Your Wagonmaster heater may kill you - Page 5 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-02-2013, 09:59 PM   #57
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Tonight I took my furnace out of its storage spot and gave it a good inspection. It appears that the metal is all in good condition so there is no worry about that. Unfortunately mice decided it was a very good place to build a nest and they packed it full of pillow fibers and seeds. I ended up taking it apart, pulling out the stuffing, and spraying the thing down with disinfectant. I will put the furnace back together again tomorrow. These furnaces sure are simple. Its basically just a pressure valve, a pilot light, and a burner. There isn't much else in there.

One of the things of interest is the name plate on the furnace, which is still in good condition. Apparently these furnaces are rated at 6000BTU input and 4000BTU output. 4000BTU is plenty of heat for our little trailers. The 6000BTU input number has me curious. Would this suggest that these furnaces are 66% efficient? Compared with newer models, this efficiency is probably considered unacceptably low. Perhaps this is the reason we don't see new gravity feed furnaces? Thoughts?

Derek
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:54 PM   #58
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Apparently these furnaces are rated at 6000BTU input and 4000BTU output. 4000BTU is plenty of heat for our little trailers. The 6000BTU input number has me curious. Would this suggest that these furnaces are 66% efficient?
Yes, that's exactly what it means. The furnace burns propane fast enough to make 6000 BTU per hour of heat; only 66% of that makes it through the heat exchanger to become 4000 BTU per hour of interior heat, with the other 2000 BTU per hour lost as the hot exhaust.

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Compared with newer models, this efficiency is probably considered unacceptably low
Yes. For home use, even the "mid-efficiency" (85% or so) furnaces can no longer be purchased here, because they are not efficient enough. I don't know if there are any rules for RV furnace efficiency. In the size of one of our trailers, I don't think efficiency would be my biggest concern.

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Perhaps this is the reason we don't see new gravity feed furnaces?
Especially in a house, but even in an RV, both bulk and a lack of effective distribution of the heated air are also factors... but efficiency is most of it in a house.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:43 AM   #59
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Yes, that's exactly what it means. The furnace burns propane fast enough to make 6000 BTU per hour of heat; only 66% of that makes it through the heat exchanger to become 4000 BTU per hour of interior heat, with the other 2000 BTU per hour lost as the hot exhaust.


Yes. For home use, even the "mid-efficiency" (85% or so) furnaces can no longer be purchased here, because they are not efficient enough. I don't know if there are any rules for RV furnace efficiency. In the size of one of our trailers, I don't think efficiency would be my biggest concern.


Especially in a house, but even in an RV, both bulk and a lack of effective distribution of the heated air are also factors... but efficiency is most of it in a house.
I was playing around with a few different online BTU calculators last night. 4000 BTU should give you a 20C temperature increase inside the trailer. Beyond this you are probably pushing your luck. This means that camping below the freezing mark (0C) probably isn't going to push the furnace beyond its capacity to keep the trailer warm. These are mathematical theoreticals. Has anybody tried this in practise? What is the coldest temp where these furnaces remain practical?

Derek
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:10 AM   #60
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Although we don't winter camp, we've camped where the water has frozen outside overnight. I'd say single digits below, never tracked it though. Pretty much stayed at a comfortable temp inside (20 deg?) with the furnace set no higher than 3.

Did you factor in the mammilian heat produced in your calculations?
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:27 AM   #61
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Has anybody tried this in practise? What is the coldest temp where these furnaces remain practical?

Derek
We've regularly camped in -20C temps and felt it was reasonably warm in the trailer. That included using a PC fan to move the heated air from the furnace though.
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:49 AM   #62
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At -13C, I found it kinda cold in my 4500. Hopefully the fan helps.
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:27 PM   #63
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Although we don't winter camp, we've camped where the water has frozen outside overnight. I'd say single digits below, never tracked it though. Pretty much stayed at a comfortable temp inside (20 deg?) with the furnace set no higher than 3.

Did you factor in the mammilian heat produced in your calculations?
Roy, you camp with two large dogs. That's cheating.

The BTU calculators are imperfect at best. I tried 3 different ones. Using the same numbers, all 3 came up with different BTU requirements. None of the calculators requested a measurement for "mammalian surface area."

in my pet grooming truck, i have found the wind to be a significant factor. High winds can suck the heat out. Parking in the sun is hotter than parking in the shade.
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