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Author Topic: box heaters  (Read 3692 times)
cody
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« on: December 13, 2009, 09:20:55 PM »

Are anyone using the old style box type heaters you used to see under the seats in school buses for on the road heat?  I'm thinking they would work great for keeping the bays warm and even in the house area, I picked up one thats not too big and hooks into the heater hoses and even has a control for the 12 volt fan, the control is like an automotive type that has a slider for more heat or less heat and has a 3 speed fan, the thing is like new and was only 10 bucks, I got it out of a salvaged school bus.  I'm thinking I should get some more for over the road heat.
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Christyhicks
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2009, 04:20:44 AM »

Aaaaaahhhh, THAT takes me back a year or two.  In the early 90's, we had a 25' motorhome, and in planning a trip to MN for Christmas, Larry got the wise idea to install one of those box heaters under one of the dinette seats, splicing it into the RV heater hose.  That thing heated like the dickens!!!!  The one heater kept the entire inside of that RV toasty warm.

On a side note Wink, before we left, I decided to insulate the water compartment, so I got my ductboard, foil tape, and spray expanding foam out and went to work, building a box around all of the water components and sealing all cracks and crevices.  Last, I sealed all of the way around the door frame into the water compartment, since it seemed to have a gap all the way around.  Then, I noticed that there was one more spot, waaaayyyy in the back corner, so I wriggled my head and shoulders back in and foamed that spot too.  As I worked my way back out, I felt something drop onto my head,  Huh. . .hmmmmmm. Undecided .  this is going to be bad, Huh I can just tell!  Sure enough, the expanding foam had been expanding the whole time, and that nice job I had done sealing around that door had just deposited a big blob right on my head! Shocked  I was thrilled  Cry

Christy Hicks
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2009, 05:02:17 AM »

Cody,
When I took the bus heat out, I bought a heater core for a 5 ton military truck.  If I remember right it's about 60K btu 2 speed fan running on 24V.  I plumbed it into the bus heater lines and installed it under the couch and it heats all but the back bedroom.  It's a great way to go. 

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2009, 05:25:04 AM »

the item isnt that made by red dot co.?
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travelingfools
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2009, 08:27:45 AM »

Cody, great idea... Now we need to figure out a way to heat that water when the bus is not running (besides buying a Webasto)..Ya, Im a cheap bas@#$d..but I like to think of myself as thrifty..lol.
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John P, Lewiston NY   1987 MC 9 ...ex NJT
cody
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2009, 08:40:48 AM »

I have a ventless propane heater that heats the bus very well while it's parked or on the road, I'm just looking for a method of heating that is reasonable on the road, I know a webasto or proheat would do the job nicely and burn up a bunch of fuel too, but I can't afford a proheat or webasto and I'm even less likely to want to burn additional fuel when it appears that the engine could do the job nicely while on the road.  I have a good 20 gallon water heater that works nicely so hot water isn't an issue, all I want to do is get heat in the bus without using the ventless heater and burning propane that I don't have to burn.  I'm hearing about 80K units and 90K units and thinking thats a lot of BTU's, my ventless heater is 10K BTU and will roast you out of the bus so I'm thinking that somehow about 70K or 80K is being wasted or lost on the webastos or proheats.
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2009, 12:08:12 PM »

Our Courier 96 still uses the original OTR heating system. 3 box heaters: 1 under the bed that blows out into the bedroom, one was moved under the floor and blows up under the dinette, and one under the dash at the front. It is a little noisy, but it heats so much, you have to turn them off soon after turning them on. 2 switches for them: 1 for the front one and 1 for the 2 back ones. You have to open the water valve in the engine compartment by hand, and remember to turn it off when the weather warms up.

JC
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JC
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2009, 01:18:29 PM »

i cant find my valves? any ideas? pd406
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thomas f  Bethlehem n.h
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2009, 05:41:31 PM »

Cody, we still have bus heaters, so i've got nice water lines running throughout with a fan that will just about blow  you out the window.  1 in the bathroom, 1 in the bedroom, and 2 in the living area.  they work hard just to keep us warm on a cold day in ohio on the road.  fran doesn't think hard enough, so she wears a sweatshirt.

10k doesn't sound like a lot going down the road on a cold day though.  i've got a ventless for when the elec is 20a instead of 50a.  it's the larger 18k.  on cold (32 deg) nites, it ain't that  great.  i'd pick up a couple more if you plan to go with those boxes for "on the road again" heaters.

on our bus, too much goes out the gaps when in gear.
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Tom
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2009, 05:58:58 PM »

My experience is that 10,000 BTU isn't close to enough to heat my bus to a liveable temp.  When the temps outside are 30 degrees, two 1500 watt heaters (10,236 BTU) won't bring even the temps over maybe 50 degrees running full blast all day long.

I've given up trying to heat my bus during the winter since I'm not living in it.  I figure the two electric heaters cost about $7 a day to run.  My entire 2,700 square foot house only costs $4 to $8 a day to heat depending on outside temps.  Right now I am probably closer to the $8 number since it is below zero outside.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
cody
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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2009, 08:13:37 PM »

I'm just not convinced yet that I need the huge 80 and 90K BTU  webastos that I'm hearing about, a couple of days ago I went out and fired up the ventless heater in the living room and started the fan in the front aimed at the ceiling, while the bus was warming up I had a cup of coffee in the house, I went back out and worked on the bedroom, putting down carpeting, I did that in my shirt sleeves and by the time I had the bed back in place it was 74F in the living room and 68F in the bedroom, the outside temp was -4F.  The total time was around 3 hours or so.  I've only been on the road with the ventless heater in cold weather once so far and it was only down to around 28F so thats not too cold but the heater was on the low setting and it was comfortable in the bus.  I do have another ventless heater I had figured I could install if needed but I'm not sure thats the route I want to take yet.  My bus hasn't had any onboard heat since i've owned it, the previous owner removed it all, even the defrosters.  I'm just thinking about ideas other than the diesel fired units that seem to be so popular and expensive.
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buswarrior
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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2009, 08:38:26 PM »

Yes, cody, you are correct, an 80k coolant furnace is a fair bit of over capacity for a bus conversion.

A coolant furnace by itself is a shakey choice from an efficiency standpoint.
Both running costs and cost of acquisition. And it has to be some sort of certain larger size, blowing the ability to fine tune load to need, that multiple smaller heating solutions give us.

When mixed with a marine hot water system, a tank of stored engine heated coolant, the need for engine pre-heat, perhaps with the generator system tied in somehow... a coolant based heating system has the "free engine heat" from the day's drive to its distinct advantage, if it can be stored.

Sitting still for days on end, other heating solutions will be cheaper.

For instance, if one has a generator, what's wrong with a few cube heaters and an electric block heater?
Or one or more propane powered ventless units from the camping store?

Don't be keeping up with the Jones', they maybe over bought...

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2009, 04:57:03 AM »

80,000 BTU is certainly overkill.  The Proheat I have is 45,000 or so BTU.  I think my house furnace is only around 80,000 BTU.

I know from experience that two 1,500 watt heaters are not enough for a 43 foot bus in 20 degree temps.  My plan is to have my Proheat running next summer.  It may not be the most efficient option, but it is fine for two weeks a year of use.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
cody
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« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2009, 06:31:47 AM »

I have a tendency to disagree with the idea that a bus can't be heated with a smaller unit, until I got the ventless heater we used a small cube heater that has the 800 watt setting and the 1500 watt setting, because our inverter is only a 1000 watt freedom inverter we couldn't use the 1500 watt setting and got by with the 800 watt setting most of the time unless we were plugged into shore power.  I had insulated the bus as well as I could, even the floor, I also found that thermopane windows (double pane) were not expensive, I bought mine brand new for 20 bucks each from Bontragers, I tightened the bus up and it is easily heated, we lived in it that way for 2 years in all kinds of weather.  Right now I've been working on my daughters house, it's a large 2 story home built in 1881, with insulation and new windows I'm now heating it with a simular 10K ventless heater, the house is 2200 sq ft and the heater is rated for 300 sq ft, the heater is located in the living room and i have a fan going at the ceiling level.  I heated the skanee house for many years with small ventless heaters and that house was 1800 sq ft, the key is to tighten the house and maintain air flow so the heat doesn't get layered. I'm now looking into the box style bus heaters so I can save on propane usage on the road, we just came off a horrible year financially and are trying to recover so I'm looking into many ways to cut costs, I simply can't afford to thro money at the bus, I've got to think it thru and do the smart route, for that i'm seeking  guidance.
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Van
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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2009, 06:55:27 AM »

Cody, Cheryl and I were at the CW store yesterday and decided to pick up a Mr Heater Big Buddy,Is this one of those Vent less heaters that you described earlier? This is a 18,000btu unit and says it will heat up a 400 sf space, and has 3 settings, low@4000btu/medium@9000btu and hi@18000btu. I Have to admit, I had my doubts about it's heating capacity and was all set to return it if it did not fulfill our needs at the upcoming Q rally,but boy! does this lil' bugger throw some heat,and that was before I discovered that it had a built in fan Grin.
  Cody, I remember you had told us last year,that you had picked up a similar unit and liked it very much.
Is this the same unit you have? And should I go get another? They seemed reasonably priced ($149.00),should I get another one? You know,if one is good two is much better kinda thing,thanks Smiley
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cody
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« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2009, 07:06:22 AM »

I do have a big buddy that we bought a couple of years ago when we got stranded in a blizzard, they do throw a lot of heat and we keep ours for a spare, if your going to use it much you should get the long extention hose so you can use a 30 pound propane tank instead of the small ones. Thats not the one I mounted in the bus tho, mine is made by Pro-com and I got it from northern tool for 100 bucks, it's got the 2 pads for low (6000 BTU) and hi (10K BTU).  http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200332737_200332737?cm_sp=RVC-_-Category%20Page-_-Products
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cody
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« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2009, 07:12:34 AM »

There are 2 kinds of ventless heaters and I've used them both, I prefer the ones with the pads instead of the open flame models, the open flame models are called "blue flame" models and I've found they consume a lot more propane than the ones with the pads, I bought 2 of the propane models for the bus but have only installed one of them so far, I also bought one in natural gas for jamies house and it's heating a 2200 sq ft house right now and doing it nicely.
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« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2009, 07:23:15 AM »

extention hose so you can use a 30 pound propane tank instead of the small ones. Thats not the one I mounted in the bus tho, mine is made by Pro-com and I got it from northern tool for 100 bucks, it's got the 2 pads for low (6000 BTU) and hi (10K BTU).  http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200332737_200332737?cm_sp=RVC-_-Category%20Page-_-Products


For $100 I might get one so I can occasionally work on the bus over the winter.  Would I also need to get a hose and regulator?  I'm not sure this is going to bring the bus to 72 degrees, but even  50 degrees should be enough to do work. 
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
cody
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« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2009, 07:33:19 AM »

If you don't have a propane system in your bus now, yes, you'll need the regulator and hose but if you have a propane system now all you'll need to do is extend the line to the living area and add a shut off and quick connect.  I think you'll be well pleased with the amount of heat it puts out, set up a fan tho to keep it from getting layered by the ceiling, the key is to keep the air moving somewhat.
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Van
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« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2009, 10:05:28 AM »

I see that NT has a bigger unit, any comments on this one.
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200332739_200332739?cm_sp=Xsells-_-Manual-_-Product%20Page
As  we are not insulated yet cept for the factory stuff ,just want to make the Q Rally as warm and cozy for my better half on her first outing, or do you think the big Buddy will suffice?thanks Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2009, 05:44:11 PM »

For OTR heat and A/c I kept the roof monster and keeps the bus 90 when it's 20 degrees going down the road...as for park heat we have a infra red "fireplace" and a additional infra red heater in the rear of the rig and they keep it about 70 degrees all the way into the mid 20's or so we have been getting since our arrival in Nashville. only problem i have is the damn floor is ALWAYS FREEZING!
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« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2009, 06:22:54 PM »

Cold floors need rugs.

Go to the Rona/Zellers/Walmart/Sams/Costco/Lowes/Home Depot/box store of your choice.

Anything small, inexpensive, rubber backed, pattern you like.

Buy a bunch and spread them around.

Easy to carry outside to shake out the dirt. Easy to strategically position for those cold toes.

And you can put them away when not needed.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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cody
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« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2009, 06:50:45 PM »

Van, we've got 2 of the bigger heaters out at the skanee house, we never used over 2 pads at any given time with them so we quit buying the larger sizes.  Avoiding the cold floors is why we insulated the floor too, it's also important to keep the air moving, it can get layered with the warmest air up by the ceiling and the coldest down by the floor, a fan will keep it stirred up.  Just to give you an idea of what the heater I pointed out is able to do, right now I'm using one of the 10K heaters to heat jamies house and thats 2200 sq ft.  Right now it's 4 degree's outside and 71 in the house, 66 at the furthest reach of the house, her house is a large old home built in 1881, i'm superinsulating it and putting in new windows, her furnace is a high efficiency model from the mid 90's but the little heater is blowing it away with the fuel sipping.
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Van
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« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2009, 08:17:54 PM »

That's great to hear cody, thanks! I really didn't want to go back to CW for another one any way, besides Northern tool has a better price than CW if I do get another thanks and you continue to keep them warm up in your neck of the frozen north Cheesy

   Van
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