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Old 08-10-2014, 01:41 PM   #1
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Portable gas heaters

What's your favorite portable gas heater, and why?
And how do you use it? Cannister, gas line, indoors, outdoors?

I occasionally need heat for my 28' AS, and I want to be able to use it at higher elevations.
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:05 PM   #2
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And since my wall furnace is broken, can I just pull it out and use the space for storage?
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:17 PM   #3
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I use a little buddy portable catalytic heater which uses the small propane canisters. It was cheap and is portable. I do not use it while I am sleeping as I just do not trust it (I really want to wake up!).

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Old 08-10-2014, 02:30 PM   #4
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Sorry, I have to say it.

I wouldn't use any unvented heater in a trailer.
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Old 08-10-2014, 04:30 PM   #5
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We have the "Big Buddy" portable heater and really like it. It uses 2 of the small camp stove size propane bottles and the great thing about it is the built in fan that works off 4 D cells (you can get an A/C adapter for this fan also). The fan really pushes out the heat. This heater works well for taking the chill off in the morning. I like to set it in front of me sometimes when I'm sitting on the couch to warm up my legs (this is the advantage it has over stationary wall mounted catalytic heaters). The noise it produces with the little fan is quite pleasant compared to the
trailer furnace. The down side is that it is one more thing taking up space.

Like Touring Dan has said we don't use ours when sleeping. We set the furnace on 50 and when hooked to shore power use our electric blankets or a ceramic electric heater. I think you will read posts of those who crack a couple windows for ventilation and do use the catalytic heaters while sleeping, but we don't want to chance it I suppose. I sleep too soundly and there is also more of fire hazard I feel, in addition to asphyxia concerns.

Am thinking you may want to go ahead and get a new furnace for peace of mind when the temperatures drop into the teens. You will get good heat circulation throughout the trailer and not have as strong of concerns over freezing water pipes.

My two cents, Pat
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:13 AM   #6
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We have a blueflame heater mounted on the side of the cabinet that houses the stove (at the entrance). As mentioned, however, it is critical that there is a source of fresh air when it is in use - so we open the vent over the stove and the vent in the bathroom in very cold weather, or we open the kitchen window.

The blueflame heater can be purchased through Amazon on-line for about $125. The nature of the blueflame is that it is a convection type of heater, drawing cold air in at the bottom, passing it alongside the flame which is between tempered glass, and warm air exits through vents at the top. This heater provides warmth throughout our 32-foot Excella, even the bedroom in the back. However, read the caution - and note that it is not recommended for RV's.

As an addendum, the blueflame heater is preferred by the hardcore boondockers, as it does not draw down batteries (no fan, no electrical connection). Two winters ago we dry camped in Quartzsite AZ for 2 weeks when the overnight temperatures dropped to 25F with daily highs around 40F. We were comfortable and did not experience any freezing pipes (we left the cabinet doors open in the kitchen and bathroom).
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Old 08-11-2014, 05:10 PM   #7
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I thought the danger of carbon monoxide from the furnace was a bigger threat. Am I wrong? Don't you leave a window cracked when running the furnace, too?

I was looking at the Olympic Wave catalytic heater. I thought I could use it inside AND outside. Inside - when boondocking in the mountains (w/a window cracked). Outside - at bluegrass festivals.

What's the price difference between a 15k BTU A/C vs. a heat pump? Also looked at an A/C with "heat strips" but the shop said that wouldn't provide much heat.
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Old 08-11-2014, 05:39 PM   #8
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I thought the danger of carbon monoxide from the furnace was a bigger threat. Am I wrong? Don't you leave a window cracked when running the furnace, too? ~snip~
As long as there are no cracks in the combustion chamber(s) a furnace does not put CO into the trailer, it is exhausted to the outside, just like your home furnaces.

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Old 08-11-2014, 05:40 PM   #9
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Many AS had catalytic heaters in them in the past. They worked very well. Not a new idea! Jim
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:12 PM   #10
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I look at it this way, I wouldn't feel comfortable letting my kids use my trailer with an unvented heater.

This says something.
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:32 PM   #11
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We have the stock heater. When it fails I will replace. Also have heat pump for the marginal days.

I almost died in a camp with one of those catalytic heaters... I only use outside now.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:47 AM   #12
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In all cases you should have a CO monitor in your AS - we installed a combined smoke/CO alarm.

As well, it is a safe practice to always have a source of outside air through an open window or vent.

When dry camping, there is insufficient battery reserve to power the furnace fan, so running the furnace on a cold night will probably cause the batteries to deplete to the point that you may not have enough power to run anything else - remember that your water pump draws 3 amps, and that your lights and refrigerator need power as well, even if only some for monitor circuits.

While unvented heaters present risks of CO and CO2, having some open ventilation (opened window and/or vents over the stove/shower) in conjunction with a CO/CO2/smoke alarm is safe and is practiced by boondockers. That said, there are then 2 types of unvented heaters: the radiant (catalytic) heater and the convection (blueflame) heater.

The radiant heater radiates heat directionally away from it - the catalytic heater has a slightly red glow to it, and unless facing it directly, there is limited heat. When we first got our AS, the PO had one attached to the side of the stove at the entranceway. When sitting on the gaucho curbside you were warm, but if sitting streetside there was no warmth. A second type of radiant heater is the brick heater. It has ceramic bricks which are heated by the flame to glow red hot. While it does provide a better radiation pattern than the catalytic heater, there is always the inherent danger of accidentally touching the heater and burning yourself. We travel with 2 dogs and this nixed type of heater.

The blueflame is a convection type of heater. The body of the heater is cool to the touch, although it is quite warm at the top where the warm air vents. When I first had my LY motor-home, the boondockers in Quartzsite all recommended the blueflame, and I bought a free-standing one that had a flexible gas line. It worked well and I was pleased with it. When I purchased my current AS - Excella 32 foot - it had the catalytic heater already installed by the PO, so I used that at first. I found that only the gaucho up front was warm, but the rest of the trailer was cold. So I replaced the Olympus Wave catalytic heater with a Procomm blueflame heater. We are comfortable with it. In fact, we use it even when we are hooked up, as it is much more efficient than the furnace (remember, we do pay for propane).
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blkmagikca View Post
When dry camping, there is insufficient battery reserve to power the furnace fan, so running the furnace on a cold night will probably cause the batteries to deplete to the point that you may not have enough power to run anything else - remember that your water pump draws 3 amps, and that your lights and refrigerator need power as well, even if only some for monitor circuits.
That's why I need a gas heater. I can use HP or even and electric space heater when we have power - which is most of the time. But when we're camping in the mountains I want to stay as long as possible. It's usually warm during the day. I just like to take the chill off before I go to bed and again in the morning when I get up.

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Originally Posted by blkmagikca View Post
While unvented heaters present risks of CO and CO2, having some open ventilation (opened window and/or vents over the stove/shower) in conjunction with a CO/CO2/smoke alarm is safe and is practiced by boondockers. That said, there are then 2 types of unvented heaters: the radiant (catalytic) heater and the convection (blueflame) heater.
Thanks for the explanation. I didn't realize there was a difference!
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:35 PM   #14
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Unvented heaters are hazardous. People have died. I've written about this before and while I realize opinions vary and people's safety standards vary, I don't think they're safe and wouldn't recommend them, particularly in light of the better alternatives available.

The main hazards posed are fire and CO poisoning.

Catalysts deteriorate with age and use so an installation that produces little CO while new will produce increasing amounts of CO over time.

Cracking a window seems like a sufficient procedure and easy enough to perform, and it is while fully in control of one's faculties on a cool, clear evening.

But if you've come down with the flu, have a pounding headache, can't seem to get warm, and there's a storm outside, you might forget or decide it isn't worth it.

There are all kinds of alternatives. Yes they cost money and take effort to install.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...ers-72237.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...ity-74936.html

The furnace in my Cayo doesn't use any electricity.

The furnace in my Airstream uses quite a bit. I added another battery and a ready means of charging the batteries from the truck.
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