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Old 11-29-2013, 05:25 PM   #1
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Van heating options?

Wondering what the options are to safely heat a van a high elevations 8,000 and above. I know the obvious answer is install propane tank and furnace but what are some other options? I've hear the portable propane heaters are unsafe at high elevations. Also anyone know the cost to install a propane tank/furnace on a van? What kind of shops would do that kind of installation outside of SMB?
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Old 11-29-2013, 05:59 PM   #2
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Re: Van heating options?

An furnace in a van is really no different than one in any other RV. Same products used, standard RV propane tank and standard RV furnace, just probably a smaller BTU (size). Any RV shop should be able to handle this for you if you aren't close to SMB or some other van specific shop. You'll probably be in for about $1k though total. I think the tanks are 3-400, plus about the same for the furnace itself, plus installation. Not cheap but a one time purchase, then it's there and done and you just have to turn it on and very occasionally fill up the propane (at most hardware stores, RV places, and many campgrounds can fill for you). It's well worth it if you camp in the cold much.

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Old 11-29-2013, 06:05 PM   #3
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Re: Van heating options?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
An furnace in a van is really no different than one in any other RV. Same products used, standard RV propane tank and standard RV furnace, just probably a smaller BTU (size). Any RV shop should be able to handle this for you if you aren't close to SMB or some other van specific shop. You'll probably be in for about $1k though total. I think the tanks are 3-400, plus about the same for the furnace itself, plus installation. Not cheap but a one time purchase, then it's there and done and you just have to turn it on and very occasionally fill up the propane (at most hardware stores, RV places, and many campgrounds can fill for you). It's well worth it if you camp in the cold much.


Thanks for the info! Sounds like it's best just to do it up and get the install.
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:13 PM   #4
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Re: Van heating options?

Some Webastondiesel heater have automatic or manual mixture adjustment for high elevation. Check it out...
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:15 PM   #5
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Re: Van heating options?

Why are the Mr. Buddy style portable heaters not safe above 8,000?
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:34 PM   #6
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Re: Van heating options?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
Why are the Mr. Buddy style portable heaters not safe above 8,000?
I think they have a low oxygen sensor that shuts off at sometimes at high elevations. Other peoples concerns were CO poisening.. I'm reading another forum where people didn't have any trouble with them at 10k. I just guessing it would be fine as long as you have a couple good CO detectors and have a vent in your van.
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:51 PM   #7
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Re: Van heating options?

I found my propane take at the local propane shop, they had some used tanks out back that were rated for vehicle use. They replaced the valve, gage and painted and certified it for $100. I mounted it under the drivers side. i didn't like how low the valve and filler neck were hanging so i turned the tank around and pointed the valve in toward the frame. Also had to modify the filler neck to face the outside of van. Works excellent, cant tell its there without looking up under the van. We have used a Mr heater at above 9000 feet with no problem. The issue is the oxygen sensor will shut it down at high elevation and of course you'll need to make sure you have a good flow of fresh air thru the van. I have a Propex heater that is super efficient on both battery and propane. When its real cold like 10below last winter I use my Honda generator and also run an electric heater.
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Old 11-29-2013, 09:43 PM   #8
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Re: Van heating options?

You might want to research the altitude that each model is rated to work at. I've seen several on board heaters struggle above 8600'. Not saying they all fail at higher altitudes but if you want something to work at high altitude, you should at least find out if they are designed or have some way to compensate to work where you plan to be at. With the folks that have had issues, I don't know if it's a temperature thing, a tank filling issue or installation problem. Why some are touchy I don't know. Some people don't have any problems at all.
SMB warned me about this and was why I went with Espar but some have issues with those as well.
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:27 PM   #9
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Re: Van heating options?

I use the Mr buddy
Yes it does cut off if I don't leave the side window open but never a problem and only when at altitude .
But I never sleep with it on.
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Old 12-03-2013, 06:20 PM   #10
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Re: Van heating options?

My Mr. Buddy has worked above 8K, probably 9kish. Just crack a window. A lot of the heat from those catalytics is radiant, so having a place where you can point it at you helps. As does insulation for the penthouse fabric walls and windows, or leave the top down. I also wouldn't sleep with an unvented heat source on; and in any case it would run out.
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