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Papabear 01-07-2011 10:45 AM

Insulation-propane and Cold
Well, the predicted forcast is a high of 5 degrees with a wind chill of -35 Don't that make ya feel all squishy inside. Just can't get enthused to go work on th"Bear Den" today. Did do a test on the heat system though.
Floor: 3/4" plywood against metal floor - 3/4" styro -another 3/4" plywood, topped off w/cheap bamboo flooring. floor is 2 1/4" thick
Walls: 1 1/2" styro on factory lower walls and around windows. another 1 1/2" framed walls insulated with 1 1/2" styro, then covered with a thick plactic sheeting and topped off with 1/8" Luan. Walls are 3" thick.
Ceiling: Aside from the shitty factory insulation, the only other stuff applied is spray in foam around the roof vents and 1" styro that was pushed in from the bottom of the roof on the inside. That runs up the ceiling approw. 24" in 6"x24" pieces. Plans for more are just that now. I realize the thermal bridge affects, but that is how it will be for awhile. Plans are to add a little more to the ceiling at a later date. Perhaps a pleated headliner.

SO: I turned the heater on low (approx. 7000 btu) at 9pm and let run all night. I had both roof vents cracked about an inch open. I turned on a 12v fan front and rear on low. (aftermarket fans, not the factory bus ones)
The low that night was 3 degrees with 10 to 15 mph winds. The next morning, after about 12 hours, the inside temp. at ceiling was 66 degrees. At floor it was 54 degrees. I think a wind skirt around the bottom of the bus would really help the cold floor situation. The windows had a small amount of frozen condensation on them as well as the ceiling having some light ice bridges. It is a fairly dry climate in WY, winter and summer. I could see, in a more humid enviroment, the condensation issue might be more problematic using propane heat. I pulled the bottle and had it filled. It took 3 lbs. to fill it. The batteries (running 2-225ah) were at 95%.

I feel I should have enough propane to last 3 weeks in "why the hell am I out here" weather, before a refuel is needed. I would think running everything on low would not be real comfortable, but livable. If I have shore power available then there would not be any real problem with the backup electric heat. Also have the option of running on of the genny's, and have a 40 gal. tank for it.

Diesel Dan 01-07-2011 01:46 PM

Re: Insulation-propane and Cold
Hope I'm not completely hijacking your thread here...

I don't plan to do much cold weather camping, and I think I will be in campsites that have electricity most of the time so will use electric heat. However, I do want to have a backup system for heat if I find myself boondocking in cold weather.

Since I am using primarily electric, and only using propane as a backup, I don't want to deal with mounting a large propane tank and the associated tubing, etc. I have a small coleman campstove that runs off the small propane cylinders, and I'm thinking of getting a small portable propane heater like this one: ... Fireplaces>Propane%20Heaters&cm_cat=Shopzilla&cm_ven=Aggrega tes

Can anyone think of a reason to avoid these heaters? Do I have to crack a window or something when running it? I really have very little experience with propane, so any input would be appreciated. Thanks!

Papabear 01-07-2011 01:58 PM

Re: Insulation-propane and Cold
Hey DieselDan, I have the BigBuddy that I used in the bus last winter during construction. It worked great. I would think it would work fine for a back-up. They say, they burn 99% and I have never noticed any real smell, but I would crack a window just to be assured of some fresh air intake. I also have a carbonmonoxide detecter. Good investment. I think lornaschinske (did I spell that right?) uses one in thier bus also, of is thier consession trailer :? Good luck

opus 01-07-2011 02:37 PM

Re: Insulation-propane and Cold
We've been using a Big Buddy for a while. Over night is no issue, keep a window cracked a little and thats it.

lornaschinske 01-07-2011 02:53 PM

Re: Insulation-propane and Cold

Originally Posted by Papabear
... think lornaschinske (did I spell that right?) uses one in thier bus also, of is thier consession trailer :?

It's in the concession trailer on a 20lb LP tank. But I have also used it in my house (1 lb disposable bottle) during power outages. No matter what you use to heat with, you need a CO detector, smoke detector and an LP detector (if you use any LP). Some are combination units although I think the LP detector is a stand alone alarm. These are inexpensive and can be bought at any lumberyard/hardware store. I prefer the battery operated ones. Being able to put the shrieking thing outside because it went off while you are cooking is a blessing (I can't help that I like to read while I cook) and you can install one anywhere without worrying about running electric. The First Alert CO/Smoke alarm I have is a bit touchy. David was grilling hamburgers outside and the light breeze blew a little smoke from the grill inside... silly thing went off. It's happened a few times.

If you are planning on using the MR Buddy to heat with often, then you may want to plumb an interior connection (put a shut off valve on the connection) so that you can use a LP gas hose to the heater with. The regulator is built into the heater (you are threading the disposable tank or LP hose into the regulator). That is far cheaper than using the very pricey disposable tanks.

Stuff 01-07-2011 08:11 PM

Re: Insulation-propane and Cold
you would be surprised what a good skirt does! I got a foam board skirt on my trailer and before that the floors were freezing cold!

lornaschinske 01-07-2011 09:39 PM

Re: Insulation-propane and Cold

Originally Posted by Stuff
you would be surprised what a good skirt does!

In my experience... skirts are drafty and makes my tookas cold! :shock: :lol:

timbuk 01-08-2011 01:28 AM

Re: Insulation-propane and Cold
sorry i dont wear skirts but someone on this forum posted a gadjet that filled the 1 lb bottles from a 20 lb bottle anyone seenit? got it?

lornaschinske 01-08-2011 10:37 AM

Re: Insulation-propane and Cold
[quote="timbuk"... a gadjet that filled the 1 lb bottles from a 20 lb bottle anyone seenit? got it?[/quote]

Seen it... dangerous thing. The reason I say dangerous is because I have used the little 1LB disposable tanks. Screw them in once to use on a gas grill (we would take our little gas grill picnicking), cook a couple of burgers, unscrew and the stupid thing leaks out all the fuel.... I hate that, but It has happened more often than not. We tend to use the little 1tanks made for blow torches because they aren't quite as bad... SOMETIMES we can get a second use. Back when we used to tent camp, we used an LP lantern. To travel with, I would often remove the LP bottle from the light. I would drop a little bit of soapy water into the top of the bottle to see if it was leaking every time I removed it. I got so tired of having to put the things back together, we bought a 20LB LP tank and picked up a tall pole that the lantern would screw into the top of. It allowed me to break down the lantern and store it in our "camping box" that we kept all out camping equipment in (at the time, we lived in an efficiency apartment and drove a piece of crap Ford Mustang Hatchback... box was sized to fit in the back of the car and we "stored" the canoe on top of the car).

ANY WAY.......
We use one of these hoses (Coleman from Wal-Mart) for the heater in the food cart and for our gas grill (grill hooks up to a home brewed extend-a-stay)
You can buy the little brass valve like what is on a disposable tank from most places that sell LP or gas grill fitting like ACE hardware (we buy Mr. Heater brand) From the LP tank side, you would need a "Propane Male Throwaway Cylinder Adapter" The ones we buy are pretty sturdy and last for years. You are only going to get 6 or 8 hours on a 1lb disposable tank (and I swear those tanks have less fuel in them than they used to). I don't know what those tanks are running now but I just filled a 20LB BBQ tank for $2.75 gallon. Propane weighs approximately 4.2 pounds per US liquid gallon. I'm pretty sure that the little tanks are terribly high per gallon.

Diesel Dan 01-10-2011 09:38 PM

Re: Insulation-propane and Cold
Well I got myself a Mr. Heater "Big Buddy" today and fired it up with a couple 1lb propane cylinders. It does crank out the heat! The fan seems a little weak, but I suppose I can just run a small fan behind it. Lorna you make a good arguement for the larger refillable propane tank (in terms of cost of fuel). So I assume with a large tank you would turn off the propane at the tank when not it use? Am I correct that I need to unscrew the 1 lb cylinders when not in use? So if I'm camping for two nights, I would have to unscrew them during the day in between if I'm not using it during the day? I'll probably use the small disposable cylinders for now, and think about adding a 20lb tank later on. Oh, and for those familiar with the "big buddy" heater, do I have to always screw in two bottles (or hoses) when it's running, or can I leave one of the propane receptacles empty and just run off one? The instructions don't really address that.

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