxide from those heaters were issued -
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Old 10-25-2019, 03:31 AM   #7
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After a while I unboxed my new carbon monoxide detector. I let it warm up to room temperature catch, which might have been 50 or 60 and I am happy to report that no alarm sounded. Unfortunately, I only had about an eighth of a tank of fuel that came with the heater. And that has run out. It’s amazing how quickly the temperature has dropped inside the bus. Fortunately I have adequate bedding to keep me warm. Another drawback to burning an open flame inside the bus is that there is condensation forming on the windows. I think if it was much colder that could turn into an icing problem. I think I will work more quickly to getting a different heating solution implemented I just keep this kerosene heater as a back up. In the meantime I am pursuing stylish modern sofa seen on craigslist for my sitting area and a nice four burner gas cook top
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Old 10-25-2019, 06:17 AM   #8
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ventless heaters of any kind I open a window or roof vent a little bit. I have a propane one that works great. The kerosene ones I have used(not in the bus) but have had one catch fire, as well as others making smoke, so kind of take a dim view of them.

Long term for my bus I will likely put a propane furnace in.
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Old 10-25-2019, 07:58 AM   #9
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5 CFM is not very much. A computer fan moves 55cfm.

I had a 62 Corvair van back in the 70's , used a Coleman kerosene heater in the back of it, never had a fumes issue.
I have had many old bugs. Never thought of that. Wasn't like the back seat wasn't our all winter for quick access to battery for jump starts. The stories I could tell!!
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Old 10-26-2019, 02:08 AM   #10
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So far I am not a huge fan of the kerosene space heater. Turned up on the highest setting it makes good heat for my 38 foot long bus. But on that setting it smells and I feel like I’m breathing exhaust. It also puts off too much moisture. Turned to the lowest setting I can’t smell it anymore but it barely puts off enough heat take the edge off the cold. In both cases it’s consuming more fuel than I thought it would. It’s only in the mid 30s outside right now and I have burned a gallon of kerosene in about four hours. At that rate it would cost me $600 A month to keep the temperature at around 50. Of course it gets much colder than 32 here in Wisconsin. I am learning that just heating the space is not enough. I am going to have to embark on a program of insulating sooner rather than later. Either that, or take the bus on an extended visit to California or Arizona where I have relatives.
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Old 10-26-2019, 07:03 AM   #11
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Going where the climate is better if you can may be the easy solution for now.
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Old 10-26-2019, 07:11 AM   #12
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I got this at tractor supply. Holds a 20lb propane bottle inside it. It comes with wheels, which I left off and just put two boards on it so it is real stable when driving. I do not use it while driving though
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Old 10-26-2019, 11:40 AM   #13
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I had a couple of those space heaters years ago -'no venting needed' - I needed some heat in an unheated house to paint the interior - I didn't notice any fumes, but after a couple of long shifts of breathing that air, I started coughing up black soot - not sure, seems to me it was called a 'Sun Heater', or maybe a 'Moon Heater' - it wasn't long after that that the warnings of carbon monoxide from those heaters were issued -

KeroSun. we had them growing up when we moved into a house that had terrible electric Ceiling heating.. and later into a farm house with crappy heating..



its imperative to burn clean FRESH kerosene and that you keep the wick and flame height adjusted perfectly.. or they will definitely make you sick and they will grime up everything inside after a few years..



they generally burn clean and with much less moisture than propane but they are still an open flame..



having been in the HVAC business and seen the aftermath of a cracked Natural gas heat exchanger in a furnace..(had to investigate one in a house that HAD been home to a family of 4....) I dont want any part of an open flame heater esp in a small space...
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Old 10-26-2019, 01:08 PM   #14
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KeroSun. we had them growing up when we moved into a house that had terrible electric Ceiling heating.. and later into a farm house with crappy heating..



its imperative to burn clean FRESH kerosene and that you keep the wick and flame height adjusted perfectly.. or they will definitely make you sick and they will grime up everything inside after a few years..



they generally burn clean and with much less moisture than propane but they are still an open flame..



having been in the HVAC business and seen the aftermath of a cracked Natural gas heat exchanger in a furnace..(had to investigate one in a house that HAD been home to a family of 4....) I dont want any part of an open flame heater esp in a small space...
Thing is with the gas furnace you are trusting that you are not getting "gassed". At least with open flame you know some ventilation is needed, and most have a Co alarm including us.
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Old 10-26-2019, 01:28 PM   #15
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I have CO alarms in my house too.. and a CO tester.. I also have a fireplace at home so CO tester is a must..



but there are many who have no idea what the condition of their gas furnace is..



one thing I can say about Kerosene heaters is that when they are misadjusted or have bad fuel, it smells like someone started a DT466 inside your bus.... you will want to fix it because it smells bad.. they typically dont have much odor when adjusted and with clean fuel
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Old 10-26-2019, 01:38 PM   #16
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Going where the climate is better if you can may be the easy solution for now.
Amen!

Shorts, flip flops, a compass and 120 gallons of diesel.
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Old 10-26-2019, 01:47 PM   #17
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I have used kerosene space heaters here in the Winter. Not my favorite heat source but they are OK.

I found that the quality of the kerosene was important. Cheap bulk kerosene from the Co-op created soot and stink. The good stuff was almost twice the price. iirc: it was called "Krystal clear"
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Old 10-26-2019, 07:01 PM   #18
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I actually ended up getting about six hours out of 0.9 gallons of kerosene that I purchased at the pump at the farm co-op for $3.79 a gallon , but I had it so low that it barely raised the temperature from the mid 30s to the low 40s.When I woke up I saw a line on the floor where water has been dripping from the ceiling. The ceiling is made with perforated metal.Is it possible that the moisture generated by the heater went right through the sheet metal perforations and right through the 2 inches of polyester batting that passes for insulation and condensed on the back of the roof sheet metal and then dripped back down through the insulation and through the perforated metal to drip on the floor?In any case, no more open flame heaters for me.
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Old 10-26-2019, 07:57 PM   #19
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it takes quite a bit of heat to heat a stock bus.. I know even wit ha good thernostat and air shutters that my idling DTA360 can barely heat a bus in 20 degree weather.. and thats starting out wit ha REALLY WARM interior.. as I drive in shirt sleeves with every heater on high in cold weather.. and if I stop to take a sleep if I dont set the idle up to like 1300. then after a couple hours i wake up and the temp gauge is justr above the 'C' and the inside is considerably cooler. im guessing my engine makes a lot of heat..



id expect that insulating would help condensation and the inside temp too.. the bus panels will be warmer with real insulation and coverings over the windows inside as bus windows are a huge heat loss..
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Old 10-27-2019, 12:06 PM   #20
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I actually ended up getting about six hours out of 0.9 gallons of kerosene that I purchased at the pump at the farm co-op for $3.79 a gallon , but I had it so low that it barely raised the temperature from the mid 30s to the low 40s.When I woke up I saw a line on the floor where water has been dripping from the ceiling. The ceiling is made with perforated metal.Is it possible that the moisture generated by the heater went right through the sheet metal perforations and right through the 2 inches of polyester batting that passes for insulation and condensed on the back of the roof sheet metal and then dripped back down through the insulation and through the perforated metal to drip on the floor?In any case, no more open flame heaters for me.
Steel tents are not ideal in cold weather. I ran a propane "tank top " heater in my bus last winter. It rained inside my bus

Living full time in cold or wet climates brings some challenges in a bus or RV. I have lived full time for several years in a variety of climates. I found that a dehumidifier was a necessity in cold or damp winter weather. I am going to have a built in-cabinet for one in my bluebird.
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