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Old 01-11-2014, 02:43 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Modesto,CA
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Help with understanding heat - as in furnace & water

I'm in the process of deciding what I want included in my build. Originally I was going to use propane for the furnace and water heater. A simple and familiar solution since that's what I have on my tent trailer.

After reading and researching, I'm a bit confused on other options. I should add that my SMB will be gas powered, not diesel.

--Espar has both a "Hydronic Coolant Heater" and an "Airtronic" furnace

--Suburban has a motoraid integrated water heater option. I think their only furnace is propane.

--Isotherm has a Slim Square Water Heater that uses either 110v or heat exchanger.

So here are my questions:

--If I want to go with something that utilizes an engine heat exchanger for both a furnace and hot water, what should I be looking for?

--Does that mean I need to consider three items: a heat exchanger, a furnace and a water heater?

--If the above is true, am I better to go with different manufacturers or a single manufacturer?

--And while I'm at it where does a "flat plate" fit into this equation?

Help, I'm in over my head.

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Old 01-13-2014, 12:33 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: SE Washington
Posts: 816
Re: Help with understanding heat - as in furnace & water

I can further confuse you!

We have a propane tank and a Propex propane furnace (not sure SMB offers this brand). We like it because it is quieter and uses less electric power than a Suburban type propane heater.

The Espar products run on diesel, most people only get them if they have a diesel engine.

A flat plate is a type of heat exchanger, usually used to transfer heat from the engine coolant to a hot water system. This system can produce hot water while the engine is running, and for a little while after shutting it down.

Any hot water system is subject to freeze-up in cold weather. People do various things to prevent freeze-up, like draining the system, blowing it out with compressed air, or adding food grade antifreeze.

I don't think there is an off-the-shelf option for cabin heating with engine heat, since the engine would need to be running.
2009 E250 RB 5.4L "SilVan"
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