OK, I need a heater. But where to put it? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-23-2006, 11:49 PM   #1
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Name: John
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
Colorado
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I call my 16' Scamp "The Skimp," because it lacks most of the options. There's no furnace, but to make this new acquisition more enjoyable and help kick off the camping season early, I do need some kind of heater. (I'd have to drive several hundred miles to camp much below 4,000 feet above sea level.)

I don't want the cost or the DC power demands of the standard forced-air furnace. I've heard one of those roaring inside a pop-up, and it's no match for the sounds of the woods. That leads me to the Olympic Wave catalytic gas heaters. They're on off-season sale, so now's the time to pick one up. I'm unsure about the next step, though.

Having never used any cat heaters, I don't know where to install it. I've read that it works by radiant transmission, and it operates best within lines of sight. But does that mean that any part of the trailer not facing the front of the heater receives no benefit?

And how hot does the front of an Olympic Wave get? If it's a burn hazard, that dictates placement, too.

Trying to consider the possible locations, moving clockwise from the door, I see these:
1) The bulkhead beside the door, about elbow level, facing rearwards, where most of you have a closet and I have a countertop (This puts it out of the way, with little chance of accidental skin contact, but that side isn't plumbed for gas. And the direct rays won't reach the front bunks.)
2) Exterior wall, at either corner of the rear, between windows. (This would be ugly and awkward to hang... and a burn hazard? But it beams out to the whole trailer interior.)
3) Exterior wall, to left of the stove window. (This is easy to plumb, and near center of interior. Does that matter? But the most useful kitchen countertop would have to be cleared to use it.)
4) Exterior wall, opposite door, where many of you have a side bathroom (Easy to plumb, semi-out-of-the-way, but faces only the bunk and door.)
5) Hung over the front window, facing backwards (This gives good line of sight to the entire interior. It would require hooks in the ceiling and a long gas line, however, and I'd hate to lose the upper bunk as an indoor storage shelf for clothes, etc.)

I'd also consider a portable like the Coleman Black Cat. Cheaper to buy, but more expensive to burn those small cartridges. And it seems like a greater fire hazard, easy to tip over, etc. Where would you put it? In a metal trash can on the floor, facing up?

This is about as baffling as finding a location for a Prodigy under the dash of my Forester. I never found a really satisfactory answer for that one! All advice is welcomed...
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Old 01-24-2006, 01:18 AM   #2
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On my 91S13, I mounted my Empire ODS unvented LP heater (similiar to some of the Olympian non-cat heaters) right below my closet door. The radiant heat works line-of-site, but it is also moving air across the ceramic burner, so warm air circulates.

One of the Casita owners mounted their Olympian across the aisle on the INSIDE of on of the kitchen cabinet heaters. Just swing the door open to access and use.
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Old 01-24-2006, 01:47 AM   #3
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Name: John
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
Colorado
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On the inside of the cabinet door, Pete? I'd hate to see him shut the door and forget to turn off the gas.

Oh, and where should I hang the fire extinguisher, too?
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:37 AM   #4
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Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
Iowa
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John, I've had three Cat heaters in three trailers; all mounted in different locations. I'll just post photos so you can see where they've been mounted. Perhaps that will at least give you some ideas.

It's true that they do the most good with radiant heat, and it's also true that you really don't want anything cumbustible nearby them (at least a foot or so away minimum).

Good luck with this decision!

Roger


Here's my '87 Burro. The Cat was located under the closet door facing the aisle. It was a little too close to the dinette cushions for my taste, but to my surprise it was never a problem.
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:40 AM   #5
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Name: Roger
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Here's a Cat located in the galley of the '02 Love Bug II I had for a short time.
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:42 AM   #6
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Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
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And last, a Cat installation in my Airstream. The heater is under the gray cloth cover on the stove end of the kitchen counter. It was installed after-market by the previous owner.

Roger
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Old 01-24-2006, 09:57 AM   #7
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Depends on how much you'll use a heater. For us, the built-in heater is probably the least used amenity in our UHaul. It has a vented heater which we use almost exclusively for a 5 minute warmup on cold mountain mornings and just before bed time when we're boondocking (which is more than half the time). As noted, these heaters are effective and safe, but VERY noisy. When hooked up, we use a ceramic electric heater which can be placed wherever. Most of the time, we don't use a heater at all; we're fair-weather campers, and store our egg from November to April.

Personally, if we didn't have the OEM heater, I wouldn't bother installing one. I'd just get a small portable cat heater and prop it up wherever convenient - making sure there's adequate ventilation, of course. But then, as I said, we seldom use a heater anyway.
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Old 01-24-2006, 10:07 AM   #8
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Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
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A heater is my MOST used ammenity. I got the trailer to be comfortable and for year round use. Shivering in bed for that natural ambience isn't on the list of things to do, otherwise, I would have kept my tent and lots of money in my pocket

Mine is exactly like the one Roger shows in his first picture (Burro). It is on the side of the closet, facing the gaucho, so it is immediately to the left as you enter the door.

I do not notice any "Hot spots" with it that way and it seems to toast up the rig quickly enough.

Keep in mind that mine is a fully insulated 13 tho. Yours may need a bit more oomph.
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