Topic: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

I used a crappy 1,500 watt electric heater to try and keep my 24' trailer warm to sleep in while at Atlanta this year.  It definitely took the sting out of the air, but it wasn't great.  Anyone have suggestions for heaters that can be run in an enclosed space and actually output a decent amount of heat?  I was wondering about things like this: https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv- … v-furnaces  But don't know enough about them to know what all is required to actually use one safely.  My flame throwing heater is wonderful in the enclosed pavilion, but a definite no-go for keeping on while sleeping.  Loud as hell and it would get down right tropical in there.  Likely right before setting the whole place on fire O.o

The hope is to have something better for Barber in Feb

Thanks!

-Dave

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

Is the trailer finished inside?
If not add insulation.
Ridged foam is best for this.

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

If your plan is to stay in your trailer at the track at every race then you should think about mounting an RV heat pump on the roof. I had one that worked well and know other people that use them. Heat in the winter and a cool in the summer.

Another option I have seen used that worked well is a portable 115 volt heat pump. Again, heat and air conditioning. Units aren't big and work well in small spaces. About half the price of the roof mount RV units.

Of course your next step is an ultra-quiet Honda generator to make sure you always have a reliable 115volts. Or, you could stay in hotels when it is really cold or miserable hot. You can stay a lot of nights in a hotel for what you are going to spend for a heat pump and power.

4 (edited by Lemon_Newton-Metre 2018-12-19 11:29 PM)

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

Mr. Heater's Portable Buddy; connects to a 20# tank. No 110AC needed.

Also, some 'portable' air conditioners [the ones with the hose(s) that vents out the window] have a heat pump function.

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

Mr. Heater's Portable Buddy is nice.  I have had one and it is loaded with safety features:  tip over shut off, low O2 sensor, and a few others.  They make a bigger one with a fan to help circulate the heat.

Skip "Mongo" L.
Team DadBod

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

moose72 wrote:

Mr. Heater's Portable Buddy is nice.  I have had one and it is loaded with safety features:  tip over shut off, low O2 sensor, and a few others.  They make a bigger one with a fan to help circulate the heat.

I know these work great in an insulated trailer because this is how my teammate heats his.

Captain
Team Super Westerfield Bros.
'93 Acura Integra - No VTEC Yo!

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

Here is the small one:

http://www.mrheater.com/sporting/portab … eater.html

Here is the Big Buddy:

http://www.mrheater.com/sporting/big-bu … eater.html

You can find better prices at you local sporting goods store or online.

Skip "Mongo" L.
Team DadBod

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

jimbbski wrote:

Is the trailer finished inside?
If not add insulation.
Ridged foam is best for this.

Good point.  The trailer is in no way insulated.  Bought the cheapest thing I could find.  Not sure if I'm up for ripping the walls off, but definitely up for insulating the roof.  Any particular brand of rigid foam?

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

moose72 wrote:

Here is the small one:

http://www.mrheater.com/sporting/portab … eater.html

Here is the Big Buddy:

http://www.mrheater.com/sporting/big-bu … eater.html

You can find better prices at you local sporting goods store or online.


I saw some of these while looking around but wasn't sure of it's heat output.  The price is definitely worth a shot.  Thanks!

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

moparfan wrote:

If your plan is to stay in your trailer at the track at every race then you should think about mounting an RV heat pump on the roof. I had one that worked well and know other people that use them. Heat in the winter and a cool in the summer.

Another option I have seen used that worked well is a portable 115 volt heat pump. Again, heat and air conditioning. Units aren't big and work well in small spaces. About half the price of the roof mount RV units.

Of course your next step is an ultra-quiet Honda generator to make sure you always have a reliable 115volts. Or, you could stay in hotels when it is really cold or miserable hot. You can stay a lot of nights in a hotel for what you are going to spend for a heat pump and power.

Thanks for the input!  The main drive for camping isn't cost savings.  I like to be at the track with the car the whole time.  I can work late without worrying about needing to get to the hotel and back, I'm there in case something happens at night, and I can drink all I want big_smile

It seems that that propane heater is the way to go at the moment.  If that fails, then maybe I will look into something roof mounted.  It would be nice to have some A/C for the summer races.  An all-in-one roof system would be nice there.

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

For insulating the roof I am going with Refletix generic brother and 3M Super 77.  In short, it is a contact adhesive and refltix is foil bubble wrap.  I have a round roof so rigid is more challenging.

Another thing, limit the area you are heating to only what you need.  We have cheap canvas painter tarp ziptied to the roof framing to us as a curtain.

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

If you are using propane, please get a CO detector.

13 (edited by Greg S 2018-12-20 10:42 AM)

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

Propane heater in an enclosed space = death by CO poisoning.

The link you showed in the first post shows furnaces that have a separate fresh air intake and an exhaust - they are safe if installed correctly. In my trailer (40' haulmark - gooseneck) I installed a good CO detector right after I put an RV generator into the generator box. I was that concerned about CO inside the trailer, which turns into the locker room, bedroom, kitchen & clubhouse anytime the weather sucks at a race (seems like that happens a lot)

I don't sleep in it yet, bet when my spouse finds out about the next car I buy I might be moving into the trailer.

BTW, I have a roof mounted AC unit on the trailer - it makes it tolerable on the hottest days. It has a heater function, I use it but its anemic at best. Its a heating element with air blowing over it. It raise the incoming air to by a few degrees F. A heat pump is a different animal.

Greg

1987 Alfa Milano (Bellissima since 2008), Racing since 2008 Stafford Springs,  2nd overall 2011 NJMP, 4th at NHMS 2011, 2nd at Summit 2011, Into the wall hard at Stafford Springs 2011, 2nd at Monticello 2013, 3rd at NHMS 2013, 2nd at NHMS 2016. 2nd at NJMP 2018

25,000 racing miles in 32 races in 10 years. Yes its the same motor. Tell me again how Alfas suck? Update: Big moneyshift = new motor

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

proto17 wrote:
jimbbski wrote:

Is the trailer finished inside?
If not add insulation.
Ridged foam is best for this.

Good point.  The trailer is in no way insulated.  Bought the cheapest thing I could find.  Not sure if I'm up for ripping the walls off, but definitely up for insulating the roof.  Any particular brand of rigid foam?

I used the "pink" stuff  2" thick for the ceiling and the foil covered tan stuff  1" for the walls. You could use fiberglass being cheaper but it's a bitch to work with and I didn't want to deal with that so I went foam. It's light, east to cut to size and you don't even have to glue it if you cut it to fit tight between the wall and ceiling cross members. I had to remove the paneling on the walls but the ceiling came bare. I did cover that afterwards.

Propane heaters are OK as long as your awake but I would never leave one on while I slept in an enclosed trailer. Use an electric heater only!

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

I, and several acquaintances, have used stand-alone propane heaters in motorhomes/trailer for years without a problem. CO detector, ensure a clean blue flame, sufficient fuel, and, leave a small air intake open [to take in replacement oxygen].

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

Lemon_Newton-Metre wrote:

I, and several acquaintances, have used stand-alone propane heaters in motorhomes/trailer for years without a problem. CO detector, ensure a clean blue flame, sufficient fuel, and, leave a small air intake open [to take in replacement oxygen].

I was literally counting down for someone to post this.

Respectfully:

It works for you - good. I think its a bad idea. I wouldn't do it. I leave my risk taking for on the track.

Greg

1987 Alfa Milano (Bellissima since 2008), Racing since 2008 Stafford Springs,  2nd overall 2011 NJMP, 4th at NHMS 2011, 2nd at Summit 2011, Into the wall hard at Stafford Springs 2011, 2nd at Monticello 2013, 3rd at NHMS 2013, 2nd at NHMS 2016. 2nd at NJMP 2018

25,000 racing miles in 32 races in 10 years. Yes its the same motor. Tell me again how Alfas suck? Update: Big moneyshift = new motor

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

rlchv70 wrote:

If you are using propane, please get a CO detector.

I got one before the Atlanta race in case I had to run the big flame throwing propane heater in the trailer for extended periods of time.  Found out about the need for one at the MSR race this year.  Sooooo many generators packed into a tiny area.  The one in the rented RV was going nuts on the second day.

18 (edited by proto17 2018-12-21 07:12 AM)

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

Greg S wrote:

Propane heater in an enclosed space = death by CO poisoning.

The link you showed in the first post shows furnaces that have a separate fresh air intake and an exhaust - they are safe if installed correctly. In my trailer (40' haulmark - gooseneck) I installed a good CO detector right after I put an RV generator into the generator box. I was that concerned about CO inside the trailer, which turns into the locker room, bedroom, kitchen & clubhouse anytime the weather sucks at a race (seems like that happens a lot)

I don't sleep in it yet, bet when my spouse finds out about the next car I buy I might be moving into the trailer.

BTW, I have a roof mounted AC unit on the trailer - it makes it tolerable on the hottest days. It has a heater function, I use it but its anemic at best. Its a heating element with air blowing over it. It raise the incoming air to by a few degrees F. A heat pump is a different animal.

Greg


I have a roof vent that I could open.  I think I can run some tests with the trailer at home to see what happens.  I'm very uneasy about the idea of propane in the trailer.  Definitely planning to test whatever I go with just in case!

Edit - Not claiming that the roof vent will solve all problems.  Just that I will try with the vent open and closed and see what happens.  Probably going to need to install something that can keep rain out and allow the vent to be open.

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

jimbbski wrote:
proto17 wrote:
jimbbski wrote:

Is the trailer finished inside?
If not add insulation.
Ridged foam is best for this.

Good point.  The trailer is in no way insulated.  Bought the cheapest thing I could find.  Not sure if I'm up for ripping the walls off, but definitely up for insulating the roof.  Any particular brand of rigid foam?

I used the "pink" stuff  2" thick for the ceiling and the foil covered tan stuff  1" for the walls. You could use fiberglass being cheaper but it's a bitch to work with and I didn't want to deal with that so I went foam. It's light, east to cut to size and you don't even have to glue it if you cut it to fit tight between the wall and ceiling cross members. I had to remove the paneling on the walls but the ceiling came bare. I did cover that afterwards.

Propane heaters are OK as long as your awake but I would never leave one on while I slept in an enclosed trailer. Use an electric heater only!

Thank you both (OnkelUdo as well) for the suggestions!

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

We used a Mr. Buddy heater during the day at Road Atlanta 2017 snow fest in my 20' trailer. It wasn't working right and could not keep up. The lack of insulation didn't help either.

We used a propane powered canon heater which could heat a trailer or  Mulry's 2 car porta-garage pretty well in 2017. We used it in the 24 enclosed trailer at Road Atlanta this year with the side door wide open. I wouldn't sleep with it but being propane it was way cleaner than my kerosene canon.

Roof A/C units with heat strips seem to need more power for heat than A/C. They are typically 5,500 BTUs but I don't know the amp requirement. We used that in my camper in New Orleans and it worked but we had 50 amp 250V RV power and it wasn't that cold. When I've tried it on limited power it was only a slightly warm breeze.

Additionally, typical RV roof A/C units are 13,500 BTUs but need a lot of amperage to fire up. Modern 16,000 BTU marine A/C units will start off a Honda EU2000 generator. I am not sure why the RV world has not improved the efficiency of their A/C units as you will need a pair of EU2000s or a 3000 watt inverter generator to start a 13,500 BTU roof unit. Hard start kits can get many RV units to start on a 2400 watt Yamaha but that's not a common generator and you don't always need that much A/C.

For real comfort in the camper in cold weather the propane RV furnace is the way to go. Lots of BTUs with minimal power consumption. At some point I want to put one of these in my trailer along with an RV AC/DC converter/charger. The RV furnaces have a 12v blower, propane burner and exterior exhaust. I'd still have a CO detector but this is the safest and most efficient plan.

I will also mention that RV furnaces can have some frustrating fail safes. My "sail switch" has an intermittent issue and if it ain't happy it won't turn on the gas. Older heaters have less electronics but crappy piezo igniters. I replaced/hacked/modded the igniter in an older camper with a battery powered grill sparker which made lighting the pilot WAY easier.

When working properly, an RV furnace is like a heater at home. Set the thermostat and it cycles itself off and on.

Basically I want to wire up the trailer like an RV with mostly 12V stuff that can run off a battery. Use a marine battery for the break-away battery and 12V power source. I picked up a power supply from and old camper and plan to recycle a furnace from an old camper and cabinet mount a 8000 BTU window A/C unit. This should keep my power demands down in a 2000 watt generator range. The A/C probably won't be enough for a truly hot day but good at night.

This still leaves another problem. Most 2000 watt inverter generators have small gas tanks. I do have a 2400 watt Yamaha and the extra power is handy along with the bigger fuel tank. Yamaha ain't as reliable as a Honda though. I also have a 2000 watt Generac I bought for a sailboat as an EU2000 alternative, it is a good for the price but not quite as good as a Honda.

Troy

#35 LRE
1973 Datsun 240Z

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

Let me throw out my thinking, which is to do an in-floor radiant heat setup.  Run some pex pipes in the floor.
Then you can run a propane heater outside to heat the water and have it circulate inside.  Or go real simple
and just put a radiator inside to radiate the hot water.   Should be very safe, keep the burner real low and
a water temp gauge that can shutoff if too high.

Re: Heating Enclosed Car Trailer

You can just keep yourself warm with a heated blanket. I tried a few different heaters without insulation and they are worthless. I cheap heated electric blanket on top of an airbed works very well.

Apocalyptic Racing - Occupy Pit Lane racing
Racing the "Toylet" Toyota Celica powered by Chevrolet Ecotec.
16x Loser with the Celica. 5 times loser in other fine machines