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Author Topic: Heat for our coaches?  (Read 1781 times)
roadrunnertex
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« on: November 20, 2006, 07:00:20 PM »

Ok Folks question for you?
Has any one tried this idea for heat inside their converted coach.
I have a 4 cylinder liquid cooled Yanmar turbo charged diesel engine that is used on the 17.5KW generator set that I have in my GMC Buffalo conversion.
Could a box type hot water heater that is used in school buses be used to heat inside of the coach while you are sitting with the generator running?
No problem running the coolant lines to the heater from the Yanmar diesel to the heater.
After all it would be free heat.
jlv Roll Eyes
 
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tekebird
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2006, 07:10:23 PM »

you could......but you may as well use electric units as gensets like to have a load on them.

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Buffalo SpaceShip
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2006, 07:42:54 PM »

Tekebird makes a good point, JL. Your genset will be hard-pressed to be loaded-up... even with electric heat. 17.5kW is a lot of genny. Then there's the noise factor, since you'd have to run the genset even if you're plugged-in if you need to scavenge heat from it to stay warm.

I can heat my coach with 3000w of silent electric heat when we're plugged in. Two of those 1500w oil-filled "radiator" types are what I use, and they have three-power settings and a t-stat. Not a Weba$to by any means, but @ $50 each... they're fine.  And power consumption never comes close to tripping a 30A connection. A 30k BTU propane furnace does its best to heat the coach when we're boondocking... which is rare in the wintertime.

Another thing we've found works wonders with controlling heat gain/loss in heating and cooling season: we hang a heavy comforter just rearward of the D-windows. The front of our coach is barely insulated and has loads of glass. Makes a huge difference on very hot or cold days.

Just some thoughts,
bb
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Brian Brown
4108-216 w/ V730
Longmont, CO
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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2006, 08:51:42 PM »

Just a thought,

If your in a sunnier area, park toward the south and hang something black in the windshield spaced a couple of windows off the glass and open on the bottom and top for air circulation.  Free solar heat during the day. you could use cardboard painted black, standoff/mounted with suctioncups, maybe even the edges folded in toward the glass.


The little oil radiaters work good on just the 600 watt set just past snowflake on the termostat.

I have couple of the little cubes in the bus and they do ok
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It's all fun and games til someone gets hurt. Wink
jatnip
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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2006, 09:11:25 PM »

Do it right and get a aqua hot.

*Central heat-comfort in whole bus including total bay heating with 3 zones

*Domestic hot water--never run out of hot water, makes 1.5 gallons per minute. Have ten children and never run out of hot water with all
taking showers back to back

*Engine heat--keep engine warm in cold climate. Never have to plug engine in to get to start. Did 6 week tour and never had engine
get cold in winter time

There are many things you can come up with as my brother in law ran hot water coils under his shower and covered in concrete and they throw all damp clothes and washclothes on the shower and it dries them quickly besides heating the room. Extra defrost heat, steps heat, ect

Your never regreat
Jim
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belfert
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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2006, 04:22:41 AM »

I can heat my coach with 3000w of silent electric heat when we're plugged in. Two of those 1500w oil-filled "radiator" types are what I use, and they have three-power settings and a t-stat. Not a Weba$to by any means, but @ $50 each... they're fine. And power consumption never comes close to tripping a 30A connection. A 30k BTU propane furnace does its best to heat the coach when we're boondocking... which is rare in the wintertime.

At what temps are you using 3000 watts of electric heat?  I placed one 1500 watt electric heater in my coach on a 30 degree night.  It ran all night and I could barely tell it was on when I went into the coach in the morning.  It was around 5 to 10 degrees warmer.  I do have insulation and thermal pane windows, but no covering over the huge windshields.

Brian Elfert
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FloridaCliff
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2006, 04:33:38 AM »

Brian,

Since I live in the South, I also run two 1500 watt heaters when needed.

Keeps it comfortable, not hot.

Of course I am not starting to heat it at 30 deg, but when the engine gets shut down. Smiley

Cliff
« Last Edit: November 21, 2006, 07:35:57 AM by FloridaCracker » Logged

1975 GMC  P8M4905A-1160    North Central Florida

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tekebird
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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2006, 07:27:50 AM »

John as your conversion is done go with a Webasto air top......two i n the old mans and one in my 04......

the single I have in the 04 can get it warm enought to run around naked if I was so inclined...in temps well below freezing.......and as a added benefit over a hot water sysssstem.....its a dehumidifier too........dry as air in the SW during the summer.

relatively low cost

easy instalation

small size

no potential coolant leaks

low electric draw

low fuel use.

ran mine for a week of eveneings in sub freezing temps before needing to charge battaries.

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Dallas
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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2006, 08:10:29 AM »

Brian,

I took the antique wall furnaces out of our 54 year old GMC 3 years ago. With those things I could go through a 20# tank of propane in 3/4 of a day.

We live in SC now, and at this moment it's 36 and dropping. I have a cube heater (electric), a large milkhouse heater (electric), and a small milkhuose heater (electric).
All are 1500W and right now I have 2 of them running on low and cycling on the crappy thermostats they come with. Normally I can use 2 on high when it gets to be less than 28 and still keep it around 75 in the bus.

My insulation is comprised of the pinkstuff and some canned sprayfoam to fill the cracks. I also have a layer of reflectix that seems to help.

All of my bay doors are unlatched, but not open and my windshield is covered with a layer of Reflectix. Also, most of my side windows that are left are covered with Reflectix.

Some day I might have a webasto or other fancy heating system, but for right now, as long as I hook to the pole, I'm in good shape.

If the power goes out, I have a small genny to run the heaters, plus I can bake a cake or some bread in the oven to supply more heat.

I was given an almost new 20K Btu Atwood RV furnace a while back, but haven't had time to install it yet.

Good luck on your heating.

Dallas
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TomC
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« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2006, 08:12:30 AM »

I've seen too many threads posted on both the merits of Aqua Hot systems, and also on the continual maintenence, not to mention the inital cost and effort to install.  If you live in snowy country, by all means, the Aqua Hot is the way to go (I would have gone this route until I priced out the system-over $6,000.00!). 
My system- 10kw Powertech gen with a remote radiator; Propane furnace (that has been zero problems since instalation 11 years ago), two 10 gal elec water heaters from Home Depot that are plumbed one into the next with the final one wired through the inverter for hot water going down the road; two elec space heaters with tip over for heat at the power pole.  If you are running the gen away from the power pole, then the space heaters will put a load on the gen, and the gen will be the happiest.  Running a coolant heater off the gen, especially in cold weather, you might not get enough heat.  Then when not running the gen, the propane furnace does the trick.  When camping off the power pole, I usually run the gen once in the morning and once at night for as long as it takes to top off the batteries.  Maybe burn as much as 2 gallons of fuel a day this way.  The longest I've been off the power pole was 5 days, and personally liked it better than having the power pole since there was nothing to hook up.
Many different ways to go with your systems.  No right, no wrong-just what works the best for you that you can live with.  I just choose the least expensive and easiest to get parts on the road approach.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2006, 08:52:52 AM »

At what temps are you using 3000 watts of electric heat? 

We just got back from a trip through the Midwest and then down to TX and back to CO. Most nights were in the 30's, at least until we got to TX. The elec. heaters kept it plenty warm inside... much better than the propane furnace did when we were between poles. Once in TX, I just used a single heater in the rear bedroom (since the kids slept in my mom's house). In order to prevent from roasting myself out of there, I had to keep it on the lowest power setting and the t-stat near the low side. Temps were probably in the 40s most nights there.

As Cliff alludes to, the secret is to start with an already-warm coach and keep it warm inside the whole time. If one had to bring their home up to 72deg from 30deg with a residential forced air furnace, that would also take a loooong time to heat it up. As I keep telling my wife, turning the heat off "until you need it" will prove difficult to heat the coach when you need it. As mentioned, every window needs some good insulation (I also use Reflectix) and we keep the front of the coach is cordoned per my previous post.

Whilst driving, the coach heat does an amazing job of roasting us out of the coach in short order. Cycling it for 30sec every 5 - 10 minutes is plenty. Propane nor electric will never come close to the BTU of that coach heater and defroster, unfortunately. An ideal system would be to keep all of that coach coolant at 180deg. and use the same systems for coach and parking... something the "homebrewed" Webasto systems and the off-the-shelf Aqua Hot systems attempt to do, no doubt. I just balk at their price$.

Now, someone smarter than me could probably calculate how many BTUs it would take to keep the coolant (something like 100qts.) at 180deg to spec. a diesel or propane-fired boiler. I could figure out how to use the blowers, etc. while parked... and then figure out a way to temper the incoming air (a globe valve or something) so it's not so hot. But all of that is a lot of work! Until then, I'll just plug in the heaters.  Wink

HTH,
Brian B.
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Brian Brown
4108-216 w/ V730
Longmont, CO
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« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2006, 09:28:31 AM »

I'm heating my bus with a ventless propane heater. I full time in my bus and have for 3 years. I use very little propane and for the most part keep it on low. I use a small electric heater at night in my bed room which is over kill but I hate waking up to cold. I have a cold draft in bed room where I installed a window air conditioner but will fix that today then wont need the electric. It has been down in the mid 20's at night and has allways been comfy.
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Homegrowndiesel
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2006, 09:32:21 PM »

Hey Roadrunnertex

I have my generator connected to a manifold that heats our bus. Wink
I like the free heat. Cool
I installed baseboard hydronic heaters, as well as fan coils similar to the school bus units.
We also have valved into the manifold our Webasto, Detroit, potable hot water, and veggie oil heater. Properly valved you are only heating the areas you need.


Nice to be able to use the synergy of all the systems.

If you use your coach much in cold weather you will appreciate not having to refill the propane tanks at frequent intervals. A diesel, hydronic system is hard to beat, and 100+ gallons of fuel lasts a loooong time.

Reconditioned Proheat units with instant potable hot water and manifolds for all of the above can be had for around $2000.00,

Always lots of options, Good luck with your choices. Smiley

Bill Glenn
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« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2006, 03:43:17 AM »

Well, Here is my take on all of this.  I didn't like the ducted propane furnace in the first coach I bought.  I reasoned that the fan horesepower is insufficient to move air in the high pressure driop ductwork in the coach.  So I just made the supply the front of the furnace and let her blow for and aft in the coach and opened more return and let the supply spagetti work also serve as return air.  I have done this to two coaches and both bedroom and living room area are very comfortable.  A critical part of this heating buisness is to know what the static capability of the fan is.  It is real simple.  If you want to move more air, then you get to use more electricity to do it.  So the trick is to use as little energy as possible to get the best results.  One sure sign that you have too much static load in ductwork and registers, etc. is that the furnace will overheat.  Remeber that the fan is cooling the furnace!  This is how I got interested in this bus furnace thing in the first place.  My furnace was overheating, and couldn't heat the coach.  Now, the old Coleman and the new Suburban I put in heat each coach as hot as you want to be in it.  Bill T.
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