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Old 12-13-2008, 07:26 PM   #1
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Low cost heaters for storage

This is a variation of the just plain light bulb I used previously. In my SOB Winny MH, I just used a 100 watt light bulb in a porcelain
socket that was attached to a board.
Got this idea from a friend at a Good Sam meeting.
I made two of them and have them going in my 34' AS> will see how well they do as it is supposed to get down to 18 or 19 deg F for our lows and 28 or 29 for the highs for the next 3 or so days. Will see what happens.
I also always use 2 Dry-Z-Air units in the AS.

The heaters are made of an empty coffee can; a porcelain, surface mount, light socket; a cheap extension cord w/female end cut off; a short piece of hose cut in half length ways; 2 screws and a scrap piece of 2" X 6" board.

Cut the center out of the coffee can bottom. I used a drill to make a starter hole and then cut it with a jig saw using a metal cutting blade.
Cut the hole just smaller in size than the porcelain light socket base.
Use an old fashioned beer can opener to punch holes around the bottom edge of the can. These allow air to circulate up through the can and move the heat up wards.
Attach the wires to the socket terminals. Tie a knot in the wires so the knot will be located just under the edge of the socket base. This knot will keep the wire from being pulled out.
Using a hole saw, cut a hole about 1/2" deep in the center of the board. Use a chisel to remove the center part of the hole. This gives clearance for the wiring and retention knot.
Use a skill saw to cut a grove leading away from the hole for the wire to lay in. The grove should be just wide enough & deep enough to allow the wire to be covered with the piece of rubber hose so the hose can protect the wire from any sharp edges on the can.

Assemble the heater by running the plug end of the cord through the hole in the can bottom, place the socket down in the center of the can, place the piece of hose over the wire where it comes out from under the can, Attach the socket to the board with the 2 screws. As you tighten the screws, adjust the socket so it is in the center of the can. Tighten the screws and the socket will hold the can in place.

Takes longer to type this than it does to build one. Or so it seems.
Here are some photos to show what it will look like and to assist in the construction of a "Lite Bulb Heater" if you want one.

Here in Western Washington, the electric rate is .10257 per KWH. running 2 of these 24 / 7 for a month figures to cost about $14.00. I think that is just fine with me.
The Dry-Z-Air units have been in the trailer since 10/7/08 and have not collected any moisture yet. I just had one light bulb burning. Now I will see how of these Coffee can heaters work.
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2007 Chevy 2500 HD Duramax/Allison
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:09 AM   #2
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Thats pretty neat.

You could also decorate it with a few sticks and it would work as mini-campfire, for those evenings when you're just too tired to build a fire.
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:19 AM   #3
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Guess I'm too lazy....I just use a small 5000 watt electric heater.
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Old 12-14-2008, 09:10 AM   #4
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I hope you mean a 500 watt heater.
A 5000 watt heater would need #6 wire and cost $370/month.
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Old 12-14-2008, 09:38 AM   #5
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Hey Claude....if you get a chance, put a thermometer in the trailer and let us know how high the air temperature becomes with these heaters. I am curious and may want to build one of these.

I am one of those crazy guys that like to sleep over in the the Airstream in the driveway on a cold winter night. This heater might just take the chill off enough for comfort.
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane View Post
I hope you mean a 500 watt heater.
A 5000 watt heater would need #6 wire and cost $370/month.
You are right...I did make a mistake. It's a 1500 watt heater. I knew there was a 5 in there somewhere!
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Old 12-14-2008, 03:38 PM   #7
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I wouldn't expect that you will see any significant heat gain from a 100 watt bulb operating in your trailer. A 100 watt bulb produces 341 BTU of heat. A typical 1,500 watt portable electric heater puts out 5,118 BTU's of heat. The gas furnace in my 25' has a 25,000 BTU input with approximately 20,000-22,000 BTU output to the trailer. A 100 watt bulbs output of 341 BTU will just make up for the 320 BTU heat loss from one 2'X2' single pane glass in your trailer with a 70F differential between your inside and outside. Also keep in mind that a typical 100 light bulb has a 750 hour expected life and will have to be replaced monthly.
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Old 12-14-2008, 04:31 PM   #8
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Maybe a bigger bulb?

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Old 12-14-2008, 04:51 PM   #9
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A 100 bulb keeps the pump from freezing in the well house at our cabin. I replace it about once every 2 years...
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Old 12-14-2008, 05:04 PM   #10
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3 days averaging 10 degrees below freezing I would expect to see your water pump head cracked. The plastic plumbing might make it.

Make sure you leave the cabinet door under the sink open and the doors to the clothes closet open and the shelf in the clothes closet up. These are normally places that get the coldest if left closed up.
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:11 AM   #11
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Claude--

How are the heaters working? I'm down in Oregon and my Airstream is at 19 degs in the interior. Not typical... but the artic freezes seem to come through only about every 6-8 year of so.

I've drained everything and need to replace everything but the tanks anyway. I'd like a simple way to keep it a bit warmer without needing a heater with a motor.
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:58 PM   #12
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I used to do the same thing for my sailboat during the winter, so it should work well for you. It kept the damp off, but I would still be inclined to winterize the plumbing.
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Old 12-16-2008, 04:16 PM   #13
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This design is basically the same as my folks used when they raised young chickens on the farm. They would use 2 100 watt bulbs in a small room and it would keep the chicks warm enough to keep from freezing. I agree with Cameron that the pipes should be winterized if this is all the heat you will keep in your 34' unit.

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Old 12-18-2008, 01:41 PM   #14
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Thumbs up Cheap L.B.H. working for 5 days

I have had the two 100 watt light bulb heaters running for about 5 days now.
I put one of my "Oregon Scientific" remote thermometers in the trailer and have checked it from here in the warm house 2 or 3 times a day .
With the temps running between high temps of 25* to 35* days to lows of 19* - 33* at night, the heaters have continued to maintain a 3* to 5*
degree increase in the trailer.
I know that the 3* to 5* is not much but the gain is in humidity.
The out door humidity is always much higher than inside the trailer.
The readings as I post this are:
House 72.0*F 31% H w/heat pump and dehumidifier/electronic air cleaner running
Outside 28.6*F 88% H
Trailer 33.4*F 70% H
Fish pond 35.2*F 100% H - go figure that one..guess the fish like it that way

These are the just about the normal differences I have seen so far.
The Dry-Z-Air units, 2, have not collected any moisture in this period.
Well, actually, one has a moist spot in the bottom on one side that is closest to a window but that is expected. When I started the lite bulb heaters,
I also changed out the Dri-Z-Air's. Prior to the L.B.H. the Dri-Z-Airs would collect about 1/8" moisture per month.

"2dabeach" Yes, these are about the SMALL gains I expected. But they are inexpensive, NO cheap, to build and operate.
And as stated above the humidity drop is a big gain

"centennialman" This is not enough heat to get me to sleep out there, but then I am an elderly person ya know so maybe
back 40 or 50 years or so, who knows!
You are probably a younger and wilder crazy guy. Go fer it.

"HowieE" Yes, all plumbing is drained and anti-freeze in drain traps & so on. All cabinets open and all that good stuff.
I leave the cabinets open when parked here at home all year around.

"jdalrymple" I also use a single 100 watt light bulb in my pump house. the pump house measures 8'W X 12"L X 8' H.
This single bulb has kept my pump freeze free for over 20 years and i think i have changed it about every 2 years but not religiously.
I only turn it on when the temps are dropping below 35*F or when I leave home. I have been known to forget and leave it on and only
find out when I go to get the weed-eaters or the pressure washer out of the pump house--- oh well. Forrest Gump had a saying about that.

If there are any changes, I will post them but I expect the results to remain constant.
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"Wake each morning & Smile at the GREAT DAY you about to experience"

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