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Old 10-26-2016, 04:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jazty View Post
In this rural area it's generally considered stupid to pay for heat when there's energy standing in your own backyard.
I absolutely agree. In the context of a bus, however, I doubt the merits. It would be nice to hear from people experienced with both wood-burning stoves and the alternatives (propane, electric...).
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Old 10-26-2016, 04:31 PM   #12
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I've used both propane/natgas and wood and greatly prefer the nice dry heat of a wood stove. After using propane heaters last winter I installed a wood stove this fall. On the few nights that its been cold enough I've burned this year.

The wood stove is FAR superior to the propane heater. When I get the wood stove cranking and the interior up nice and warm there isn't any trouble with the excessive moisture that heating with propane usually causes. With the propane heater cranking last winter it would get so humid inside the bus it felt like it was getting ready to rain.

If fuel availability is your concern, you can always buy packs of wood fuel bricks very cheaply. That said, I just scored a GIANT trailer full of scraps from a cabinet company, more than enough for the entire winter and trim out the whole interior of the bus... for free. I'll never heat with propane again. Should have prefaced this with the fact that I grew up with only a wood stove for heat in our house. I also enjoy cutting and splitting wood, so there's that.
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Old 10-26-2016, 04:32 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Marceps View Post
I absolutely agree. In the context of a bus, however, I doubt the merits. It would be nice to hear from people experienced with both wood-burning stoves and the alternatives (propane, electric...).

I've used propane, kerosene, electricity and now wood through various stages of my bus build. Wood is the only one yet where I can have it Sahara hot indoors without thinking about burning dollar bills. If you're always on the road then it can be a mild nuisance because you'll have to keep your eyes out for pallets or other good burnables. I haven't been anywhere yet where it was difficult to find a weeks worth of heating wood. I also don't spend much time in cities with the bus. YMMV

If you have propane it's easy to fill, but you pay for it (of course)... Non-vented propane heaters dump plenty of unwanted moisture into the air. Cheaper vented propane heaters have low efficiency.

Kerosene and diesel are too messy to bother with in a wick style heater, but work well in a Webasto style heater. Same situation as propane, though.. it'll cost money to run.

Electric heaters are only worthwhile if you are always plugged in. They consume far too much electricity to be worthwhile in a solar setup and they're a wasteful appliance to run with a generator.

For some people it's worth the cost to have minimal on-going maintenance with their heater. I personally find operating a wood stove to be a pleasant experience. Again, YMMV.
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Old 10-27-2016, 09:17 PM   #14
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I love the idea of adding a wood stove to our bus and I think that is the route we will take eventually. I think at this point my main concern is how to surround the stove itself. Surely it has to get hot, how do you keep the thing safe on the bus? If we do wood paneling or something on the walls, I don't want areas to burn.
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:00 PM   #15
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#1 You put it at least 6 inches from the walls.
#2 You use fire-rated wall material around the stove itself... it has a name but I can't think of it right offhand. If someone were to call it I would know it though.
#3 Use double piping as a chimney.... the actual exhaust goes up the inner pipe, while the outer one is used just to create buffer space to keep the heat from the inner pipe from making the ceiling too hot where it passes through.

Make sure you size it appropriately.... get too big of a fire going and it'll run you out (and could damage the stove from too much heat), but too small and it won't burn hot enough, which will cause you further problems down the road (creosote, which can cause a chimney fire).

Ideally it seems you'd probably want to be able to stoke it about once an hour to keep it comfortable. Too small of a fire in too big of a box causes the creosote I mentioned before because it's not burning hot enough to completely consume the pitch in the wood.

There are those here who have wood stoves in their buses, I'm sure they will have something to say as well, and more knowledgeable than I for sure.
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:22 PM   #16
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if you have to purchase wood or Eco-bricks its going to cost more than running a propane Dual heat exchanger furnace.. (which extracts the heat from the moisture but doesnt oput the moisture into the bus!

if you have a way of getting your wood for little or free.. then I say go for a wood stove all day long... its warm and comfy and cheap then..

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Old 10-27-2016, 11:02 PM   #17
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...and...real men like real fire! (real women do too BTW)
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Old 10-28-2016, 12:33 AM   #18
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the size of good fire place and the space around it you loose seems to be a big factor for most builds. Temp regulation as well. nothing wrong with opening a window to regulate the temp but that does mean your consuming more fuel than you need to. if its free and abundant that's okay. Ideally it would be nice to always camp were you can drag out a fallen tree and such fro fire wood.

Ive personally never been that much into the indoor fires. They go out nothing is worse than my little toes touching a cold floor to go start up a fire in the morning.

I wonder what the conversion is from wood to propane for say a cool fall some where for a two week time. I could probably make my dickeson heater work on 10lbs for a couple weeks.

survival tells me wood should be there. but practical propane is so convenient. I had though about bringing the Geo out a with a new gassifier on it but I'm sure it would end up running on pellets. I like doing it and using my chunker and filling my bags full of wood. I don't think the desert will have many broken tree limbs to chunk up. I'm getting old i like to turn a key and stuff comes to life any more.

Those of you in coal country that might be better than wood.
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Old 10-29-2016, 01:00 AM   #19
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Well, I'm seriously considering a wood-burning stove now. Thank you, everyone, for sharing your experience.
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Old 10-29-2016, 06:32 AM   #20
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Around here wood is free. Can't give it away. A truck load of wood will cost you around a hundred bucks to DUMP!
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