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Old 11-30-2017, 07:57 AM   #1
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Help, we need DRY heat!

The wife and I live in our 28 foot flying cloud during the winter, the summer and every other time. As most of you know there is serious drawbacks to living in airstreams in the winter time and the main one for us is water and how to get rid of it.

Last winter was a record snowfall year here in Clarkston Washington and we discovered a few things. Electric heat is expensive and we don’t like the “ surprise” you get from the park office that says you owe more than you think you should. So we opted this year to get a catalytic heater so that it would eliminate electric heat all together as well as give us a source of heat we could use while Boondocking. The main problem with found with catalytic heater is the moisture we’re left with and how to get rid of it. We purchased two Eva-dry units for this reason hoping that they would eliminate water. We have the roof vents cracked all the time.

This morning we woke up rudely to puddles of water on the floor. Too much water!!! What is a good source of dry heat? (No wood stove people:-)
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:07 AM   #2
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Is your furnace not an option?

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Old 11-30-2017, 08:09 AM   #3
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Help, we need DRY heat!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lily&Me View Post
Is your furnace not an option?



Maggie


No, the furnace is an option, But thinking that it runs on propane is well isn’t it going to give us the same moisture problems that the catalytic heater does?
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:13 AM   #4
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The Eva-Dry units just can't remove enough water from the air under those conditions. I wold suggest you get the smallest compressor driven dehumidifier you can find, dimensionally. 25 pint is probably the smallest capacity you will find. I found one several years ago which was a compact 25 pint unit, but they are no longer available.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
The Eva-Dry units just can't remove enough water from the air under those conditions. I wold suggest you get the smallest compressor driven dehumidifier you can find, dimensionally. 25 pint is probably the smallest capacity you will find. I found one several years ago which was a compact 25 pint unit, but they are no longer available.


I think, if the furnace is better as far as making less water inside, we may just stick to that during the cold months.... not sure if the furnace puts out dry heat though..
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:22 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jeffndaile View Post
I think, if the furnace is better as far as making less water inside, we may just stick to that during the cold months.... not sure if the furnace puts out dry heat though..
That is true, and a furnace does not produce any moisture, as the combustion process (which produces water vapor), is separated from the heat exchanger and the moisture from combustion is exhausted outdoors. BUT.....each human exhales about a quart of water vapor a day....plus cooking, pets, etc. I think you will still find a need for a dehumidifier. I am doubtful that if you are spending 12 hours a day, or more, inside in cold weather, that the Eva-Dry units will keep up with that either.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:34 AM   #7
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I also recommend the compressor type dehumidifier. We bought one for a late season trip down the west coast two years ago. They work very well and also provide a noticeable amount of heat. The only problem is finding a small one.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:48 AM   #8
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I use an electric dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air. And I use my OEM furnace instead of a catalytic heater (more about that later).

I also alter my normal routine in order to put less moisture into the air in the first place.

I avoid showering in the Airstream in the winter so I add less water to the air. A sponge bath gets me just as clean without getting the air as wet. And waterless hand sanitizer can be used all over your body if necessary (except your hair, which I don't have on my scalp anyway), so I use more sanitizer in the winter versus washing with soap and water. But using hand sanitizer doesn't leave you feeling as clean, so sponge baths are still required (besides, if you have a spouse, you can give each other sponge baths, which is a lot more fun than doing it yourself). And baby wipes aren't just for babies, either. Grownups can use them too.

Plus, when winter camping, I almost never use real plates and tableware, instead strictly disposable paper and plastic, so I seldom have to fill the galley sink or let dishes air-dry. When I cook on the stove, pots and pans are washed using as little water as possible, and towel-dried instead of air-drying.

I use the microwave more than I use the stove, so there's less steam from cooking, and what steam there is collects inside the microwave where it can be wiped up with a paper towel instead of going into the air.

For temperature management, I try to keep the inside air as cool as I can stand it. Cool enough to need a sweater indoors is just about right. If the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures is small, there will be less condensation on the walls, windows, and ceiling than if there's a big difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures.

But even with all of these techniques for reducing condensation in the winter, a catalytic heater is a poor choice for winter heating in terms of condensation (it's later, so here's the promised "more about that"). Any propane burned inside your Airstream, in a catalytic heater or your stove, produces more than three quarts of water for every gallon of propane burned. Make no mistake, even though there's no flame in a catalytic heater, the propane is still burned in that it still combines with oxygen to produce combustion byproducts such as water vapor.

Since a typical RV catalytic heater burns 0.3 pounds of propane per hour of use, and propane weighs 4.2 pounds per gallon, if the heater is on half the time, you'll use a gallon of propane a day, and put over 3 quarts of water vapor into the air.

A catalytic heater is a more efficient heater than a furnace, because the furnace wastes about 15% of the heat produced through the exhaust. But the furnace has a distinct advantage in that combustion takes place outside the living spaces, so zero moisture is added to the inside air by the furnace. (On edit— that's not necessarily dry heat, because the furnace also doesn't remove any moisture that already present.) Given my choice between wetness inside and lost heat outside, I'll take the lost heat outside.

But even if you go back to using the furnace instead of the catalytic heater, you can't get rid of moisture in their air completely, because just breathing puts plenty of water vapor into the air. Every person who breathes inside an Airstream adds nearly a pint (400ml, not a quart) of water vapor to the air every day. But a good-quality and properly-sized electric dehumidifier will generally take care of that much water vapor each day.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:52 AM   #9
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I installed a catalytic heater last year in our '01 Excella 30' classic. It is actually built by a guy in Washington state and is a built in unit, not free standing. We are not full timers so I cannot speak for it's function in real winter weather but in the cool spring and fall seasons it worked very well. It is vented to the outside and has a thermostat to control it's operation along with an automatic spark igniter. So no pilot lights. Since it's vented I think it would create minimum interior moisture. We have used it on a few cool evenings but have not seen the need to let it operate overnight. It was not a cheap unit but I'm very happy with it. I think you would need the cabinet space to install this unit so it may not be suitable for all applications. The cutout dimension was approx. 11"x14" with a back set of perhaps 2.5". The rear cabinet of the heating unit does not get hot.
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Old 11-30-2017, 09:20 AM   #10
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When a catalytic heater is not direct vented, the catalytic combustion gasses stay inside the trailer unless adequate ventilation is supplied (both inlet and exhaust). Puddles on the floor sounds like there is not enough air is flowing.
Open a through the roof vent (high) about 1" or less. Open a window (low) about 1" or less at the opposite end of the trailer. A high/low vent setup causes natural convection of warm air escaping through the highest vent. The warm air has the ability to carry more moisture. Though, I think this ventilation (and loss of heat) negates any efficiency a catalytic heater has over the furnace.

This ventilation is also a safety requirement when using a non vented catalytic heater.
See the warning in the user manual !!!!

Hope this helps.


What I do:
When on full hookups, I use two types of heat in combination. First I set an electric heater's thermostat on the temperature that is comfortable and set the heat on low (900 watt) setting. Then I set the furnace thermostat a few degrees lower, so that it will supplement the electric heat. 40 lbs of propane gets me through the winter season (in FL) and the electric bill is manageable.
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Old 11-30-2017, 09:26 AM   #11
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A rolling dehumidifier is worth the trouble. I use mine year round in conjunction with a hygrometer. 40% is target. It lives under the dinette table with the exhaust blowing out into the aisle.

In winter with that configuration I also turn on the A/C fan to get all the air in the TT into play. There then comes a point where comfort is reached, and that fan is turned off and the DH is capable of keeping problems at bay. But, cooking, bathing, etc means another round of conditioning.

Over time one learns what works.

The biggest objection to the DH is its size. One makes accommodations for living outside the envelope. Summer is the same problem (keeping covered all but a few windows). I also use a large BlueAir air filtration unit that takes up floor space. Again, the benefits outweigh the problems.

When one is other than an occasional user (vacationer), compromises have to be figured.

Interior storm windows are useful in both coldest or hottest weather.

In the cold I prefer the use of the furnace. But not exclusively. I also use a Dyson space heater, and plan one or two vented cat heaters. Sure there’s an upfront expense and a learning curve.

I’ve also looked at the CheapHeat retrofit, as I’d like to be able to maximize either all-propane heating, or all-electric heating (but that last done properly — built in upgrade — as constant use of several electric space heaters is not, IMO, what an RV wiring system was designed to accommodate).

But as the DH is applicable far outside the heating season, it’ll always be part of the mix.

.
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Old 11-30-2017, 11:26 AM   #12
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wondering about "no wood stove" comment? I am considering a wood stove in my 57' flying cloud remodel. Is it just the idea of feeding it constantly or something else? Just curios. thanks.
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Old 11-30-2017, 11:32 AM   #13
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[QUOTE=Protagonist;2040465]

When I cook on the stove, pots and pans are washed using as little water as possible, and towel-dried instead of air-drying.

A thorough an interesting analysis, as usual. And the correction for the volume exhaled water vapor is more accurate (I am a health care professional), though the mutual sponge baths might increase that amount slightly .

One question: where do you put the water from the towel used to dry your dishes?
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Old 11-30-2017, 11:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngmg69 View Post
wondering about "no wood stove" comment? I am considering a wood stove in my 57' flying cloud remodel. Is it just the idea of feeding it constantly or something else? Just curios. thanks.


Simply no place to put it.
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