Does anyone still make & sell 'old style' convective RV furnaces?

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Willy

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My friend Brian want's to add a propane furnace to his campervan that's like the one in my rig, but doesn't want to buy used. As far as I'm concerned, the newer types just plain suck when it comes to winter heating with very limited power. He doesn't want catalytic, with the attendant moisture problems & potential oxygen depletion. Besides, AFAIK, they're not legal to use indoors in Canada. He has a Webasto diesel furnace, but it uses too much electricity & costs a fortune to run. He's looking at maybe getting a Dickinson P9000, but they're pricey. So far, I haven't been able to source a new convective RV furnace & am hoping someone here might know who still makes them. I know that Amazon sells home units, but not RV ones. Anyone? ..Willy.
 

bullfrog

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Suburban sells a smaller heater that draws 2.7 amps, but there is a company that was selling an ice house heater that was basically a double pipe ( pipe in a pipe, one for air intake and one for a chimney) wood stove with a propane burner. Been a while since I looked and they were a small company just starting up when Covid hit a few years ago so they may not be around still. They would probably run you out of a small space. I had thought about adapting a cubic mini to propane but the cheap diesel heaters came out and caused me to hesitate spending the money.
 
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ahh_me2

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I have a Suburban RV propane heater that draws very little current, But I miss the old gravity type furnaces, as they required no power! While it is true that forced air furnaces(requiring power to a fan) are more efficient in terms of fuel, if you compare it to power draw, they lose!
I think there would be a good market for gravity driven furnaces for off-road,, but I'm not surprised that the big manufacturers don't produce them, after all, it is a "niche market".
Almost makes me want to go and design one!
 

Willy

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I have a Suburban RV propane heater that draws very little current, But I miss the old gravity type furnaces, as they required no power! While it is true that forced air furnaces(requiring power to a fan) are more efficient in terms of fuel, if you compare it to power draw, they lose!
I think there would be a good market for gravity driven furnaces for off-road,, but I'm not surprised that the big manufacturers don't produce them, after all, it is a "niche market".
Almost makes me want to go and design one!
The addition of a small computer fan, drawing something like 100 mA, can make a big difference. I have a bimetallic temperature switch (gleaned from a trashed newer style furnace) located near the burn chamber in my unit. When the furnace turns on & the burn can gets hot enough, the switch closes & the fan forces air past it. I figure that it increases the efficiency a bit & heats up my rig a bit faster. ..Willy
 

maki2

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Yes there is a small size wood stove like, propane fuel heater that has a piped vent on top. Not of course RVIA approved for use in RVs, which could possibly create an insurance company issue if it was determined to be involved in a fire in an RV.

You would need to be sure to install heat shielding on walls, floors and have a source for fresh air when it is burning. But it is non electric. You could put one of the non electric wood stove fans on the top surface for moving heat around the room.

Of course venting it through the roof or sidewall needs careful researching.

Here is the link
 
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bullfrog

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^^^Yep that’s it but makes way too much heat for many small spaces.
 

KarlH

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If he can tolerate using gas or diesel instead of propane, the military H-45 tent heaters use no electricity and can switch between fuels (including wood). The lowest price I've seen for an unused one is $100, plus almost as much for shipping.
 

Willy

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If he can tolerate using gas or diesel instead of propane, the military H-45 tent heaters use no electricity and can switch between fuels (including wood). The lowest price I've seen for an unused one is $100, plus almost as much for shipping.
We had one of those when I was gold mining in Alaska a couple of decades ago. We cooked on & heated the cabin with it. ..Willy.
 

maki2

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Looking at the RV propane furnaces they all claim a fan for heat distribution. Even the smallest of them is called a forced air furnace. I guess the majority of the customers want forced air furnaces to rapidly distribute the heat. Can’t blame them for expecting all the comforts of “home” with the high price tags on RVs.
 

Spaceman Spiff

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Without something to stir the air up you will get a large temperature gradient. I got it when I heated my house with wood and I got it in my camper with a catalytic heater. High temp at ceiling and cold at floor. A fan distributes the heat more evenly.
 

LargeMarge

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Without something to stir the air up you will get a large temperature gradient. I got it when I heated my house with wood and I got it in my camper with a catalytic heater. High temp at ceiling and cold at floor. A fan distributes the heat more evenly.
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a)
We use convection to move heated air... and no electricity nor contraption required!
.
At all times, our rig has two windows open on opposite walls.
"Windows?!?, open in winter!?!" [faints]
Yep.
With our obsessively excessive insulation, with our Wave 3 catalytic heater set on 'LOW', the place gets too hot.
We open our tiny windows in different amounts -- for example: a half-inch to windward, an inch on the lee -- to regulate the interior temperature.
.
A 'plus':
* the escaping heated air carries humidity and odors.
.
.
b)
As I understand most built-in heaters such as a RecreateVehicle uses, they are designed for some outside air to be sucked in.
That amount varies, although fifteen percent sounds right.
.
So, for each hundred cubic feet of air the heater squirrel-cage circulates, about fifteen cubic feet is added.
This replaces leakage through holes in the walls and ceiling... the usual suspects:
* windows and window-frames
* doors and door frames
* electric outlets and light fixtures.
Some folks try to plug those leaks, but the heater still adds the engineered amount of filler, causing a corruption in the energetic flow.
.
As I understand it.
.
Retro-fitting the type of heater you describe may be more than plug-n-play for Brian.
 

gone2day

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My friend Brian...has a Webasto diesel furnace, but it uses too much electricity & costs a fortune to run.

A diesel heater will cost more to run than propane? Or is the extra cost because it uses too much juice and requires running a generator more than usual?
 

Willy

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A diesel heater will cost more to run than propane? Or is the extra cost because it uses too much juice and requires running a generator more than usual?
He found it more expensive. Also, auto propane up here in Canada is very cheap. The fact that he DID have to run his generator during that nasty cold snap (crap for solar) didn't help. ..Willy.
 
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