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Old 11-13-2013, 03:13 PM   #1
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What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insight.

I have a 65 passenger Blue Bird that i will want to heat on camping trips in the fall, cold nights, ect. I have seen lots of pictures of people putting in wood burning stoves. I've also heard of people using catalytic propane heaters (Olympian Wave heaters) for their buses as well.

Can any of you share your experience regarding installing a heat source in your bus with me? What type of system do you use? Does it work well? Would you do it over again if you had the chance, or change to another method?

I am not a full-timer, just looking for heating options for camping trips, or short adventures. Thanks in advance for your time.

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Old 11-13-2013, 03:19 PM   #2
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

south of Columbia SC and Atlanta GA ...I'm not kidding either
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:52 PM   #3
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

Besides location, Bansil. :P And the obvious (BED BUDDY!).

My Suburban furnace is on the fritz, so I'm making due with a wee 200watt space heater (it literally heats my face) and a heated throw from Wallyworld for 20$. I'll have to get another one for the bed (that one's old and dieing anyhow), and I've got an 800watt heater on hold at work. I'm paying out the butt for electric right now and I used up more than my allotment last month when I was running the 1500watt space heater.

I'll be installing a catalytic LP heater like what Accordian has when I get my grubby mitts on a bus.
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:03 PM   #4
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
south of Columbia SC and Atlanta GA ...I'm not kidding either
And we don't blame you one bit!

We are installing a wood stove in ours, mainly because you can find wood pretty much anywhere for free and doesn't put strain on our future solar set up. Also it's a good way to dispose of burnable trash I would imagine. We also have an electric fireplace, a Presto heat dish and a Mr. Buddy propane heater.

We just got back from spending two weeks in northern MA and it was super chilly up there. Our bus is still stock, aside from the floor and things we bolted in just for the trip. We put fabric (one sheet) down both sides of the bus, over the windshield, a little one on the drivers window & bus door, a split piece behind the driver's seat, another in the middle (between the living area and the bed) and one enclosing the last 5 feet of space (was being used as storage and kitty box area). It was below freezing most nights we were there and only used the electric fireplace in the living area and the heat dish in the bedroom area and those kept us pretty warm. The last few nights we pulled out the heat buddy, opened the curtain in the middle and cranked it up for maybe an hour to pull up the overall temperature. I was surprised how well the bus retained heat!

I imagine once the walls are insulated and boarded it will stay even warmer, plus wood stoves themselves are made to retain heat long after the fire is out so we'll be less dependent on electricity or propane (which can be expensive) to keep us warm.

Our goal is to be completely self sufficient, never need to plug in, and spend as little money as possible over time (I'm tired of paying a damn electric bill!) Wood as primary heat, electric as secondary, propane as third. The electric will be solar, with a wind turbine back up and a diesel generator as third. Water is the tough one, so we're going to modify the drip rails up top into a rain collecting gutter system with a 3 stage filter, and fill up when we need to.

I'll post pics of the wood stove install when it happens!
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:07 PM   #5
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

Quote:
Originally Posted by inkblots84
Mr. Buddy propane heater.
How ya liking that Mr. Buddy heater, Inkblots? Worth it? And has it snowed over there yet? I've been offline for a while (prepping from the Christmas Blitz, killlll meeeeeeeeee).
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:30 PM   #6
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Das Mel
Quote:
Originally Posted by inkblots84
Mr. Buddy propane heater.
How ya liking that Mr. Buddy heater, Inkblots? Worth it? And has it snowed over there yet? I've been offline for a while (prepping from the Christmas Blitz, killlll meeeeeeeeee).

Oh wow, i can't believe its already that time. Good luck with the xmas rush Mel, maybe it'll be easier this year? Good to see you back again, hopefully your mom and the rest of the fam are doing well.

The Buddy is 100% worth it! The heat it puts out is crazy. We actually used it last year to heat our house (we got the set up to hook it to the 20lb tanks) when we couldn't afford to fill the big propane tank (100gal minimum delivery, f--- that). It snowed a touch when we were in MA, and last night here in Zebulon (a hair east of Raleigh) but it melted a couple hours after it landed. No cloud cover tonight though so it's very cold. We have a friend staying with us right now and he's been snoozing in the bus. Only needs the Buddy on medium for a half to a full hour before he's sweating in there.
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:53 AM   #7
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

I don't want to brag, but here it goes.

My bus came with a one year old 45,000 btu Wabasto Diesel heater that heats the coolant in the bus. I will use it for radiant in floor as well as forced air radiators. It will also heat my domestic hot water.

The Wabasto will heat a second hot water heater with antifreeze that will circulate through the floor and the radiators to heat the bus. The engine will heat this hot water heater while driving. If at a camp ground or if something happens to the Webasto, the electric element in the hot water heater will heat the bus. I could run it off the generator if needed.

This way I have several options to heat the bus and only one fuel source. So far the 45,000 btu heats the bus with no insulation. It should work less with 3” of insulation.
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:59 AM   #8
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

Quote:
Originally Posted by inkblots84
We are installing a wood stove in ours, mainly because you can find wood pretty much anywhere for free and doesn't put strain on our future solar set up. Also it's a good way to dispose of burnable trash I would imagine. We also have an electric fireplace, a Presto heat dish and a Mr. Buddy propane heater.
How far are you into the installation process for the wood stove inkblots84? Do you feel like the installation logistics are worth it? Any tips you can share?

It sounds like most people are happy with a small propane heater for the amount of space a bus offers. I was thinking of going with an Olympian Wave 8 Heater (http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/it ... ater/19334), rated for 290 sq. ft. Is this size heater overkill for a bus?
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:26 AM   #9
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

I don't like cold 14* this morning

During winter construction I have a couple 1250/1500w heaters I plug in
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:30 AM   #10
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

I love the Webasto with OEM heaters. Its all there, why make the extra work? We've been fine at -16.
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:46 AM   #11
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

Quote:
Originally Posted by opus
I love the Webasto with OEM heaters. Its all there, why make the extra work? We've been fine at -16.
Because I like to make things hard on myself. I will be using the OEM heaters this winter, but want somethign quieter.
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:55 AM   #12
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

Good timing for this topic. We have snow for the next 5 days they say and we're out on Sat/Sun. We'll be using Webasto so today I get give it a 5 hr test run. Hate to head out without running it for a day....just incase.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:23 AM   #13
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

We use mainly electric and the wood burner. I have a "little buddy" but I don't really like using propane, especially in such a confined space. The condensation is unreal, and we live in a desert. The wood burner on the other hand, that little sucker will roast you out of the bus. and dry your laundry in the process.
Currently we are wintering in Las Vegas, so no need for the wood burner so I ended up removing it to free up some space.
Go the wood burner route if you can swing it.
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:27 PM   #14
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

Quote:
Do you feel like the installation logistics are worth it? Any tips you can share?
We are planning to install a woodstove in our bus as well. We currently have a large fireplace insert we use to do most of the heating of our house (wood is cheap, if you have the connections). As for the bus you do have to do some planning esp in the layout. I saw on your sketchup you would have the woodstove beside the couch (it looks like it would be pretty close to it, that couch with all the synthetics in it, too close to the woodstove, it would begin to offgas and then whoosh! up in flames she'd go), Depending on the woodstove you have you may need to give up to 36" of clearance to each side of the stove usually (sides and front and back) and up to 36" above the stove (http://www.maine.gov/dps/fmo/documen...gguide_001.pdf). ( Now you can cut down on the clearances if you install some heat sheilds (from what I have read you can make them yourself for not a lot of money). With proper installation you can cut the clearance distances by 2/3rds. We are planning to pipe ours out a window, so we won't have to cut another hole in the ceiling. Take out the window behind the stove, bend the sheet metal to fit the window, cut a hole for the pipe to go through, and seal around the chimney pipe with furnace cement. For driving, we'll remove the chimney off course and close over the window.
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Old 11-14-2013, 03:34 PM   #15
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

one of the buses here did a pimp heat shield using corrugated roofing tin, set off the backing and river rock base etc for mass...very slick
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:31 PM   #16
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
one of the buses here did a pimp heat shield using corrugated roofing tin, set off the backing and river rock base etc for mass...very slick
Yes I remember that bus, his girls helped lay down the river rock. Looked good.

There is this one, http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtop...tove&start=105

It might have been WildBlue that used the corrugated roofing tin, but his post got deleted.
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:51 PM   #17
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

Quote:
Originally Posted by enthe0gen
Quote:
Originally Posted by inkblots84
We are installing a wood stove in ours, mainly because you can find wood pretty much anywhere for free and doesn't put strain on our future solar set up. Also it's a good way to dispose of burnable trash I would imagine. We also have an electric fireplace, a Presto heat dish and a Mr. Buddy propane heater.
How far are you into the installation process for the wood stove inkblots84? Do you feel like the installation logistics are worth it? Any tips you can share?

It sounds like most people are happy with a small propane heater for the amount of space a bus offers. I was thinking of going with an Olympian Wave 8 Heater (http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/it ... ater/19334), rated for 290 sq. ft. Is this size heater overkill for a bus?
I just checked, our Mr. Heater is a Big Buddy that is supposed to heat up to 400sq ft, which I'm sure varies based on how well insulated the space is. IMO, it's better to have a bigger heater on low than a little heater struggling on high. It's always easier to cool down than it is to warm up!

As for the installation process... The stove is on its side in the back of the bus, looking pitiful! We need to clean it out, paint it, then install. The plan is to build and insulate a platform for it, heat shield the area with cement board, then tile, and use angle iron to hold the stove to the platform. At least that's how i think it'll go, my better half has the detailed plans. Chimney will be out the window just as Westward described.

@Westward - instead of pulling the chimney down to drive (sounds messy!) could one use metal strapping attached to the ceiling and walls to support it? We were discussing this exact thing the other night, couldn't figure it out and decided to wait and see.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:40 PM   #18
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

Like you said it really will be a wait and see deal....The reason I would take it off for travelling is that with the stove vented out the side window, then the pipe would be protruding from the side as well....sticking out. It would suck to get a tree branch hung up on it, clip it on something, or have it fly off going down the road. But we'll wait till next fall when we get a wood stove in and see how we are going to handle it then.
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:16 PM   #19
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

I have a forced air propane furnace, and have small electric heaters if needed , works good and if Im driving in cold weather I can run the furnace for added heat, and if its real cold I can run the generator and plug to off the electric heaters as well.
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:01 PM   #20
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Re: What's your preferred heating method? Looking for insigh

Hi. I have a propane tank and furnace in my bus. We had 6degree temperature the other day. The furnace blew hot air for 15 minutes or so and then kept cutting out even though I turned the thermostat all the way up. The battery seemed fine. My propane tank indicated it had about a quarter tank full.
Does the combination of frigid temperature and low tank cause this problem? If I fill the propane tank could that solve the issue? It was so cold that I was pleasantly surprised that my bus even started that morning.
Thanks for any insight!
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