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Old 05-26-2020, 04:02 PM   #1
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Propane heater mounting location?

Hello! My partner and I are doing a few revisions on our original plan for our skoolie ('93 Bluebird 33') and the issue of evenly heating the main spaces has come up. The original plan calls for a small wood stove in the back of the bus (bathroom area), but our living area up front is likely not to benefit much from the limited amount of heat it's going to be able to output when figuring walls and such. The revised living room plan calls for a small, non-electric heater for the space. We'd like to do a vented propane heater on the passenger side near the front door.

The only issue is that the fuel tank is mounted on that side. There is 2½" of insulation over the floor pan (total of R15 value) and about an inch and a half of air gap between the tank and the floor. Is it feasible or safe to use a propane heater above the fuel tank given this information?

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Old 05-26-2020, 04:06 PM   #2
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The tank should be 3 feet from an ignition source according to NFPA 1192

I’ve taken this literally even though there is a floor between my tank and stove and heater. I am *just* meeting that requirement.
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:38 PM   #3
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Danjo, I agree that NFPA codes are better than none and generally make sense. However, NFPA has no government jurisdiction and no law making ability--it is like RIVA in that respect and may or may not have the best interests of the consumer entirely at the forefront of its codes. I just don't know. In the OP's scenario it would seem to me at least that the separation of his propane heater and his diesel tank should be sufficient especially with the steel floor and air space between. If it were gasoline I'd feel differently. That's just my opinion and as we all know, opinions are like "adam henrys" everyone has one.
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:49 PM   #4
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Danjo, I agree that NFPA codes are better than none and generally make sense. However, NFPA has no government jurisdiction and no law making ability--it is like RIVA in that respect and may or may not have the best interests of the consumer entirely at the forefront of its codes. I just don't know. In the OP's scenario it would seem to me at least that the separation of his propane heater and his diesel tank should be sufficient especially with the steel floor and air space between. If it were gasoline I'd feel differently. That's just my opinion and as we all know, opinions are like "adam henrys" everyone has one.
Jack
You mean the same organization that writes the NEC? I’ve heard this argument before, but I like to be able to say that I followed someone’s code.
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:54 PM   #5
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Yup! Ya pays ya money an ya takes ya chances!
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Old 05-26-2020, 08:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
The tank should be 3 feet from an ignition source according to NFPA 1192
Can you point me to where it refers to that, Danjo? I'm planning to put my propane heater directly above my propane tank (separated by the steel and wood floor) but if the NFPA says that's a no-no then I'll think through how to do it some other way.

In a brief perusal of NFPA 1192 just now I see that the air inlets and flue gas outlets must be 3 feet away from a gasoline filler spout (NFPA 1192, 2018 edition: 5.5.3.1, 5.5.3.2) but nothing about the appliance itself.
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Old 05-26-2020, 11:45 PM   #7
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Well, maybe I’m interpreting it for my configuration. It has to do with pressure relief valves, which in my case is on my tank.

NFPA 1192, 5.2.19.1 Discharge from Propane Container Pressure Relief Valves.

I apologize. It does not apply to your situation I don’t think unless you have an intake or exhaust vent there.
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Old 05-27-2020, 10:10 AM   #8
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Thanks! I had skipped over that paragraph but it bears reading again. The workgroups of the NFPA have given these things way more thought than I ever could. It just makes sense that I follow their recommendations. Thanks again for the reference!
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Old 05-27-2020, 11:28 AM   #9
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Did you see that you can ask code questions there too?
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Old 05-27-2020, 11:31 AM   #10
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In my case, I had missed that relief valve stuff too and decided to relocate the propane to the passenger side.
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Old 05-27-2020, 11:36 AM   #11
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Did you see that you can ask code questions there too?
I did not see that you can ask questions there. That's great!
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:18 PM   #12
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I guess I read a different problem into this original question. I don't think I would be worried about the placement of the heater with all the layers between the heater and fuel tank. What would worry me is this is a vented heater near the filler for the fuel. Does this not pose a potentially explosive problem? If he is using the typical style RV propane furnace, the fresh air intake and exhaust come right out the side and within a few inches of the fuel being pumped into the tank. Absolute no-go if that is the case.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:22 PM   #13
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This isn't going to be a typical RV propane furnace; the vent and intake are going to be routed from above the heater, through a panel where a window would have been otherwise. It should be more than three feet above the filler inlet for the fuel tank.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:28 PM   #14
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This isn't going to be a typical RV propane furnace; the vent and intake are going to be routed from above the heater, through a panel where a window would have been otherwise. It should be more than three feet above the filler inlet for the fuel tank.
Gasoline, or diesel? If it's gas, I wouldn't put it anywhere near the fuel filler. Maybe out the roof, but I would still try to locate it to the other side of the bus. Roman candles are cool, but not if I'm the Roman!! Diesel isn't nearly as volatile, but I would still think about locating it on the other side, or out the roof, if possible.
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