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Old 11-20-2016, 12:38 PM   #1
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Heater Options

I don't have the van setup yet with all the electrical or propane yet. Just have a bed at the moment.
What are some safe heating options. Besides blankets, sleeping bags and 3 dogs.

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Old 11-20-2016, 04:51 PM   #2
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Here is a write up about electric blankets. Might be a temp solution until you decide on what type of heater you need.

Lots of options but I absolutely would not be w/o my Espar D-4 Airtronic. Fairly quiet and sips 12v DC power. At low you can hardly hear it. Unfortunately they are high priced. I'm not a fan of portable propane units but they work OK. I know some who have used the Buddy or Olympian heaters:
I think ceramic heaters are OK if you have access to shore power.

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Old 11-21-2016, 03:16 AM   #3
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I used a my buddy heater for years but a downside is its either too hot or too cold- no way to regulate the heat. So I did my research and bought the Espar D4 and couldn't be happier.
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Old 11-21-2016, 09:23 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by PNWVAN View Post
What are some safe heating options.
Safe heating usually means that combustion intake and exhaust are outside the van.....

For propane there are Suburban, Propex, and a few others

For gasoline/diesel there's Espar....

Webasto is another brand.....there are a few offerings that are both heater and water heater.

The Ceramic and Catalytic portable heaters work well, but keep in mind that they are consuming oxygen from inside the van and exhausting products of combustion into the van. you have a few things to consider....

The main product of combustion is water so you'll get lots of condensation on the windows

The heater is consuming oxygen from inside the van...most portables have a low oxygen cut-off safety feature.

The heater is exhausting into the van.....usually there is little to none CO produced by these heaters, although there are conditions when they will produce CO.

That being said, most of the portables have CO detectors and shut off when there is an issue and tip-over sensors that also shut the unit off.

Most folks using these portables crack a window or two when using them, and shut them off when sleeping.

I'd also highly recommend installing a hard wired CO detector (or if you are planning on using propane there are combo propane/CO detectors) that is not it's always on....whether you spend the $$ for a permanently installed unit or a portable.

The way I look at it, my van hobby is not worth dying I wouldn't sleep with a portable heater running....especially without a CO detector.
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Old 11-21-2016, 09:30 AM   #5
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Thanks guys for the information. That's is what I'm worried about, sleeping with something running. Most of the time we will have 3 dogs and two people sleeping inside.
Would like to keep warm, but also would like to wake up.
I will keep doing some research. I am in the process of building this van out, so all of this is new to me. Heaters, multiple batterys, etc. Not sure which way or how in depth I want to get building it out.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:48 AM   #6
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We used a 'Lil Buddy' for years in my old van.. Never had any issues with dying. That said, I was always cautious about it, but I think the vans are generally vented enough to not cause issues. Another issue is there is an open flame, so I hung mine from the rear door to get it off the ground, didn't want to accidentally kick a blanket or jacket onto it.

My current van has a propane Suburban heater. the knock on these is generally the noise, but it doesn't bother us. Or, maybe better stated, the noise bothers us a LOT less than being cold. We will get a little condensation, but I honestly think that's as much from us as the heater.. as when I've been alone and not used the heater on cold nights, I still get a fair amount of condensation.

Depending on your build and budget, grab a Buddy and you're ready to go for at least the time being - for under $100.
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Old 11-22-2016, 01:22 AM   #7
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We Just installed a Wallas Nordic DT in our van. even on low, youll want to crack a window in 30 deg weather. We absolutely love it.
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Old 11-22-2016, 10:20 AM   #8
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expeditionnw, I have been thinking about the Wallas. Have you used it for cooking much? How is it as a cooktop? Does it add excessive heat to the van interior when cooking on warm days?
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Old 11-22-2016, 10:31 AM   #9
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KAs a cooktop it works great. Its primary function is a cooktop. Essentially just an 85dt with a fan cover. One side runs hotter than the other , so its simple to ind the right cooking temp.

We literally just installed it, havent been able to use in hot weather. I anticipate it heating the interior more than desired when cooking, though a roof fan would remedy that(need one anyway if cooking).I dont have any real desire to cook inside if its nice out, so we are going to put an iwatani dw35 in a door cabinet for fair weather cooking.

I see you are in the pnw, more than welcome to come by and check ours out. Its quite an investment without seeing it in action.
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Old 11-22-2016, 10:40 AM   #10
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Nice thing about the nordic dt, it pulls combustion air from interior and exhausts exterior. The heat air is recirculated inside. The air inside actually becomes dryer instead of becoming more humid like a propane heater, since the combustion air vents outside.

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