Off the grid heating

brookes2622

Active Member
Jun 24, 2012
383
38
28
Bywong NSW
We just returned from Bundanoon and it was quite chilly so I was wondering what people are doing to heat their vans when off the grid? We have a little ceramic blow heater with thermostat and overheat cutout that works pretty well when on-grid. A bloke at work is just off to Tassie for 8 weeks and not amount of convincing would change his mind about using a cylinder top gas heater but I had no other options other then the diesel unit which are quite expensive.
 

brookes2622

Active Member
Jun 24, 2012
383
38
28
Bywong NSW
hi brookes, check this tread out, I don't think there is any real cheap option!

Cheers.

http://www.expandasdownunder.com/showthread.php/1012-Expanda-Heating

Thanks Burnsy, I did read some of that one and it does tend to focus on access to 240v. I like the gas option but the cheapest I've seen is $1500 which is a lot of blankets. I have seen some 12v heaters:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Ceramic-...=AU_Car_Parts_Accessories&hash=item19d2d04c40

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Ceramic-...=AU_Car_Parts_Accessories&hash=item1c29de8aeb

and wondering if people are using these and what the implications are?

Just searching and I'm going to try one of these:

http://www.roadtrucker.com/power-hunt-power-plus/12-volt-high-performance-480-watt-heater.htm
 

leesy

Active Member
Jul 26, 2012
471
36
28
Lysterfield
We just returned from Bundanoon and it was quite chilly so I was wondering what people are doing to heat their vans when off the grid? We have a little ceramic blow heater with thermostat and overheat cutout that works pretty well when on-grid. A bloke at work is just off to Tassie for 8 weeks and not amount of convincing would change his mind about using a cylinder top gas heater but I had no other options other then the diesel unit which are quite expensive.

We recently purchased a Companion butane gas heater, it runs on the same gas canisters as the common lock and load gas cookers, we bought it from RV world in Ferntree Gully Melbourne, they also sell them on E Bay, we took it up the Oodnadatta track and up into the NT last month. Whilst it is not going to heat up like a blow heater when on power but it was surprising how well it took the chill off, enough to make it comfortable. it ran on a single canister for about 3 hours so pretty cheap too!!
Cheers
 

bigman0510

Well-Known Member
Apr 9, 2011
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Moranbah, Queensland, Australia
moranbahweather.com

Burnsy

Well-Known Member
Mar 26, 2012
2,663
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Newcastle
Hmmm, food for thought bigman, thanks for bringing this to our attention. Maybe extra bedding and thermals for us when off grid!

Cheers.
 

Feldty

Member
May 31, 2012
129
7
18
Wangaratta, Vic
Hi Guys,
I bought a carbon monoxide alarm from RACV. I place this low to the floor in the caravan, and it should alert us if there are any issues. We do not use gas heaters inside the caravan (sometimes in the annex though with ventilation) but do often use the stove for hours cooking stews etc. So thought as a safety precaution we would fit an alarm just in case. $40.00 I think so not a bad investment really. They are portable with a little stand, so if you end up cooking in the annex etc, you can simply move the alarm to the room with more risk!
(I have just been informed that Carbon Monoxide is Lighter than Air, therefore should have been placing the alarm higher in the space... Please disregard my placement above. My mistake.)
 

relgate

Superstar
Staff member
Feb 2, 2012
2,946
1,902
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Sydney, NSW
Hi Guys,
I bought a carbon monoxide alarm from RACV. I place this low to the floor in the caravan, and it should alert us if there are any issues. We do not use gas heaters inside the caravan (sometimes in the annex though with ventilation) but do often use the stove for hours cooking stews etc. So thought as a safety precaution we would fit an alarm just in case. $40.00 I think so not a bad investment really. They are portable with a little stand, so if you end up cooking in the annex etc, you can simply move the alarm to the room with more risk!

That is a very good idea. Cheap as chips when your talking about your families lives. Just one thing, I thought I read that carbon monoxide is lighter that air/oxygen. Is the best place for the monitor up high or down low? Any chemists out there? Do the instructions of your monitor recommend it to be on the floor?
 

Feldty

Member
May 31, 2012
129
7
18
Wangaratta, Vic
Hi Relgate,

Just did a google and you are correct. I will now be placing it on top of the fridge. Nice pick up. It is LP gas that is heavier not Carbon Monoxide..... I will edit my earlier post to explain this rather than someone reading it and making the same mistake as me.

Kev.
 

bigman0510

Well-Known Member
Apr 9, 2011
1,754
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Moranbah, Queensland, Australia
moranbahweather.com
as long as everything is working correctly... safe. Burnt gas gets flued outside and there are 2 dirty great big air vents on the outside. That said, probably always good to get it checked periodically.

ALSO:
have you noticed that the lowest point of your caravan has a vent? (door) thats so if there is some sort of leak it will vent at the lowest point. Not a good idea to block this up when its cold either.

wow, working in the mines for years has affected me! All Safety and all!
 

leesy

Active Member
Jul 26, 2012
471
36
28
Lysterfield
Guys/Gals.... PLEASE read these links before deciding on what heaters to use, I know of a few people that have lost their lives through either leaking gas or fumes from butane heaters overnight.

http://www.campertrailers.org/heater_dangers.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/07/2946604.htm?site=shepparton

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/gas-leak-blamed-for-tas-caravan-deaths-20120318-1vd1v.html

thanks!

Good point, Although we were happy and felt safe with the butane heater NEVER, EVER would i consider running it whist sleeping at night or even a quick arvo nap!! not worth the risk!!
 

zerosecta

Active Member
Sep 27, 2011
459
71
28
Melbourne
Having had one in our Swan - I can tell you from experience (for us) there is nothing that comes close in function or safety etc. to the E2400 Ducted gas option - Same as Diesel one just uses gas instead.

Yes they are pricey but worth every cent... as soon as we can afford it we'll be putting one in our expanda - Probably mid this coming summer, they tend to be 100 or 200 cheaper around then.
 

straydingo

Well-Known Member
Jul 4, 2011
1,134
644
113
Melbourne
have you noticed that the lowest point of your caravan has a vent? (door) thats so if there is some sort of leak it will vent at the lowest point. Not a good idea to block this up when its cold either.

And at the top in the pop up material, with notes that they are for safe ventilation of gases.

When I was at my 4x4 mechanics the other week, the Primus rep came in at the same time. I liked the Mr Heater Portable Buddy
http://www.primusaustralia.com.au/index.php?p=line&sid=1306130608 but it does mean having to carry more gas, and Butane I believe is no safer than LPG when burnt.....
 

leesy

Active Member
Jul 26, 2012
471
36
28
Lysterfield

Jennymay

Active Member
Oct 28, 2011
316
135
43
Perth WA
Has any one used the 12 volt ceramic heaters? There seems to be a few different types available online. They would be ok if they take the chill out of the air..
Cheers Jenny:hand:
 

Feldty

Member
May 31, 2012
129
7
18
Wangaratta, Vic
Hi Jenny,

Not that I have used one, but trouble I can see with 12v heaters is power usage.
(please anyone correct me if I am wrong)
Say a 150 watt heater is the unit you are considering which is not very much heat and I doubt it would make a lot of difference to the temp in your van.
Using the calculation below
- power (watts) = volts x amps
- amps = 150 (watts) / 12 (volts)
- 12.5 amp battery draw.

If you have a 100 amp battery in the van, then you should not take it below 30% capacity ( you may even do damage to the battery at that), which gives you 70amp usable current.
That means you could only run the heater for a little more than 5 hrs before your battery would need re-charging.

Hope I have helped not hindered.

Kev
 

Jennymay

Active Member
Oct 28, 2011
316
135
43
Perth WA
Thanks Kev. I thought as much. We have a generator so if we needed we could run that for an hour or so and use aircon. We have put carpet mats on floor and Have hot water bottles. We are thinking of ducted or gas heating but that would be a little further down the road due to its cost.
Jenny:rofl:
 

macca

(aka maccayak)
Mar 20, 2012
1,660
832
113
Victoria
Just one other gas safety tip, do not try and save money by getting you gas bottles filled with auto gas. It is different. I could get all technical, but JUST DON'T.
 

straydingo

Well-Known Member
Jul 4, 2011
1,134
644
113
Melbourne
No, please get all technical (warning - thread hijack). I've heard that a few times but never been told how they differ