Be sure to sign up for the weekly RV Travel Newsletter, published continuously every Saturday since 2001. Click here.
Huge RV parts & accessories store!
You have never seen so many RV parts and accessories in one place! And, Wow! Check out those low prices! Click to shop or browse!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stay warm this winter

Winter is coming. Snowbirds are migrating. The desert's population increases. Wonderful sunshine, blue skies, no rain or snow. But don't forget, it still gets cold in the desert, especially after the sun dips over the yardarm. No humidity. No daytime heat retention. Big temp dips overnight. Running your forced air furnace will quickly drain your house batteries. For boondockers this means either one more quilt, running your generator to power furnace, waking in the morning with dead batteries, or changing to a catalytic heater.
Advantages of catalytic heaters: no fan, no electricity usage, runs on propane right from your tank, heat comes from a chemical reaction, portable installation can be self-installed, costs pennies per hour, no battery draining. Disadvantages: no fan for quick heat distribution, takes longer to heat interior, must leave window open slightly for fresh air. Hardly a big trade0ff for the advantages offered. Check out Olympian catalytic heaters at RV supply stores.

13 comments:

  1. I have read that some folks use their catalytic heaters as a fireplace and turn them off when they go to bed. Open your window "slightly" for fresh air...how much is slightly?

    ReplyDelete
  2. An official from Olympic told me that even the slightest opening of a vent or window will provide enough air. It's never been a question with me since I always sleep with something open for fresh air. To pick a number . . . how about a louver window open a quarter inch? That is plenty.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I use a wave 6 in a 30ft Class A. Our passenger seat window is screened on the outside so I open it around 1/2 inch and the bedroom ceiling vent around an inch. The heater is up front and the air/heat flow keeps the whole MH warm and takes the moisture out the roof vent. The manual if I recall says 2 openings, 1 high and one low totaling 24 square inches.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How much fuel does say a wave 6 use. I'm guessing from the comments that would warm our 40' MH pretty well.

    ReplyDelete
  5. We are considering getting a wave 6 to heat only when we are up and awake. My son does not like the idea. He thinks they are not safe and that they use up too much oxygen. He is afraid that the air quality will be down.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We have a wave 8 in our 40ft. Holiday Rambler Endeavor. We dry camp for 30 days in the mountains of eastern Oregon every September to bow hunt. The nights get down to the teens most nights and our wave 8 is a life saver. Our batteries could not maintain a charge to run the furnace the year before we bought it. Simply said we love it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I want to post a question about the catalytic heaters, What is the difference between a Mr. Heater Portable heater, as compared to a Olympian catalytic heater.
    I have a Mr. Heater, they claim it's safe to use in the RV or a tent. The Mr. Heater uses the small propane cans. I also have a Coleman propane heater. Will they all work? or is Olympian Catalytic heater the safest one of the three.
    I want to use the heater in our 28ft. class-c RV.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "What is the difference between a Mr. Heater Portable heater, as compared to a Olympian catalytic heater."
    The basic operation is similar. Mr. Heater will just cost more since you will be using the more expensive propane cans vs. drawing propane form your main propane tank. They are all safe. The Olympian is the Cadillac of propane heaters, and where you might want to upgrade to in a few years. Incidentally, the smallest Olympian would probably suffice.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Picking the right size Olympian can be tough. The two factors to consider are the space to heat and how cold it will be when you use it. We found you don't want to look just at the coldest conditions. Each model has three heat settings, based on the model. Unless you are looking at some serious cold weather we found the lowest setting was more important if you plan to leave it on over night. Cool nights are more common than cold nights. The lowest setting on the larger models maybe to hot.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Alpenrover - Your comment is very timely. I posted another catalytic heater blog today (11-30), this time on installing a non-permanent (detachable and movable)catalytic heater and raised that very subject of not sizing too large. Even on my small heater, if I let it run on the lowest setting my rig can still get overheated. Thanks for the comment. Bob

    ReplyDelete
  12. The Portable Buddy and Big Buddy from Mr. Heater can also be powered from larger propane cylinders with the proper hose kit. That will make them more economical to operate.

    ReplyDelete
  13. jhilley - Good point. It is probably a wise idea to check what conversion kits are available from a qualified propane store. If you can find the right kit, you could use just about any propane heater connected to your main propane tank.

    ReplyDelete