Motorhome Wood Burners

Discussion in 'Heating and Air-Conditioning' started by FuglybusII, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. FuglybusII

    FuglybusII Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    London
    Hello All,

    Chris here new member and owner of FUGLBUS II

    Work is progressing nicely on the interior of the bus and all mechanicals have been tested and we are good to drive for miles and miles...

    However, we are planning to go off for some winter fun to Austria and I don't reckon the 30 year old Truman boiler is up to the task of keeping FB II nice and toasty warm and providing us with hot water in an efficient manner as it's currently not working and new fitted ones are prohibitively expensive!

    So I was hoping to find out if anyone has or knows of anyone who uses a wood burning stove inside their motor home and whether they would recommend it??

    I'm thinking of re-purposing an old Butane GAS bottle to make the wood burner over this weekend. Of course I will take care to follow the various safety points so as not to blow myself up, poison anybody, burn FB II to the ground and leave enough clearance around the wood burner.

    I believe the benefits will far outweigh the cost of buying and fitting a new Truman boiler. Free fuel wood, Free hot water, A real fire for cosy warm interior, quickly dry out snowboarding gear etc, etc...

    Of course there are dangers which I am going to pay particular attention to like not leaving the fire unattended, not leaving the fire on overnight, a proper flue, and proper airflow for the fire so as not to starve the interior of oxygen...etc, etc

    Any help or advice would be very, very appreciated.

    Cheers, and Happy motor homing Funsters!

    Chris & Claire
    Fuglybus II
     
  2. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Messages:
    15,458
    Likes Received:
    8,598
    Location:
    Ilfracombe, Devon
    I have seen a number of woodburners used, one I particularly liked the flue went out of the side of the van through a blanked off window reducing the chance of a roof leak a stack pipe was added on the outside once parked up. All vans with woodburners fitted do stink of smoke, no matter how well ventilated it is only a very tiny woodburner is needed in a van. Potbelly stoves will burn wood and coal/coke and really do keep the place warm, great in a metal bodied van, too dangerous in a fibreglass jobbie. one stray ember on the roof and the lot goes up PDQ. Carbon monoxide alarm a double must.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. FuglybusII

    FuglybusII Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    London
    Fire Extinguishers & Fire Blankets

    Thanks for your reply WILDMAN,

    I do intend the wood burner to be a very small one that would burn sticks as opposed to logs, Or even chopped up wood pallets. There are plenty of pallets on any industrial estate.

    I will of course have all the necessary fire precaution items like a blanket and extinguishers. I also intend to make an under floor wood store from an old ammo box so this should keep the dry wood stored 'outside' and underneath the motor home.

    It is only for a couple of months over winter so I suspect after this period the cold will be too much to ear and we will head towards the south and some sun...

    I still think it would lovely to have a real fire contained inside a stove keeping us nice and toasty while it snows outside...

    Chris & Claire.
    Fuglbus II
     
  4. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Messages:
    15,458
    Likes Received:
    8,598
    Location:
    Ilfracombe, Devon
    we lived in a converted removal van for a full winter when the snow was deep outside, temp inside never dropped below 80deg so yes it keeps warm enough.
     
  5. movan

    movan Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,882
    Likes Received:
    22,537
    Location:
    Moving around
    :Smile:I can't help with the how to do it questions but I know several people who have wood burners in their self-build. Cosy. :thumb:
     
  6. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,261
    Likes Received:
    7,881
    Location:
    West Norfolk
    If you are going to the Alps, you need to have your heating on 24/7. You also need warm air circulated around your water system, this means blown air or a good array of wet radiators.
    Your water will freeze without it.
    You plan to not use your log burner when sleeping. Your water system will freeze!:Doh:
     
  7. rainbow chasers

    rainbow chasers Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2009
    Messages:
    3,747
    Likes Received:
    1,720
    Location:
    Mid Cornwall
    One downside I have witnessed is damp. I have seen someone using one, and the condensation has rotted the entire van out, everything is damp - the floor in a van less than ten years old is well.....iffy at best. He keeps it well ventilated, but the heat is intense and i think this is what causes it.

    I would prefer a drier heating system if I were being honest. That sort of heat and damp cycle isn't too good for your health either!
     
  8. FuglybusII

    FuglybusII Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    London
    Bbbrrrrr Water Freezing and Damp

    Thank you for bringing up the obvious problem of the cold, I was wondering about that. I was going to lag the water tank and piping but I reckon it would still freeze up.

    The only other option I was considering was to wrap the wood burner with cooper piping and run that into the water tank to stop it freezing. I have a friend who's a plumber rand reckon it can be done. I would only need to turn the fire every time I wanted to have a shower.

    Of course we will be staying at several campsite so these are only emergency measures.

    But it may be the case that we will keep the water tanks empty due to the possibility of freezing.


    The damp I would say is enevitable, not much we can do about that other than keep the air circulating.


    Thanks for all your points...


    Chris & Claire..


    Fuglybaus II
     
  9. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    29,475
    Likes Received:
    16,947
    Location:
    YO11 2BD
    uncontrollable living fire in a motorhome :Eeek:.....please dont park next to me !

    apart from that, where will you get dry seasoned wood in the alps ?
    a small underslung box wont last long...especially if you intend burning 'sticks'

    pallets are totally unsuitable due to not being properly seasoned, full of sap and probably chemically treated...also relatively low heat output compared to hard woods.

    major contributor to tar and soot in the flue.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  10. andyman

    andyman Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,133
    Likes Received:
    489
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    pallets are totally unsuitable due to not being properly seasoned, full of sap and probably chemically treated...also relatively low heat output compared to hard woods.

    For the past 4 years i have burnt loads of pallets in our log burner. Never had a problem with tar and soot in the flue. I sweep it once a year and very little soot.
    I must be lucky.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  11. JJ

    JJ Funster

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    14,561
    Likes Received:
    25,726
    Location:
    Quinta Majay, Pinheiro Bordalo, Portugal
    Sorry.

    I don't understand how a wood burner causes damp?

    In an earlier life we had a cottage by a mill pond heated only by a Jotul woodburner. We had to put a dish of water on the floor underneath the piano because the air became too dry.

    I have one designed for the Wagon and it will be built locally by the guy who does welding for my friend's company.

    It will be made of very thick steel and be very small or else the inside will become unbearably hot.

    Photos in due course.

    JJ :Cool:
     
    • Like Like x 5
  12. stcyr

    stcyr Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    1,668
    Likes Received:
    1,105
    Location:
    Normandie
    We used one of these in a van some time back: the 'Pipsqueak' - see: www.salamanderstoves.com .... brilliant little stoves. :thumb:
     
  13. thehutchies

    thehutchies Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    1,541
    Location:
    The Wheelèd Shed
    We had a small woodburner in the living room of our house.

    We read the instructions carefully, paying attention to the stipulations to burn only seasoned hardwoods, kiln dried, from sustainable sources.

    We actually used it to burn bits of pallets, hacked up old furniture, nappies, cardboard packaging, old DVDs and unwanted clothing and toys.

    It was very easy to check the flue and chimney and we never had any great soot deposits.

    And if you mix up some sugar and foraged fruit, the kids can make their own sweets on the hot top plate. :Smile:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. jhorsf

    jhorsf Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Messages:
    9,157
    Likes Received:
    8,067
    Location:
    DERBYSHIRE
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  15. veevee

    veevee Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    Messages:
    964
    Likes Received:
    540
    Location:
    Essex / central France
    Hello Chris and Clare

    Have to say upfront I have an interest in this subject, we locate, restore (that's the correct term for we do) and sell antique stoves.

    Some of what is commented on here is correct, some less so.

    Find an older stove that is a good example in all respects, completely service it to the best safety standards and fit with the same level of caution you would if it were fitted to you home.

    A home made stove may appear a little less serious than a manufacturers stove to maybe an insurer etc. Saying that have seen a few good gas cylinder wood stoves but they do still to look like a converted gas cylinder.

    Older stoves tended in the main to be physically smaller than modern stoves but not always as efficient (many older and sometimes new stoves can be improved with attention to detail and modern materials). They are generally far more beautiful though.

    Storing enough wood for even a month's heating will require quite a large volume, so get a mulit-fuel stove that will burn coal and coke too.

    Your van will be easy to heat if you have insulated very well, hard work if insulation wasn't considered a priority.

    A Carbon Monixide meter is an absolute must, it's more important than the stove.

    A solid fuel wood/coal/coke/peat stove will dry the air dramatically and give you a healthy air through flow, gas stoves do add moisture to the air.

    If you have specific questions just ask, happy to help anybody on this forum.

    Good luck to you on your adventures.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  16. philk

    philk

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Messages:
    173
    Likes Received:
    50
    Location:
    Lancs
    Log Burners

    I built a house in 1998 around a 12kw Yorkshire stove, the first secondary burner to the market. Pallets are made with vac treated wood which as it has no sap does not make tar, as for damp, heating air and cooling it every hour may result in issues, but running one for a while, the warm air carries any moisture out of any vent. Our house is like a tumble drier for clothes and we have rooflights which let warm damp air out through the vents. I have just had 3 bed cottages go through building control with log burners, they have epc values beyond what will be required in three years and NHBC recognise the benefits of moving air through a warm house.
    I think any flu would have to use the previously suggested window method but it sounds like fun.
    Phil
     
  17. stcyr

    stcyr Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    1,668
    Likes Received:
    1,105
    Location:
    Normandie
    Another excellent, physically small woodburner is the 'Thames Barge stove' - we bought one a few years ago for one of our sons who lived in a large static caravan at the time. If anything it was too efficient :BigGrin:...
     
  18. Wildbill

    Wildbill Funster

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Messages:
    7,082
    Likes Received:
    12,078
    Location:
    Goole funster top up and elsan point
    i don't know weather it has been mentioned or not but i made a rocket stove for one of my caravans three years ago.
    it consisted of a 45 gallon drum cut in half then a 9kg gas cylinder the void between the gas cylinder and the 45 gallon drum was filed with oil sock up granules.
    worked like a storage heater but once warm stayed warm for 24 hrs. just look up rocket stove on you tube :BigGrin:
    and feud through the roof
    we used our caravan all year round
    bill
     
  19. Terry

    Terry Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Messages:
    10,722
    Likes Received:
    6,224
    Location:
    South yorks
    Well when I wor a lad we used to stack wood to be burned at the side of the burner drying it out before being burnt :BigGrin: Yep you can easily pipe arond the burner and pump water around giving hot water :thumb: in fact I did just that idea in a conversion some 12 yrs ago, simply extended pipes from engine into a 5 gallon container coiled pipe into bottom before piping back to engine.This gave hot water and a hot bed that it was under all day :BigGrin: it would be easy to pipe arond a unit full of bricks to get hot assumes you have payload :Wink: like a storage heater.
    Would I put a a wood burner in my van ? Eeer No :BigGrin: good luck on your project :thumb:
    Terry
     
  20. Scattycat

    Scattycat Funster

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Messages:
    828
    Likes Received:
    1,172
    Location:
    Mayenne, France
    We had and lived on Narrowboats for years and our main heating was wood/coal stoves and 'never' had a problem with damp or condensation.

    The best one we had for the habitation area was a 'Squirel' multi-fuel stove with a back boiler, it was an excellent bit of kit giving us heating via the stove and small radiators plus hot water.
     

Share This Page