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Old 11-20-2017, 04:34 PM   #11
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Hey, what IS the electrical power draw/consumption with a Suburban propane heater, anyway? (Great thread, btw...)

We've got one in our 1995-built RB. With only one 105 amp-hour house battery (and no solar or generator), keeping our electrical consumption low is always a priority. (The fridge is a 5-year-old propane absorption unit, has super low electrical draw.)

Without knowing any of the electrical/propane consumption amounts, gotta say the Suburban furnace definitely gets the van toasty fast. (On an evening when it's only 25 degrees out, the van will be 60 in maybe 7 or 8 minutes?) In the evening while we're still up, we'll set the thermostat to keep it around 60 or 65 degrees....but we usually set it to around 50 at night when sleeping (and use plenty of sheets/covers) so it isn't having to run excessively.

A buddy here on the forum who has twice the onboard battery capacity (210 amp-hours) says (if I remember correctly) that if he sets his thermostat higher, around 60 or 65, the furnace runs enough overnight in cold evenings (alongside his refrigerator's amp draw) to significantly run his batteries down.

More and more people are including adequate solar power in their builds, so perhaps electrical consumption of most of these appliances (fridge and furnace) is less of a consideration.
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:48 PM   #12
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My Propex HS2211 only draws around 2 amps when the fan comes on.. at quiescence, it's only about 10mA. Given the typical heater duty cycle, the resultant A-H is nil. My HS2211 underfloor is basically the same as the interior version HS2000. I've only got a 105 A-H Lifeline for the house and it barely knows the heater is there. However, the Propex will throw a code if you exceed 15VDC.. like during an over-aggressive charge.

There are a lot of parts on ebay for Propex, Webasto and Espar.. some from U.K. vendors. I had to get an exhaust flue elbow from Westy Ventures to "turn the corner" in the space available between the frame and body. The inlet and exhaust flues have to be the exact length and type that they ship with the unit, however I fabricated a critter screen over the ends and, so far, the microcontroller hasn't complained about an airflow restriction. Here's a link for 60mm ducting: 60MM PAK Duct High Temperature Ducting

I've noticed a pretty big hysteresis lag, like 5-degrees or so, but I might not have the thermostat ideally positioned.

I'm always watching idle, or parasitic, loads... like a couple years ago there was an early version of a Fantastic Vent fan that had a ridiculous draw while it was sitting there "off". I don't recall the exact draw but I still can't believe it made it into production.
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:19 PM   #13
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Hello, I do not have much to add as far as personal experience because I am still researching what I want to do for my heating. I can, however, share my research. I found this thread very informative (but long):

Van heating thread - Expedition Portal

You said you were looking for propane usage statistics, so this is the right thread for you. This guy must have had a slow day of rocket scientist-ing, and he came up with a lot of valuable calculations.

Good luck.

P.S. After many years of reading, this is my first time posting. Hopefully I did it right.
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Old 11-21-2017, 01:37 AM   #14
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I'd go for a smaller quieter propex, though I haven't owned one myself. I've had a few different Rv propane furnaces (12k-20k btu) in smaller truck campers and they were obnoxious. If you sleep with no heat and just want to blast a ton of heat quick, they're pretty good. Otherwise they are loud, blast a ton of heat, and you experience larger temp swings so the rig goes from cold and drafty to sweat your butt off, and back again all night.

I opted for an espar d2 heater in my sprinter for this reason. I want something that will maintain a more steady temp, run quieter etc. I would much rather my heater run quietly on a 50% duty cycle that blast heat on a 20% duty cycle. My wife and kids did not sleep so well with the big temp swings and loud heater in the smaller rigs.
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Old 11-21-2017, 05:17 AM   #15
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Yes, I did it myself. Took a few hours to install the unit and get it running but dropping the fuel tank was a separate day at my friend's shop to correctly install the pickup.
The D4 is most likely to big for many van dwellers, but since my shower is outside my side barn doors I wanted to be sure I could shower in cold weather. And it paid off, I max out the heat, point the vent where I stand and it's quite comfortable in 20 deg weather.
The trick is to use a shower curtain spanning the doors to trap the hot air.
Somewhere on YouTube I made a video of how the Espar sounds... don't mind my mental status during the video, it was very cold and I was far from sober lol.
As for the link, please search "Bbasso Espar D4 "

One note to add, if I'm in the van and exterior temps are 65 and below my heater is on and set to 72deg. I absolutely hate being cold and having to wear bulky clothing.
Due to my solar system and the 7622 ACR with dual alternators I really don't worry about power consumption from the always on Engel and very used and appreciated Espar.
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Old 11-21-2017, 07:32 AM   #16
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I have a Propex 2211 and will echo much of what econoliner stated above.

Other than some nuisance error codes, the unit works great, and you don't need to cut a big hole in the side of your van to install it. My initial setup had the exhaust duct accumulating water splashed up by the rear wheels, that set off an error code.....rerouted ducts, no issues since.

The 2211 can be mounted inside or outside; I mounted it inside....I'm a light sleeper but it's quiet. The unit comes with a paper air inlet duct and a stainless exhaust duct....buy another stainless duct for the air inlet.

If you go with a Propex, buy it from Karl at Westy Ventures, he's really helpful when it comes to troubleshooting. I bought my propane regulator from GoWesty; every so often I need to whack it with a screwdriver handle to get it to work, doing it again I'd buy the regulator from Karl; he has them set up for the Propex..I'll likely swap it out if the problem persists.

I see about a 1.3A draw using my battery monitor when the Propex is running.

For extra-quite-ness, you can mount an Espar muffler on the propex exhaust, although I haven't felt a need to do that yet...even being a very light sleeper.
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Old 11-21-2017, 08:45 AM   #17
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There is no way I'd do a new build with an old school Suburban/Atwood. They are huge boxes which take up way too much precious space in a van and also require a hole to be cut in the side. Technology wins. Go with a Propex if you are doing propane. If you don't need propane otherwise I recommend a Webasto/Espar/Planar etc. diesel type. They are tiny, quiet and powerful. I just installed a Planar (made in Canada) which came with it's own fuel cell. Oh, I forgot, there is a gasoline version of these.

https://esparparts.com/air-heaters-c-860.html

The gasoline version is on this page. Don't pay much attention to that price. I paid less than $500 for my Planar.
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Old 11-21-2017, 07:21 PM   #18
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I regret going with a Suburban in our second SMB. I installed an Espar in our previous van and it was great. Lots of heat in a small efficient unit. When I have the funds I'm seriously considering ditching the suburban and going back to an Espar w a custom diesel tank to fuel it. Then I just have to figure out what to do w those holes in the side of the van.

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Old 11-21-2017, 08:19 PM   #19
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Then I just have to figure out what to do w those holes in the side of the van.

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I would leave the exterior plate and plug it from the inside. It doesn't get rid of the problem but not much else you can do with that oblong hole unless you need a water heater. You'll cut a much bigger hole for it but a standard 6 gallon will fit in the same interior space and you already even have propane and power run there.

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Old 11-21-2017, 08:39 PM   #20
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86Scotty ---
Hey that's rad to know they occupy the same size space!

As a side note:
I've seen all-in-one combination water heater/furnace units (that I *think* are also produced by Suburban....) and was contemplating one of those to replace the current 20-year-old furnace. Seemed like a great way to add hot water to the van and hopefully get a better-performing modern update to the furnace efficiency too.

Does anyone know --
>>> Do any of **those** all-in-one units fit into that same space currently occupied by a suburban furnace? I'm gonna guess that they're a bit larger....
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