General Questions Regarding Air Heating & Water Heating (Carver & Propex).

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Sledgehammer, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. Sledgehammer

    Sledgehammer Read Only Funster

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    I have been looking around at motorhomes (or campers as I call them), most of which are medium-sized coach-built from the mid-to-late-1990s. I've got a few general questions if you don't mind:

    A lot of these vehicles have Propex heating and Carver gas/230v water heaters mentioned in the details, plus it is also mentioned (but not clear) that an LPG tank is involved somewhere. Would this be for the water heating or the air heating? They also often mention gas bottles as well, so I don't know which equipment is using what fuel source.

    Are Propex heaters and Carver water heating systems reliable and effective, with a good spares supply? Whichever system runs from LPG, what is a typical-sized tank used in medium-sized campers and how long might a full tank last? My worry is if I go to remote areas in cold climates I might not be able to get gas or LPG, then I would be in trouble!

    Finally, for cold climate in winter where an unused vehicle might freeze right up, are the water systems used in campers able to cope with these conditions, or would I have to modify a water storage set-up and plumbing system specifically to cope with sub-zero temperatures?

    Thanks very much,

    Mike

    :Smile:
     
  2. tony morris

    tony morris Read Only Funster

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    Hi Sledgehammer carver water heaters are very reliable can run on lpg or electicity separately or both together' useing both hots up the water quicker(if you are going to use gas(most people use the red bottle calor gas this can be used all year round) the blue bottled calor gas can not be used in very cold weather as it will freeze, calor supply a uk network readily available at most garages, garden centres etc. you can have a gas tank fitted(gasflow) then you have to find a garage who sell the gas when you want a topup.
    reference the water freezing most motorhomes have a inboard fresh water tank under one of the locker boxes, the waste tank sits under the chassis with a drain off tap on the side. If you intend useing the m/h in the winter in very cold weather you would not want to wild camp? there are plenty of good sites open all year round, most sites charge an all inclusive price 2 adults mains hookup free showers etc, we make full use of the electicity we use a small ceramic heater with saefty cutout, hope you will find tis of some use to you good luck with your motorhoming days Tony:Smile::Smile:
     
  3. Sledgehammer

    Sledgehammer Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for your reply Tony.

    I prefer the idea of the Eberspacher combined water and air heaters that use the van's diesel supply, but it would be a big expense and a bit of a waste fitting one of those kits to a camper that already has air and water heating.

    Regarding the cold climate use, I'm thinking specifically of a Norway trip (and not necessarily the whole time in official camping sites), so weather conditions and gas supply would be important considerations.

    It's good to hear that most water tanks are inboard. The waste water tank could be a bit of a problem, although I expect there must be ways round that in freezing climates.

    Mike
     
  4. Janne

    Janne Read Only Funster

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    Gas in Norway

    Hi Mike
    If you are going to Norway in the cold part of the year there are some things that you have to keep in mind. You will have a hard time finding LPG as that system is very rare in both Norway and Sweden. They also have a diffrent standard of gaz canisters so you will need to buy one in Norway and then use an adapter that you will have to bring.
    The same goes for Sweden, we also have a diffrent standard. The safe thing to do would be to go for diesel heating and electric when you can.
    If you plan a winter trip you will also need chains for your wheels as that is requierd on some roads in the winter.
    Br
    Janne
     
  5. iceni

    iceni Read Only Funster

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    Hi Mike
    Always check that the fresh tank is inboard as some are not (mine included) in my Autocruise. if its outside its slung under the back axle usually and if the van is fairly new it will probally be insulated so its Ok for winter use. I use mine in winter with no problems.
    Ask if the van is winterised as this means that all the pipes are lagged etc as well. Even do if the van is left for a period when its freezing the fresh and waste tanks as well as the heater will have to be drained as even inside the van it will freeze if its say minus 10 outside.

    A lot of heating suppliers are making units that can use mains electric as well as gas or diesel as with the change in the law re electricity on camp sites you usually pay for electric whether you use it or not and not like the old days when you could choose not to have electis and save £2-3 per night - these days if you want a decent pitch on hard standing you have to pay for electric, and so they are putting 230v into heating systems as well as the gas or elec.

    LPG supply is usually in the form of gas bottles which you have to buy, beg or whatever with your first van and then when empty the bottle is exchanged for a full one. A lot of people are going over to refillable gas bottles these days (me included) which are the same size and shape as normal bottles but can be refilled via a filler cap on the outside of the van at a garage that sells autogas. this is better for a number of reasons ie. You dont have to wait till the bottle is empty to fill it; the gas is much cheaper (approx 25% of the price of changing a bottle) and its then easier to fill up on the continent as you just buy adaptors for the fillier for the different countries. The downside is the cost of the system whichin my case was £375 for 2 6lk (appr 12l) bottles but this payes for itself in approx 18 months to 2 years depending on how often you use the van.

    If you van engine is powered by LPG then this is usually via a big tank slung underneat somewhere. - note - if you van is powered by LPG they wont let you on the eurotunnel but gas bottles for heating and cooking is OK as you can turn these off.

    I hope this info is usefull
    Phill
     
  6. Sledgehammer

    Sledgehammer Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Janne :Smile:

    The diesel heating does seem to be a better idea, but the Eberspacher Combitronic is so expensive!

    Incidentally I was looking for LPG garages in northern Norway and there is apparently one in Tromsø (Esso), although I don't know if the list was up to date.

    I was looking at AutoSocks for the snowy conditions. They seem to work well, although I haven't seen a direct comparison with snow chains.

    Mike
     
  7. Sledgehammer

    Sledgehammer Read Only Funster

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    Thanks also Phill :Smile:

    My favourite is the Autohomes Explorer, but I've yet to get a good look at one, so can't find out much at the moment. There isn't much available information about them.

    I was looking at the refillable gas bottles and the price shocked me as much as it did when I saw the price for the Eberspacher Combitronic kit! I'm easily shocked by prices these days though!

    I will probably end up wanting to use the Channel Tunnel, so diesel is my first choice - also for ease of fuel availability. Most of the campers I have looked at have been diesel anyway, which is also handy if going for a diesel heating set-up.

    Mike
     
  8. Janne

    Janne Read Only Funster

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    Auto socks

    Hi Mike
    The socks work (I have a pair) but the law say snow-chains on some road at winter time. The socks are for use if you get stuck on a campsite etc but the chains are for use up to some hours driving that would tear the socks to treads.
    Be aware that the police in Norway are very strict and fines are a bit on the high side.
    Do not drive above the speed limits even +3mph will cost you 300 to 400 pounds and they do make you pay. (I know that for a fact). Driving without chains
    The investment geting a diesel heater is a bit high but you get fuel anywhere and the cost is very low if you compair with any type of propan/LPG. One night winter camping
    in norway can burn 5 kg propan costing you 20 pounds. You would use diesel for around 2 pounds.
    Br Janne
     
  9. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Phil.....just picked up on something you have said above....if you have refillable bottles in your motorhome, with a outlet on the outside of your van to refill from a garage forecourt.....ARE YOU STILL ALLOWED TO GO THE EUROTUNNEL...the reason I ask is while we was away touring the south of France this October we met some Brits who said if you have a outlet on the outside of your motorhome to refill LPG, you are not allowed through the tunnel.....Although you are allowed with normal exchanged LPG bottles.
    Which is correct and is there any other funsters gone thro the tunnel with refillable with outlet connection on the outside of the van.............Mel
     
  10. Sledgehammer

    Sledgehammer Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Janne

    I'll make sure I have snow chains with me as well. No problems with going too fast as I'm well behaved in that department! :BigGrin:

    I was thinking about the diesel heater situation and I could always get a second hand Eberspacher D2 to replace the Propex air heater, then just use the gas supply for the water heater and fridge. Then at a later date I could either get an Eberspacher Combitronic or add a separate Eberspacher water heater to go with the diesel air heater. I don't know if that's a practical proposition with regard to energy requirements from the leisure battery (having two separate Eberspacher units).

    Mike
     
  11. Sledgehammer

    Sledgehammer Read Only Funster

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    Mel

    I was reading up on this situation and the advice I read stated that if the bottles are removable then you can go on the Channel Tunnel, but if it is a fixed tank with an external filler then you can't.

    I don't know if you can get removable set-ups with an external filler though. If so, that would suggest that you can go through the tunnel due to the fact the bottles would be removable, but I'm just guessing now! :BigGrin:

    Mike
     
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