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Old 02-21-2016, 06:28 PM   #1
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Espar hydronic at extreme cold temps?

I have read a lot about various alternatives to heating and am pretty sure I want the diesel hydronic approach. Just got back from a colder-than-expected trip out of Ouray last month, and saw -16 F. I have never had a diesel before but understand one must be concerned with gelling at that temp (among other things). I presume the fuel line from the primary tank to the Espar flamer routes under the vehicle, and would therefore be quite exposed to the external temps. So here is my question:

Anyone have experience using the Espar at very cold temps (sub zero at least, for 3 straight days at least)? Any problems with fuel line waxing up or ice forming in the line between main tank and heating unit?

Thanks,
Snowy
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Old 02-21-2016, 09:08 PM   #2
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I have an Espar on my boat in Alaska, but being in South East we don't get the really cold temps the interior gets. Still, when the temps get really cold, the diesel suppliers usually provide diesel treated to prevent jelling, sometimes called "Arctic Diesel". Any area that gets really cold should have the correct fuel, or all the trucks and cars would have issues. As for ice, no matter what type fuel you have, if there is water in it, it will freeze. A filter with a water drain would solve that problem...
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Old 02-21-2016, 11:04 PM   #3
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I have an Espar on my boat in Alaska, but being in South East we don't get the really cold temps the interior gets. Still, when the temps get really cold, the diesel suppliers usually provide diesel treated to prevent jelling, sometimes called "Arctic Diesel". Any area that gets really cold should have the correct fuel, or all the trucks and cars would have issues. As for ice, no matter what type fuel you have, if there is water in it, it will freeze. A filter with a water drain would solve that problem...
Thanks Arctic. I have used the diesel heater on a boat in SE Alaska myself. It was an old thing you had to light with a match in the cabin, and it stunk things up down below. Hated it, to tell you the truth. LOL Thing is, it never got much below freezing so I couldn't tell how it would work 40 degrees colder than that. I would definitely be filling up with local fuel for the reason you stated, but I am guessing the fuel system on the Espar is not as sophisticated as main vehicle engines. Water filtration, for example, seems to be missing from the system, so I was just wondering if it is generally less sensitive or something to allow it to work in conditions that might give the primary engine grief.

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Old 02-21-2016, 11:44 PM   #4
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Spent 3 days in Yellowstone over the new year. All three days it got below zero and I never had an issue with my diesel or the Espar. Got down to -24 in the Lamar Valley one day. I ran the heat a little later in the day, not -24 but still below 0. Again, never had an issue with the heat. I had some problems with a cold battery that morning so I would be more concerned about that. Make sure your battery is either inside or in an insulated compartment.

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Old 02-22-2016, 06:24 AM   #5
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Spent 3 days in Yellowstone over the new year. All three days it got below zero and I never had an issue with my diesel or the Espar. Got down to -24 in the Lamar Valley one day. I ran the heat a little later in the day, not -24 but still below 0. Again, never had an issue with the heat. I had some problems with a cold battery that morning so I would be more concerned about that. Make sure your battery is either inside or in an insulated compartment.

Mike
Exactly what I was looking for, Mike. Thanks! I will have redundant batteries (3 total - primary engine, factory aux, and house), and at least the house battery is inside cabin should I get in a real pinch.

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Old 02-23-2016, 04:57 PM   #6
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No problems with my Espar Airtronic with gelling. I do make sure to use fuel additive in the winter, without fail. We'll see multiple days of below zero nights, and I usually start my airtronic at 6 am to heat up the van. As MKRyan said, having a good battery is important.
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