Propane Fireplace - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-20-2006, 09:31 AM   #1
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I found a small propane fireplace in a used boat equipment shop in Port Townsend, WA recently. It was a model P9000 made by Dickinson in British Columbia, Canada.

The idea seemed intriguing to me. Uses inside air for combustion. Exhausts outside. Propane fuel. 6000 to 9000 BTU. Can see fire. Would eat condensation. Provide heat. Cozy to look at. All these virtues, I'm almost ready to lighten my pocket, no not for that used one, I would buy new.

Has there been any posts on this type of installation? Or does anyone have an experience with this kind of heater, good or bad, in a small camper or boat. Or does any have an opinion that would counter all the wonderful virtues that are floating around my head?
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:08 AM   #2
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Quote:
I found a small propane fireplace in a used boat equipment shop in Port Townsend, WA recently. It was a model P9000 made by Dickinson in British Columbia, Canada.

The idea seemed intriguing to me. [b]Uses inside air for combustion. Exhausts outside. Propane fuel. 6000 to 9000 BTU. Can see fire. Would eat condensation. Provide heat. Cozy to look at. All these virtues, I'm almost ready to lighten my pocket, no not for that used one, I would buy new.

Has there been any posts on this type of installation? Or does anyone have an experience with this kind of heater, good or bad, in a small camper or boat. Or does any have an opinion that would counter all the wonderful virtues that are floating around my head?
I think we had a pre-hack discussion about heaters using outside air for combustion being safer, from a person's breathing ability point of view.

We also had a discussion on how neat this type of installation would be, sparked by a Fiber Stream owner naming his trailer: "Wee Inglenook" and the architectural definition of what an inglenook is.

Consensus was divided on the issue.
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:14 AM   #3
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Inside air for combustion is okay ONLY IF there's plenty of outside air coming in at the same time. Open a window or vent, and you can enjoy the flickering flames - but without adequate ventilation, you may instead encounter the flickering flames of eternity (or the harps of heaven)!
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:32 AM   #4
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Using inside air for combustion doesn't deplete the air, just the oxygen.

If you can wean yourself from oxygen, you'll be alright closed up tight. Otherwise

I'm not sure, but I think an open flame will increase the condensation.
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:35 AM   #5
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If you’re thinking about an alternative heat source you may want to also check with Issac M. Or maybe he’ll pop in and reply!? He’s putting a coal burning stove in his 5th wheel. We saw the partial installation at the Oregon Gathering last year. Evidently he and the family are quite the winter outdoor enthusiasts and think having a coal burning stove will be quite the ticket for keeping them (and the Scamp) warm and toasty during those long winter snow skiing adventures. I BELIEVE the stove is one built for boats, so all the same safety measures apply.
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:36 AM   #6
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Loren,
In addition to the comments by others, it would be prudent to check the manufacturer's specifications regarding clearances to combustible surfaces for all 6 sides and the venting. Total weight of all components and necessary routing of exhaust venting are also considerations. If you can contact the manufacturer directly, ask whether it's been tested in either a fiberglass boat or travel trailer & does it meet RV industry standards. If all the conditions can be met, it sounds very interesting.
My questions come from my background servicing furnaces, evaporative coolers, cleaning chimneys and installing and repairing wood burning stoves for 25 years.
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:01 AM   #7
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Your concerns are completely valid. If I were to do this, I would need to do some testing. Perhaps would need to borrow a canary -- just kidding. Maybe a mechanical one. If a vacuum were allowed to develop inside the closed up trailer the effect would be the same as burning a stove-top burner, or using a catalytic heater for heat.

These units are designed to be used on 30 - 32 ft. sailboats. I would think the application would be very similar to a fiberglass RV, with the exception of an effective 60+ MPH wind speed sustained on a consistent basis. However I would not knowingly travel with the fireplace burning (unless I was undergoing a period of temporary insanity).

I also remembered some discussion in the past that touched on this idea, but didn't archive it on my computer.

Anyway, I am encouraging any and all sanity checks.
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Old 01-20-2006, 12:20 PM   #8
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here is a picture of a marine (boat) stove in an airstream.
found at: http://www.marinestove.com/airstream.htm
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Old 01-20-2006, 03:05 PM   #9
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About the little propane boat heater/stove...I'm so intrigeed. I'm sure it wouldn't even be safe in my little 13 ft Perris Pacer, but I live in Oregon and have been camping when it has rained every day. What interests me is being able to set it up outside under a canopy or such. I go to the Oregon Gatherings, and the Northern Oregon,(Columbia River Gathering), and at such times would never use it, however, at least twice a year I'm at Detroit Lake for a week, alone with my dog Sam...and this would just be perfect. I love that Oregon State Park, and there is so much activity available, or like me, walk my dog and watch all the boaters and fishermen.
Could someone let me know of a location to find it, and perhaps a guess of cost.

Thanks, Chari.
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Old 01-20-2006, 05:26 PM   #10
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I'm a little confused: is the specific unit considered by Loren the Newport Propane Fireplace (P9000) from Dickinson Marine? That one is a fully direct vented unit - intake from the outside and exhaust to the outside, just like the Suburban furnace in my Boler; however, this discussion described use of inside air for combustion.

Regardless of whether the air supply comes from inside or outside, as long as the combustion is sealed from the trailer interior (not an open flame) and the exhaust is outside, I don't see how there could be any condensation concern.

In the end, this seems like my furnace, but much bigger, and without an effective fan for heated air circulation. On the plus side, it would have a visible flame (for those who like that), little fan noise, and apparently the option of unpowered operation (like the radiant and "gravity" heaters found in some trailers) with external venting.

I have no experience with heaters that vent without either a fan or a tall stack, except for the water heater in my Boler, which has zero-length intake and exhaust runs because the burner is right against the vent/door. Can anyone who knows about this type of hardware tell me if I should assume that the 28" or more of duct on this fireplace must run largely vertically to establish a draft, and that the only fan is the optional one on the inside for heat distribution?
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:12 PM   #11
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The flame of a propane or gas fireplace loses it's charm after you use one for a couple times.

I had to convert my wood burning fireplace to gas for health reasons, and even tho I have one of the nicest and most expensive heating logs sets made, (You would never know it was cement logs when sitting even a few feet from it) it is just not the same. I sure wish I could go back.

For heating in the house, it works OK for the one room it's in, but it has to get the logs almost red hot, and it takes sometime to get that way. It also costs a fortune to use. I would recon it would be like turning your stove burner on and letting it go. Your tank would empty pretty quickly.

I use it for ambiance on occasion, but never like I did my wood version.

The upside tho...For heating, It would probably cook you out of your egg tho. Go stand right next to a gas fire and see how hot it gets in a limited space. In an egg.. watch out!

That might be a nice item to put in the useless back bench of the Burro... hmmmnnn...something to think about.
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Old 01-21-2006, 09:23 PM   #12
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Brian, I was incorrect about using inside air to support combustion. I assumed that after looking at the unit in the used shop. According to the manufacturer's web site the stove exhausts through the small inner pipe and draws intake through the space between that pipe and the outer concentric pipe. So, you are correct about efficiency and operation being similar to the standard RV propane space heater.

Gina, it is likely that the initial attraction with the visible propane flame would short lived. But more important was your comment about the heat output driving one out. A standard electric heater develops 1500 watts on high. (This limitation is based on the common wall receptacle rating.) The ones that have a low setting usually put out about 750 watts. The high setting equivalent is about 5100 BTUs. The fireplace output ranges between 6000 and 9000 BTUs, so it is probably too large for a 16ft. Scamp to be used to take the chill off at night.

I don't think the fuel usage would be a problem, as it is rated at 7 hrs for 1 lb of fuel on low and 5 hrs on high. I have two 20 lb tanks on the tongue, so that would not deplete them quickly, unless there is an error in the consumption rate.

At any rate, no one questioned my sanity. That's comforting. But I need to do some more investigating before jumping into this one.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 01-21-2006, 09:34 PM   #13
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This might or might not be a consideration. If you have it on at night the flickering light could keep one awake.
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Old 01-21-2006, 09:42 PM   #14
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I've seen one just like it installed in a Bigfeets in BC -- Looked nice and worked well -- Essentially like a conventional RV furnace except I believe it uses less 12VDC for the fan.

Here's the Newport Dickinson; also comes in solid fuel or diesel model.

Here's one by another manf without the window.
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