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First post, please be gentle. Just starting to get into the idea of living fulltime in a t250. Have not started the build, or even purchased the van yet. Still in the dreaming/planning stages. But I thought about the idea of having no propane or forced air heat. I was thinking about the idea of having radiant heated floors though the entire cargo area. I have seen nothing about this idea anywhere on the web. I realize this would not make for a great northern winter plan, but if I stayed in more temperate areas, and will insulated the interior, would this be enough as a main heat source? It would have the benefit of taking up little to no floor space as it would be under the flooring. For reference, I keep my home at about 67 degrees year round, so I like it on the colder side anyways. If anyone has experience or info about this, please let me know!
 

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You didn't say whether the heat would be electric or hot water. I have a 10' x 20' sunroom with 220 volt electric floor heat under laminate flooring, but we don't use it much because it's too expensive for the amount of heat we get. We were surprised that it was so inefficient but I suppose if we had used ceramic tile instead of wood laminate we might have been happier with the results. I'm guessing that either electric or hot water floor heat set in cement covered by a ceramic tile floor would be too heavy for a Transit. That may be why you have not seen anything about it on the web.
 

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yep, i would guess you would really need that thermal mass of the concrete for it to work the most efficiently. (the concrete gets warm and holds the heat for quite some time)
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
You didn't say whether the heat would be electric or hot water. I have a 10' x 20' sunroom with 220 volt electric floor heat under laminate flooring, but we don't use it much because it's too expensive for the amount of heat we get. We were surprised that it was so inefficient but I suppose if we had used ceramic tile instead of wood laminate we might have been happier with the results. I'm guessing that either electric or hot water floor heat set in cement covered by a ceramic tile floor would be too heavy for a Transit. That may be why you have not seen anything about it on the web.
yep, i would guess you would really need that thermal mass of the concrete for it to work the most efficiently. (the concrete gets warm and holds the heat for quite some time)
Yeah, I was definitely not thinking about pouring concrete in my van. That would be crazy. Typical foam board/reflectix/foam, then the radiant heating (electric), and vinyl flooring. I don't really care about the floor "holding" the heat so much, as just keeping the cabin at a manageable temp. Seemed like it might work well if I kept to areas that were not too cold at night.


A quick google search comes back with a result of "STEP warmfloor", which has an option to be used in RV settings, and at 12v.
 

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Radiant heating should be as good as any, if you build it to avoid heat loss in the other direction and always plan to have adequate power available. The current draw for most electric heat sources is generally high enough to limit use for a self-contained rig. One hooked up to AC power at an RV site, no problem.

As an alternative to heat without using gas or forced air there are the little marine application wood heaters that were discussed in this forum. Throw another log on the fire as needed.
 

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We are at similar places in our van builds, concept.

Radiant floor heat run off engine coolant. Utilize that free heat from the engine, port it through some pex tubing. Couple diverter valves to shut off flow to the cabin area during the summer/warmer months. And/or tie a Webasto Thermo Top into the system, preheat the engine.

One of my concerns, is would the extra coolant and flow put too much strain on the water pump.

-Chris
 

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We are at similar places in our van builds, concept.

Radiant floor heat run off engine coolant. Utilize that free heat from the engine, port it through some pex tubing. Couple diverter valves to shut off flow to the cabin area during the summer/warmer months. And/or tie a Webasto Thermo Top into the system, preheat the engine.

One of my concerns, is would the extra coolant and flow put too much strain on the water pump.

-Chris
You would need to run the engine to get hot water so not usable at night. Hopefully you do not have a diesel engine that should not be idled. Radiant heating could be powered with a Espar water heater that could run at night and not run during the summer. Separate system from the engine.
 

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Ideally the entire system could run off the espar when parked. Radiant floor, with a heat exchanger blowing warm air, and another heat exchanger heating freshwater, but then when driving the engine coolant would take up the work.

Although the Espar uses something like .05-.13 gals per hour, so that maybe more work than reward.

Either system would still need to be able to heat water and not the floor during the warmer months.

-Chris


You would need to run the engine to get hot water so not usable at night. Hopefully you do not have a diesel engine that should not be idled. Radiant heating could be powered with a Espar water heater that could run at night and not run during the summer. Separate system from the engine.
 

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Remember if you are in a freezing climate that water used for heating has to have a antifreeze mixture in it.
 

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Another choice would be electric radiant heating pad. Use a vehicle powered inverter to supply the power with engine running. Nothing to leak, no wait for hot water, no freeze, no plumbing, reliable and easy on/off with a switch. Could also be used with shore power.
 

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Rixen's Enterprises is the go-to place for hydronic systems. They use fluid to fluid heat exchangers between vehicle cooling system and heat system loops. We used electric film elements in our Sprinter which aren't enough to heat the van but very nice to have the floor warm. We will put some in the Transit also.
 

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Ideally the entire system could run off the espar when parked. Radiant floor, with a heat exchanger blowing warm air, and another heat exchanger heating freshwater, but then when driving the engine coolant would take up the work.

Although the Espar uses something like .05-.13 gals per hour, so that maybe more work than reward.

Either system would still need to be able to heat water and not the floor during the warmer months.

-Chris
I would connect the espar into the engine cooling system and use both as my boiler.
 

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here is an amazing van build. the whole thread is awesome. has radiant floor heat. first link is to a quick description of the system post (49) second link is where the radiant instal pick sup again. you may need to read other post to fill in gaps. quite a build.

take out spaces and add an h

ttps: //sprinter-source. com/forum/showthread.php?t=27592&highlight=iron+horse&page=5

ttps: //sprinter-source. com/forum/showthread.php?t=27592&highlight=iron+horse&page=10
 

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I have the radiant floor heat 18" by 10ft I am going to install in my van build. According to the manufacturer It is 15 watts per sq ft, so 150 Watts total. It will heat a van about 7 degrees according to the BTU calculator. Not enough for heating the van, but enough to keep your feet from freezing when all the heat from a real heater rises to the ceiling. It can be 60 on the ceiling and freezing as foot level unless you have a fan to circulate the air.

The radiant floor heating will not work for heating a van according to my calculations. I am putting it in for warm feet in cold weather. I have a 220Ah battery so I can have warm feet for maybe 6 hours, or an hour a day while cooking and to dry off the floor and melt snow that tracks in after skiing.
 

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having E heating in a van is not piratical -
Heat = Lots of energy

Using hot engine coolant to heat van
is the Way to go--
95% of cars do this

there is Plenty of extra waste heat to heat
entire van to Toasty or to F ing hot -

U Will need a E coolant pump to move
hot coolant thru tubing/ hoses-

Hot water floor heating will work but U have to
insulate between metal van floor and heat tube -
 

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150 watts on 12V DC is only 12.5 amps so totally doable especially while driving and receiving alternator make-up power. Some vehicles use an electric element for heat until coolant warms up. There is plenty of juice available with the engine running. In-floor radiant heat using coolant loop is quite complicated in comparison. Air transfer (doors opening) and slow coolant warm-up makes it somewhat impractical for primary heat in a van. Forced air is much faster at warming up the small space.
 
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