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Author Topic: How many btu's to heat my bus?  (Read 2267 times)
Chaz
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« on: January 31, 2007, 04:39:05 PM »

Hey Folks,
  Just a quick question that I hope doesn't get into allot of analysis. I was wondering how many btu's it would take to heat my bus......approximately. It's a 4108 with stock windows and insulation. I just wanted to get an approximate idea so I can think about different options, etc. I may have to "make do" till I can get a webasto/proheat/esbar, etc.
   Tryin to get warm!!
        Chaz
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2007, 04:47:46 PM »

35k to 40k should be enough to heat your bus as long as you don't get into extreme cold. However, if your windows are single glass, the glass will always be cold, not much warmer than the outside temperature.
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2007, 05:17:09 PM »

We use a 10k propane heater.Used down to 25 and it did o-k.
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2007, 05:45:58 PM »

The biggest part of the problem is heat loss, also the hardest to determine. More heat cant hurt!!>>>Dan
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2007, 05:47:00 PM »

Chaz,

AS MANY AS YOU CAN STUFF IN YOUR BUS!  

If you live in the north, and expierence temps in the single digits or lower. SEE ABOVE

Good Luck
Nick-
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Chaz
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2007, 06:47:47 PM »

Thanx guys.
  I have been using a "Mr Heater" propane heater in it at night, as I work on it, and it will do just great. I had it checked and it puts out about 7-9 ppm Co2. That's acceptable for working in there, but not for when I "use" the bus. I wish I knew how many btu it was.
  Kinda funny tho.......... It's toasty warm in there and the screws that hold the ceiling up are frosted over!!!! REALLY frosted over!!!!!! Smiley I guess it puts out allot of water vapor and the screws are transfering the cold straight in.
   
    Thanx again,
        Chaz
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2007, 07:23:20 PM »

I've duck tape insulation in all my windows to help keep the cold out and the heat in.  Makes a huge different.

Of course it's hard to see the road when I drive........ Shocked

Bill

Currently in Little Rock
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John Z
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2007, 08:55:37 PM »

Hey Chaz, it has been pretty cold up here the last week or so and i have been out in the bus a lot, busy trying to get ready to go south for a bit. I have an Atwood 34k forced air propane furnace, and it has no problem at all keeping bus at 70 or so. But this is when the bus is sitting still! I also have the original windows and plenty of air leaks.

Going down the road is another story with all the cold air infiltration. I also have a 3 plate ceramic propane htr mounted right up front to add the extra heat while going down the road. For all practical purposes, i can shut off the furnace while OTR, as that heat just doesn't make it up front. I have also used a kerosun 9600 btu htr as a supplement when it is around zero, and that works good. It also keeps the coffee or soup nice and hot.
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2007, 09:07:00 PM »

What ever you use DON'T use a ventless propane heater as permanent heat. It puts out too much moisture. And may be causing damage  you can't see.
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2007, 11:51:51 PM »

On my transit with single pane huge windows, but with 2.25" of blown in foam insulation, I have a Atwood 35,000btu propane furnace that works fine down to the high 20's (coldest I've been in).  Also all three of my roof A/C's have heat strips.  They work so so-just have to be patient to get warmth out of them.  They work great for excersising the gen.  For going down the road, took the huge heat exchanger from the heating system (the core is about 6ft x 2ft and 4 inches thick) have it mounted under my closet in the hallway and powered by two 14" radiator fans.  Just was driving in the 30's over the Grapevine last weekend and the bus was nice and toasty while driving.  While you can have too much air conditioning, there is no such thing as too much heat.  Good luck, TomC
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2007, 11:57:46 PM »

I am using a Webasto hydronic heater in a 5-C and I believe it has a 40K BTU output. I have never been cold with I down to 20 F. It has a large heat exchager coil in the rear, and one under the front couch. There are two other small coils under the dinette and in the bath. There are four small coils with fans in the two bays. Keeps the water flowing.
I do need to separate the control of the rear coil and the front, with a separate t'stat in the rear area. Currently, I have people peeling their clothes off when traveling back there with the heat on....

I do not have a "back-up" to this heat, just the orignial front drivers heat remains within the coach from the conversion.
I am thinking of a small propane unit but hesitate to bring on the propane, as I have an all electric coach and value it's safety.
Your thoughts...
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2007, 02:30:03 AM »

Hi Gary. For my needs the 3 plate catalytic heater is great!!! As i said it is mounted dead center on the dash of the bus. During cold weather while OTR, it is on most of the time. Being able to select 1, 2 or 3 plates buring lets us adjust it to our needs at the time. I usually turn off the forced air furnace while otr, since we are both sitting up front and there is no point in heating up the back 25' of bus.

One night this past fall, i let the house battery go too low in the evening. At some time in the wee hours of the morning i was awoken to mighty cold temps! I ran to the front and lit up all 3 plates and quickly crawled back under the quilts. I was amazed at how much heat made it all the way to the back of the bus! I have not really noticed any problem with the moisture that is not taken care of by all the leaks in my bus while moving, or by slightly opening one of the roof vents if needed. Keeping the air moving is important though.

Whether or not you want to bring on propane could be a tough decision. I usually have a 9600 btu Kerosun htr in the bay with a couple gallons of kerosene or #1 diesel as a backup also. They work excellent with zero odor other than at startup and shutdown for a couple minutes. They can be picked up for a few bucks at yard sales and auctions. A very nice source of portable heat.
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2007, 06:02:27 AM »

I've seen where others have cut rigid foam to friction fit in the windows to help minimize heat loss when the temps are low. Helps reduce the fuel bill too. You can cover the foam with fabric to minimize the mess & improve the looks.  Grin
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2007, 08:27:55 AM »

Chaz,

I think good advice to follow would be to have redundency......

A 40 to 45,000 btu furnace will do fine but, you still need to heat your tank compartment in

thoose cold temps. That is why we install the proheat's in the tank compartments. then pipe

to your coach in whatever manner you choose. My water bey stays at 58 deg. in single digets outside.

And of course I have thoose two 15,000 btu heat pumps as a minor back-up.  The way I'm running

my systems now is, the HP's are taking the load and the Proheat is set at 2 deg. differential for when

the temps drop quickly. then the proheat will kick in to recover back to 70 deg. then the HP's will maintain

that. [Working redundency].

Good Luck
Nick-
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Chaz
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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2007, 10:07:18 AM »

Nick,
  I may need to talk with you at some point to fully understand your system. I still want to do an aux. heater, but till one shows up  Wink I will have to figure out what works till then and how to go about it.
  Thanx for all the help!

    Still a bit chilly,
       Chaz
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2007, 01:50:17 PM »

I posted this spreadsheet on the BNO BBS about a year ago - it was a re-vamp of a previous work I did the year before.

This spreadsheet is intended to determine the ammount of heatloading (for heating and cooling).  Graciously hosted (continually) by Jim Behr at: This Adress (self extracting zip file).

You'll need a copy of MS Excel, or the free Microsoft Excel Viewer at: This Adress

Cheers!

-Tim
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« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2007, 02:06:05 PM »

Thanks Tom on the kerosene heater suggestion as I know where one is stashed in a garage.

Question, as we keep our coach and lower bays warm, how is every one keeping their old DD warm?? I run the Webasto hydronic heat thru the block & coach. I am also afraid of a coolant heater hose giving out and loosing the coolant to the engine. I have not sprung the $ 500+ for the SS heater exchanger from Wrico. That would keep the two systems heated, but separate. Over nite I usually do not run the gen set. I have not plugged in the block heater to the inverter. let's see, (4) 8D batts with a 2000 watt inverter w/ 80% eff., 5 Amp draw at 120 volt on the block heater. The last is an estimate.. I do not think I have enough to operate the blk htr overnite.
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« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2007, 02:35:11 PM »

Hi Gary,

How about a ProHeat and a flat plate heat exchanger to make a loop on the DD. Maybe you can figure

out a way to do it without bothering your existing heater hoses. Like, tap onto theheat pipes running in the tunnel?

The Flat Plate's can be found very cheap on e-bay.  100 to 150 dollars. We are using them for instant hot water.

Nick-
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