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Old 09-28-2016, 03:44 PM   #1
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Silent space heater?

My van does not have a furnace and after visiting my folks this weekend and hearing the furnace in their Roadtrek 210, I'm not sure I want one. It's pretty loud. I'm a medium to light sleeper so sound is a concern.

I have 2 solutions that I have used so far that take the edge off but there is room for improvement:

- Electric space heater - effective and keeps the coach dry but loud, fan cycles on/off a lot (mostly due to my van not being insulated well), last year I wore ear plugs while sleeping and it was tolerable until the ear plugs fell out, requires a plug-in

- Marine alcohol stove/heater - silent but puts out a lot of moisture, fuel tank is not big enough to last through the night

I'm wondering if there are any other electric heaters out there that are truly silent that have been used successfully in a van? I suppose the quietest solution is a better sleeping bag but I would like to be able to make the coach comfortable. I DO NOT want to use something like a Little Buddy heater in the coach while I'm asleep.

I've seen those panel heaters and wondered how 1 or 2 might work - http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...FQoGaQodQBwK8A

I've considered a portable tent heater that sits outside a tent - Portable Tent Heaters for Camping - Tentrax 800-488-2022). I don't know much about them.

I'm just looking for ideas that have worked for others. Thanks!
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Old 09-28-2016, 05:21 PM   #2
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Espar B2 or B4. Gasoline fired, draw from your tank, quick to heat the space efficiently. Low draw, thermostat setting, small footprint.

Espar D2 or D4. Diesel fired.
We have a diesel van and absolutely love our D4. We run a muffler on the exhaust and it is quiet, not silent, but not at all intrusive inside or out. Not inexpensive, but works great. It has opened up four season camping for us, at least here in the West.

call Greg at Lubricaton Specialists 317-326-4296. He does not have the gasoline versions listed on his website but I understand he can get them.

re: Electric - there is no battery based solution due to battery bank size required. If you plug in to shore power, then a tower heater is a nice solution.

BTUs: Minimum for heating the van space is around 3,000 BTU, imho. We had a Olympia Wave 3 Catalytic in a non-Pop Top EB van which would just keep the temp inside pretty comfortable with outside temps around 30*F.

The Tent Heater you listed - Propane can have issues at elevation, as well as, in very cold temps. The regulators can freeze up. Something to research especially in Michigan.

Moisture: Any combustion/catalytic action using the in cabin air is going to release moisture if it is exhausting or converting inside. Best solutions are outside air and exhaust for combustion and a heat exchanger for heating and circulating the inside air.
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Old 09-28-2016, 06:48 PM   #3
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Depending on your 12V capacity, I used a 12V mattress warmer. Different than an electric blanket, in that it is designed to go underneath you, not on top of you.

https://www.amazon.com/Mattress-Elec.../dp/B001122SZQ


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Old 09-28-2016, 08:10 PM   #4
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Regarding the Espar furnaces -
Do we know what Roadtrek puts in their campervans? I think it is a Suburban brand but not certain. How do the 2 brands compare in noise?

Regarding my 12v capacity -
Here is the battery I have: Sears.com

As far as an electric heating solution is concerned, I'm fine with using it only when I have the ability to run an extension cord to an outlet. If I'm truly boondocking, I'll rough it or use my HeatMate 5200 (alcohol stove/heater).

This is the space heater I have - https://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-HZ-.../dp/B0006I9WHS. It is NOT quiet. How would the electric tower heaters compare? If it sounds like a hair dryer on low every 90 seconds, that is still too loud.
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Old 09-29-2016, 12:03 AM   #5
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I use the Vornado Vortex heater in my small travel trailer, in place of the propane one. Why? Because it's incredibly quiet. I'm a really light sleeper and this thing barely makes a sound. It has some great safety features, so I wouldn't hesitate to use it in any small space:

https://www.amazon.com/Vornado-Vorte.../dp/B000GLHVZA
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Old 09-29-2016, 02:18 AM   #6
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I had been using a Wave 3 with mixed success until I installed a Propex HS2211 6000 btu/hr beneath the floor along with a propane belly tank. Since this topic comes up fairly often, I will post photos and details when I get time. I got the unit from Rocky Mountain Westy and a few install parts from U.K. ebay sellers. They are popular in Europe and use many of the same flue and duct parts as Espars. You can hear the welcome warm whoosh when it comes on but I wouldn't call it noisy. I'll post a dB reading when I do a write up. We had no problems with altitude in the Rockies and I stopped for a bit at a 10,000' pass near Oury to test fire it. However if I was doing a lot of winter camping in single digits and below, I would look into the higher output Espar that 1der mentioned. I also like the sound of the Vornado when 120V is available.
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Old 09-29-2016, 10:30 AM   #7
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Oil filled radiant heaters are totally silent, if your looking for an option when plugged in. They come in varies shapes and sizes that could work in a van.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...T0SMVEK8QMXPTD
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...W5GCS58YSNWERC
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Old 09-29-2016, 01:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeleSteve View Post
Oil filled radiant heaters are totally silent, if your looking for an option when plugged in. They come in varies shapes and sizes that could work in a van.
I'm considering these. I find many RVers discussing them at other forums, most people with travel trailers or 5th wheels. My question is what do you do when you wake in the morning and need to drive the vehicle with a hot radiator inside that needs to be secured?

On the same theme, has anyone ever used one of these Mica convection heaters?:

https://www.amazon.com/NewAir-AH-470.../dp/B00NAA1XNK

https://www.amazon.com/DeLonghi-HMP1.../dp/B005MMN75G

Haverhill HHE1500M1 Portable Space Heater | Sylvane

They seem to check every box for me except that they are large (as in 27-33" wide and 20-24" tall). Two of the units above are wall-mountable. I would need to get creative on where to mount one due to their footprint.

Here is another example of a panel heater that I mentioned before:

envi

Bad thing about these is that they only go to 400-475 watts per panel. I would definitely need 2-3 and at $140/panel, that gets expensive.
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Old 09-29-2016, 03:54 PM   #9
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If you're always plugged into shore power why not just use one of those ceramic heaters similar to what Otter posted?
I've got a few of those and I can barely hear them.
Nobody makes a heater that is totally electric driven which pulls only a few amps @ 12vDC so don't expect to run an AC powered heater like these off your battery through an inverter. You need shore power or a generator.

The heat loss in my van is fairly large and it takes a bit to keep up. A little heater like the Envi would not put out enough heat to keep up in really cold weather, not to mention they're huge... I have 3 in my house. I use them to keep the room temps out of the freezing zone, not to warm the house. If you do decide to go with something like a 1500 watt AC ceramic heater, make sure the wall socket is a heavy duty 20A version connected with the correct size wire. It's still advisable to run them on a lower setting if left on for long periods of time. I've seen a lot of sockets burn up due to those little heaters. Also long extension cords or substandard shore power pedestals can pose a problem as well.
Good luck on your quest.
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Old 09-29-2016, 07:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb View Post
If you're always plugged into shore power why not just use one of those ceramic heaters similar to what Otter posted? I've got a few of those and I can barely hear them.
I actually just sent Otter an IM to see if he might be able to run a test for me using a sound meter app on a smartphone or tablet with his heater. My problem is that I have exceptionally good hearing so what most people would consider "quiet" is too loud for me. I'm trying to put a number value to some of these heaters so I can compare.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb View Post
Nobody makes a heater that is totally electric driven which pulls only a few amps @ 12vDC so don't expect to run an AC powered heater like these off your battery through an inverter. You need shore power or a generator.
I was planning to stay with shore power. If we get serious about boondocking during colder months then the wife is going to have to approve a more expensive RV heating solution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb View Post
The heat loss in my van is fairly large and it takes a bit to keep up. A little heater like the Envi would not put out enough heat to keep up in really cold weather, not to mention they're huge... I have 3 in my house. I use them to keep the room temps out of the freezing zone, not to warm the house. If you do decide to go with something like a 1500 watt AC ceramic heater, make sure the wall socket is a heavy duty 20A version connected with the correct size wire. It's still advisable to run them on a lower setting if left on for long periods of time. I've seen a lot of sockets burn up due to those little heaters. Also long extension cords or substandard shore power pedestals can pose a problem as well.
Good luck on your quest.
Agreed on the Envi type heaters; it was just a thought. When I have run my heater, I use a heavy duty extension cord rated for the amp draw with an inline breaker. It is about as safe as I can make it. Thanks for the feedback!
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