Caravan Heating, Off Road

Submitted: Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 08:54
ThreadID: 120522 Views:21256 Replies:15 FollowUps:0
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I have been considering for some time how I may heat our new van - a Trakmaster yet to be built, (when away from mains power in these cool southern areas - when on mains usually use a1/2kW fan heater in our current van) and wanting to have a decision made before the final instructions are given to the manufacturer (in a few weeks).

So far my ideas are revolving around the following configuration, hydronic; using gas/electric or diesel water heater, solar brushless pump, and a kick space fan convector.
I have looked at the Webasto with their diesel powered 5 kW - Thermo top C heater (includes water pump), 20ltr Clarifier, and their fan convector.
Alternatively; Suburban or Atwood LPG/Electric 23lt (3.5kW/1.4kW) water heater, EI-SID pump 10W (see, and a Myson Kick space fan convector (see 600H 2.3/1.55kW O/P. Suitably plumbed and controlled.

With the Webasto set up I am a little concerned with the noise that the burner might make judging from the comments of their air heater from this forum, (the Thermo top C heater and the air heater appear to have a similar O/P) also the additional space for the burner and the cost, approx $3,000 all up. The alternative system may be less than $2,000 the O/P is less but well with in the requirement as the 2kW electric fan heater we normally use has always had sufficient O/P for our current van.

I look forward to your thoughts/alternatives or comments,

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Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:04

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:04
We have just fitted the Webasto heater to Dads van and it works a treat. Very little fuel useage, and very little noise output. If your having one built into your van you can ask for even more noise protection as in insulation around the fuel pump (TICK TICK TICK TICK) but i dont think a second muffler would be nessesary. I had my camper trailer (canvas) right near his van on the last trip and didnt hear a thing, mabe that was the stubbies though???
AnswerID: 561953

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:05

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:05
David you can use the locally available gas. The units from Coleman Australia have been fully approved by the Australian gas authorities and have all the proper and correct approvals. At the caravan show the Coleman representitive had the adaptors availble to go from the US fitting to the Australian fitting. It is a great heater and highly recommend it. I was thinking of buying a Webasto when I saw them at last years show. Now we have the Coleman I will stick with it as it is whisper quiet. I realise a diesel heater would be cheaper to run, but you can buy an enourmous amount of gas for the price and fitting cost of a Webasto.
AnswerID: 561954

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:06

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:06
I have just come off the phone from Coleman Australia, and they will not have the catalyc heaters in Australia till July.
AnswerID: 561955

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:07

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:07
OscarVII, I too spoke with Coleman today who told me that nothing has been approved yet. Thanks for the recommendation, I will simply import one on my own. David
AnswerID: 561956

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:08

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:08
I did not know how these catayltic heaters worked, so went looking. Found this document on the Colemen website how catayltic work.
AnswerID: 561957

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:09

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:09
David whoever you spoke to at Coleman is wrong. I spoke to the Coleman Manager at the show and he had all the approval numbers from ALGA (I think that is the gas association approval people) and he said the delay in bringing them in was due to the slow pedantic approval for things they wanted changed that were approved in the rest of the world. What impressed me about the Coleman manager, he was smart enough to realise Australian people were not going to pay for the small NON-refillable (in Australia) bottles of gas, and was quick to point out and show the brass adaptors they had made and were available for sale to fit Australian gas hoses/bottles.
AnswerID: 561958

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:10

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:10
The standard AG103 below relates to indoor space heaters. I think the imported heaters might have trouble passing it .... maybe not ? Check the standards label on the box ..... The important bit is that most cooker burners cant meet 15ng/J and the standard requires indoor space heaters to be under 5ng/J to stay under the indoor air quality of .3 parts per million. You pays ya money ya take ya chances I suppose !!!! Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker The Australian Gas Association (AGA) 100 series standards relate to domestic gas appliances. Emissions limits are specified for cookers and space heaters in terms of nanograms of nitrogen dioxide per joule of heat input - ng(NO2)/J. The units specifically refer to emissions of NO2, rather than NOx, or NOx calculated as NO2 (for emissions containing 50% NO and NO2 by volume, 1 ng(NOx as NO2) corresponds to 0.5 ng(NO2); for 90% NO and 10% NO2 by volume, 1 ng(NOx as NO2) = 0.1 ng(NO2)). Henceforth in this report where ²NOx² is used in units it is short for ²NOx as NO2². The heat content is based on the specific energy of the gas burnt (at appliance efficiencies closeto 100%, a concentration of 1 ng/J(input) will be close to but larger than 1 ng/J(output)). AG101 (1998) requires that ²the amount of nitrogen dioxide produced by any cooker shall not exceed 15 ng/J when tested at the highest setting². Most gas cookers do not meet the standard of 15 ng/J AG102 (1998), for water heaters, contains a limit for carbon moNOxide, but not for NOx. AG103 (1998), for space heaters, specifies an emission limit for NO2 of 5 ng/J. The domestic flueless space heater standard for nitrogen dioxide has been reduced from 15 ng/J in 1987 to 10 ng/J in 1990, to 5 ng/J in 1991, with the standards applying to heaters sold from those dates (Saxby, 1998). The gas industry has adopted an unofficial guideline for indoor air quality of 0.3 ppm, which it expects to be met by indoor appliances emitting 5 ng/J.
AnswerID: 561959

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:11

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:11
Anthony, As usual you have all the facts but I am afraid that all the NOx and NO2 with the ng(NO)/J is a bit hard for me to digest. I will stick with the Webesto that has NO emission of Nox or No2 or anything else, just warmth. Brian
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AnswerID: 561960

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:12

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:12
I agree Brian any flued type (Webasto) or element (our air-cons) are zero emission and warm as toast ! There might be minute amounts of oxygen burnt if the element glows red in the air-con heater !! [smile] The important thing to grasp from above standards is that space heaters would have a hard time meeting the standards especially as they have reduced the allowable Nitrogen Dioxide emissions markedly ..... by 33% in 1990 and another 50% in 1991. The other important thing is that most gas ring cookers cant meet the 87' standard of 15, let alone the 5 of 91'. This is why you DONT use a stove top to heat a room !!!!! Or a space heater that cant meet the emission standard. You might as well lift the lid on the stove top and light a burner or two the 70 bucks ? A Webasto is about the same price as a middle of the road coffin !!! [GrimReaperGrin] Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 561961

Reply By: gottabjoaken - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:13

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:13
Anthony, plaudits to your ability to come up with the figures and details as usual. You have got far too much time on your hands..... One comment that I think deserves a mention under this heading, re-inforced by your figures is: Even in the cold depths of winter, do not cook using the gas stove without having adequate ventilation. - the roof hatch open at a minimum. happy camping Ken
AnswerID: 561962

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:14

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:14
G'day Ken, Too much time on my hands ??? Dont you go near my wife ...that would be two people saying it then !!!! [smile] Maybe I'm just busy allocating time parcels huh !!!!! [Grin] When I use the stove top or oven in winter (windows closed) I open the 4 seasons hatch as you do (two sides only) .... You actually get a great convective current coming in from the door vent and then out the hatch. Next time you have stove top alight and hatch open place hand at door vent to feel it !! As a side note ..... Here's my day today .... Wake ... watch/help boss get two girls ready for school after feeding and usual stuff teeth etc. Warm up car for Boss Lady discover slow leak in front left hand tyre ...add some air to get her to work til I can fix it. Boss and kids gone at 7.55am. I run round like a madman and grab earmuffs, hat, gloves, boots etc. Leave at 8.35am in F250 to a property in Woodford (100k's away) arrive at approx 9.45am. By 10am I've warmed up John Deere 4x4 Tractor mower ... Spend next three hours mowing 6 acres with rest stop for a quick apple and a pee. Leave property at 1.20pm. Fly back to School by 2.30 pick up kids ... discover Excursion bus is late ...wait til 3.20pm to get second kid. Meet Boss in street at school at 3.05pm ...she drops off folder for Amy I forgot in morning. A quick chat for 5 mins ..Boss drives off back to work. I leave school with both kids and drive to next school 4 suburbs away where Amy does after school Italian lessons. There by 3.45pm. Drop her off and drive back home... by 4.10. Start flushing BT tanks from Easter as we are heading out again Friday in it for long weekend. While tanks are emptying ... run vacuum over BT floor ... tidy cargo bay ... and re-fill all 4 tanks. Woops !! 5.15pm now ...jump in F250 drive 4 suburbs away to pick Amy from Italian. Arrive home 6.20 ..traffic was bad.... start cooking dinner !!! Boss arrives 6.35pm from work ... why is dinner not ready've got plenty of time on your hands !!! [smile] Tomorrow I'm sleeping in all day !!! ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz !!!!!! Tyre still has slow leak !!! [smile] Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 561963

Reply By: gottabjoaken - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:15

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:15
Good one Anthony. The king of thread hijackers And while you were in the van, did you wipe out the fridge, and vacuum those crumbs from behind the seat cushions. And I hope you pulled the grass seeds from your socks before you went indoors. And .... regards Ken
AnswerID: 561964

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:16

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:16
Yep, some people just seem to lose the plot and forget that it's only a bloody caravan afterall.
AnswerID: 561965

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:17

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:17
Wipe out the fridge !! Nope ! Crumbs under cushions ? Never looked ! I only vacuumed because we were parked in a freshly mown paddock for a week ... either vacuum or get a few goats in ....[smile] I did wax the fridge, polish the door knobs, oil the hinges, wax the fire extinguisher, brasso the dunny seat though .... [smile] Bushtracker 18 hijack a thread ????????? Never ! I took it just right of centre for a second or two ......and it bounced right back ! [LiberalSmirk] Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 561966

Reply By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:18

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:18
Gee Anthony, you have just confirmed what I have always suspected in relation to the amount of "vanwork" Ivan will have to do in future to keep our new home looking spotless when we get it. He will never get time to go running over the hills and dales now. And they wonder why I want a shower curtain to try and cut down his workload. Angie
AnswerID: 561967

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