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Author Topic: Getting Ready for Winter - keeping the bus warm in the shop  (Read 3628 times)
qayqayt
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« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2011, 10:29:29 AM »

Here are a couple of electric heater options.  There's a Marley radiant heater panel designed to keep your feet warm under your desk.  It won't heat an entire bus but should keep the interior above dew point.  They run about $200 and at only 170 watts are easy on the electric bill. 

At the transit museum where I volunteer we have 3 vintage coaches that we have to store outside.  In the winter we put a Granger Global Dual Heater in each coach.  There are 3 settings for wattage 600/900/1500.  We dial it down to 600 watts and set the thermostat just above dew point.   This heater is only about $75.

If this link works, here are both heaters in the Acklands catalogue:      https://www.acklandsgrainger.com/AGIPortalWeb/agi/_/N-/No-12/Ntt-heater+space+heater+radiant+heater+?Ntk=All&Ntx=mode%2BmatchallPartial&Nty=1

Just a caution reminder.... check on your electric heater once in a while and use a heavy duty extension cord.  Feel the extension cord now and then to make sure it isn't overheating.  We once tried to put a timer on a 1500 watt heater and not only did it not work very well, it caused a fire that luckily tripped the breaker.

Bryan
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Bryan
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Jim Shepherd


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« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2011, 12:31:05 PM »

Again, more good ideas. 

It is my hope that this thread will benefit others and it is not intended to be selfish  Grin

Clifford, I do have natural gas to the shop and use a very large torpedo heater when I work out there in the winter.  Last year is was way below zero and I got the shop all the way up to 32*. Not fun working in those conditions.  I could not afford to keep the shop warm - with the exception of solar.  Thanks for the offer.  BTW, I was told you are a good judge of character.  I guess you have proven that not to be the case by being willing to extend me credit Grin Grin Grin

Also Clifford, I sure wish we could find a way to travel down your way and just avoid the whole issue.  A couple of years ago we spent a couple of months with Ed and Stevi Hackenbruch on their lot in Yuma and it was magical!!

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
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Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2011, 12:45:16 PM »

Jim,

We're in LA visiting our daughter and it is supposed to get down to 40* tonight so all these folks are bundling up!!
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PD4107-152
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« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2011, 01:00:09 PM »

With all the fellow Minnesquitoes here, I am surprised that no one mentioned piling cow manure around the outside to generate heat. Don't laugh, this actually works as it decomposes and generates quite a bit of heat-up to 180*F at the core if it's a good batch.
My 2 cents Worth, Will  Grin
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2011, 01:01:52 PM »

It was 60 degrees with a breeze from the north yesterday morning when i went for a bicycle ride.  I had to put on a light jacket. Grin
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2011, 01:03:40 PM »

Of course the cow manure will cause a steel building to rust out in a couple of years, but what the heck. Grin
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1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
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« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2011, 01:05:14 PM »

Jim, space is still available. Grin
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« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2011, 01:33:07 PM »

  There was a story about a frozen little bird whose wings iced up while flying in a winter storm, who fell out of the sky and landed on the ground nearly dead. A Farmer passing by, noticed the half frozen little bird, and pressed him down into a fresh cow pie. At first he was sad for being in cow crap, but soon the warmth melted the ice, and he soon was so warm all over, he was so happy he started to sing. A cat wandering nearby heard the singing little bird, and ate him.

 
The morals of this story:

Every now and then you may find yourself in a world of crap, but the one who put you there is not necessarily an enemy, and the one who takes you out is not necessarily a friend.

When you are up to your nose in crap, it's a real good time to keep your mouth shut
 
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Bill B /bus
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« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2011, 05:48:43 PM »

For the heating system buy a commercial thermostat designed for -20 to 100F. Cost about $45 four years ago.
I found round thermostats for the heat zones in the house portion at one of the big box stores that go down to <50F. Real number 46-47F. I'm happy with that temperature in the house portion. The bay thermostats are set to about 40F. As long as there is temp above 32F I don't care. As a safety feature wire a thermostat to turn on the heat system at, pick your temperature, which bypasses the power on switch.

I keep our bus heated at the low temperature setting until we leave after Christmas and that will cost 75 to 100 gallons of diesel.  My temps are not as cold as yours here in central Maine.

The skirting with plastic is a great idea. What about a plastic cover over the entire bus with an air gap. Seems that would help slow the heat bleed. I was thinking some scrap lumber ripped into 1x3 for a frame with the poly draped over and onto the floor. Make sure the Webasto exhaust goes outside the cover.

Bill
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Bill & Lynn
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« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2011, 08:17:56 AM »

Jim the idea Bill has works for me on my bus .a thermostat is only a switch so to install in the power line of the boiler works great                              temp hear today is 27 f and light snow       dave
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« Reply #25 on: October 29, 2011, 05:06:08 PM »

Drain your fresh water tank and water heater.  Run DC water pump to clear it. Drain water filters.  Hook up shop air through a regulator to your city water inlet.    Blow until every line is clear.  Don't forget the head.  Turn on the washer to warm fill position to open both hot and cold valves. Turn off the ice maker for a few hours so it is ready to cycle and turn on to blow clear.  Then drain holding tanks.  Save the pink stuff for the P-traps.

When you are ready to go all you have to do is fill the tank and leave.  Works for RVs and boats.

Don 4107
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Don 4107 Eastern Washington
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« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2011, 08:13:58 PM »

Jim,

Here's what I have done using my aquahot. Bear in mind that I winterize my bus, so this is only for when I need to hold off on winterizing for a bit, or can't get it winterized for some reason, or just have not gotten to it (like this morning).

I have a heater in the water bay which is a heater core with electric fan which is set up to run when the upstairs heat turns on. This was the easiest way to do it, since I didn't want to install a separate pump just for the bays. I put a switch on the circuit which can be used to prevent the fan from coming on. There's also a ball valve which I can use to turn off the flow of coolant to the exchanger. I generally leave the valve on.

My Father-In-Law gave me a thermostatically controlled switch which is used to active heat trace. It consists of a sensing bulb and switch unit. These are very high quality commercial units. I attached the bulb to my distribution manifold in the water bay and connected the switch portion to a 120v relay which I use to control power to the Aquahot electric element. I also connected this switch to the main pump relay in the Aquahot. I adjusted the thermostat on the switch unit to about 35*. Now, when the sensing bulb says the temperature has dropped to 35*, it activates the switch, which turns on the relay controlling the 120v to the coil, which starts applying heat, and also turns on the circulation pump and bay heat exchanger fan. Because the temperature is dropping, in theory, the temperature of the coolant in the Aquahot will be greater than 35*, so just turning on the circuit will probably be enough to keep things from freezing, but turning on the electric element just ensures that some heat will be applied and thereby keep the temperature of the water bay above freezing.

Again, this is not something I would use for a long time, but I have used it for up to a month last winter when the dump station at Cabelas was covered with ice and snow to the point I could not dig it out or even find the manhole cover.

It would also be possible to connect this same switch up to the diesel burner on the Aquahot to activate it instead of the electric element. I'd do this if I was real serious about keeping things from freezing in very cold temps.

craig



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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2011, 08:40:38 PM »

are you dealing with copper or pex pipe ?
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Donald PH
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« Reply #28 on: January 04, 2012, 04:32:49 PM »

OK folks, I thought I should update this thread and tell you where I am with this project.

First, I have plugged a standard electric radiant heater into this thermostatic plug:

http://www.littlegreenhouse.com/accessory/controls.shtml

This is an thermostatically controlled outlet that you plug into a standard wall outlet.  It turns on at 35* and off at 45*.  I have been testing this outlet for about a month and it works like a charm.  We have not had super cold weather (about zero has been the worst so far) and the heater keeps the bus at above 35 degrees.  The bus is in my shop (unheated), windows are covered (including windshield) and is somewhat marginal on insulation (roof is standard bus, walls are foam board and side windows are double pane).

However, I wanted a backup and additional heat for when we hit the really cold weather.  The obvious answer is the Aqua-Hot.  However, they come with a cheesy thermostat that only goes down to 50* and I don't want to keep the bus at 50*.  

Based on some previous comments and my own thoughts, I searched for a good thermostat that had low temperature setting capabilities.  My search found a few possible candidates (using search = "garage thermostat").  I wanted a digital thermostat and that narrowed the field.  I looked at user comments and settled on this unit:

http://www.amazon.com/Pro1IAQ-Model-T771-Heat-Thermostat/dp/B004Z84PW2

I replaced the thermostat for the main living area with this unit and I am very impressed!  For the first test, I set it at 35* and turned off the radiant electric heater for a few nights.  Most of the nights got down into the teens or low 20s.  With just the Aqua-Hot electric element, the system maintained the bus at 35*

Part of the testing has involved using one of my system temperature sensors snaked down the outside of the boiler so that I get a good reading on the boiler temperature (heat sources shut off at 190*).  That allows me to keep track on the impact of heating the coach with the Aqua-Hot only using only the electrical element.  A few mornings when I only used the Aqua-Hot on electric element only, the boiler was at 140*, but the bus was at 35*  That suggests that I can keep the bus above freezing in 20* weather with the Aqua-Hot on electric only.

So, I now have two systems (radiant electric unit and Aqua-Hot) that will work together.  I will set the Aqua-hot thermostat at 34*.  That will allow the radiant heater to do most of the work.  When we get the really cold weather, I will turn on the diesel part of the Aqua-Hot and I am sure that I will be covered.

BTW, I have some bay heat with the boiler and one heat exchanger that has a special low temperature Aqua-hot thermostat.


Jim

« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 04:39:53 PM by rv_safetyman » Logged

Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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