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Author Topic: Its official,now fulltiming in the bus  (Read 4415 times)
bigtim44
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« on: August 20, 2007, 10:07:09 PM »

As of thursday the 16th of August,my Wife ,six year old son and I officially live in a converted bus,at least while we build a house during the next 2 years.We are plugged in at a campsite with 50 amp service and wi-fi. So far so good.......ask me how its going in 2 years time ...Ha..Ha!
We are at 6500 ft elevation up in the Rockies Colorado,any tips for winter bussin?
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Basalt Colorado
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2007, 10:13:07 PM »

yeah, go south!  Shocked)
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2007, 03:53:47 AM »

Hi Tim,

Congrats!

Lots of luck with your new construction.

As far as winters in the bus, lots of insulation, diesel fired Wabasto or Proheats help.  Keep the tanks above freezing along with any water lines to your bus.

Nick-
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2007, 09:38:46 AM »

Hey Tim,

I'm fulltiming at 6900 feet MSL on the high plains, northeast of Colorado Springs. I've spent the last two winters pretty much out in the open with high winds, and temps sometime as low as 25* below zero. I don't have bays, and some of my plumbing is semi exposed under the skirt, but I've learned to adapt.
If you don't take H3Jim's advice, I agree that you'll need no less than a Webasto or Proheat, and to protect all plumbing near the outer walls or in unheated bays.
If you have a good electric rate, oil filled electric heaters, and lots of extra clothes should help keep you toasty inside without breaking your bank.
Don't tary, it could be snowing next month! (I've seen snow here every month but July)

I have an appointment with my fabricator on Monday to build the mounts, so I can install my new Proheat X45 later that week. I'm using the coach heater core, and two hydronic toekicks in the center and rear of the coach to provide primary heat. Then I'll use the two 1000watt Cadet electric toekicks to supplement the hydronic system. I also have NuHeat electric mats under the Italian tile flooring in the kitchen and bathroom, that stay on all winter.

It gets a little easier every year. Good luck!

Jay
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2007, 06:22:14 PM »

FLORIDA! Grin
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Frank @ TX
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2007, 08:50:18 PM »

We spent plenty a winter in PA in the bus.
The BIGGEST problem is condensation from side and front windows.
A dehumidifier solved the porblem.
It's wild how much water vapor is made with breathing , washing dishes, and at shower time.
We  have an AquaHot so the heat was no problem.
Frank
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bigtim44
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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2007, 11:01:22 PM »

Thanks for the input  chaps......our electric at the campsite isnt metered ,so we should be good when it gets cold Grin
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Basalt Colorado
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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2007, 11:36:21 PM »

Does the campground stay open year round an if they do, do the keep the water on year round?
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bubbaqgal
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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2007, 06:28:22 AM »

Welcome to the club.  Dallas and I have been full timing since 2001 and love it.   We use 2 electric heaters, with a couple of fans to help distribute the heat and stay plenty warm.  We live in the south but it does get really cold here from time to time.  We do make sure all pipes are insulated for safety.  We have bays but they are not insulated so we always make sure everything is protected and only once did we have a problem and that was the fault of the campground because they didn't have their pipes insulated so we did ours for them.  Cat
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Dallas
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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2007, 07:47:50 AM »

To expand more on Cat's post...

We have been in -0+ F weather, but not for more than a few hours. It was time to put on a warm sweater inside the bus to sit around.

Normally, we have survived +13 F temps with a wind blowing of 15 to 25mph. Temps inside the bus stayed in the mid to upper 70's with 2 1500W space heaters. Of course, if you got close to a window that I hadn't replaced the felt liner in, it would frost you pretty quickly.

There has been one or two times we had to start the gas stove to bring the temps up to comfortable levels but I took that opportunity to cook up meals ahead of time. It's a great time to make bread, cookies, cakes and other goodies so we don't waste away to empty, anorexic shells. We never leave the stove running for extended time periods or leave it unattended.

I took the 2 19,000BTu gas furnaces out when we first got the bus. They may have been great in the time period they were installed (1968), but just one of them could go through a 20# tank of propane in 12 hours.

At one time I built a home made waste oil burner from a worn out propane tank but I had to give up on it. It's problem was that I couldn't regulate the flow of oil finely enough to set it at a comfortable level. It was either "OFF" or it was throwing so much heat the outside of the tank started glowing blue/white hot and melting in on itself.
Maybe someday I'll get back to that project when I find a valve that will adjust in super fine increments, and also work in the high heat mode.


Dallas
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bigtim44
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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2007, 10:28:37 PM »

The campground we are at stays open year round ,they have heat tape and insulation on the water spigots,we are plugged into a 50 amp electric supply.
I'll be putting a small electric heater in the bay with the holding tanks,dont want that stuff to freeze up!
We're off to Moab tomorrow for five days,little vacation before the boy goes back to school. Grin
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Basalt Colorado
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bubbaqgal
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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2007, 05:23:54 AM »

One warning:  Be sure to blow out the dust from your heaters frequently if you have an air compressor.  If not, take them apart and wipe out the dust and keep it oiled fairly often.  Any build up of dust cuts down on the efficiency of the heaters and creates a big fire hazard.  Cat 
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2007, 06:21:07 AM »

Excellent advice from Cat. That is exactly how I lost DML. A fire in an underbed electric heater.

I had the fire because I never cleaned the electric heater which was mounted in the toe kick under the bed and was out of sight. I never thought of a build up of lint on it. I only used the electric when the coach was parked beside my home and hooked up to the utility power. Only to keep it from freezing.

I typically only used the Webasto, and I would never try and winter in sub freezing weather without a diesel fueled heater.
Richard


One warning:  Be sure to blow out the dust from your heaters frequently if you have an air compressor.  If not, take them apart and wipe out the dust and keep it oiled fairly often.  Any build up of dust cuts down on the efficiency of the heaters and creates a big fire hazard.  Cat 
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2007, 05:40:10 PM »

Bigtim: In cold weather, with three electric heaters, you will be using over 100 kwh per day of electricity. I don't know the local electric rate or how much the camp ground charges you for parking but most places don't allow electric heat even in the more moderate climates. One chart I looked at shows average rate in Colorado of .098/kwh which is almost $10.00 per day for heat alone lus all your other electric use.
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2007, 06:44:31 PM »

I think I would want to make sure that I had a very good operating genset. It is not unusual in any part of the country to lose electric power for several hours or several days. If the outage is accompanied by a severe storm where the roads could be closed for a few days, then it would be a disaster. And also a big fuel tank. LOL
Richard.


Bigtim: In cold weather, with three electric heaters, you will be using over 100 kwh per day of electricity. I don't know the local electric rate or how much the camp ground charges you for parking but most places don't allow electric heat even in the more moderate climates. One chart I looked at shows average rate in Colorado of .098/kwh which is almost $10.00 per day for heat alone lus all your other electric use.
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Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a good Reisling in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming:  WOO HOO, what a ride
Dallas
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2007, 07:08:40 PM »

Bigtim: In cold weather, with three electric heaters, you will be using over 100 kwh per day of electricity. I don't know the local electric rate or how much the camp ground charges you for parking but most places don't allow electric heat even in the more moderate climates. One chart I looked at shows average rate in Colorado of .098/kwh which is almost $10.00 per day for heat alone lus all your other electric use.

Stan,

We've stayed at a lot of campgrounds while full timing and have never had a problem with the amount of electric we use, except at a KOA in Florence, SC where we were charged for 750KWh while we weren't using A/C, heat or much more than the refrigerator, computers and TV.
Even then the rate was 10/KWh.
Most of the campgrounds we've stayed at have either the electric covered in the monthly rent or charge a flat fee per day if you use A/C or electric heat. Usually the fee is $2-$3 per day.
I know a lot of seasonal campgrounds have metered sites such as the above mentioned KOA and also the Campground NCbob and his lovely bride are at in Franklin, NC.

In cold weather, (30 or less), our 2 electric heaters will periodically cycle down to about 20 when they stay on full time. I'm sure that if we did some more work insulating, we could cut the use down even more.

All that being said, I'm still a great believer in multiple heating systems. right now, preferably propane and electric, but as one comes available, I would like a Webasto along with the other methods.

what a wonderful hobby! We can all go and do it our way!

Dallas
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Stan
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« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2007, 05:24:00 AM »

Basalt, Co. has winter average daily temperatures below 20 and lows below 10 with humidity above 70%. I don't think you can heat a bus with two 120 volt electric heaters in those conditions.

At ten cents a kwh, electric may be the cheapest form of heat. A Webasto uses a lot of diesel fuel at those temps especially at 6600' where there is likely to be a lot of wind.

We stayed in campgrounds all over the US and Canada and seasonal sites usually had meters and they put a surcharge on the rate they paid. Campgrounds that allowed electric heat had high daily or monthly rates to cover the added expense. Since we used a Webasto I didn't stay where the rate included free electric regardless of how much you used. Two, three or five dollars extra on the daily rate used to be common for using AC or electric heat but most areas have seen electric rates double in the last ten years. At my home, my rate has more than doubled in one year to over sixteen cents.

My personal opinion is that you don't live in a RV at 0*F (you just survive). If your job requires you to move around frequently and stay for short periods, they may be the only alternative for housing in boom town areas. Certainly, the best alternative is to go South in the winter, and North in the summer (the best of both worlds). I did it for more than twenty years.
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bigtim44
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« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2007, 07:57:50 AM »

The electric usage is covered in the monthly fee which is $675 per month,that includes the internet also.my bus has a large suburban furnace which I can supplement with electric heaters.
  Thanks again for the input,we can't 'drive south' as our business is based in Aspen 20 miles away.once we've pulled a permit to build our house we can live in the bus on our property while we're building.
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Basalt Colorado
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bigtim44
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« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2008, 09:01:48 AM »

Well we've now been fulltiming now for about 7 months.so far everything has been fine for the most part.Heating the bus with two electric heaters has worked great,even when the temps got down to -10 F.We had to move the bus to another spot in the campsite at the beginning of Feb as the camper next door to us had numerous extension cables plugged into the same electric pedestal as us and was tripping the breakers all the time,this caused the water hose from the spigot to the bus to freeze and the block heater on my diesel truck to go off which was annoying.
  When the sun is out the heaters can be turned off.Condensation is not a problem with the dry air up here in the mountains.
For the water supply I taped heat tape onto the hose then covered it with foam pipe insulation ,then a 40 watt light bulb in the spigot enclosure.The bay with the tanks has a small electric heater in there with a thermostat.
  Here's a pic of the bus in the campsite
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Basalt Colorado
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« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2008, 01:19:41 PM »

Using this calculator
http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/fuel_cost_comparison_calculator/
1 million btu's delivered would cost:

Off Road @$3.25              $29.76
Diesel @ $4.00/gal            $36.63
Electric @ 0.16 /kwh         $46.88
Propane @ $4.25/gal         $60.48


Propane is just getting prohibitive at these prices.

Len
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TomCat
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« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2008, 01:51:34 PM »

Using this calculator
http://http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/fuel_cost_comparison_calculator/
1 million btu's delivered would cost:

Off Road @$3.25              $29.76
Diesel @ $4.00/gal            $36.63
Electric @ 0.16 /kwh         $46.88
Propane @ $4.25/gal         $60.48


Propane is just getting prohibitive at these prices.

Len


WOW Len, where you getting your LP? I was just raising hell last week when my LP price jumped to $2.40 a gallon...delivered.

That would have me making the choice between Off Road, and LP when looking for a deal, because diesel doesn't appear to be dropping too quickly.

Jay
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« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2008, 01:54:09 PM »

All around Gainesville, FL it's four bucks plus
Len
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« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2008, 04:26:38 PM »

Guys,

Remember last winter I was in Little Rock, AR.  We had a thread going about camp grounds and the cost of power.  Running two overheads and a space heater, my electric bill was almost $300.00 a month.  That was at a KOA and it was only down to 17degs.

Bill
In FLORIDA, and stilling put.
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« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2008, 04:48:27 PM »

LP delivered to me in Maryland $2.39 .... up from $1.79

TOM
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2008, 05:30:37 AM »

DrivingMissLazy,


I remember when you lost your bus because of fire, but until I read your recent post, I did not know it was from a heater.

I was investigating the problem with mine, and found out that Cadet heaters (toe kick and others) were recalled because of the problem with dust and fires.   I think they blamed their problem on thin heating wires.  Why that would be more likely to cause a problem, I don't know.

Do you know the brand of yours?

Ed Roelle
Flint, MI
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2008, 08:47:08 AM »

DrivingMissLazy,


I remember when you lost your bus because of fire, but until I read your recent post, I did not know it was from a heater.

I was investigating the problem with mine, and found out that Cadet heaters (toe kick and others) were recalled because of the problem with dust and fires.   I think they blamed their problem on thin heating wires.  Why that would be more likely to cause a problem, I don't know.

Do you know the brand of yours?

Ed Roelle
Flint, MI

I really do not know the brand of heater. Since they were mounted in the toe kick area of the bed and fairly close to the head of the bed, I never ever looked at them. My suspicion has always been that due to lack of inspection it loaded up with dust and lint over the years and the proximity of this dust/lint to the heating element, as well as possible blocking of cooling air, caused the fire.

 

Regards, Richard

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Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a good Reisling in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming:  WOO HOO, what a ride
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« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2008, 09:17:16 AM »

Richard and Ed,

I recently replaced my original 800/1600w electric toekick heaters with the Cadet Perfectoe 1000w version.

There are several points made in the owners paperwork that can stand repeating. The owners papers spell out in no uncertain terms, that the heaters are to be removed, disassembled, and thoroughly cleaned every 6 months.
Also, the Cadet heater is not for extended use above 7000' msl. (Glad I live at 6800'  Grin)

When installing the heaters, I noticed that Cadet no longer uses small wires for it's heat source. Now it's a tube about 5/8" diameter, with little bumps all around it to wick off the heat. I suppose this tube never glows, and therefore reduces the chance of combustion.

After 5 months, I opened my kitchen toekick, and it was greatly in need of cleaning already.

Jay
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« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2008, 11:53:39 AM »

Anything that is a potential fire hazard that requires dis-assembly and cleaning every six months is a disaster waiting to happen. It may be OK for the original buyer who reads the instructions, but what about the next owner.
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« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2008, 12:03:01 PM »

Anything that is a potential fire hazard that requires dis-assembly and cleaning every six months is a disaster waiting to happen. It may be OK for the original buyer who reads the instructions, but what about the next owner.

The smell will tell you something is up, and needs your attention.

I'm glad to be doing business with a company that knows their products well enough to make periodic cleaning a must do.

Jay
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« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2008, 02:37:48 PM »

Anything that is a potential fire hazard that requires dis-assembly and cleaning every six months is a disaster waiting to happen. It may be OK for the original buyer who reads the instructions, but what about the next owner.

The smell will tell you something is up, and needs your attention.

I'm glad to be doing business with a company that knows their products well enough to make periodic cleaning a must do.

Jay
87 SaftLiner

Not necessarily so. I was using the heaters in my coach to maintain a minimum temperature during cold weather. The thermostats were set at the minimum temperature.

The coach was parked beside my house and the fire was detected about 6 AM. Fortunately a motorist passing by on the way to work noticed the smoke coming out a vent and woke up me and my family in the house and then called the fire department. It would have been very easy for the fire to have gone unnoticed for a few more hours and it could have easily spread to the house.

Do not take a chance on this type heater. You could wake up dead.

Richard



« Last Edit: March 19, 2008, 02:39:26 PM by DrivingMissLazy » Logged

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« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2008, 11:11:31 PM »

Well we are down in  Moab Utah for the first trip of the year,its good to escape the snow and cold temps.We arrived at 7pm tonight after a 3.5 hour drive and it was still T-shirt weather.Looking forward to tomorrow.I'll post some pics.
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Basalt Colorado
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http://redbusconversion.blogspot.com/
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