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Old 09-27-2020, 02:42 PM   #1
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Mr Heater Buddy vs Kerosene

I am anticipating spending more time in my Class A boondocking this winter. I have a Mr Heater Buddy heater that runs on propane. I use the bigger BBQ canisters, and have occasionally used the little 1lb canisters, depending on how ambitious I am. I also feel like I have to be very careful where I place it to keep away from a possible fire hazard and where I have to locate the larger tank with enough room to navigate around it.

I only used it a few times up in the mountains to take the chill off in the early mornings. When I was a finished for the day, I'd have to let it cool, dismantle the whole mess, and stow it until that evening when I would reverse the procedure and do it all over again.

Back in the day (about 320 B.C.) my folks had a school bus conversion (before motorhomes) and we heated it with an antique kerosene heater my Dad got at a farm sale somewhere. My recollection was it stank, was not that efficient, constantly needed filling and maintenance, like wick trimming, BUT, it heated the thing up enough to drive you out of there at times. I'm not sure, but we MAY have been burning diesel fuel in it.

Considering the pain the Mr Heater generates, the space it requires and the expense of big propane tanks, etc, would I be foolish to trade my Mr Heater for my perception of a more modern version of the kerosene heater for a long term heat source?

Would LOVE to hear from those of you with direct, first hand experience.
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Old 09-27-2020, 03:49 PM   #2
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Use a big buddy in my coach, and have a 10000 btu kerosene heater in my garage. The kerosene heater works well but will sometimes smell till the flame is adjusted right. No problem in a big garage, but not so sure in a small coach.
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Old 09-27-2020, 04:26 PM   #3
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I don't think either one is a good idea for a couple of reasons. The first one is they both produce Carbon Monoxide. If you decide to use one make sure your CO alarm is working. The second is that both of them produce water vapor from burning the fuel. This vapor will tend to rust anything in the coach that can rust. This is just my opinion, I am absolutely sure others will disagree with me.
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Old 09-27-2020, 04:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply. I understood that propane will produce water vapor, but didn't realize kerosene would as well. Good info!
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Old 09-27-2020, 06:09 PM   #5
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I have yet to see a kerosene heater that doesn't smell. also, how and where would you store the fuel for that ?
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Old 09-27-2020, 10:57 PM   #6
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Are you actually bringing in a propane tank into your RV for the Buddy? That doesn't sound safe to me.

We used a catalytic propane heater for 16 full-timing years but we had propane plumbed directly to the heater from our onboard propane tank. We had a good place for the heater so didn't have to walk around it. It uses a lot less propane than a furnace and is a warm constant heat... no on/off like a furnace.

Catalytic/brick heaters are made for RVs and they're safe but definitely have a carbon monoxide monitor in the RV. Dry campers use them all the time and I've never heard of anyone dying. You should have a monitor regardless. Also, we never slept with it running. We like a cold bedroom anyway. They are extremely efficient compared to a RV furnace. We left a couple windows cracked about 1/4". They have an oxygen depletion sensor and will turn off if concentration gets low. We used it safely - not when sleeping and not when we weren't at the RV. They warm a RV in a few minutes.

Definitely don't use a kerosene heater in a small space as an RV. Open flames are dangerous. There's a smell and they leave an oily film on surfaces which is bad for electrical equipment. I surely wouldn't be pouring kerosene in a RV to refill.
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Old 09-28-2020, 12:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcaguy View Post
I don't think either one is a good idea for a couple of reasons. The first one is they both produce Carbon Monoxide. If you decide to use one make sure your CO alarm is working. The second is that both of them produce water vapor from burning the fuel. This vapor will tend to rust anything in the coach that can rust. This is just my opinion, I am absolutely sure others will disagree with me.
Correct. I will politely disagree. A proper burning L.P.(and natural gas) gas flame emits carbon dioxide and water vapor. If that weren't the case we'd all be in grave danger by using our gas ovens and stoves for hours and hour a day while cooking. Only an improper burning L.P. gas flame emits carbon monoxide at a level that is hazardous. Having said that, I think it wise to be on the cautious side. I do think all gas space heaters used in RV boon docking type situations should be the "tile or infrared" type unit or approved catalytic and not the blue flame. The "tile/infrared" type produce very complete combustion when functioning correctly Verify your L.P. gas unit with a good carbon monoxide tester. Most of our coaches come with carbon monoxide alert/alarms. It's good to make sure those are up to date as far as batteries or expiration dates. i believe the biggest concern is oxygen depletion by not keeping a vent open to supply the heater. We use a Buddy Heater to warm the coach up in the morning and to toasty it up before turning in at night.
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Old 09-28-2020, 12:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jimontheroad View Post
I am anticipating spending more time in my Class A boondocking this winter. I have a Mr Heater Buddy heater that runs on propane. I use the bigger BBQ canisters, and have occasionally used the little 1lb canisters, depending on how ambitious I am. I also feel like I have to be very careful where I place it to keep away from a possible fire hazard and where I have to locate the larger tank with enough room to navigate around it.

I only used it a few times up in the mountains to take the chill off in the early mornings. When I was a finished for the day, I'd have to let it cool, dismantle the whole mess, and stow it until that evening when I would reverse the procedure and do it all over again.

Back in the day (about 320 B.C.) my folks had a school bus conversion (before motorhomes) and we heated it with an antique kerosene heater my Dad got at a farm sale somewhere. My recollection was it stank, was not that efficient, constantly needed filling and maintenance, like wick trimming, BUT, it heated the thing up enough to drive you out of there at times. I'm not sure, but we MAY have been burning diesel fuel in it.

Considering the pain the Mr Heater generates, the space it requires and the expense of big propane tanks, etc, would I be foolish to trade my Mr Heater for my perception of a more modern version of the kerosene heater for a long term heat source?

Would LOVE to hear from those of you with direct, first hand experience.
OK, I'd pretty well leave the Kerosene heater idea out to pasture. However, I did see a guy that plumbed some piping to the inside of the coach to hook up to the Buddy. Not sure if he brought in high pressure or regulated pressure gas. I've been in the gas business for better than thirty years, so feel very confident that I could supply high pressure gas to my Buddy and be safe doing so. Not so sure I'd feel good suggesting anyone else do this. The Buddy heater run off high pressure, meaning they have their own regulator on it. If you were to run a line off your "regulated" line that feeds your heater, refer, water heater etc, you'd need to remove the regulator off the Buddy............not a good idea without a good skillset. I think the best plan is to continue to use the Buddy with the disposable cylinders. I don't think I'd be refilling the disposable cylinders either.
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Old 09-28-2020, 01:40 PM   #9
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If I want heat I run the RV furnace where the combustion gases are exhausted outside with the use a proper heat exchanger. I installed an RV furnace even in the 5x8 cargo trailer conversion I used for 9 years before I bought the Artic Fox 22G.

The solution is to have enough battery and solar to support the running of the furnace. We also use a warmer quilt in cold weather and keep the furnace set at a lower temperature overnight.
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Old 09-28-2020, 05:39 PM   #10
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I used both kinds of heaters in my 12 x24' shop. I discovered the kerosene heater did the best job heating the shop, and if adjusted right had little smell but it also quickly rusted a bunch of my tools. I don't think it was just the humidity generated by the heater because some of these tools had been in the unheated shop for years - in the Pacific NorthWet and never rusted until I used the kerosene heater. It also smoked a bit on start-up and I'm not sure I'd like the long term effect of that soot in my RV.

In my RV I use a couple of Olympian Wave heaters. I have the 8000btu model for the winter, and a 3000btu for spring and fall. I started off hooking them up to a 20lb bottle and then plumbed in two fittings to run them off my main 40 gallon tank. I plumbed one fitting under the refrigerator (originally capped when installing a residential fridge), and the second I ran up through the floor along the wall in the living room area right above the main tank. Each fitting has a quick connect with a built in safety shut off valve. They use much less propane than the Heater Buddies. At full bore the 8 uses .09 gallons per hour, the 3 uses .032gph. That's a lot of hours of heat from a 40 gallon tank!

The Olympian Wave heaters do generate water vapor and require 24sq inches of fresh air (crack a window) and a roof vent to be cracked. Because they are radiant heaters, they take some time to warm things up but they also warm YOU like sitting in front of a campfire. It's a very nice cozy heat, completely silent, and requires zero electricity. They are also safer fire wise because they operate at a temperature below that needed to ignite paper. They run on low pressure propane so if used on a portable bottle you'll need a hose with a regulator. I picked one up at Home Depot made for BBQs. When I connected to the main tank, I teed off after the tank regulator and changed the hose on the Wave to a regular hose with a quick fitting. They work slick. My wife is more cold blooded than I am, so I sometimes point the heater toward her. They act like a big infra-red floodlight and warm whatever they are "aimed" at the fastest. Because of this the heat doesn't travel all the way back to the bedroom of our 37 footer until they've been running for a while and heated up the front room. Some of that heat will make it's way to the back, but they are best at heating the space you are in. Part of the reason I pit a fitting below the refrigerator is that spot is right outside the bathroom door and I can plug the "3" in and heat the bathroom because the pocket door has a gap at the bottom that the hose can fit through. This also give me the ability to heat the bathroom/bedroom area should I desire.

I purchased the leg kit for the 3 and had some steel I bent to make legs for the 8 and instead of using regular screws, bought thumb screw for attaching the feet. That way I can remove the feet making the heaters much easier to store off season. Also made a handle for the 3 to make it easy to pick up and move when running if needed. Attached it to the upper wall mounting holes on the back. I bought the covers too to protect them from dust when not being used, but a plastic garbage bag would be just as effective.

Here's a website that explains it well: Wave 8 Heater: Long Term Review - PopUpBackpacker
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Old 10-04-2020, 08:53 AM   #11
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You do need a special extension hose for the buddy heater. The standard ones have a coating inside that will cause your heater to no longer work.
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Old 10-04-2020, 04:08 PM   #12
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You do need a special extension hose for the buddy heater. The standard ones have a coating inside that will cause your heater to no longer work.
Hey, can you elaborate on the coating inside the hose that stops the Buddy from working? I've not heard of this and I have heard of many using a 5 gallon tank and hose between the Buddy and the tank.
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Old 10-04-2020, 08:31 PM   #13
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Been running an Olympian Wave 6 for years without issues and wouldn't have anything else. Sips propane and produces nice heat. Open a couple of vents/windows and it's good and rarely have any condensation issues. Have a plumbed line and use quick connects so it's quick and easy to setup when needed. Never use the onboard heater as it's a power/propane hog.
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