Heating my Trailer! (Minit) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-25-2006, 03:10 PM   #1
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Trailer: Minit 13 ft
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Hi.

I'm new to the forum.

I just bought a 1972 Minit (it's very similar to a Scamp or Burro or Uhaul.)

My wife and I plan to use it to camp during the ski season. We won't have shore power, so power's a concern. It has an old Wenzel Catalytic heater. I'm considering using a catalytic heater, but I'm concerned about moisture buildup.

How do you heat your trailer?

Should I use a ceramic space heater? How much power do they draw?

Should I use a furnace so I can still use propane to heat? How much power do they draw?

How bad is the condensation caused by a catalytic heater? Could it be alleviated with a ventilation fan?

Am I the only person camping in one of these things in the winter?

Any help you can provide would be great.

You can see a picture of my new trailer at http://barkernews.blogspot.com.
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Old 09-25-2006, 03:38 PM   #2
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Brian..
Does your trailer have a propane furnace? i would suggest using that... along with your cook stove. just be sure to leave a window cracked when running propane. If you have no shore power you cant use a ceramic heater. I dont know anything about those catalytic heaters
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Old 09-25-2006, 03:51 PM   #3
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Trailer: Minit 13 ft
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Brian..
Does your trailer have a propane furnace? i would suggest using that... along with your cook stove. just be sure to leave a window cracked when running propane. If you have no shore power you cant use a ceramic heater. I dont know anything about those catalytic heaters
No propane furnace, unfortunately.

Should I buy one? If I do, doesn't it need electricity? How much current does one draw?
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:05 PM   #4
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Trailer: 13 ft Scamp
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Hi Brian,

We often use our 13 ft Scamp in the winter in temperatures down around zero. We use a catalytic heater (Olympian 3100a) and it works great. We open a roof vent a few inches and have no condensation issues. I'm a little afraid to leave it on all night so I heat the trailer just before we go to bed and then turn it off. We have good sleeping bags so it's not a problem for us. I roll over and turn it on when we wake up and it heats the little trailer up in about five minutes. Keep in mind that some newer models of catalytic heaters will not work above a certain altitude. Our model has no such 'safety' feature and we have used it at altitudes over 11,000 feet.

You're using it for skiing? We have used it a few times to park in ski area lots but I generally don't like the idea of towing the trailer when the roads are really slick. I see folks towing snow machine trailers all the time but it just freaks me out! Let us know how it tows in the snow.

I see you guys are climbers! We bought our trailer after we ran into some folks in a Scamp on a cold winter weekend climbing at Shelf Road in Colorado. We spent a cold night drinking beer in their warm camper, vowing to buy one of these things. When my wife got pregnant that sealed the deal. We've had ours for a few years now and it has made all the difference now that we have kids.

Have a great time with your new trailer.
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:23 PM   #5
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Trailer: Minit 13 ft
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I see you guys are climbers! We bought our trailer after we ran into some folks in a Scamp on a cold winter weekend climbing at Shelf Road in Colorado. We spent a cold night drinking beer in their warm camper, vowing to buy one of these things. When my wife got pregnant that sealed the deal. We've had ours for a few years now and it has made all the difference now that we have kids.
Great info.

Man, I miss Shelf Road. We used to live in Colorado Springs and spent LOTS of time there...

Any other suggestions on heating options? Any issues with serious condensation on a catalytic heater? I plan to vent it really well.
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:37 PM   #6
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Yeah, we really love Shelf. My wife's parents live in the Springs so we go there a lot.

I don't have any condensation issues at all. I vent really well and I don't leave it on all night. I would rather have a furnace but our trailer didn't come with one. I may retro fit one one of these days. They can be a little loud but you can turn the temp down at night keep the trailer at a comfortable temperature.

Another problem that we have with the catalytic heater is how hot they get. With two toddlers running around, we have to be very careful and hang the heater out of reach.

I don't know of any other options. I think a ceramic cube heater would draw too much electricity. If you can install one, I think a furnace would be best. We have friends with a pop up truck camper with a furnace. They take it skiing all over the state and it works great for them.




Quote:
Great info.

Man, I miss Shelf Road. We used to live in Colorado Springs and spent LOTS of time there...

Any other suggestions on heating options? Any issues with serious condensation on a catalytic heater? I plan to vent it really well.
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:44 PM   #7
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Trailer: Minit 13 ft
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If you can install one, I think a furnace would be best. We have friends with a pop up truck camper with a furnace. They take it skiing all over the state and it works great for them.
Doesn't a furnace draw a lot of current as well?

Any idea how long, say, one deep cycle marine battery would power a furnace for? I don't plan to use hook-ups...
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:45 PM   #8
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Our Scamp has a small furnace built in. It does a nice job of keeping the trailer warm. This weekend the temperatues got down around 27. I set the thermostat to 50 and it came on a couple times during the night. In the morning I just reached over and set to about 65. The blower motor in the furnace draws a bit of current, but not enough to worry about.
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Old 09-25-2006, 06:39 PM   #9
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Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
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My 17' Boler has a factory-original Suburban Dynatrail forced-air furnace, I think model NT-12MEC (12,000 BTU/h input, 9,000 BTU/h output). It's much like the current Suburban NT-Series. One 12V motor drives both the blower to circulate heated interior air, and a smaller separate blower to move combustion air to allow direct venting through the wall. Since the combustion is entirely sealed from the interior, the burning of propane does not contribute any moisture to the interior. I have not used it in seriously cold weather, but around freezing it is marginally effective in keeping the trailer warm enough, but really noisy. I suspect that this unit is not a good example of its type, after 27 years...

The installation instructions for my furnace call for a minimum of 14 AWG wiring, hinting at the current draw of at least a few amps at 12V, but I have not seen a current or electrical power specification in the manual. The "Dimension Chart" for the current NT-Series says 2.8 amps. It would still be vastly less than actually heating with electricity: 9,000 BTU/hour is 2,635 watts, much more than a 15A 120VAC circuit can provide, if that were even available.

Other Bolers have "gravity" furnaces, which are propane-fired but depend on natural convection to move the air, so they require no power. I don't know if you can get these anymore, or what make and model they were.

There have been lots of discussion in this forum of catalytic heaters, most (not all) of which are unvented, so all of the moisture created as a product of propane combustion ends up in the trailer. Ventilation is required to supply replacement oxygen, as well as get rid of that water; apparently many owners find that this is not a problem. There are other brands of heaters which are not catalytic, but are still unvented propane-burning heating appliances.
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Old 09-25-2006, 07:46 PM   #10
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If your camping without shore power, here's the ticket.

Orbis Calorama Heater


Uses no power unless you opt for the optional circulating fan, plus it gets it's combustion air and vents to the exterior of the trailer.

If your in a 13' trailer, the 8,000 btu should work not too bad, maybe some of the others can post what the BTU ratings were on the older gravity heaters in their trailers. The most common power driven furnaces are about 12,000 btu. If you got the small unit and wanted a fan to circulate the air above or below it, get a 12v computer cooling fan, they're usually cheap and used extremely little juice from the battery.
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Old 09-25-2006, 08:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
How bad is the condensation caused by a catalytic heater? Could it be alleviated with a ventilation fan?

Am I the only person camping in one of these things in the winter?

Any help you can provide would
Last Friday and Saturday night my 2 grandsons and I camped in sub freezing temps in the Sierras.
It was my first chance to try out my new catalytic heater. It worked great. I had to keep turning it off as it worked to well in my 14 ft. burro.
I did not leave it on while we were sleeping. I set it next to the bed and when I woke up, without getting out of my warm sleeping bag, I reached down and turned it on and in about 10 minutes it was nice and warm in my egg.
It is a Mr. Heater, Portable Buddy with tip over turn off and an automatic low oxygen turn off sensor. I bought it at Camping World for around $80.00.
There was no condensation as I had a window cracked and the roof vent was opened a little bit.
I thought I was the only one nutty enough to enjoy camping in the snow.
On second thought, maybe I just enjoy the grandkids having fun in the snow.
My youngest grand son is 11 now and he is old enough to keep away from the heater. If you have little ones around I would not reccomend it.
Hope this helps,
John
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Old 09-25-2006, 08:47 PM   #12
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I have an Olympian Wave 3 cat heater. No major condensation issues, but there are still some. With me and 2 dogs, you'll get that heater or no.

Like most everyone here, I don't run it at nite unless its freeze and die weather. It does a fine job in a 13 footer. I have been in below freezing with it and I was comfortable while awake. Warm bedding fixes the problem at nite.

Here it is
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:55 PM   #13
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Considering where some of you are camping in the snow it might be prudent to paint your egg something other than white. (IMO) A snow covered egg could disappear amongst the moguls in a heavy snow that covers up your doors and blocks windows. Even if someone were looking for you, you'd be hard to see.
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Old 09-25-2006, 10:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Considering where some of you are camping in the snow it might be prudent to paint your egg something other than white. (IMO) A snow covered egg could disappear amongst the moguls in a heavy snow that covers up your doors and blocks windows. Even if someone were looking for you, you'd be hard to see.
If you go snowed in for few days would you get "egg fever"?
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Old 09-26-2006, 06:39 AM   #15
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Welcome to FiberglassRV Brian..we're glad you're here

Did you see the Northern Oregon Gathering topic? There's a group of us meeting in about three weeks...come on down and meet some great people and ask your questions face-to-face with some knowledgable folks

Click here for more info: Northern Oregon Gathering
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Old 09-26-2006, 04:48 PM   #16
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I have a 17' Boler with a gravity furnace running on propane. It is direct vent so no problems with oxygen or condensation. I have put a small muff (computer) fan in the housing to get more circulation. It works very well in sub-zero weather and is almost noiseless.
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
If you go snowed in for few days would you get "egg fever"?
Hi: Which is worse "Egg Fever" or "Frozen Folk" Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Hi.

I'm new to the forum.

I just bought a 1972 Minit (it's very similar to a Scamp or Burro or Uhaul.)

My wife and I plan to use it to camp during the ski season. We won't have shore power, so power's a concern. It has an old Wenzel Catalytic heater. I'm considering using a catalytic heater, but I'm concerned about moisture buildup.

How do you heat your trailer?

Should I use a ceramic space heater? How much power do they draw?

Should I use a furnace so I can still use propane to heat? How much power do they draw?

How bad is the condensation caused by a catalytic heater? Could it be alleviated with a ventilation fan?

Am I the only person camping in one of these things in the winter?

Any help you can provide would be great.

You can see a picture of my new trailer at http://barkernews.blogspot.com.
Recently I inquired about a Catalytic heater that was vented outside. The models are 3P12 and 6P12. I don't know who makes them but the NW US distributor can be contacted at platcat@att.net Either model is $449.45 US not including shipping. These heaters are power vented, so the exhaust byproducts (mainly water vapor and CO2) are vented outside. There should be very little unburnt gas The heater replaces room air by infiltration- air comes in through cracks around doors & windows.

There is no actual heat exchanger. The heater is a radiant heater, heats like the sun.
Good Luck with your inquiry

By the way ... The above description is a copy of what I got in my email request .I searched Google using "platcat" and found them eventually
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Old 09-26-2006, 08:08 PM   #19
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As for being white in white snow and being seen, put your name/phone/whatever onto the top of your unit. Many years ago, when there was a rash of horse trailer thefts, that is what they did so they could find them easily from a plane.

As for moisture, it isn't made by the heaters, but by us humans (majority of it is) when we exhale. That is why you do not seal tight. PLEASE get propane detectors (mount by floor) and the Co along with smoke alarms with your older units.

Cat heaters can be had for wall mounting. Any time a fan is needed, it will tax a single battery and need to be charged daily. You can not do that with running your vehicle and charging that way. Expensive and abusive to the tow vehicle. A cheap way around that is with a 4 D cell battery operated Fan that you can get at Walmart that will last at least 5 nights straight.
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Old 09-26-2006, 08:41 PM   #20
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Hi: Which is worse "Egg Fever" or "Frozen Folk" Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
It depends on if the "Frozen Folk" started cracking and making sounds. The "Egg Fever" people would really complain about the slighest ice cracking sound. They get upset about the noise dandruf maks landing on your shirt collar.
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