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Old 09-21-2009, 02:09 PM   #1
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1971 31' Sovereign
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Question Radiant Floor Heat

I am in the process of rebuilding a 1971 31 Sovereign. I currently have the rear floor out and am waiting for for parts until I continue. However, my question relates to heat. I took the old furnace out and I am contemplating the best way to heat the Airstream when I put it back together. I was thinking that a radiant heat placed under the new finish floor (floating hardwood) would be pretty cool. Has anyone thought of this and tried it out yet? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this idea?

Thank you.

Chad
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Old 09-21-2009, 02:32 PM   #2
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First off, welcome to the forums!

I would think that the radiant heat pad between the sub-floor & floating hardwood floor wouldn't be a good long-term solution. My thought is that the movement of the floating floor during travel would abrade the mat over time. Maybe someone has first-hand experience with them...just my thoughts.

BTW, do you really need heat in Florida?

Shari
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:25 PM   #3
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Lots of threads on this idea, try the search function. It is more technically complicated than it looks at first. Heat the water and circulate it in a moving flexible structure. The energy requirements are higher. A regular furnance with ducts or a couple small cat heaters (no 12 volt needed) would serve you well.
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:07 PM   #4
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Glad to have you with us!

I'm sure there are many different radiant systems out there. However, we just did radiant floor heating in our house when we redid the bathroom. Both systems we looked at required that the wiring be inbedded in mortar (we used a thin, self-leveling mortar), which you obviously can't do in a trailer. The instructions said to inbed even if the flooring was to be the floating. Perhaps there's something out there that wouldn't require mortar, but I'm not aware of it if there is. But believe me, I too had the thought it would be awesome in an AS!
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:15 PM   #5
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I did search and didn't find it. I guess I searched the wrong thing. I was actually thinking some of the electric instead of water based systems - some seem like they might actually be able to work off battery power via an inverter. I am actually planning the entire new re-build based on electric with a propane generator that will power most of not all things. I was thinking a 5KW or 6KW would do it.

I was thinking a small catalytic heater could be a supplement if needed if I ever went to the mountains and utilized it in a winter environment.

Thanks for the thoughts and I will use them in my decision as to what I do.
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:52 PM   #6
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Hot water radiant heat systems

I saw a system on This Old House - some kind of flexible PEX like hose was laid between joists on a reflective metal tray - that had channels for the hose. This was nailed to each joist, then the subfloor was laid over it, and carpeting installed. They said it could be retrofitted to a house with existing wood or carpeted floors as long as you could access the joists from below. It circulates heated water under the floor.

I've also been made aware that there are "radiator" systems out there. I need to attend to some business right now, but I'll look up the link later - I think Lewster sent it to me.

Paula
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:30 PM   #7
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Thank you for the thoughts so far. I am interested in one of the electric versions and possibly powering it with an inverter. I am thinking that the re-built 31 Soveriegn ( My wife and I should name her) will be based on propane powered generator and plug in only so I wanted to re-capture the old furnace space for other things.

In response to Inside Out, I would love to go spend an extended period in the mountains in winter and I want to rebuild it now so I can use it to do that in 10 years plus. We bought it thinking it could be used as is, and well I have since gutted it and the project gets bigger with everyday of work on it. I just want to do it right and plan for the future b/c one gut rehab per Airstream is enough for me (for now). Plus it gets cold here in Flordida every once in awhile.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:35 PM   #8
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In the search section use Google, you will get better results. Great idea.
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:22 PM   #9
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I put 120v.heat mats under my cork floor. I love them! The floor fees so good! They work well down to the low 50's.Then I need some extra heating.cost around $300.
I would do it again.

Bibbs
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:18 PM   #10
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It takes a lot of battery to heat with 120v mats and an inverter. To use it without a generator running will be a challenge. The tradeoff will be that you will probably need to replace your furnace with a few batteries, so no real space savings. Running your genset all night at a campground will not make you any friends either. I am thinking of using a 120v oil-filled radiator type heater for daytime use when I can run a generator, and a vented propane radiant heater for the times I can't use a genset.
The radiator fits into the bottom of the coat closet so it can be stored out of the way. I have used it in temps down to about 45 degrees and it worked great. I only have about 18' of trailer to heat, compared to your 27' though. The radiator I have runs on 1500 watts on its highest setting, but after heating the interior up to comfortable temps I turn it to low or medium settings(1000 and 1250 watts. It has a built-in timer and thermostat also. 1500 watts under your flooring would take a long time to heat up the whole interior.
There are a lot of ways to go with this so keep on checking for what works for you.

Rich
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:19 PM   #11
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Go with two small propane cats. You get the furnance space back and won't freeze when your battery is dead or other electrical problems.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Over59 View Post
Go with two small propane cats. You get the furnance space back and won't freeze when your battery is dead or other electrical problems.

Is it true, that when you forget to open the window these heaters help you to sleep, for a very, very long time?
I hear a lot of people use these in Airstreams but is there some kind of built-in protection against asphyxiation? Personally speaking, after a few cocktails I can hardly get in the door, much less remember to open a window. At least it's a peaceful way to go
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:51 PM   #13
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what about catalytic heaters? Are they any good?
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:18 AM   #14
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That's what Over59 was talking about(propane cats) not the feline type, I hope. My understanding is that they require ventilation to keep from killing you.
Rich
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