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Old 02-18-2019, 07:22 PM   #1
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Our conversion --- propane question

Good evening everybody,



I wanted to share our IG link and website of our bus build. Also does anyone have experience with propane consumption when there are 5 people, propane will run the floor heat and hot water (with ONE tankless water heater) as well as cooking. We have a 30 gallon tank we plan to install.


Thank you!!!



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Old 02-18-2019, 08:50 PM   #2
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When you say "floor heat," do you mean radiant? If you do, and you plan to do much cold camping, you're going to need a metric buttload of propane. The big horizontal tanks are pretty pricey from what I've seen. On the bright side, with that big pusher, you could make plenty of space under the bus for that sort of thing.

The radiant option here that I find most impressive (and practical) is somewhereintheusa's Espar Diesel boiler. It sips diesel fuel (of which you're already carrying plenty), and provides radiant heat to the living space, hot water (via a heat exchanger in an 11 gallon marine water heater), and heat to the engine cooling system for those cold mornings.

...Of course, if "floor heat" didn't mean that, you might wish to disregard this.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:49 PM   #3
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Well... we live in Minnesota, as you can see on my IG it gets pretty cold here. However, we will have a wood burning stove as main heat source. The floor heat is tubing with water/ liquid agent in it heated by the propane powered water heater. The tank is a 30 gallon stationary tank that I will mount under the bus.

I checked into the Diesel boilers... too much for our budget!



Thank you for your reply!
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:50 AM   #4
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However, we will have a wood burning stove as main heat source.
Just a heads up.....if your main source of heat in MN is going to be a woodstove, don't undersize it like we did. Our Cubic Grizzly is nice and all....takes the chill off pretty well....but we couldn't overwinter in Minnesota, it just doesn't have enough burn time.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:56 AM   #5
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Well... we live in Minnesota, as you can see on my IG it gets pretty cold here. However, we will have a wood burning stove as main heat source. The floor heat is tubing with water/ liquid agent in it heated by the propane powered water heater. The tank is a 30 gallon stationary tank that I will mount under the bus.

I checked into the Diesel boilers... too much for our budget!



Thank you for your reply!
Are you certain it's a 30 gallon tank, and not 30 lb? I'm not aware of a 30 gallon horzontally mounted propane tank (which is no real indicator of whether it exists), and I doubt you would have room to mount a 30 gallon vertical tank under your bus.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:01 AM   #6
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Oh, I take it back. There is a nominal 30-gallon (29-point-something) horizontal tank.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:37 AM   #7
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A bit of googling will show a huge range of standard sizes available in horizontal DOT style tanks well suited for camper / trailer / expo truck usage.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:46 AM   #8
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The diesel hydronic solution is a lot more elegant than carrying a huge propane tank around.

But lots pricier too.

Make sure not to pay propulsion fuel taxes if you burn a lot of it for heating purposes.

WRT embedded floor radiant systems, get your interior layout locked down first, so you don't end up heating your storage spaces. Ideal is running along both sides of your "corridor".

A few points of instant forced-air or radiant heat are also needed to get the living space warmed up quickly from low temps, embedded hydronics can have an hour or more lag time.

Finally, plan for being able to let it get all frozen up. Nothing worse than having to keep the living space warm when nobody's home.

At least easy winterizing, fast and cheap.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:14 PM   #9
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Are you certain it's a 30 gallon tank, and not 30 lb? I'm not aware of a 30 gallon horzontally mounted propane tank (which is no real indicator of whether it exists), and I doubt you would have room to mount a 30 gallon vertical tank under your bus.
This is what I am using, 29.3g, not quite 30. 48" x 15". Mine will mount in the left rear corner underneath where the exhaust pipe was, plenty of room there, though my bus is big..
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Old 02-20-2019, 06:42 PM   #10
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I have a 12 gallon 50# tank. Iíve used 18 gallons of propane since last May. That isnít heating full time, but I canít believe how long it lasts.

If you have a 30 gallon I would expect it would go for a good while between fill ups.
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Old 02-20-2019, 09:04 PM   #11
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Nothing wrong with a couple (or more) good used tank from a sticks and staples. They are often available on CL for cheap. If you are concerned about their condition you can talk to your local propane dealer about a recert. Remember, our buggies use gas vapor not liquid and as a result our tanks while labeled X gal, really only hold about 80% of that due to the space needed in the tank to allow for vapor formation. I'm going to guess that you are going to use way more propane than you think. In our little rig, with no shower use and no heater use our 15 gal tank only lasts a couple of 3 day weekends. Granted we do all our cooking with propane and like to bake pies for desert. Our hot water comes from an on demand heater.
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Old 02-20-2019, 11:57 PM   #12
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Nothing wrong with a couple (or more) good used tank from a sticks and staples. They are often available on CL for cheap. If you are concerned about their condition you can talk to your local propane dealer about a recert. Remember, our buggies use gas vapor not liquid and as a result our tanks while labeled X gal, really only hold about 80% of that due to the space needed in the tank to allow for vapor formation. I'm going to guess that you are going to use way more propane than you think. In our little rig, with no shower use and no heater use our 15 gal tank only lasts a couple of 3 day weekends. Granted we do all our cooking with propane and like to bake pies for desert. Our hot water comes from an on demand heater.
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Good call on CL for tanks.


I am surprised at how much propane you use. We cooked and showered daily and 15 gallons of propane lasted a month or more.
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:30 AM   #13
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Hmm one of the salvage place in Elkhart had a couple of those laying around.
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:50 AM   #14
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It may be worth reminding people of the difference between pounds and gallons again in this thread.

Propane weighs 4.2 pounds per gallon. My tank is a 50 pound tank that holds about 12 gallons, really about 10 gallons useable volume.

A 50 gallon tank would be a 210 pound tank.

If you are going through a 15 gallon tank in a weekend or two that would be amazing to me.

In three months of continuous travel with 1-4 people, cooking and showering daily, plus occasionally heating, we used a little over 10 gallons or nearly 50 pounds.
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:08 PM   #15
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It may be worth reminding people of the difference between pounds and gallons again in this thread.

Propane weighs 4.2 pounds per gallon. My tank is a 50 pound tank that holds about 12 gallons, really about 10 gallons useable volume.

A 50 gallon tank would be a 210 pound tank.

If you are going through a 15 gallon tank in a weekend or two that would be amazing to me.

In three months of continuous travel with 1-4 people, cooking and showering daily, plus occasionally heating, we used a little over 10 gallons or nearly 50 pounds.
My 30b tank takes just under 7ga. to fill, 29.4lbs of propane. My 29.3ga. will weigh 123lbs
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:29 PM   #16
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LPG tanks are rated a bit like solar panels, reality is lower.

That Flame King tank is 29.3gal of "water capacity".

LPG capacity is thus max 23.44gal

And with the US-required OPD fitting, I believe only 80%~ of that allowed.

Yes still quite a lot. . .

If used for space heat, long periods spend in arctic conditions, you sure can use a lot.

A well sealed thickly insulated living space will pay for itself very quickly.

Also note best to also acclimatize, with proper bedclothes little heat is required while sleeping, and design your plumbing systems so you can easily keep things shut down when you're away without damage.
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Old 02-21-2019, 01:10 PM   #17
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LPG tanks are rated a bit like solar panels, reality is lower.

That Flame King tank is 29.3gal of "water capacity".

LPG capacity is thus max 23.44gal

And with the US-required OPD fitting, I believe only 80%~ of that allowed.

Yes still quite a lot. . .

If used for space heat, long periods spend in arctic conditions, you sure can use a lot.

A well sealed thickly insulated living space will pay for itself very quickly.

Also note best to also acclimatize, with proper bedclothes little heat is required while sleeping, and design your plumbing systems so you can easily keep things shut down when you're away without damage.

You are correct, the 29.3 holds 100lbs, or 23.8g. Still the biggest tank I can put under the bus, so that's what I'm going with. As soon as my Echeck clears on Tues. I'm ordering it goes back up.

Wow, the cheapest I have found these is $449. Right now it's at $479. I just checked and see this tank at Walmart for only $349, unfortunately out of stock at this time. Hopefully they restock soon. They are normally around $535.
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Old 02-21-2019, 01:48 PM   #18
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Those looking for cheap, just use multiple 20-lb BBQ size, can build a rack to keep them quiet.
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Old 02-21-2019, 02:46 PM   #19
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Propane

We use the same tank as o1marc. We use the propane for our water heater (16 gallon xt ), the LG gas stove, and our fridge (norcold 1800 polarmax). We fill this up around twice a year and have no issues with this tank. The gas guys look at us funny when we ask them to fill our tank in a school bus but after opening the door and see the DOT tank they have no issues. Drill four holes in the seam flaps under the bus and done deal. I have hit some pot holes big enough to catch bass out of and this thing dont move.

Scott
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Old 02-21-2019, 03:07 PM   #20
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We use the same tank as o1marc. We use the propane for our water heater (16 gallon xt ), the LG gas stove, and our fridge (norcold 1800 polarmax). We fill this up around twice a year and have no issues with this tank. The gas guys look at us funny when we ask them to fill our tank in a school bus but after opening the door and see the DOT tank they have no issues. Drill four holes in the seam flaps under the bus and done deal. I have hit some pot holes big enough to catch bass out of and this thing dont move.

Scott
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Got any pics of it mounted in the bus?
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