Caravan heating options

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 25, 2021 at 22:35
ThreadID: 142448 Views:1254 Replies:10 FollowUps:9
Hi all,

my wife and I have the chance to slip away for a few days in our single axle van but as yet we don't have a heater set up in it.

I will not have time to install a gas or diesel heater so what would you suggest as an alternative?

What about those small free standing gas heaters like these?

https://www.outbackequipment.com.au/~144293
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 25, 2021 at 22:56

Wednesday, Aug 25, 2021 at 22:56
Effective but dangerous in a closed space. You might go to sleep and not wake up again.

Gas heaters produce carbon monoxide which is poisonous. If they are unventilated and unflued, such as the model you propose, the Carbon monoxide can build up in your closed environment. First you go to sleep and then as you continue breathing in your slumber it poisons you.

If you must do it, provide adequate ventilation - lots of it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Wooly - Wednesday, Aug 25, 2021 at 23:01

Wednesday, Aug 25, 2021 at 23:01
Thanks Frank,

I would be thinking to run it for 3 or 4 hours before retiring for the night and turn it off when going to bed.

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Follow Up By: tim_c - Wednesday, Sep 08, 2021 at 09:04

Wednesday, Sep 08, 2021 at 09:04
And CO is odourless, so you won't even know it's there.

To run any sort of combustion heater, unless externally flued, would require the space to be ventilated to the extent that you'd be replacing the air as fast as you could heat it (download the owner's manual for the portable gas heater and have a read through the ventilation requirements).

Heat some water on the stove and pour it into a couple of hot water bottles.
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Reply By: RMD - Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 00:05

Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 00:05
Wooly
As Frank has mentioned, the CO is the problem. Even if you use it in the van it is just plain dangerous anyway re, radiant heat and risk of fire. If you survive that, then the CO will still be present and build up and even if awake it will make you very unwell as it poisons your system. You may even fall asleep and it continues to gas you. Although heavier than air as such, the convection air currents will deliver the CO right to where you are. Not an option in a van.
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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 07:07

Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 07:07
If you intend to plug into power why not a small electric fan heater. We find it very effective in a van. We have a diesel heater when not on power.
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Follow Up By: tim_c - Wednesday, Sep 08, 2021 at 09:06

Wednesday, Sep 08, 2021 at 09:06
Agree - a $15 fan heater with ceramic element heats our pop-top caravan very effectively (if you have access to power!)
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Reply By: Member - Bigfish - Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 07:26

Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 07:26
12 volt electric blankets..
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Reply By: Erad - Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 08:11

Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 08:11
Carbon monoxide (C0) produced by burning LPG is heavier than air and it will build up at lower levels. It displaces oxygen in the air you breathe, and simply suffocates you. Nasty indeed. You say that you will run the heater for a few hours, then turn it off and go to bed. Bed is normally lower than your normal sitting head level, and you could well be laying down into a CO rich atmosphere. Un-flued heaters are banned in households because of the CO problems, even though the gas is different, but to use an un-flued heater in an enclosed space such as a tent or a caravan is deadly.
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Reply By: Member - Warren H - Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 10:47

Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 10:47
You could always buy an All-in-one diesel heater for $200-300 and then use the components for a permanent install later. John McK has some great YouTube videos on all aspects of diesel heaters,
see here.
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Follow Up By: Member - Kia1 - Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 12:52

Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 12:52
There are also portable diesel heaters
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Follow Up By: Genny - Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 17:16

Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 at 17:16
Of course, these too must be outside, with the heat ducted in, and the fumes away. CO isn't forgiving of mistakes.
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Reply By: Uncle Arthur - Friday, Aug 27, 2021 at 09:01

Friday, Aug 27, 2021 at 09:01
We use a very small in height oil column radiator heater on 240V. Very effective.
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Reply By: gke - Friday, Aug 27, 2021 at 14:25

Friday, Aug 27, 2021 at 14:25
My understanding is that CO is slightly lighter than air, not heavier as mentioned by a few people.
Important if you mount a CO detector.
Cheers, Graham.
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Reply By: Batt's - Friday, Aug 27, 2021 at 22:19

Friday, Aug 27, 2021 at 22:19
Sit around a camp fire then go to bed after you put it out. If it's too cold wear thermal clothing underneath.
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Saturday, Aug 28, 2021 at 22:06

Saturday, Aug 28, 2021 at 22:06
This is the easiest option. With flanno sheets, and a good doona, and a few beverages under your belt, it won’t matter how cold the inside of the van is.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Aug 28, 2021 at 22:45

Saturday, Aug 28, 2021 at 22:45
Yeah, but after a few bevvies it's &*^% cold when you have to crawl out in the wee hours for ... well they don't call them the wee hours for nothing. LOL
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Sunday, Aug 29, 2021 at 21:00

Sunday, Aug 29, 2021 at 21:00
Mate…..in case you haven’t got one, a hospital bottle ( with a lid ) is the go.
Sure you have to get out of bed, but not for long.
Gone are the days of getting out of bed, getting dressed, or even 1/2 dressed, and sneaking outside in the cold.
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Reply By: Member - Wooly - Sunday, Aug 29, 2021 at 19:50

Sunday, Aug 29, 2021 at 19:50
OK, I get the CO2 thing.

Better to be safe than sorry and survive the journey.

A couple of extra blankets and a bottle of Stones Green Ginger (or equivalent) have been added to the list.

Lucky for us the forecast is for chilly overnight but not extreme cold.

After a bit of research I think a Webasto diesel heater will be the go for us.

Hope to be ready for next trip

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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Aug 30, 2021 at 16:40

Monday, Aug 30, 2021 at 16:40
CO2 (carbon dioxide) is the greenhouse environmental thing.

It is CO (carbon monoxide) that kills you.
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