Steveio has been doing upgrades to our motorhome to ward off his winter doldrums.
This is something he wanted to do for some time. He had the opportunity to purchase a new catalytic heater at a great price. They normally run $400-500, and he got it for less than half that price. This is a Wave 8 model from the Olympian heaters from Camco.
We do not like to use the big propane furnace that comes installed in most RV’s . Not only is it a waster of propane, but the blower unit really drains down the battery bank fast. Unless you are on shore power hookups, it really isn’t a good appliance to be using for the type of boondocking or rustic camping that we do. The big furnace ducting on our motorhome is very inefficient and poorly planned. One duct actually goes OUT of the basement area, loops down through an open wheel well on the driver’s side with flexible hose, and then back IN again into the rig to heat the back bedroom. Needless to say, the air flow is almost non-existent at the bedroom vent, and even shutting down the vents in the front portion of the rig doesn’t help much either. The only time the big propane furnace would be needed is to keep the basement compartments heated in subzero temps, to prevent that holding tanks and water lines from freezing.
So, in not wanting to use the big LP furnace, we did what most RVers do… we called on a buddy… .Mr. Buddy!
In the past, we had piped in an extra propane line through the basement, over to the passenger side of the rig, up through the cabinet that is under our table (it contains the extra leaves for our table) … and added a shut off valve and flexible propane hose. Onto this hose we would hook our portable Mr Buddy heater. Because the Mr. Buddy can operate on high pressure propane tanks, it has a built in regulator. But so does the propane line in our rig. Guess we were being *double regulated* hee heee We needed to alter the Mr. Buddy by removing it’s built in regulator to let both Lo and HI settings work in our rig.
This setup has worked great for us for three years…. but ….. it is always either setting right on the table in the way… or setting on the floor on a metal cookie sheet while a certain dumb collie walks by and lets her tail get singed on it! Burning dog hair ---- ewwww stink!
These heaters are safe for RV use, but cracking open a window or vent is a must, as they do deplete the oxygen levels over time in a sealed rig.
Our blogger buddies, Janna and Mike, http://tinteepeelogcabin.blogspot.com have a motorhome similar to ours. They just invested in a new heater while out west and installed it in a good spot on the wall next to the table. Soooo our brains were thinking: “Why can’t we do that too? We already have the propane piped over there!” Steveio started hunting and found a great deal on this one. It’s different than theirs is, but we used the same idea and the same spot.
Our rigs have a lot of windows, which is nice, but very little wall space. This is about the only spot that would work for such an installation.
Now… my guy has a *thing* about using templates. He HATES them! But lo and behold, look at this:
Hmmmm seems Old Dogs CAN learn New Tricks? heh heh
He also hates instructions… so on any project we do, I am frantically reading before he jumps way ahead and does something he ain’t supposed to do yet….
We got the unit mounted correctly and decided we would later also remove the flip down step cover. (you can see the step cover in the above photo on the left, the wooden structure in the lower right hand corner that is between the wall and the door)
In the UP position, it’s a grab bar on the stair side and locks into place in vertical position along that wooden brown board you see next to the door. In the DOWN position, it’s a carpeted cover to prevent folks from falling into the stair well of 2 steps down when the unit is parked. (we never use it in the DOWN position) So we will remove this another day and tuck that carpet edge along the brass strip surrounding the stair well opening.
Okay… back to the Olympian installation…. here Steveio is flaring the copper pipe and drilling a hole through the cabinet to let the hookup attach to the heater. I got to make sure it was *level* and he did the testing of all the flare fittings for leaks.
It lined up pretty well!
We lit ‘er up and filled the motorhome with heat in no time flat! It was 28 degrees when we went out there, and in no time we were up to 57 degrees! Now to put away all the tools (and later remove that step cover)
next modification up our sleeves is four 100 watt solar panels installed once the sun shines and the snow melts and we can get up on the roof!