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Old 03-15-2016, 05:11 PM   #1
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Default Class B Heater BTU's and experiences

Am looking for the heater/furnace to use in our Sprinter conversion. Please advise:
- how many BTU's your class B furnace provides;
- hydronic, forced air, or electric portable heat
- how challenging is your winter environment - although we live in NM, we anticipate being in WY for some Christmas seasons
- your overall satisfaction

Thank you in advance,
tex4judy
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Old 03-15-2016, 06:58 PM   #2
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We have the Espar D-5 based MCS-5 system from Rixen's. It is hard to imagine a better setup. The D5 is diesel-fired, and heats a glycol loop, supplemented by an electric glycol heater for when you have shore power. This loop is fed through a glycol-to-air heat exchanger for air heating and a flat-plate water-to-water heat exchanger for instant on-demand domestic hot water. The Espar puts out up to 17,100 BTU/H. It all works perfectly.

The Rixen's system is a bit pricy, but it is turnkey and includes a proprietary control system. You could save money with a DIY setup, purchasing components yourself. Just make sure you follow the Espar installation instructions EXACTLY--especially as it relates to the fuel feed.

Our system has always been more than adequate for any conditions. We have done medium-serious winter camping.
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Old 03-15-2016, 07:46 PM   #3
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The two class "B"s I'm looking at, either a Travato 59G or a custom Transit upfit, will both have Truma Combi Comfort Plus models in place. This is a furnace that uses propane, electric or both. It also functions as a water heater with the same fuels. Since either rig I'm looking at will be a gasser, this is useful for me, as if I run out of LP gas, I can fire up the generator and even though it isn't as efficient, still have heat that way.

The Truma is a nice system. Just the space saved from having to deal with a 4-6 gallon water heater and a separate furnace sells it to me. The ducting that it offers is also nice.
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:00 PM   #4
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You might as well consider the diesel fueled Webasto also. Are you looking at the options for a combined heat and hot water unit? There is also a Webasto diesel cooktop if you want to go with no propane.
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Old 03-15-2016, 09:57 PM   #5
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I'd say the Espar is probably the most convenient solution for your application. The Truma is an excellent system as well, but requires you to carry propane (which you haven't said if you are planning that).
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Old 03-17-2016, 03:29 PM   #6
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@OP.
We like our Espar D2 but with all your windows you may want a larger model.


Hydronic systems are nice. Heating air directly is faster if you are trying to warm up a cold interior.
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Old 03-17-2016, 03:58 PM   #7
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Hydronic systems are nice. Heating air directly is faster if you are trying to warm up a cold interior.
Agree. But, it is worth making a distinction between true radiant hydronic systems (i.e., with hot coolant circulating under the floor) and hybrid systems in which the heater warms coolant which is then used in a forced-air heat exchanger. The former is really nice in a location that is kept warm all the time, but can take a long time to change the temperature. The coolant/heat-exchanger approach is kind of a compromise in this regard. Not as fast as directly-heated forced air, but still pretty fast. Our D5 system takes maybe three minutes or so to start blowing hot air, but is nice and even after that.
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Old 03-17-2016, 04:45 PM   #8
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I have the Espar airtronic in my promaster conversion and it is plenty for us. We've camped in CO & Nevada in the winter. We don't leave it on all night, just turn it on in the morning & it warms up the interior fairly quickly.
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:05 AM   #9
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Best of both worlds. The Espar diesel-fired glycol to air heat exchanger ducted along with electric radiant floor heat. Comfort to below zero.
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Old 03-18-2016, 02:19 PM   #10
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This forum is a great help to us. We do not intend to install propane or a generator. (Cooking with a Tramontina induction cooking system.)

Rixen's is a problem solving outfit, am liking the 3 function hydronic system - engine pre-heat, hot water, and cabin heat; and we have ordered the D-5 based Espar system. And my wife is smiling with the endorsement for radiant floor heat - had thought to do that and will go ahead with that.
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Old 03-18-2016, 07:46 PM   #11
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The Tramontina is 1800 watts and I'm not sure if it cycles on/off at lower temperature settings. That is something that I am curious about. Do induction plates cycle like a microwave at lower settings?

There are some other induction plates that are smaller and less wattage. I recently saw a cheap 800 watt at CW.
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Old 03-19-2016, 04:12 AM   #12
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Keep in mind an electric radiant floor heating system requires a rather large 800ah or more lithium ion battery system or plugged into shore power. It is a comfort provider. I am not sure yet how it contributes to heat. Ours has 10 settings but I am yet to determine if it is based on room temperature or just electrical output. Setting 1 seems just as effective as 10 to me in how it feels under foot after it has been on for a while. I have no way to tell if it cycles on and off. Thus it is kind of a morning comfort use. It is nice to get up to a warm floor.

An closed vented to the inside compressor type refrigerator I estimate contributes about 6 degrees warming in cold weather but then there is a point where it hardly runs when below freezing.

When on our induction cooktop is on it draws about 80 amps but it cooks almost anything in a manner of minutes. Listening to it it seems to cycle. We cook meals with little overall hit on our battery. Same with microwave use and brewing Keurig coffee. We are 120vac all the time with our 800ah li-ion battery pack.
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Old 03-20-2016, 02:11 AM   #13
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We have a 16,000 BTU LP gas furnace with automatic ignition built-in. We only use the furnace to knock the initial chill off or when it is frigid outside. We use a 1250W electric space heater most of the time.
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Old 03-20-2016, 03:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
We have the Espar D-5 based MCS-5 system from Rixen's. It is hard to imagine a better setup. The D5 is diesel-fired, and heats a glycol loop, supplemented by an electric glycol heater for when you have shore power. This loop is fed through a glycol-to-air heat exchanger for air heating and a flat-plate water-to-water heat exchanger for instant on-demand domestic hot water. The Espar puts out up to 17,100 BTU/H. It all works perfectly.

The Rixen's system is a bit pricy, but it is turnkey and includes a proprietary control system. You could save money with a DIY setup, purchasing components yourself. Just make sure you follow the Espar installation instructions EXACTLY--especially as it relates to the fuel feed.

Our system has always been more than adequate for any conditions. We have done medium-serious winter camping.

Went on a sea trial recently on a 36 ft boat with two Volvo diesel stern drives and an Espar diesel-fired heater. I agree it is the preferred way to go and was told it sips very little fuel while being very powerful.
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Old 03-20-2016, 05:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd View Post
Keep in mind an electric radiant floor heating system requires a rather large 800ah or more lithium ion battery system or plugged into shore power.

Our thin film electric floor heat has two zones: 150watts in the front living area and 80 watts in back along the galley. With both zones running on the inverter, the draw is right around 25A DC and keeps the floor right toasty.


I dig Rixen's quality hydronic setup. We don't keep our van warm all the time and find that forced air heats up the interior really fast. When it's below freezing, the D2 can keep us warm running on it's low setting . The thermostat is located so we can bump it up or down from bed. We give it a couple taps before we get up. We have two ducts and the one in the bathroom makes the morning ritual especially comfy. The other blows warm on the legs of whoever is making the coffee.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:08 AM   #16
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Default furnace info 2001 coach 192tb

Getting ready for 1st trip.
Checking out my furnace and why it would not light, I found the thermostat had a switch at the bottom for Centigrade C. I moved the switch and opened the contact. I heard this roar and scrambled out the back door to see, and yes it lit.
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