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Author Topic: LP furnace  (Read 3898 times)
cody
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« on: September 20, 2010, 09:06:57 AM »

I'm looking into areas of concern for my bus so that I can possibly head to Tn for the colder months and one area is my bays in the bus, I'm looking at adding an LP furnace so that I can run a duct to the basement to keep the pipes from freezing in the cold arctic weather a person will most likely encounter in tenn. lol, I may possibly even need 2 furnaces, depends on if I can sneak up on a S&S while they are sleeping to get a good deal on one or 2 of them, because I've priced new ones and even surplus ones and it would stretch the already short finances so now I'm looking for salvage yards where one or two might be had cheaply, so my question is for those that use them how nasty is the LP usage, do I need to be connected to a pipeline, I presently have 2-30# tanks, would I be looking at larger tanks, I realize it depends on the insulation and other great stuff but I'm just trying to get ideas, right now I'm using a ventless wall heater that works great and ever since I took the batteries out of the detectors it hasn't bothered them at all, actually it doesn't bother them with the batteries either lol, I just thought I'd throw that out there for the purists that believe we're all going to die if we don't kill ourselves first lol.
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 09:18:20 AM »

Hi Cody. My limited experience is those things consume both propane and house batteries at an alarming rate. And they are noisy. I quickly installed a ventless blue flame heater and have never used the furnace since. Sorry i don't have some concrete numbers for you.
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cody
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2010, 09:28:47 AM »

John, that one of the things I'm hearing that they are noisy and thirsty, I already have a ventless heater in the living room but it's with the pads and not the blue flame variety, most of my piping is within the heated area of the bus but my concern is the holding tanks and fresh water tank I've thought about electric pipe wrap but that wouldn't be practical with the tanks, I'm not sure if they would actually freeze or not, just trying to second guess my options here. 
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2010, 09:45:02 AM »

Cody,
I run 2 19.5kbtu furnaces and it works great.  I used suburbans, since they only require a small hole in the wall for intake and exhaust.  One is for the bathroom/bunk area and the rear bedroom.  The other is for the front living area.  I just spent 4 nights in it in the Metro Detroit area last week.  No problems.  Not too noisy.  Ive been down to the 30's in temps so far and I've had no issues with being warm in the coach.  At night, I'll either not run the front one, or keep at a lower  temp than the rear.  During the day, I do the opposite.  Poor man's zone heat!  Additionally, you use less propane in smaller furnaces and you have redundancy in case of emergency.  Good luck!

Glenn
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cody
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2010, 09:57:56 AM »

As far as the noise factor goes, I'm wondering if installing one in the bay of the bus would work out, it would be quieter cause I wouldn't hear the fans running in the upstairs and I could duct the heat to the upstairs area using insulated ducting and use floor registers and then have one set up to blow into the bay area directly, the exhaust could be ducted thru to the outside the same as any other install.  now to get an idea on the amount of gas usage lol.  Would it be cost effective to swap out my 30# tanks and put in 40# tanks, I really don't have any idea on how drastic the gas usage is with them.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2010, 10:00:51 AM by cody » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2010, 10:05:30 AM »

Cody Propane has anywhere from 91330 BTU's per Gallon to 103000 BTU's depending on whose chart you look at.
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2010, 10:13:04 AM »

Ventless should not be used at altitudes above 3,000 ft. They don't even sell them in colorado.
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2010, 10:31:34 AM »

We use an Apollo hydroheat system and have a duct into the utility bay.  We have been fulltiming in Colorado for two years. Our utility bay is insulated (only about R-3) and we haven't frozen yet, and last December we were as low as -15 at nite for two weeks. We stayed about 77 degrees inside.
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2010, 10:40:49 AM »

Cody, another option for you is the Jim Phypers  simple hydronic heating for RV's using a hot water heater,heat exchanger and a pump I will give you a pump forgot were I read about it but I know some in Quartzsite use his system and it works if no one else can provide a link I'll do some checking for you


good luck
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cody
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« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2010, 10:42:01 AM »

Unfortunately, webasto's and hydroheats are beyond the meager budget I have right now, I'm just emerging from a deep dark medical financial hole.  Thats why I'm concidering sneaking up on S&S's at walmart on dark nights with a wrench lol.  
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2010, 11:15:48 AM »

My guess would be that if you install propane furnaces in the bays ducting the heat up and exhaust out, you would be covered for freezing.  The duct to the house would, of course, be insulated.  But the heat from the exhaust duct and the furnace itself should be all you need for that particular bay, especially if you use something like polyiso board on the doors. 

Getting furnaces cheap is another issue.  If you get lucky, you might find them on Craigslist.  I just looked and saw a bunch of them for under $200; many were under $100.  The problem will be finding them close enough.  I don't know if people would be willing to ship them.  You could use one of the universal search sites like this one:  http://craiglook.com/all.html?q=
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« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2010, 11:38:08 AM »

Cody, www.solarhaven.org  shows Jim Phypers setup it uses the hot water heater for the boiler it is pretty simple

good luck
« Last Edit: September 20, 2010, 11:39:42 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2010, 11:53:40 AM »

http://www.solarhaven.org/HPArticle.htm



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« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2010, 12:16:52 PM »

I have a 35,000btu Atwood Propane furnace with four outlets.  It heats well (28 degrees is the coldest) and while it does make some noise, I wouldn't classify it as noisy.  I am going to mount mine in the basement of the truck-the only thing with that kind of installation is that you need to have a return vent in the living area.  Otherwise the furnace would be working to hard grabbing the cold fresh air from the outside.

I just replaced mine after 15 years of use-because I left it on and it ran for two weeks straight-the fan motor didn't like that.  They also make two speed furnaces which would be even quieter. 

I have a 20gal (100#) chassis mount propane tank.  The only propane appliances are my stove/oven and the furnace.  In general, I fill the tank once a year (generally do 30 days a year traveling).  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2010, 01:01:24 PM »

tuff one Cody ..Tenn is a little farther south than us but last winter we had 25 days it didn't get above freezing..would say heat lamp in bay would keep tanks and pump from freezing.maybe on a 120 volt thermostat..keep bay about 35..secret is having it air tight..would hope Tenn winters would be average 10 degrees warmer than here on the Ohio River..very seldom below zero here..lots of overnight in teens..don't know first hand about LP usage..we heat with it at home over 5,000sq ft about 1,200 for heating season.late Oct Thru march into April a little about 6 1/2 months with 2 months heavy usage--jan and Feb..Hope this helps  ..go south young man----Bob
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« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2010, 06:18:51 PM »

Many years ago we had a 35' fiver and went through a 7 gal bottle a week in 30-45 deg temps. I personally would never go back to a furnace simply because of the noise factor. Right now we are in the process of swapping out one of our Plat cats with a ventless on an experimental basis and part of the reason is we don't like hearing the fan on the Plat cat running. That, and it's getting hard to find parts for the Plat cats. They are stingy with the LP though. Some things bother some people and other things other people-blessed be the man that isn't bothered by anything  Grin
Good luck with your project. FWIW, if I could find some used ventless catalytics for cheap, I'd jump on them. Will
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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2010, 06:40:51 PM »

Cody,

I have one 35K BTU Suburban in my '72 MCI. It kept us warm all winter in Maryland while we were full timing. The bus has the original insulation, windows, & uninsulated bays. We used an electric heater in the bathroom while taking showers. I burned from 50 to 65 GALLONS (not pounds) of propane a month, depending on how cold it was. I have a 70 gallon tank so I had to fill up just a little more than once a month.

My MCI has the dropped aisle way covered so the floor is level. The furnace is ducted into the old aisle cavity & runs the length of the bus. I was also able to drill a 2" hole in the side or the aisle cavity in the wet bay & that keeps everything from freezing. I don't know if you can do that with your Eagle.

Mine is not noisy to me. I can hear it run but not bad.

TOM
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« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2010, 07:51:02 PM »

Cody,
I have two 40k btu suburbans in my coach and they basically held their own the nights we stayed in it in Tenn. in the winter. We went through a couple gallons an evening and although i know my new batteries would be fine for a couple nights at the time I felt we had to be plugged in so they were powered ny my converter. I have a 120 wall mounted heater with a fan in the bay and we never had any problems with freezing and it got down to the teens some of the nights we were there. I do think my bus is lacking in insulation compared to some of my friends buses. i actually like white noise at night so the moise isn't a factor for us.

Being that we have a dog and two kids I wouldn't stay out in much colder temps if they were with us. It's hard to keep the entire bus warm for them but a heater in the back bedroom would be fine for wifey and I.

I'd be planning on having at least a 30 amp circuit to be plugged into and I would make sure my propane, smoke and CO detectors are working with good batteries.

Get used to the words "Y'all ain't from around here are you" too. That southern hospitality is alive and well in Tennessee.

Safe travels and good health to you and the head of the household Libby,

Rick



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cody
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« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2010, 08:02:22 PM »

All good information and good ideas, I'm not a stranger to tenn tho, I've darkened BK's door on many occasions and I'm normally the one that looks at the clerk at lowes and tells her she talks funny lol.  My mother in law was born and raised east of nashville and we've got friends all over the state, in spite of what they say lol.
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« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2010, 08:10:31 PM »

Oh forgot to mention those freaky bright colored wasps (I think they call them mud daubers) like to climb in the intake and exhaust ports and make little nests in the squirrel fans. That thump thump sound when I turned on one of the heaters was my first clue. It took me alot of time to pull out that heater, take it apart, clean out the mud the little buggers used to unbalance my fan, and then reinstall it. If it's hot enough that you see them out make sure you keep an eye on your heater!!

You are one funny dude Cody,

Rick
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« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2010, 08:23:25 PM »

  When I was young all the campers had gravity heat furnaces that needed no electricity, gas lights that needed no electricity, and a gas refrigerator. You didnt need a battery for anything but a radio or a TV. And none of that stuff ever seemed to give much trouble except for the idiots of the world. Now EVERYTHING needs electricity.

  The last 5 RV's ive owned all had Suburban forced air furnaces. I never seen such junk. And Atwoods are no better. The parts and components are cheap. They work to hard. It is more efficient to move a large volume of air slowly, than a small volume ofair rapidly. Throw in cheap bushing motors screaming at high speed, and a burn efficiency of about 70%, you have a gas hog that eats batteries like mad. They are a mad circus of parts. An ignitor, fan switch, electric eye, electric gas valve, Overheat switch, Fan/blower motor, ignition transformer,...so many cheapo parts they are just waiting to fail and leave you COLD. BTDTHTS. The 3rd time I was getting one fixed, the guys kid tells me they arent really very good, figure about a season or two of heavy use and they will fail. After that they fail more often. Not a very reliable heating system IMHO. His either.

  My plan (If Mr or Ms Bus comes along)...(wife wants to name it/her Mildred?),  is to have in floor heat using a gas water heater with a backup electric element. The only electric it would use is for the pump. No fans. No noise. No drafts. Heat loops to (and from) the engine. Heat loops anywhere its cold that I want warm.

  

  I dont know about Tn, but it got a bit cold down here in Arkansas last winter. Only 5 above several days in a row. Dont wanna trust my Butt to a cheap furnace
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« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2010, 08:27:45 PM »

One other option is a fireplace or wood burning stove....... I've seen photos of buses with them. They are the ultimate boondocker heater!
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cody
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« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2010, 09:01:19 PM »

I'm a firm believer in redundancy, I've got the ventless wall heater, insulated glass windows, a couple of electric cube heaters, the a/c units on the roof are heat pumps so they do the heating and cooling somewhat, now I'm looking into further ways to ensure a warm night,  If I can find a couple of furnaces, one for the front and one for the back that I can remove out of a salvaged or wrecked unit I'll feel better about it, you guys have to remember where I'm from, cold weather is a fact of life, my questions are more centered on heating units that I'm not familier with and how they work out.  We've had outings where I've had to use an electric blow dryer for hair to thaw out the windshield curtain where it had froze and became embedded in ice on the inside of the windshield, we've been hit with sudden snow storms where we had to wait for a couple of days for a front end loader to open the road up after a 3ft snow fall lol.  My intention is to help BK with some of his sawdust projects and make life easier for them by whacking together shelving units or what ever they need at their new place, I can plug in there depending on what outlets are available but what I don't want is for my visit to cost him a bunch of money in the form of electric bills or stuff like that.  I had my greatest fear confirmed tonight, libby says she figures to only go as far as peoria where she'll winter at her sisters, that is good and bad for me, it opens up room for the swedish bikini team but it also means I'll have to move my cooking skills beyond that of a bowl of cereal lol.
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« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2010, 05:57:34 AM »

Cody,
I should have mentioned power.  I have a xantrex sw4024 inverter and 4 inexpensive smallish house batteries.  I had no problem running the 2 furnaces, rv fridge and a small cube fridge, and lights (12v) and occasionally a microwave (3min/time) all on a 15 amp outlet.  I consider that almost dry camping.  The batteries act as a helper to get you the AC you need when loads are present, and then when you don't need it, the inverter tops the batteries off again.  I'd be really surprised if BK would find that plugging in would be a HUGE drain on his pocketbook!  When I'm plugged in like this, I worry more about it getting too warm and needing to run the rooftop airs.  That ain't gonna happen without the generator.

Glenn
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cody
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« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2010, 06:29:15 AM »

I know Bk wouldn't say a thing about electrical usage, him and his mom and dad are some of the nicest people I know, it's all on my thinking, I just want to carry the smallest footprint I can, it's part of my shy and innocent nature I guess, on my quest for sainthood, humility and thrift are way up there on my bucket list.  Crap, libby just walked by and looked at the screen and asked me if kicking it was anywhere on my bucket list, then she laughed and walked on, I sure feel picked on some times lol.
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« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2010, 06:39:40 AM »

It'll be OK Saint Cody! Just load up and head South as kwick as you can!
Mom just told me she has a job lined up for you up at the house on KY Lake outside of Benton, KY (major if you ask me)
Grin  BK  Grin
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cody
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« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2010, 07:12:25 AM »

Would that be the new house for mom and dad that was discussed a couple of times?  Grin
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« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2010, 07:25:09 AM »

Edited. Comment was off topic.

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« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2010, 08:54:55 AM »

Would that be the new house for mom and dad that was discussed a couple of times?  Grin

yes!
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cody
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« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2010, 09:10:34 AM »

For that I'll bring the big hammer lol.
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« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2010, 11:19:44 AM »

Cody, when I parked my bus in Arkansas one winter, I bought 3 electric/oil heaters. (they look like old steam radiators, and cost about 30 bucks apiece.) planted one in each of the 3 bays. left them on low and never had a problem with freezing. I guess since they only used electricity to heat the oil, the electric bill didn't go into the outer limits. A side bonus was toasty warm floors in the bus. I too ran my bus one one 15 amp power cord.
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cody
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« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2010, 11:25:53 AM »

I'm kinda waiting to hear more on this mom and dad project lol.  Last time I saw a hammer laying around unguarded it kinda turned into a 16x24 screen porch lol.
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« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2010, 11:54:03 AM »

The porch was already there just needed screened!

Of course the house is already there too, but really needs tore down and rebuilt from scratch!
I have no ideas what mom is thinking (neither does she for that matter! Wink)
But I'm sure she will have some crazy ideas soon, but lets not dwell on that structure yet! Wink
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2010, 05:17:17 PM »

cody, when you get your plan together, let me know also.  we have 4 big, electric hog toe-kicks and i want to find a way to heat less expensively and boondock easily.  i was thinking about the water pipe thing since we had hot water heat in both houses we had.  the problem was mainly them suckers seem expensive considering what's involved.  i like clifford's hot water heater system.

by the way also, we'll be just above nashville working until christmas, starting in oct.  let me know if you're coming thru.  i've alos got to talk to bk about mechanic work i need to do somewhere.  i just need to figure out where he is.  you listening, bk?
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cody
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« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2010, 05:58:48 PM »

Tom, i'll get it figured out, I've been checking out that site, got some good information on it.
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