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Old 12-03-2014, 10:42 PM   #1
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Austin, TX & , Colorado
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Heater options / Suburban furnace questions

I've been exploring heater options for my 16' Boles Aero a while and have tested out a few options. At this point I'm circling back to a Suburban furnace and have a few questions.

I've looked into various heating options (wood stoves, kerosene, propane furnaces). I originally settled in on a Dickinson marine heater and purchased one. I really like the aesthetics - however I am not able to have it exit through the roof as it is covered in solar panels. I have heard of numerous people having issues with a horizontal exit.

I've also found that I need more heat than it puts out. I'm in a small trailer, but I'm also in the mountains. At this point, cold is when it gets below 20. There isn't much of a need for heat above 40.

As I haven't found a suitable system that puts the heat on display I'm inclined to have a furnace that can be tucked away into a less usable space.

I've had a 23,000 BTU kerosene heater in it and have found that works well but is overkill. It can get toasty when outside temps are in the single digits. I'm thinking a 15k-20k BTU heater would be ideal.

I've looked hard into Propex heaters (almost ordered one), but I don't think it will put out enough heat based. Pros: compact size, mountain options / Cons: expensive, likely not enough heat output.

So I've come around to the Suburban furnaces. My initial problem is that my cabinet depth is 14". I've thought about overhauling the cabinets to either 16" or 18" but that still would require creative installation of the Suburban which needs a 21" depth minimum I believe. For that reason I'm interested in a ducted model.

Or is there any chance these can be mounted lengthwise (requiring the intake/exhuast to take a 90 degree turn)?

Also - do they have a hi/low setting or is it just on? When it's real cold (0-20) I would expect to run it all the time, but am fine running it periodically when it is warmer than that. I don't plan on running it when sleeping.

What thermostat options are available? They only one I've seen is temperature based. I'd rather have a manual one similar to the Propex which has hi/low heat setting and a few fan speeds settings.

Any other thoughts are welcome

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Old 12-03-2014, 11:34 PM   #2
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A 16,000 btuh unit would work fine for your size trailer. You really don't need any ductwork if you don't want it, the space is small enough so the front grill vent one would work fine. I think you could custom bend some intake and exhaust tubes but I would not recommend it. Remember that the furnace can go directly against the OUTSIDE wall which will give you two more inches of space. Many Airstreams were and are built that way.

The heat is thermostatically controlled, using a regular wall mount thermostat, either one supplied by Suburban, or a digital one like you would use in a home, as long as it uses internal batteries for power supply. Real common.

The furnace amp draw is around 3 amps at 12 volts when the thing is running. Nothing when the fan is not on. So, at 50% duty cycle, 1.5 amp hours on average.

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Old 12-04-2014, 02:11 PM   #3
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I installed a Suburban NT 12 in my 1949 12' Boles. I had the needed cabinet depth under the Dometic refrigerator, so installed it there. I have used it down to the single digits and it can easily keep the interior warm. It has the front vent so no ducting is necessary. I use a thermostat with a temperature setting and let the furnace hold the desired temperature. At times I will run it until warm, then shut it down. I do make sure to have vents open and use a CO detector. I try hard to avoid waking up dead.
I do not think there would be any problem with running the furnace lengthwise. Before I abandoned that idea I had decided to get the intake and exhaust tubes fabricated at a muffler/exhaust shop to get the correct size pipe with the 90* bend.
The amp draw on my NT12 is 2.75 amps.
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