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Old 07-01-2009, 07:55 PM   #1
Rivet Master
68 TWind's Avatar
1968 24' Tradewind
Oxford, , Mississippi
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,450
Help! Need thoughts on heaters/furnace

I need some thoughts on whether to replace my old Suburban NT-22 furnace with a newer forced air model or to get rid of it and go with a catalytic for my 68 Trade Wind. The old furnace has several issues and I dont' want to spend a lot trying to make it work. I have to make up my mind soon as I am ready to reinstall my rear floor. The floor vent was rusted and I'll have to get a register box made if I keep the forced air. If not I'll not cut the hole for the register. Here in Mississippi we don't camp in really cold weather, but do have chilly mornings in the early spring. At campsites with power I was thinking of using small electrics to keep us warm and/or the catalytic. Anyway, pros and cons will be greatly appreciated. Especially info how even the heat from the catalytic would be and suggested BTU rating for a Trade Wind. I'm afraid that it would be hot close by the heater and freezing back in the bath. Finally, which model Suburban would be the the best choice if I do replace the old one?

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Old 07-01-2009, 08:30 PM   #2
Rivet Master
1975 29' Ambassador
Reno , Nevada
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,351
Find a new furnace at a surplus place with DSI. If you look around, you can get a new one for quite a bit less than retail - usually.

If you only need it to warm up a chilly morning, it is very nice to have a thermostat near the bed you can tweak for the furnace to come on for a bit.

A furnace with good airflow is also the easiest way to warm up the bathroom and it doesn't need wall space or otherwise obstruct the living quarters.

Catalytics are good auxiliary heaters and have their biggest benefit when you need heat for more than just a few hours.

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Old 07-01-2009, 08:33 PM   #3
2 Rivet Member
65Safari65's Avatar
1965 22' Safari
Staunton , Virginia
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 69
I checked into all sorts of options for our Safari. The catalytic heaters put out a lot of moisture, and you have to have a window and a roof vent cracked. Lots of people use them and like them, but I know I couldn't sleep with one going- afraid I wouldn't wake up.

I was setting ours up for extended boondocking, so I found one of the old radiator-type LP heaters. It pulls in combustion air from the outside, and exhausts outside as well, and uses no electricity. It kept our 22' at 72 degrees when it was 34 outside. Found it on ebay, and checked it out thoroughly before trusting it- it's about the same vintage as our '65.

There are modern vented heaters made, I think by Empire- maybe somebody will chime in that knows more about them. Here's a link:
Empire Comfort Systems
Couldn't find any info about using them in an RV on their site.

If you're not worried about battery consumption, then maybe ducted is the way to go, as it'll throw heat at the tanks, too. I just hate depleting the batteries in a night when I'm unplugged.

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