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

Discussion in 'Self-Build Motorhomes' started by Bubb73, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Bubb73

    Bubb73 Funster

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    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)
     
  2. Mikeco

    Mikeco Funster

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    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.
     
  3. tonyidle

    tonyidle Funster

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    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.
     
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  4. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    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.
     
  5. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    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.
     
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  6. Paul an Jane MK

    Paul an Jane MK Funster Life Member

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    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.
     
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  7. Bubb73

    Bubb73 Funster

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    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:)
     
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  8. tonyidle

    tonyidle Funster

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    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.
     
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  9. Nostrovia

    Nostrovia Funster

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    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.
     
  10. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    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.
     
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  11. ttw20

    ttw20 Funster

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    ive just fitted a Chinese planer heater and found it easy to install and its working great its a 5000kw one 150 pounds
     
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  12. Terry

    Terry Funster Life Member

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    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
     
  13. Irishmick

    Irishmick Funster

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    Have you got any more details about that heater, sounds interesting ...!
     
  14. Terry

    Terry Funster Life Member

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    Just have a search on ebay there is also a FB page on them giving tips etc for when they go wrong
     
  15. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    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
     
  16. Terry

    Terry Funster Life Member

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    Yep that's the Hydronic;)
     
  17. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    that was the word i was searching for
     
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  18. Garratt

    Garratt Funster

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    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.

     
  19. cts1975

    cts1975 Funster

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    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.
     

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