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Old 02-17-2008, 09:56 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Vermont
Posts: 38
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Carpenter
Engine: ISB Cummings
Rated Cap: 84
Wood Stove Question

Hi All,

We're kind of stalled out for a little while on our conversion, but it's given us a lot of time to think about different things- including wood stoves. We went to this great old hardware store yesterday where they have a good selection (and knowledge) of wood stoves. The older gentleman who helped us wasn't too thrilled about the idea of a stove on a bus, and said that even the mobile home guide to wood stoves had pretty stringent regulations about what kind of stoves you could use and how they could be used.

Did any of you who have a wood stove worry about that? How did you select what type of stove you installed?
Also, I'd love to hear about where you placed your stove. Were the underneath battery bays and gas tanks a concern? How much clearance did you give around your stove?

Has anyone ever had trouble with the authorities for having a stove installed?
Also, many people in this neck of the woods (the North East) have been trying to convince us to go with a propane stove. Does anyone have any thoughts on the pros/cons of either of these systems?
Thanks in advance!

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Old 02-18-2008, 01:02 AM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Northeastern CO
Posts: 247
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Re: Wood Stove Question

One thing to keep in mind is that a bus is all (well mostly) metal, I find most people tend to think of a normal wall when you talk about wood stoves... its kind of ingrained.

That said in the storage yard that I have my bus at is another has an upper addon that is wood (really would look good when it was done), and inside it has a wood stove that is far closer to the drivers seat than I would like..but it doesn't seem to have ever caught on fire.
As far as the fuel tank, I would only worry if you could smell the gas vapors coming from it inside....course that would make me worry in and of itself.
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Old 02-18-2008, 06:40 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Excelsior Springs, MO
Posts: 94
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: 8.2L Detroit Diesel
Rated Cap: 54
Re: Wood Stove Question

I would go with the woodstove rather than propane. Wood is so much more plentiful, not to mention cheap. I made a sheet metal heat shield to put on the wall behind my stove, so I got by with about 7 inches of clearance from the wall. Before I permanently installed my stove in my bus I did a test burn to see where most of the heat is absorbed. I found that the floor beneath the stove only got warm, not hot enough to cause any problems. This made sense, since heat rises. I chose my stove from Cabela's because hardware stores carried only large stoves that would cook me out of my bus. My little tent stove creates plenty of heat and I got a heck of a deal on it.

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Old 10-28-2008, 08:34 AM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: downriver, detroit mi
Posts: 794
Re: Wood Stove Question

smitty, you need to repost this comment under its own topic, well wordedm and very tom the point.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:10 PM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
Posts: 39
Re: Wood Stove Question

We have had a wood stove in our bus since 2001 and have lived and traveled in it all over the country. I cant imagine not having it . Besides the solar refrigerator it is my favorite appliance and I would never even consider propane. We can often find wood as we travel, scavenge it from the woods, but we also have a small woddbox built in the bus and underneath as well. It has kept us warm in 9 degree weather.

We installed ours as close to mobile home standards as possible, built a heat wall on four sides and underneath it, used double insulated pipe where it went through the roof and some metal box type contraption . We have plenty of clearance and nothing ever gets too hot. We also bolted it to through the floor of the bus.Here is a link to a post with pics about how we did it, ... chive.html

I had the same concerns and fears that you did when we first put it in. I was especially worried about Carbon Monoxide poisoning. We got a Carbon Monoxide monitor that will tell you when there is a danger, that went a long way cowards easing my fears. It's kind of funny when I was doing research I read that "Carbon Monoxide is a odorless, colorless gas". It went on to state that the first signs of poisoning may be sleepiness. So every night as I was watching the fire and getting sleepy I would think " ahhh, I am getting Carbon Monoxide poisoning !

We have never had a problem with it though in all the years we have been using it. I do make sure to leave a window cracked though. Another good idea is to make sure the stove you get has an air intake from outside. Also get a good airtight stove, not some leaky old thing that you find in the dump .

We have a lopi patriot, it is small with a glass insert which is really a great option. It is also ultra efficient. I highly recommend it, ... 0&l2=15471

I would also advise not just putting the pipe out the window with an elbow , that creates more creosote build up and not as good an air draw.

We have also never been stopped or had anyone even question the legality of it, which I also was a bit concerned about. We do sometimes get funny looks , especially from truckers at truck stops when we are parked in next to all the big rigs for the night. They look at our stack because it resembles there diesel stacks but its on a school bus and there is smoke coming out when the bus is off !

I hope you decide to go with a woodstove, it really makes it feel more like a home. Just get as good a stove as you can don't cut corners on safety, and you'll be fine.

~ Pixie
Enchanted Gypsy ~ Travel Diaries
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:59 AM   #6
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
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Year: 1989
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Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3 International Diesel
Rated Cap: 72
Re: Wood Stove Question

Combustion air needs to be provided from outside the living space for the flame to consume (something mobile homes & RV's share due to limited area). Reason it's becoming more critical is because people are making their rigs more energy-efficient by sealing & insulating, thereby cutting off the points of air infiltration. People not only die in RV's on a regular basis, but in stick-homes as well from asphyxiation & carbon monoxide.
I feel I might have some comments on this discussion. I have to agree with Smitty on this. And of course we all know that safety needs to come first. Don't just throw off the safety recommendations made by professionals or government bodies. Find out WHY they made these recommendations then do your research to find out if it applies to you. Although I am going with LP gas heated radiant in floor heat and not using the wood stove avenue I am also installing a home made HRV Unit, (Heat Recovery Ventilator). This is a fancy way of saying, a contraption that exhausts air from in the living space outside while bringing in fresh air from outside, inside, while using the heat in the exhaust air to pre-heat the intake air so you are not re-heating your air all the time. I am going to set this system up working on a humidistat so when humidity gets too high, it turns on automatically and does its thing. But my point is that you could have a manual override or timer on it and have it give you fresh air so if you are burning wood then you constantly have fresh air to breath.

It has kept us warm in 9 degree weather.
I wouldn't dispute Pixies experience here either. But I would want to build to suit your situation. My reality in Canada is that last year I experienced temperatures of -58 fahrenheit (-50 Celsius) with the wind chill. Granted that was an extreme day. But temperatures at these levels can and do kill people every year. So build for your area. If your cruising mild climates then its no big deal, but up here I am taking no chances. Walking outside to get firewood in temperatures that low could be fatal.

Also I thought I would make mention of the yachting industries contribution to our lifestyles. I have a fascination with wooden boats and having bought Wooden Boat magazine for some time now I notice that lots of the innovations for boaters would be very useful for us living on buses. Here is a link I found in the magazine for some neat little stoves. A word of caution though...the genes that make people love wooden boats are very similar to the ones that make people want to live in converted school buses. Here is the link for Wooden Boat magazine as well
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