Hydronic Heater - Page 2 - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-28-2015, 08:07:PM
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Originally Posted by David View Post
I may end up with Webasto or Espar running on kerosene to heat the van, but they are not very quiet either. The Alde runs quietly on propane, and will no doubt be rather costly.
There are optional intake and exhaust mufflers for the Espar that together quiet it down quite a bit, but it still won't be perfectly stealthy to the ears.

Of course burning kerosene or diesel in a furnace won't be stealthy to the nose either.

And a furnace exhaust plume won't be stealthy to the eyes.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-28-2015, 09:58:PM
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David:

My method would obviously not apply to your extreme temperatures. Did not know your climate conditions or I would not have suggested using my method.

It could work for most where temperatures are not that extreme.

Sorry for the post that does not apply.

The shower water heater also would not work because the initial water temperature would be much lower. Would take much longer than 1/2 hour to heat the water.

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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-28-2015, 10:18:PM
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Absolutely no need to apologise, Dave!
The shower water heating system might indeed work for me. First off, the water keg would be inside the van, which would be much warmer than the outside air. Second, I could use a more powerful heating element and a larger inverter. Also, I generally drive for two or three hours a day getting to my destination, so there would be more time to heat the water.
I should also point out that most of my travels occur during spring and fall, and the outside temperatures are much more benign!
I do, however, need a camper heating system that will accommodate the occasional winter outing.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-29-2015, 08:51:AM
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The Transit will get a change to the shower water tank. Will delete the beer keg and have a 14 ga. SS tank fabricated that will also be the support pedestal for the portapotti. That space was wasted.

The other change will be a 1000 watt vehicle powered inverter instead of the 600 watt in the Sprinter. That allows me to use a 625 watt heating element instead of a 450 watt. Heating time should be reduced to 1/2 hour from the Sprinter's 45 minutes.

I do not know how large an inverter could be powered by the Transit. The 1000 watt should work if I do not turn the Transit heat control knob fully clockwise. That eliminates the Transit electric air heater from running. I understand the Transit air heater is about 1000 watts.

The vehicle powered inverter has three uses. Charging or shower water heating or powering a 750 watt baseboard electric heater in back of van. The rear heating might be useful to you while driving.

I will leave space for a Propex under the floor propane heater. About same price as an Espar but should be more reliable because it uses clean burning propane. Doubt that I will need it where/when I will travel.

Another idea that I will experiment with is a small insulated tent inside the van. Build a insulated box around the sleeping platform. Enclosed volume will be from sleeping platform height to bottom of the overhead cabinets on both sides and across the top. Just two layers of cotton cloth with Thinslate between the layers. It will be interesting to see if that works. Tent and rod supports should be easy to store when not in use.

The object is to reduce the volume of the van that is heated. Could also just make a removable curtain that is hung just to the rear of the sliding door to cut the van volume in half.

Back to the heating pad. It has 7 heating levels. It worked well in 20 degree temperatures on the # 2 setting with a zero degree sleeping bag. Have no idea how cold it could be and still work on the # 7 setting. The pad just cycles on/off at the lower settings.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 06:55:PM
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Where I live, with temperatures often minus twenty Celcius, I don't think your 12 volt heating blanket under the sleeping bag will cut it for me - we can't all live in Californicate.
As Dave (orton) mentions, the system does work surprisingly well.


We just did a road trip through Utah and Colorado last week. Coldest morning was 17F in Durango, but we had a couple 20F mornings too. I do not have any heat in the van yet. We used a Mr Heater Little Buddy propane in the evening while parked, kept it in the low 70s; then we turned it off when going to bed.


By morning the interior was often down to 32F, down to 29F once. I was using the exact 12V pad that Dave recommends. Had it on top of a thin memory foam mattress topper. Slept in a silk sleeping bag liner, then had a light down comforter and my 32F rated sleeping bag on top.


Keeping the pad at 1 of 7, I was VERY warm. I often turned it down to less than 1, and still poked my arms out occasionally. I had a wool beanie I wore the first night, but I was too warm with it, so the rest of the nights it was bare-headed.


One of the best things of the pads beside how well they worked, was being able to turn them on high for a bit while getting ready for bed. Then having a nice warm bed to snuggle into.




A big thanks, Dave, for the recommendation of the Electrowarmth 12V heating pads. You are a bit repetitious in your commentary about them, but I understand now. They made our road trip not only bearable, but wonderful.


Oddly, it was kinda fun waking up to a 32F van, but being plenty warm in bed. Then it didn't take too long to warm the place up with the propane heater.


Now, to the David the Canadian (), I'm not sure how well the 12V pads will work at -20C instead of just -5C, but I would not discount them as part of an overall overnight heating system.


(oh, and with two humans and two 12V pads going, the van was staying around +10 to +15F over outside morning temps, this with nearly completed Thinsulate insulation and no wall panels)
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post #16 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 09:31:PM
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Hate to be so repetitive about the heating pad but it can save folks a lot of money and is very stealth (no noise). The electrical usage is about the same because the refrigerator uses less power because it runs less in a cold van. Refrigerator is very quiet when it is not running. In the Sprinter using the optional Espar for 1 hour in the middle of the night I normally would use 7% of my 255 amp-hr battery from fully charged at night to getting up in the morning. That usage stayed about the same letting van interior get cold and using the heating pad to stay warm.

Did have a problem with my head being cold outside of the sleeping bag. A wool cap would fall off. Solution was a balaclava that would stay on while I slept.

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post #17 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 10:11:PM
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In the Sprinter using the optional Espar for 1 hour in the middle of the night I normally would use 7% of my 255 amp-hr battery from fully charged at night to getting up in the morning. That usage stayed about the same letting van interior get cold and using the heating pad to stay warm.
Did you have the Espar air heater or the Espar water heater in your Sprinter?

Terry
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post #18 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 11:12:PM
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Did you have the Espar air heater or the Espar water heater in your Sprinter?
I had the optional 5 kw Mercedes bastardized water heater in the Sprinter. Could be used with engine running or with engine off. Had planned to use it for floor radiant heating. Unfortunately the system gave hot water with the engine running and with just the heater running. Not good to have hot water in the radiant floor tubes in the summer. Also planned on using it to heat shower water. Abandoned the idea due to the valves that would be required to keep the hot water out of the tubing in the summer and I also discovered a simple way to get hot shower water.

Did use it to preheat the engine water and to keep the engine up to operating temperature on cold days. Originally programmed it to come on once for 1 hour in the middle of the night. Mercedes limits run time to 1 hour. When I found out a heating pad worked very well I quit using the Espar.

The Mercedes modified Espar quit and it took 3 months and about $2,000 for Mercedes to fix it. Not a nice story. No service support from Mercedes and Espar service centers could not work on it because Mercedes in their wisdom eliminated the Espar controls and integrated the controls into the Mercedes computer.

If I decide I need a heater, I think I would buy a Propex under the floor heater. Propane burns cleaner than diesel so should be more reliable.

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post #19 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 11:37:PM
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I had the optional 5 kw Mercedes bastardized water heater in the Sprinter.
It's a scary story. I'm hoping that the Transit turns out to be less complicated, with more reliable systems, than the Sprinter.

The reason I asked about your heater is I think that the air heaters use quite a bit less electricity than the water heaters, probably from not having to pump water around and not having to transfer the heat through a radiator.

Of course the air heaters are more of a single purpose item than the water heaters.

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post #20 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 08:36:AM
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It's a scary story.

The reason I asked about your heater is I think that the air heaters use quite a bit less electricity than the water heaters, probably from not having to pump water around and not having to transfer the heat through a radiator.
Went to the Espar site:

Airtronic 4 uses 3.3 amps for 13,650 btu output setting.

Hydronic 4 uses 4 amps for 14,700 btu output setting.

So not a major difference in electrical requirement.

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