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Old 02-08-2020, 01:07 PM   #1
HVSkeptic
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Boondocking w/wood stove in cold weather?

Hi. Just doing the research right now into staying warm living full-time in a cold-weather climate (I do need to plan for freezing temps outside, but don't expect prolonged deep-freeze conditions).



Has anyone installed a wood stove in their Montana to use as a source of heat when boon-docking in cold weather climates?


I hear stories of chewing thru a tank of propane every couple of days running the furnace.


I'm not sure about the feasibility of running a 1500w ceramic heater using a solar power source (ie. not plugged into shore power). Also not sure how much power I'd chew thru if using the 12v heating pads on all 3 holding tanks.



Can I run just the furnace fan (but not the furnace) to keep air circulating throughout the entire trailer and underbelly assuming I have a different source of heat to the propane furnace?



If I can keep heated air circulating to all of the important places without using the furnace, why not use a wood stove? Like a KIMBERLY or KATYDID.


I'm having some trouble deciding what the best off-grid solution is going to be for keeping warm in colder climates. The assumption being that I won't necessarily want to head south where the weather's warmer.


Your thoughts, ideas, and experiences are most welcome.


aTdHvAaNnKcSe
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Old 02-08-2020, 01:27 PM   #2
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You would probably have to rewire the AC/furnace thermostat system since on most Montana's when you run the fan on anything but auto the fans in the AC come on and not the furnace fan, when you have the fan on auto the fan will only run when the furnace comes on.
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Old 02-08-2020, 02:25 PM   #3
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Wintering up north while boondocking...that is pretty extreme. Your solar array and battery bank would have to be huge to support tank heaters, electric heating sources, etc. Any type of wood burning heating device other than a pellet stove would be a major fire risk as these trailers are only a little less prone than a cardboard box. I would look at getting a large service propane tank delivered and hooked up to run the furnace. Even doing this, the battery bank and solar would have to be sized to support your wattage/current needs given no shore power. You also would have to skirt the trailer in rigid foam board to keep air movement under the trailer at a minimum. I know people that live in trailers all winter in santa fe new mexico at 7000 plus feet on shore power with large service propane tanks and their sewer connection contained within a 10 or 12 inch insulated duct tubing as well as heated water hose.
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Old 02-08-2020, 02:27 PM   #4
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Check on getting a standalone propane heater (Mr. Heater Big Buddy or such). That is what most of us use boondocking.
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Old 02-08-2020, 03:05 PM   #5
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I'm not saying you can't do it, or you should not do it. But one thing you need to consider is how much fuel you'll be using and where you will get it from. Using a small burner like that, you'd need your wood cut pretty short, and pretty small, more like "sticks". And you'll need a LOT!

If you use wood pellets, where will you get them from. A 40 pound bag of wood pellets sold at Lowes runs around $5.00.

Ask yourself, is the cost of the fire wood, cut to size, and seasoned; or the price of pellets, and you'll probably be using a BUNCH, is that actually cheaper than just using propane?

A stand alone propane radiant heater would probably be more cost effecient.

Here's what it takes to heat half our house in the winter:





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Old 02-08-2020, 04:48 PM   #6
G & S Russell
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Darn it, Dutchman, that’s a mess of fire wood. Not to mention the time hauling, cutting, stacking and whatever else is involved in the inside burning process. Propane is looking pretty good. But seriously, if it’s cold enough you have to worry about your tanks freezing, isn’t that God’s way of telling you to take your home on wheels a bit South??!
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Old 02-08-2020, 05:33 PM   #7
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Stayed at Roosevelt lodge in YS in early June. Tiny 2 bed log cabins. No insulation. Had one of those tiny wood burning stoves. Had to get up every hour during the night to feed it. It was 32deg one morning when we got up.
Also, if you dont run your furnace, it will not heat your underbelly. Frozen pipes.
You will need to skirt. If you are boondocking, you will have to fill your freshwater tank and use your pump. You will need to use your tank heaters to keep from freezing up.
Look in the Forum under "Brrrr, it's cold outside. Winter camping". for lots of good info.
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Old 02-08-2020, 06:20 PM   #8
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I see no reason you couldn’t use one of these stoves. They are rated for mobile homes. They take up very little space and if you don’t mind cutting the wood they will heat your camper. There is nothing like backing up to a wood stove after you come in out of the cold. We heated our home for years with one.
The problem I have is the price, almost 5 grand. You can buy a lot of propane for $5000 and not haft to cut any wood let alone keep the stove going or carry out the ashes and clean up after the stove.
You will need to decide if it’s worth it to you.
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Old 02-08-2020, 07:15 PM   #9
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I think wintering in Florida would make a lot more sense???
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:23 PM   #10
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Cutting a hole for that will most likely void your Montana warranty

you better plan on owning your Monty forever.

They will need to be able to bolt to the floor when in transit.
It will need to be installed in a way to not interfere with the slides

Follow the installation process to the letter.

make sure it is cleaned monthly.
double up on CO and Smoke detectors.

Make sure your insurance does not have heartburn.

Make sure your installer is doing it right.

Past life I was a volunteer fireman.

Past life I was a chimney sweep and installer.

If there is no published code for this type of installation, I would not have touched it.
You will be able to find someone to install it-- just doesn't mean it is right.


I would look ling and hard at getting a 100 gal propane tank.
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Old 02-08-2020, 11:23 PM   #11
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I just returned from a trip from the Nevada desert and 2 nights it dropped into the 20's. My trailer was fine but my hose froze. I had to turn on the pump in the morning and use the tank. I used my Big Buddy like Carl said. The Big Buddy works amazing and sips fuel. The hose thawed out during the day.
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:34 PM   #12
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The Class A we just sold the previous owner plumbed a quick disconnect from the propane to the interior of the Motorhome and then He used the Big Buddy at night in the bedroom or living room only then in the morning would run the RV gas heat to bring the entire coach up to temp. It saved him a lot of Propane not heating the entire RV at night heating only the rooms he was in.

You could also install a diesel heater (like used on Boats) you would need a small diesel tank however you can also install a 50 gallon aux tank in your Diesel truck to use to refuel the small RV tank that would feed the diesel heater. those heaters are very efficient, we have a Espar Diesel heater on our 48' boat although we have 600 gallons of Diesel fuel tanks on board.

Here is a Diesel Heater made just for RV's

https://www.amazon.com/Eberspacher-A...28918423&psc=1

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Old 02-10-2020, 05:51 AM   #13
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For what it’s worth - in my neck of the woods - a half cord of split oak is $175. A half cord basically fills up the bed of my truck about level to the top, and I have a toolbox. The pic in Dutchmens post would be a fortune in oak!
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Old 02-10-2020, 08:58 AM   #14
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Thanks to all who have responded to my queries thus far.
I realize there's a real firewood issue by using a wood stove (thanks Dutchman for the graphical fotos ).
The KATYDID is UL-approved for use in a traditional home or mobile home in the United States and Canada, and I would be extremely careful to ensure installation was top-notch and with safety first.

I also see the point of $5k for a stove buying a lot of propane...
Regarding the Big Buddy suggestion, I'll think further on this - the issue it presents (based on what I've read) is one of added moisture inside the RV - the beauty of the KATYDID/KIMBERLY is that it's a dry heat, and the oxygen source for combustion can be from the outside.
I'll also do some research on the diesel heater option.
Finally, our location for this winter RV full-time living adventure will be the Pacific Northwest - thus my comment that I don't expect prolonged deep-freeze periods.
Again, thanks all for your comments thus far. Greatly appreciate the feedback & suggestions.
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:43 AM   #15
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Try this
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VT24CLK...NsaWNrPXRydWU=

or this

https://www.amazon.com/US-Stove-GW19...n%2C214&sr=1-3
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:02 PM   #16
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Since you are in the PNW you should know that virtually every larger boat uses Diesel heaters, it is common place, as is sales and service for them. As mentioned above Diesel is easy to store and a portable tank can be used. You should visit Fisheries Supply in Seattle they have all kinds of alternative (non propane) heating options that may work for you.
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:47 PM   #17
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After my many experiences during 25 years in the fire department I strongly advise against a wood burning stove in a fifth wheel.. Even using “proper clearance “ as rated for residential and Mobile home installations. Construction materials and configurations are different along with limited means of egress from the recreational vehicle. When an RV catches fire it has a high probability of burning to the ground destroying all contents and causing bodily injury to any occupants. Space is much more confined allowing smoke to fill the compartment very rapidly and fire spread would be very fast possibly resulting in trapping the occupants. Your choice but please consider the risks vs the benefit on this one.
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Old 02-11-2020, 09:29 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HVSkeptic View Post
Thanks to all who have responded to my queries thus far.
I realize there's a real firewood issue by using a wood stove (thanks Dutchman for the graphical fotos ).
The KATYDID is UL-approved for use in a traditional home or mobile home in the United States and Canada, and I would be extremely careful to ensure installation was top-notch and with safety first.

I also see the point of $5k for a stove buying a lot of propane...
Regarding the Big Buddy suggestion, I'll think further on this - the issue it presents (based on what I've read) is one of added moisture inside the RV - the beauty of the KATYDID/KIMBERLY is that it's a dry heat, and the oxygen source for combustion can be from the outside.
I'll also do some research on the diesel heater option.
Finally, our location for this winter RV full-time living adventure will be the Pacific Northwest - thus my comment that I don't expect prolonged deep-freeze periods.
Again, thanks all for your comments thus far. Greatly appreciate the feedback & suggestions.
We are currently using ours through the winter in northern NY. When we are not there I keep the furnace on 40, than 65 when we stay in it. So we go through a 30lb tank every 2 weeks like that, at 18$ to refill it seems cheap. If we do this next year I would get a bulk tank with service & possibly skirt the camper. I like using the furnace,its easy & keeps the underbelly warm . If we travel more I would like to install 12volt heat tracing on the water system.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:12 AM   #19
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Wood burning stove in a RV???. I never in my wildest dreams thought of that.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:31 PM   #20
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Big Buddy has worked great for us. I leave a 20# bottle outside of rv and run 12' line between the rubber seal into the LR and hook up. Keeps the rv comfortable during the day and use the central heat at night if below freezing. A 20# bottle can easily last you a week or more if not bitter cold.
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