Help needed! What water heater & air heater would you recommend?

Oct 26, 2018
11
6
Funster No
56,934
MH
LDV Convoy conversion
Exp
I'm a newbie
Hi everyone,

Me & Hubble have bought an ldv convoy minibus to convert. I have been scouring the world of air heaters and hot water heaters trying to find a reasonably priced one. I'm more confused now than ever o_O
We'd like it to run on 12v/gas, maybe diesel heating.

There seems to be several different types of gas, some water heaters look great, then need a hot air connection to heat the water! Some look like they can only be used outside!

I'm a total novice and would appreciate any help from anyone about what heaters you recommend, if the cheaper Chinese ones are worth looking at and are 2nd hand ones a good option, we're on a very tight budget so can't afford the lovely yet expensive truma combi I've seen.

Thanks xxx (y)
 
Sep 26, 2013
2,180
1,477
Market Rasen
Funster No
28,295
MH
Self Build
Exp
Since 2003
I fitted the Truma gas/electric water heater and the Propex HS2000 gas air heater, both have worked fine for 6 years but I did build in a 2kw fan heater for use when hooked up.
 
Aug 6, 2013
7,498
6,101
Kendal, Cumbria
Funster No
27,352
MH
A Class
Exp
since 1999
You have a small choice of types and a larger choice of manufacturers. I suggest you look at what motorhome converters are using in most of their vehicles. My own choice having spent the past few months incredibly impressed by it would be Alde heating / hot water.
 
Jun 30, 2013
4,612
6,569
Cotes d'armor, France
Funster No
26,730
MH
Burstner Harmony TI 736 G
Exp
Since 1987
By Chinese heaters, are you looking at Heny’s! If so, speaking from personal experience, they are ( can I say crap on here? no?, thought not ) not very good.
 

pappajohn

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 26, 2007
36,037
24,066
Dark side of the moon
Funster No
172
Exp
Since 2005
Gas is by far the most popular, many with an additional 230v electric option.
You won't find a 12v only version but all need a 12v supply to run the control panel/circuit board, even the diesel heaters.
The majority of gas models are combined blown air heating and hot water in one unit and are fitted by most manufacturers.
Whatever you decide on they need careful thought as to installation and reasonable DIY skills.... They aren't something you just stick in a corner and turn on.
And, like motorhome fridges, they cost many hundreds of pounds.
 

Paul an Jane MK

LIFE MEMBER
Apr 20, 2016
410
360
Milton Keynes
Funster No
42,608
MH
Elddis Encore 255
Exp
enjoyed the freedom over the last couple of years but still Wish we could have got away more often
I love our Alde wet heating but not sure I would want to install one myself and I fully kitted out a conversion with everything including a shower.

We have had a Propex blow air heater, very compact and a Propex Malaga water heater. Both worked well and the Uk Distributor was very helpful when the water heater exploded full of ice (Rookie mistake, had a carver before with big drain plug and external water so on new wagon drained on board tank not realising heater still full of water - oooppps.)

Propex were great and supplied half the tank casing and seal for about £100 pound.

Been a few years ago so might be best to check they are still about.

All water boilers will need to be fitted to an external wall with an outside vent through the wall. The Propex blow heater just sucked in air through a small hole in the floor.
 
OP
Bubb73
Oct 26, 2018
11
6
Funster No
56,934
MH
LDV Convoy conversion
Exp
I'm a newbie
Thanks everyone,

It's giving me a right headache trying to figure it out but i'll look up the Alde ones.

@Allanm the chinese one i'm looking at says its a Planar selling on ebay and amazon, its red & black 5kw 12v diesel air heater, i've not heard of the one you mentioned.

Hiho hiho its off for more research i go! o_O:)
 
Aug 6, 2013
7,498
6,101
Kendal, Cumbria
Funster No
27,352
MH
A Class
Exp
since 1999
I love our Alde wet heating but not sure I would want to install one myself and I fully kitted out a conversion with everything including a shower
I haven't installed one but I have examined the installation in my mh in some detail.

The boiler is a simple cube shape.
Power source connections to it comprise 230v, gas, 12v
Control connections comprise a single plug-in cable from the remote panel


Heating connections:

from the Flow connection a pipe travels around the van passing through each radiator in turn until it arrives back at the boiler and connects to the return.

cold water from the mh pump is connected
hot water to the taps is connected


a small header / filling tank is mounted higher than any radiator & the boiler. Usually in the wardrobe.

If you consider that the connections highlighted in red are the same for any heater (substitute Diesel for gas for some) then the major difference is that 25mm (guess) pipes as opposed to 80mm (guess) tubing supplies heat. Radiators other than a towel rail are a continuation of the 25mm tubing with fins installed and are mounted behind lockers rather than passing through to the front as with blown air.

To my mind the only downside compared with blown air is cost.
 
Aug 11, 2018
50
169
Europe
Funster No
55,526
MH
€6 Peugeot Boxer van conv
Exp
50 years inc camping and caravanning (and I'm not much older than that)
Expensive, but many pro build vans have a Truma Combi boiler. These are available as deisel or gas, and can have a 240v element depending on what you want. They heat the water and provide heat for blown air ducting.
 

Gromett

Funster
Feb 27, 2011
9,641
22,752
UK
Funster No
15,452
MH
Self Build
Exp
Since 2005
I have a truma combi in my current one which I built 8-9 years ago.

Next vehicle hopefully starting next year will be a 7.5T truck. Will be putting in multi fuel heating.
1) Diesel heater with separate diesel tank so I can use Red Diesel. (Cheap chinese jobby initially)
2) Propex HS2000
3) Some very low power 3-400watt convection heaters.

For water.
1) Initially a Malaga water heater which has 13 litre tank which is bigger than the 10 litre tank on the truma
2) Will be adding a diesel water heater later, this will be linked to a calorifier and the engine in a 3 way system. Will allow me to heat the engine prior to starting in winter. will also allow the engine to heat the hot water tank plus combinations.

I want to end up with 2+ sources of both hot water and heat using different fuels so I can operate on the cheapest/most convenient fuel.
 
Sep 10, 2018
2
1
govan, glasgow
Funster No
56,099
MH
van convertion
Exp
since 2016
ive just fitted a Chinese planer heater and found it easy to install and its working great its a 5000kw one 150 pounds
 

Terry

LIFE MEMBER
Dec 27, 2007
11,312
6,790
South yorks
Funster No
1,075
MH
C class
Exp
Since 2001
Fitted a few vans with combi heat/boiler but prefer to fit separates ...my own preference are Truma 14 ltr gas electric hot water and the Truma gas heater rather than the propex ...last van I fitted a Eberspacher Hydronic which was great but expensive to buy
 
Sep 14, 2018
15
13
Scotland
Funster No
56,193
MH
Peugeot Boxer self build
Exp
15 years
ive just fitted a Chinese planer heater and found it easy to install and its working great its a 5000kw one 150 pounds
Have you got any more details about that heater, sounds interesting ...!
 
Jan 28, 2008
5,765
5,761
walthamstow east london
Funster No
1,353
MH
renault burstner delphin
Exp
7 years campers before that
Thanks everyone,

It's giving me a right headache trying to figure it out but i'll look up the Alde ones.

@Allanm the chinese one i'm looking at says its a Planar selling on ebay and amazon, its red & black 5kw 12v diesel air heater, i've not heard of the one you mentioned.

Hiho hiho its off for more research i go! o_O:)
there is a facebook group dedicated to the chinese deisel heaters very mixed reviews. They are copies of eberspachers which are five times the price they only do space heating althogh i did hear there was a water heater available to attach to the outlet pipe
eberspacher also do a deisel water heater that you run a calorifier with and fans coils for space heating these can also be plumbed in to use engine heat
 

Terry

LIFE MEMBER
Dec 27, 2007
11,312
6,790
South yorks
Funster No
1,075
MH
C class
Exp
Since 2001
there is a facebook group dedicated to the chinese deisel heaters very mixed reviews. They are copies of eberspachers which are five times the price they only do space heating althogh i did hear there was a water heater available to attach to the outlet pipe
eberspacher also do a deisel water heater that you run a calorifier with and fans coils for space heating these can also be plumbed in to use engine heat
Yep that's the Hydronic;)
 
Nov 9, 2016
62
31
Miskin
Funster No
46,000
MH
Autotrail Imala 734
Exp
1 Year
I would suggest watching this video, as it gives a very clear explanation of how these systems work. Incidentally, the rest of the videos in the series are the best ones I've come across so far.

 
Sep 4, 2016
6
1
Cheshire
Funster No
44,957
MH
Just Looking
Exp
I'ma newbie
I would suggest watching this video, as it gives a very clear explanation of how these systems work. Incidentally, the rest of the videos in the series are the best ones I've come across so far.

The Youtuber above is very talented and an absolute perfectionists. I would agree his videos are the best on Youtube at the moment. I was planning on buying a prebuilt Wildax etc but his videos have really got me considering self build.
 
Dec 8, 2017
159
101
N Wales
Funster No
51,599
MH
Self build PVC
just fitted a Chinese planer heater and found it easy to install and its working great its a 5000kw one 150 pounds
Just seen this, sorry - Planar are not Chinese. They are Russian made, all black, cost ~£400 - £500 and have a decent reputation. Available with full UK warranty from:

https://www.pfjones.co.uk/autoterm-heating-systems/planar-air-heaters.html

The ~£150 ones on ebay are Chinese (usually red and black) and are most definitely not the same as Planar, Eberspacher or Webasto air heaters. - You pay your money and take your choice; there are a lot of glowing reviews on Youtube.

We have a Planar D2 air heater which works very well, and looks and feels equivalent quality to the Eberspacher 2kW heater we had previously.

Went with a Truma Ultrastore for the hot water which also seems to be OK, but gets quite warm around it.
 
OP
Bubb73
Oct 26, 2018
11
6
Funster No
56,934
MH
LDV Convoy conversion
Exp
I'm a newbie
Thanks Garratt and cts1975, i've looked at his videos, very well done, looks like i'm saving my pennies for the truma system :) just finished insulating, so next floor & electrics - watch out for more help posts o_O
 
Sep 4, 2016
6
1
Cheshire
Funster No
44,957
MH
Just Looking
Exp
I'ma newbie
I've been keeping up to date with Gregs European travels on his YouTube channel - it's amazing what problems have cropped up even on such a professional ad well researched build like Gregs
 
Feb 16, 2019
65
62
Funster No
58,570
Hi everyone,

Me & Hubble have bought an ldv convoy minibus to convert. I have been scouring the world of air heaters and hot water heaters trying to find a reasonably priced one. I'm more confused now than ever o_O

I'm a total novice and would appreciate any help from anyone about what heaters you recommend,we're on a very tight budget so can't afford the lovely yet expensive truma combi I've seen.

Thanks xxx (y)
Hi Bubb73, I know how you feel.
We had our van converted about 9 years ago, and I based the water and heating system on a La Strada, don’t think the converter used the same products tho’, So....
We’ve just had the plumbing and heating redone, and the guy who did the work was good, and explained things really well.

Things change in 9 years, and I’m expecting a real improvement.
We’ve had a Truma Combi fitted to replace the Malaga V and Propex HS2000 (I think).
We had an 80litre freshwater tank taken out and replaced with a 40Litre tank, to save space and payload. We’ll use a caravan type “Waterhog” or similar when on sites.
I was never happy with the Malaga, it just didn’t have sufficient throughput, and we rarely had showers in the van.
I would just advise that you think carefully how you will use your van as the plumbing and heating systems are the most expensive, and easiest to get wrong.
I’m still wondering how often we’ll use the shower, but at least we’ll be able to use some of the sites we’ve passed by up to now.
Good luck
 
OP
Bubb73
Oct 26, 2018
11
6
Funster No
56,934
MH
LDV Convoy conversion
Exp
I'm a newbie
Hi Bubb73, I know how you feel.
We had our van converted about 9 years ago, and I based the water and heating system on a La Strada, don’t think the converter used the same products tho’, So....
We’ve just had the plumbing and heating redone, and the guy who did the work was good, and explained things really well.

Things change in 9 years, and I’m expecting a real improvement.
We’ve had a Truma Combi fitted to replace the Malaga V and Propex HS2000 (I think).
We had an 80litre freshwater tank taken out and replaced with a 40Litre tank, to save space and payload. We’ll use a caravan type “Waterhog” or similar when on sites.
I was never happy with the Malaga, it just didn’t have sufficient throughput, and we rarely had showers in the van.
I would just advise that you think carefully how you will use your van as the plumbing and heating systems are the most expensive, and easiest to get wrong.
I’m still wondering how often we’ll use the shower, but at least we’ll be able to use some of the sites we’ve passed by up to now.
Good luck
Thanks for the info, we were looking at the Malaga with a propex heater so hearing your experience is really helpful. I think we have decided to have a small heater & simple water system for this year, so we can save for the Truma combi next year but putting in as much of the plumbing & spare electrics as possible to avoid too much upheavel!
 
Feb 16, 2019
65
62
Funster No
58,570
Thanks for the info, we were looking at the Malaga with a propex heater so hearing your experience is really helpful. I think we have decided to have a small heater & simple water system for this year, so we can save for the Truma combi next year but putting in as much of the plumbing & spare electrics as possible to avoid too much upheavel!
Hi Bubb, sounds sensible, and plenty of time to search out alternatives to the Truma.
My concern is the reliability and complexity of the Truma, which maybe go hand in hand. Heading off after Easter for our second trip post Truma fit! Getting used to it.
 
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