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Author Topic: Crazy idea? - Propane water heater for radiant heat?  (Read 4315 times)
belfert
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« on: August 15, 2006, 12:23:03 PM »

I bought a Suburban furnace, but I am finding it difficult to find space for the ductwork.

Radiant heat would be easier to find space for, but I can't really afford a Webasto, Aqua-hot or similiar.  Would an RV propane water heater work to provide hot coolant for a radiant heat system?  I would have have to find a pump and figure out how to control the system so the water heater doesn't have to run 24x7.

Brian Elfert
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TomC
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2006, 01:57:34 PM »

While the propane water heater is a fast recovery, I don't believe it to have enough BTU's to provide enough hot water for bus heating. 
I designed my 35,000btu furnace into my design.  Hence, made the kick board under the kitchen counters 6" to facilitate the duct work.  You could also run the ducts under the bus with insulated flex ducts.  Good Luck, TomC
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Dave Harmer
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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2006, 02:56:43 PM »

Hello, there, Dave Harmer here from Victoria, I had a friend who passed away recently did webasto hot water heating on his 4104 coach with an additinal setup for preheating his 6-71.  Quite nice.  A few of us have been discussing using the palomo or the bosch instant hotwater heaters for the same type of thing.  One thing you would come up against is the pressure switch in the bosch.  this would have to be bypassed.  Other wise this could work.  Also there is no reason to thing that an old small type hotwater heater out of an old trailer or rv would not work.  I personally have installed two bosch instant hotwater heaters for my house hot water and my brother in laws 4106.  Mine is a 4104.
A number of other 4104 owners have gone to the bosch's on the island here also. 
They do tend to be sensitive to cold weather, so mounting or installing them in an inside area would be better in my opinion only then mounting them in one of the bays.  Although I have seen both methods useds.  As for the BTU's, mine is the smaller 35000 to 40000 and seeing as how my coach is done with pex plastic piping.  the water gets pretty hot within a few seconds of turning on.  So I would think depending on the amount of radiators or fins installed on your heating system.  I would think you would see heat in your pipes pretty quickly.  The old time said in his 4104.  It would take less than 15 minutes or less in his coach for plenty of heat.  One of the benefits also is that it does not generally get cold as fast as air heat.  My friends father in law has or had a company named ultra fin, in floor heating.  Some of the piping from this application along with the clip on fins could be used in a coach application also.  You just clip or bolt the fins where you want the heat to come through, IE under bed/ couch, cupboards in a bay or two.

Hope this helps.
Dave 1958 PD4104 out in Victoria, British Columbia.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2006, 03:01:25 PM by Dave Harmer » Logged
belfert
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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2006, 03:19:33 PM »

It looks like this really won't work with a regular RV water heater.  I forgot to check the BTUs on one.  They are only 12,000 BTU/hr.  A tankless water heater is a bit too large and I couldn't afford the interior space.

I'll have to look for an inexpensive used Webasto or just use the furnace I already bought.

Brian Elfert
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busguy01
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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2006, 03:41:23 PM »

The tankless propane water heaters are great BUT you must have a positive vent for the fumes!!! They are almost non exeistance on boats now due to the gases killing several people while showering! I had one for years but put it in a vented area and turned on an exhaust fan while using. Scared me!!!
JimH
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2006, 04:03:26 PM »

The precision temp demand water heater would work.  The company even recommends it in that capacity.  I have one for hot water and it works slick.  Question is...Would it burn more than the Suburban furnace to keep the bus at the same temp?
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2006, 04:25:40 PM »

Brian    check your e-mail
Steve
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buswarrior
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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2006, 06:59:27 PM »

No one I know who ever owned a Webasto/Proheat/Espar heater ever said a bad thing about it.

Get out to your local transit scrap yard. Many transits have a coolant heater so the engine doesn't run cool, emission control reasons, and customer comfort, since the four strokes don't make the heat that the two strokes used to.

Used take out should be around US$400 or less for a big one. Any more, it better be tested and cleaned!

I have a 100 000 BTU Webasto, and wouldn't be without one!

Frozen Canadian that I am....

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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belfert
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2006, 08:03:38 PM »

No one I know who ever owned a Webasto/Proheat/Espar heater ever said a bad thing about it.

Get out to your local transit scrap yard. Many transits have a coolant heater so the engine doesn't run cool, emission control reasons, and customer comfort, since the four strokes don't make the heat that the two strokes used to.

A few people don't like Webasto heaters because of nozzles clogging and such.

My bus is a 4 stroke and originally came with a Webasto heater to preheat the engine and for additional passenger heat.  Somebody along the way removed the Webasto heater.  I couldn't figure out why the Webasto heater control pad was blinking an error code until I figured out the heater is missing!

There is a 80K Webasto on Ebay right now, but it is 12 volt and 80k seems a little much for heating a bus.

Brian Elfert
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Homegrowndiesel
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« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2006, 08:12:11 PM »

Good question Brian. Seems you have come to the conclusion (facts) without having to spend the money.

Hey Buswarior, 100,000 Btu, you must be a frozen canuck (? sp) I think our 40,000 Btu Webasto works great, no excess cycling ( do to the extra capacity of the 6 gallon hot water heater as a buffer) and so far plenty of heat in -10 degree weather. I guess we need to test Canadian winters!

Been there done that, 12,000 Btu made no heat in the bus at 40 degree ot. But the same 24' of hot water baseboard with a couple of air coils and the webasto will roast you if needed.

What temp do you want to operate in and how good is your insulation? Get the big add on filter, $30.00 with shut off valve inline. makes life easy, no clogged filters, or nozzel YET.

Bill
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belfert
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« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2006, 09:00:44 PM »

What temp do you want to operate in and how good is your insulation? Get the big add on filter, $30.00 with shut off valve inline. makes life easy, no clogged filters, or nozzel YET.

I have two inches of spray foam in the walls below the windows and 2" of pink styrofoam where windows are covered up.  Roof is 1.5 inches of spray foam poorly done.  Temps are unlikely to drop below 40 degrees any place I go.

Brian Elfert
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2006, 05:48:14 AM »

Never had any nozzle clogging in over ten years of use. An inline filter for the fuel is recommended to prevent this problem.
Richard


Quote
A few people don't like Webasto heaters because of nozzles clogging and such.
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Paso One
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« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2006, 07:12:55 AM »

I'm adding a hot water loop to my webasto system. Basically when driving down the road with the valve open (water heater loop ) the engine cooling system heat should bring the water heater water up to a useable tempeture ( actually propably too warm) When parked for a long time the webasto will heat the engine loop , auxially heater loop, or the hot water heater loop.  I'm using a outside wood fired boiler heat exchanger on the side of the water heater..
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belfert
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« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2006, 07:31:17 AM »

Never had any nozzle clogging in over ten years of use. An inline filter for the fuel is recommended to prevent this problem.

Is an inline fuel filter something like the little cylinder style filters that cars use?  The Webasto hookup for the OEM Webasto that was in my bus had a filter housing and regular screw on filter.

Brian Elfert
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2006, 12:35:25 PM »

That should be it. I changed mine once a year since it was a replaceable unit and never had any fuel problems that I can recall. Did have a control module failure once, but that was because I did not unhook the power while doing some welding on something.
Richard

Never had any nozzle clogging in over ten years of use. An inline filter for the fuel is recommended to prevent this problem.

Is an inline fuel filter something like the little cylinder style filters that cars use?  The Webasto hookup for the OEM Webasto that was in my bus had a filter housing and regular screw on filter.

Brian Elfert
« Last Edit: August 17, 2006, 05:13:18 AM by DrivingMissLazy » Logged

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a good Reisling in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming:  WOO HOO, what a ride
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« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2006, 08:22:39 PM »

What temp do you want to operate in and how good is your insulation? Get the big add on filter, $30.00 with shut off valve inline. makes life easy, no clogged filters, or nozzel YET.


I have two inches of spray foam in the walls below the windows and 2" of pink styrofoam where windows are covered up.  Roof is 1.5 inches of spray foam poorly done.  Temps are unlikely to drop below 40 degrees any place I go.

Brian Elfert


Brian,
If you don't need much heat the ceramic little heaters will keep the bus comfy, use blankets at night when its cold.  Thats what I do now and I have'nt worked out the hat situation either.  I would dare say that my bus is not as well insulated as yours.  The $40-$60 electric oil filled radiater work great and you can choose 600,900, and 1500 watt settings with thermostat.  600 on the snowflake is plenty warm and you can remove it when you don't need it.  Quick, cheap, and easy and portable too.  probably not good for going down the road but use bus heat then.

http://www.homegarden-offer.com/rd_p?p=113082&t=1122&c=337696&gift=761&a=761-oil%20filled%20heater

I have another link in another computer for smaller wall mounted electric oil-filled heaters that you can decorate etc. some googling might reveal it.


I'm not knocking hydronic because it it's good for distribution(and space needed) and opens up your options for heat sources ie, genny exhaust ,solar, etc.  It's what i'm wanting to work out.  I't seem's you don't need heat that often and don't want to spend money.

Let us know what you come up with.

 Cool


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belfert
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« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2006, 08:29:56 PM »

Electric heat is certainly a low cost idea, but I've not stayed more than two nights in places with hookups since I started RVing.  Boondocking is what I do and running the generator all night for heat isn't the best idea.

Brian Elfert
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pvcces
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« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2006, 10:12:13 PM »

Brian, here's the problem with your idea. The Atwood and Suburban 6 and 10 water heaters don't put out enough continuous BTUs to get the job done. To find out, check to see if you can get input BTU specs anywhere on them. The on demand style of water heater might have a high enough input, but the cost of those units would probably defeat your purpose.

I've got it figured that a used Webasto heater might be available for little enough money, but I've seen some reports that their heat exchangers are very expensinve, if you should lose one. And the company does not seem to encourage people to service their own units.

The propane furnace seems the least expensive, but it might pay to figure in a replacement Dinosaur board, because the original equipment is nothing to write home about. They run from 25-40 kBTU. A portable electric heater is only 5 kBTU, for comparison.

I'm having trouble thinking of any other way to set up for boondocking. I have considered going with a rooftop heat pump if our current one ever fails, just to add some redundancy. If I did, I would also be looking at a low current model, about 10-11 amps.

For what it's worth.

Tom Caffrey
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Ketchikan, Alaska
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Tom Caffrey PD4106-2576
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Ross
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« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2006, 05:20:25 AM »

I think for boodocking on a budget, it's hard to beat the Propane furnace, especially in moderate temps.
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radiant1
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« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2006, 12:21:10 PM »

   I have added radiant heat to my bus conversion and have written a three page instruction book for the DIY, see http://www.radiantdesigninstitute.com/page58.html.
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buswarrior
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« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2006, 02:22:39 PM »

Homegrowndiesel, 100,000 BTU Webasto just means you don't have to wait for the heat to happen, in any conditions! Mine is still rigged to use the coach heaters, sucking in outside air, and no way to stop pre-heating the engine. Previous owner had different priorities than camping....

All diesel fired heaters need regular maintenance and a fuel filter, same as the engine....

For quiet, no electric power needed heat, don't forget Dickinson marine stoves. (Thanks Fast Fred!)
Gravity fed, diesel powered, no noise, no electric. www.dickinsonmarine.com

Easy to rig a small tank, size is your choice according to how long you want it to run, up in a cupboard that you fill with a small electic fuel pump from your main tank. The stove only needs a 12 inch head.

You can cook on it, it has an oven, and it keeps you warm. Small chimney, marine fittings for through the roof.

Another way?

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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belfert
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« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2006, 08:29:33 AM »

I'm still thinking about radiant heat very seriously.  Cost is certainly an issue, but lack of room for forced air ducts is also an issue.

If I get a water heater with an exchanger, how do I regulate the temperature of the water?  Does a Seaward water heater have something built in to control the flow of hydronic heat through the exchanger?

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2006, 10:02:55 AM »

Why do you need to regulate the temp of the water?  Doesn't the heater already do that?

All you need to do is regulate the flow of the water through your heat exchangers by turning the pumps on and off. The thermostat does that for you, with the aid of a relay or two.

Maybe I don't fully understand your question.

craig
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Craig Shepard
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belfert
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« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2006, 10:34:17 AM »

Why do you need to regulate the temp of the water?  Doesn't the heater already do that?

All you need to do is regulate the flow of the water through your heat exchangers by turning the pumps on and off. The thermostat does that for you, with the aid of a relay or two.

I need to regulate the temperature of the domestic hot water in the water heater.  I understand how to regulate the heat exchangers for heat inside the bus.  I certainly don't need to be running hot coolant through the heat exchanger in the domestic water heater all the time or the domestic hot water will get very hot.

Brian Elfert
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Wormy 402
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« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2006, 12:00:42 PM »

I have a Primus radiant heating system in my eagle, and we didn't like it.  It heats up too slow.  I like to have something to back up to, when I come in from the cold.  I installed a catalytic safety heater, and have had no problems with it.  It uses no power, and the only drawback that I have found, is that there is certain ammount of water vapor released when burning propaine , that will show up on your windows if the weather is really cold. I have been thinking of installing a small one in the bathroom, to heat it up faster.  The heater is allmost 100% efficent, simple to operate, and all you have to do is to crack two windows to allow for some ventilation, and oxygen, and to be carefull not to let anything flamable get too close to it.  If I can be of any help, let me know.    Duane
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« Reply #25 on: August 18, 2006, 03:41:00 PM »

I am also in the preparing for heat stage.  We have been checking out two options besides the Webasto and Aqua Hot.  One is called Warmfloor (www.warmfloor.com) and uses electric heat in floor pads/tiles - something like a heating blanket.   The other one we are looking at is found at www.reduceenergybills.com.  We are just beginning to look at this one.  Sounds good if we can handle the electrical demands.  Looking forward to hearing what you decide.

Kurt
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Ross
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« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2006, 04:35:07 AM »

Why do you need to regulate the temp of the water?  Doesn't the heater already do that?

All you need to do is regulate the flow of the water through your heat exchangers by turning the pumps on and off. The thermostat does that for you, with the aid of a relay or two.

I need to regulate the temperature of the domestic hot water in the water heater.  I understand how to regulate the heat exchangers for heat inside the bus.  I certainly don't need to be running hot coolant through the heat exchanger in the domestic water heater all the time or the domestic hot water will get very hot.

Brian Elfert

Same principle.  A thermostat in the water tank tells a pump to turn, which circulates coolant through the water heaters heat exchanger. 
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belfert
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« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2006, 05:51:50 AM »

I need to regulate the temperature of the domestic hot water in the water heater.  I understand how to regulate the heat exchangers for heat inside the bus.  I certainly don't need to be running hot coolant through the heat exchanger in the domestic water heater all the time or the domestic hot water will get very hot.


Same principle.  A thermostat in the water tank tells a pump to turn, which circulates coolant through the water heaters heat exchanger. 

Would a typical marine water heater with a haet exchanger have a thermostat included?  The Force 10 water heaters do have a tempering valve that will limit the water temperature to 140F.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2006, 04:10:02 PM »

I am also in the preparing for heat stage.  We have been checking out two options besides the Webasto and Aqua Hot.  One is called Warmfloor (www.warmfloor.com) and uses electric heat in floor pads/tiles - something like a heating blanket.   The other one we are looking at is found at www.reduceenergybills.com.  We are just beginning to look at this one.  Sounds good if we can handle the electrical demands.  Looking forward to hearing what you decide.

Kurt

Kurt, The load seems to be minimal, Particularly for the IR "Furnace"  I like the warmfloor concept but based on 300 sf they quoted me   $4k

Jim
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busnut104
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« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2006, 06:14:32 PM »

I use a Precision temp demand heater, I can heat the coach and pre heat the eng. and domestic hot water with a coil in the water tank.
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« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2006, 08:41:51 PM »

Belfert, do what I did till I can find an Aquhot unit at a good price.I installed a block heater and use a propane fired catalitic heater for the coach,just keep a window or vent cracked. Good luck.
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