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Author Topic: My dilemma  (Read 3805 times)
opus
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« on: October 25, 2010, 07:37:13 PM »

First let me introduce myself, seeing I am new.  I am the owner of a 1995 Blue Bird All-American, ex-school bus.  As I mentioned earlier, I own and manage a gospel quartet.  We went this route for many reasons.
  • I've been around many entertainers, from 4106 to new H345's.  Couldnt afford one, wouldnt want one.  Anything I could afford would come with the previous owners nightmares.
  • I needed something that got at least 10mpg, this gets 11.
  • I needed something that was durable, had generic and available parts
  • I thought [sigh] it would be best if we converted it ourselves, that way we knew what we had, when something negative arose.
  • I'll be up front with you, I paid $5500 for this and will not have another $3k into it when I am done.  We arent doing this to make people look at it and go "wow".  On the other hand, we dont want it looking like a heap either.  It will be basic, yet extremely functional

This brings me to my dilemma.  The only thing I cant figure out at this time is the most economical, dead dog simple route to take for having heat while parked over night.  We opted to keep all the windows, which will have tyhermal curtains over them.  They are also tinted.
Anyways, it has a Webasto.  I am not totally sure that will fit our needs, well it would actually.  What i am not sure on is how to configure it with a thermostat, etc.  Will it be economical, probably not....thats a problem.  I would probably have to run a generator with it as well, to keep the batteries up.  Hot air heat for me is not an option.  Too dry and dusty around here for that, plus it gets too cold in the winters for it to keep up.  Maybe a ventilate propane heater stuck on the wall?  Electric heat?  Propane salamander...lol.  Just looking for brainstorming ideas now.  I would love to utilize the 400k btus worth of heaters I have onboard, which is why the Webasto intrigues me.

Enough rambling....you get the picture.  HELP......  Smiley  A few pics thus far: http://picasaweb.google.com/pmilne/Bus#
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robertglines1
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2010, 07:57:19 PM »

A good investment is a laser thermometer from  harbor freight about 40 dollars...will tell you were your heat is getting out or where summer sun?heat is coming in. Insulation is the key to how much heat you need..I get away with 3 box heaters down to about 30 degrees..40ft coach...doing a 45 now will use heat pump for air and heat.again you need elect if you do that..I would think you would only have to use part of your Websco to heat the bus..with all the insulation you added..just thoughts..
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
opus
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2010, 08:14:23 PM »

I've got one....good idea.  I am sure heat is going through the glass.  The termo curtains will help.  The roof will be shedding some heat too.  Way too much work involved to add insulation to the roof though.  Unless I added something to the interior visible skin.

We're taking it in a couple weeks as a trial.  Once I get the bunk room closed off with curtains I am going to try to keep the back section warm overnight, here and see how much a difference that makes.
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robertglines1
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2010, 08:27:36 PM »

could try the foil bubble type insulation placed behind curtains when you are parked..also I used a mirror tint on the windows to help reflect daytime heat..can still see out good during day and it reflects sun..maybe you could put a 1/2 inch insulation under your headlinner.would act like a thermal break also..try a piece and shoot it with your gun..also on your walls I noticed you went between the wall frame.did you do anything to stop heat transferr to the steel. It goes both ways. if you notice on a cool morning you can see the outline of the frame in moisture on  the coach you are having a lot of transferr thru the steel  trying on this coach to stop that all together.  Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2010, 08:31:36 PM »

checked you pictures out ..looks like you got it going on...Good Job!
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2010, 04:54:21 AM »

That will be a nice looking and functional bus.  I think you are going to regret not having insulated the ceiling before putting up the interior.  Are the ceiling panels riveted or screw on?  I know that it's a big job to drop the panels and insulate, but it will be a MUCH bigger job when the interior is finished.
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opus
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2010, 07:40:51 AM »

Are the ceiling panels riveted or screw on?  I know that it's a big job to drop the panels and insulate, but it will be a MUCH bigger job when the interior is finished.

They are riveted on.  There was no way ever I was going to pull those rivets.  If I was 20, I still dont think I would have pulled them...lol!  I did the rivets on the sidewall and that was bad!  If they were screwed on I would have done it.  There is an inch of regular glass batting in the roof.  Its not much, but its something.  While running down the road the heat will chase you out of there.  Its just the stopped overnight part that puzzles me at this time.
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robertglines1
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2010, 08:18:43 AM »

I just read where your from.can understand need for good heat..Close to Glacier park? A RV furnace run on LP is a good  choice for overnight.40,000BTU. when you do your ceiling post here for ideas.several different methods have been used including ones capable of adding r-value..also know your summers even no not as long lasting as in Ind can be brutal hot..One idea : I have a elect fan 20 inch from Lowe's mounted over drivers seat..brings heat off ceiling to floor..Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2010, 08:25:08 AM »

We're 150 mile west of Glacier.  Hmmm...an RV furnace.  Are they small, self contained, or is there a lot to them?

If I could somehow tap into the current heater lines and heat the water, I would be all set.  I have them all there, it sure would be nice to use what is there instead of adding something else.
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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2010, 08:34:53 AM »

lp fired on demand hot water heater and circulation pump? would heat when you switched pump on/ Flow censored
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2010, 08:39:36 AM »

I've got the circulation pump issue solved.  Would this actually work?
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Don4107
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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2010, 09:02:42 AM »

Since you have the Webasto, use it with some zone control.  The zone control could be as simple as using thermostats to control the fans on each heater. 

Good luck
Don 4107

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« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2010, 09:16:57 AM »

You know you will need power of some sort. One of these heaters with a small fan running will turn your bus into a convection oven. http://www.lowes.com/pd_327108-16908-60351_4294934542+5003700__?productId=3172409&Ntt=heater&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl_100%2B200_4294934542%2B5003700__s%3FNtt%3Dheater%26page%3D2 One of the problems people don't think about is you still have to keep the air moving with heat.
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cody
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« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2010, 09:27:52 AM »

A fan is critical to keep the air from layering, the hot air will sit at the ceiling level with the cooler air at floor level, the problem with the electric fireplace idea is that it's large and bulky, you can get the same heat from a small electric box style heater that can be stored in a cabinet when not in use.  5000 BTU is still 5000 btu doesn't matter if it's coming from a large heater or small heater, the main thing is to keep the air moving so it doesn't layer.
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robertglines1
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« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2010, 09:41:19 AM »

Do you have a gen set? Have you purchased your Air Conditioner unit?  Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2010, 10:45:21 AM »

I have 4 gensets...lol.  I have a 4.0 Onan I will put in it this fall.  Until then, I will pack a portable one along.  Not really worried about AC yet.  We dont use AC too much in this country.  Could go roof mount but they are pretty inefficient energy wise, I am told.  Plus I am not wanting to start whacking holes in the roof.  Might try one of those portable ones this summer and see how that goes.
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RJ
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« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2010, 10:52:34 AM »

Peter -

If one of your gensets is a contractor's model, please leave it home - your neighbors will thank you for it!

If you have a small diesel genset, then you can run it off the main fuel tank, no need to carry a different fuel type.  And the diesel gensets are much, much more efficient than gas or especially propane. 

Plus, you can set it up to provide power for the Webasto, thus, with the zoned suggestion by Don, keep everyone cozy until the diesel runs dry!

But set the genset & Webasto fuel pick-ups high enough that it leaves you enough fuel to get to civilization to refuel - don't want to send out a search party, you know!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2010, 10:57:43 AM »

I agree Cody. A desk top portable is probably just as good. I just like this one because it is small and looks good enough to be built in. I think the last time I was in Lowe's it was on sale for $99. If he is wanting one for the summer It needs to be built in. The circulating fan in the room is the key to what ever heat he chooses. He will be having to open a window to let some heat out.
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robertglines1
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« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2010, 01:10:44 PM »

do mini-split ac on e-bay lots have heat and air 12,000btu is a good size they are differant in how they operate some will produce heat down to zero. would give you something to think about.
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« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2010, 01:25:53 PM »

Mini-splits are nice but that is way out of our budget at this time. :/

What about something like this: http://cgi.ebay.com/Procom-ML300TBA-30-000-BTU-Vent-Free-Blue-Flame-Heater-/120636588672?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c16804280#ht_1816wt_907
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 01:30:42 PM by opus » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2010, 01:55:38 PM »

Mini-splits are nice but that is way out of our budget at this time. :/

What about something like this: http://cgi.ebay.com/Procom-ML300TBA-30-000-BTU-Vent-Free-Blue-Flame-Heater-/120636588672?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c16804280#ht_1816wt_907


You will get responses from both sides of the fence on this one.  Some people are for them, and some are dead set against them.  Myself, I have used that type heater for years with no problems.  That having been said, 30k btu is way over kill.  That one would run you right out.  I have a 10k btu and it does just fine.  Have used it in my last 3 rv's, and have one in the bus.  the last one was a 36' fiver with 3 slides and it kept us warm down to single digits.  Once we got down that cold it was way past time to be moving on anyway so that's what we did....on to warmer climates.
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cody
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« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2010, 02:04:56 PM »

In the vent free area you'll find 2 kinds, one kind is the blueflame model the other uses a pad that glows red, I prefer the pad kind, I have several, one in the bus with 2 pads, one in the house in baraga with 5 pads and a thermostat control and one in the skanee house with 3 pads, I've used them for years and they don't bother either my carbon monoxide detectors or my smoke detectors, the blue flame type seems to use more LP gas tho for some reason.  All of mine are the Procom brand from Northern Tool.
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« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2010, 02:27:37 PM »

It says they dont work above 4500' [sigh].
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« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2010, 04:15:14 PM »

The vent free's also tend to "moisturize" the place a bit too.  Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2010, 04:42:08 PM »

A decent sized battery bank (isolated from the start battery) will run your Webasco, circulator pump, & heater fans over night on thermostats. An additional alternator on the engine will charge the battery bank while your are driving. That is the way mine is setup although I am using propane instead of diesel. It is still the same principle.

TOM
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« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2010, 04:52:39 PM »

I have a 200A alternator.  I would think that would sufficiently charge anything I want.  I also have a lawn mower engine with an alternator attached that I could use while parked, to charge batteries.  What do you classify as a "decent sized battery bank"?

Seeing I am electrically challenged, I would like to hear how you have the Webasto setup to run on thermostats.  How do you manage to set it to cool down before it shuts off, like with the normal timer?
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« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2010, 09:59:17 PM »

It says they dont work above 4500' [sigh].

I have used mine at over 9000' with no problems at all.
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« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2010, 10:19:36 PM »

Go figure.
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« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2010, 07:46:42 AM »

My wife hung the divider curtain to the bunk room last night.  I then put one of those oil filled radiators in there.  This would heat the back bedroom and the bunk room.  It only got to 33 last night but I just went out and checked and it wasnt bad back there.  There was no bodies in there either.

I do suspect I could hang a small propane heater back there and it would do a better job than one of those radiators, plus I wouldnt need a generator running.
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« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2010, 08:56:18 AM »

I am also generally a newbee at heart...I looked at your pictures and love the bunks and read bed idea, I have adopted the same.
Also, the low budget schema makes for a happier accountant in long run!
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« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2010, 09:12:58 AM »

Anyone see anything wrong with going this route?
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200442428_200442428
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« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2010, 11:41:14 AM »

  The simplest and most efficient heating system, IMHO, is in froor hydronic radiant hot water heat. Use an LP fired water heater boondocking, engine heat when rolling, and an electric hot water heater when connected to outside power. Outside of using LP, the only other energy required is a small circulation water pump. Its virtually silent, and has very few moving parts. Outside of a system leak, the only item that could possibly fail to provide heat is the pump. You would have three sources of heat (two different water heaters plus the engine), four sources of electrical energy (shore power, battery bank, generator and engine charging system), so if you had a redundant pump plumbed in for back up, as long as its a good install you shouldnt ever have a problem.
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« Reply #32 on: October 27, 2010, 12:13:27 PM »

In essence, that is what I already have....minus the in floor part. I have a Webasto and I have engine heat.  None of which is economical to run.  I've yet to see someone explain how the hot water heater part would work.  What would the flow rate be?  Are you talking a regular water heater or an on demand type?  I could easily right now cut into a coolant line and plumb an LP water heater.  I have heard a lot of skeptics on this.  Not yet found anyone that has done it.

This means I would have to have a propane water heater AND an electric one?

[note] I answered my own question.  I would think this: http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-water-heaters/atwood-rv-water-heater.htm with the heat exchanger would cover it all, minus the circulator pump?
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« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2010, 03:26:33 PM »



This means I would have to have a propane water heater AND an electric one?

  Or use a dual water heater, one that uses gas AND electricity.
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« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2010, 07:08:44 PM »

I think the in floor hydronic radiant hot water heat is a little over the top for what you are wanting. I looked at the heater from northern but I think I see an accident waiting to happen. If you notice the picture it shows it in a shop. I don't think I would put anything with gas fumes in my room. Your trying to heat 400sq ft not 4000. I know they have LP stoves in a motorhome but they are also vented over the top of them. Unless your whole family has OCD you have to think about this will be your home. There will be clothes, towels duffel bags, etc. lying around. Face it now. Most people have that in there room with 2. Your going to load your family. A lot more stuff in one area. Just food for thought. I would be looking for something you can get off the floor onto a stand or shelf with room around it.
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cody
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« Reply #35 on: October 28, 2010, 01:40:52 AM »

For around a hundred I bought a 6K BTU heater from northern tool that was the pad style heater and it works great at keeping my bus warm, it has the low and high setting and I just kept it on the low setting and it does just fine, it hangs on the wall and doesn't bother my smoke detectors nor my carbon monoxide detectors.  That in conjunction with a fan to move the air does very well and the tank is still located in the bay area rather than onboard the heater as some are.  Critical to keeping the bus warm is the amount and type of insulation and the ability to keep the air from layering, heat will tend to sit at the ceiling level if you let it, keeping the air stirred up will make a world of differerence in the comfort level.  I also bought a couple of the box type bus heaters that plumb into the bus engine lines for on the road heat but as of this point I haven't installed them, I got them out of salvage school buses.
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