Keeping the van warm!

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Keeping the van warm!

Post by StewPotch on Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:56 pm

Hi all,

With winter approaching then the freezing nights, what is everyone’s opinion on electric heaters?

This is my first MH and I am considering keeping a 55W electrical heater on throughout the winter in the van


https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B007W0WV1M/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1


I will be following the winterisation procedures regarding water / heating etc but thought this would help – any thoughts?
The van is stored at home so no problem running a mains lead from the garage.
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by AndyPK on Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:11 pm

I bought the 120W version for our Clubman last winter, and it seemed to do the job in keeping the van dry and aired......admittedly it didn't get too cold last winter, but I found the 120W was just enough and, being thermostatically controlled, it only came on when required.

Andy
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by Wargenwolf on Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:25 pm

I kept my vans alongside the house and used to leave an electric heater plugged in on 'frost protection' setting. It used to come on at 5deg centigrade and we never had any problems with it.

I used to open all cupboard doors and lift the seat bases to allow the warm air to reach everywhere.

Ken.

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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by Paramedic on Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:25 pm

Hi StewPotch, you have the advantage of storing your van at home for reasons of regular inspection inside and out. I don't think you need waste energy or indeed your money on permanent heating when not in use. I suppose in the long term any residual moisture from cooking would readily condense on a cold surface and if not ventilated, could result in mould of some sort. That is why it is recommended in winter months to leave all cupboard/bathroom doors open and move soft furnishings away from side walls. It would be easy in your circumstances to maybe freshen up the inside on say a bright dry breezy day. The heating option would be an advantage to make it nice and warm immediately before using your van.

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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by rogerblack on Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:54 pm

When we were still working and generally unable to use our previous motorhome during most of the winter months, it used to go inside a specialist breathable fitted cover and I used one of those tube type greenhouse heaters just to keep the worst of the chill off, along with a dehumidifier to prevent damp.

Now that we have taken early retirement and are therefore able to use the motorhome throughout the year, we have a small (Delonghi Bambino) oil filled radiator which we use when staying in the motorhome, either on low for background overnight heating or at a higher thermostat setting on a timer to come on in the morning so it's warm when we dress.

During the coldest winter months I also now tend to leave this little heater set on low so the motorhome isn't too chilly when we decide to go off for an impromptu outing. Since we keep clothes and bedding in the motorhome so we're always ready to go, this prevents it getting cold or damp.

With the thermal screens on the cab and the hab blinds down (yes I know everyone says you shouldn't!) then it costs very little to maintain comfortable conditions - I monitor this with data loggers so I know I'm neither overheating nor overusing leccy.

Someone will no doubt be along in a minute to argue that as dealers don't do any of this then it's all totally unnecessary rolleyes 
but it's a personal choice so do what works best for you.
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by NORGIL on Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:18 pm

rogerblack wrote:
With the thermal screens on the cab and the hab blinds down (yes I know everyone says you shouldn't!) 
I left my hab blinds down all last winter thinking it would help to keep the van warm, what is the argument against leaving them down ? I also leave a small 500w oil filled thermostat rad on a low setting which just keeps the inside from getting too cold. It doesn't seem to trouble my electric bill too much and is worth it for my peace of mind. The dealers may leave their vans unheated and out in the open but they have skilled people to carry out any repairs and access to cost price parts if they do get frost damage.

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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by daisy mae on Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:28 pm

I leave a 500 watt Delonghi  oil heater on in the winter, mainly on the frost setting, keeps it cosy for when I use it, which is just about everyday.
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by StewPotch on Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:42 pm

Thanks all for your contributions. I'll kick off with the 55W heater and see how it goes. We can keep an eye on things daily and see how it goes.
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by rogerblack on Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:51 pm

NORGIL wrote:
rogerblack wrote:
With the thermal screens on the cab and the hab blinds down (yes I know everyone says you shouldn't!) 
I left my hab blinds down all last winter thinking it would help to keep the van warm, what is the argument against leaving them down ?
.......
norgil

Actually, I should have said 'up' as on our Pollensa pulling down brings the flyscreens into operation, whereas up is the silvered thermal part in place.

Some have argued in the past that leaving them permanently closed can weaken the springs making them harder to retract.
In fact, the springs have a tendency to weaken through time anyway, even the top (flyscreen) which is only used in the summer. I have previously removed the cassette and retensioned them, so it's not the end of the world.  They tend to be stiffer in cold temperatures anyway, a quick thump of the cassette is usually enough to encourage them to do as they're told.    dum

Just to clarify, ours are the tensioned roller blind type. If the newer ones are concertina then this won't apply.
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by groundhog on Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:00 pm

I am with Norgil, we also have a 500w oil radiator. The van is always parked with the blinds down to prevent any fading in the upholstery Summer and Winter. All cupboard doors are left open.
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by KMRTOPAZ on Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:54 am

I've long had a reputation for rowing against the tide, so here goes !  I believe there is no benefit in heating a van that is in storage mode. Provided the normal winterization procedures have been followed,  there is nothing in the van that can be damaged by low temperatures.
However, low temperatures do cause condensation of air borne moisture leading to dampness and, in extreme cases, mould on surfaces and in fabrics. The remedy is not to raise the temperature but to remove the moisture.  No air borne moisture means no condensation.
Electrical (or chemical) dehumidifiers are very efficient and can be controlled via a time switch for periodic operation. They cost very little to run. Fifteen years of winterizing a yacht in a very exposed position confirmed this view. Keith.

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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by NORGIL on Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:56 am

Not sure you are rowing against the tide Keith. You have still taken a positive step to care for your van over winter. Your way may be out of step with those of us that use heaters but we are all marching towards the same battle. 
I wasn't aware of the issue regarding spring tension on the blinds, when the van is not in use I do what groundhog does for the same reason, to protect the upholstery. Maybe I will end up having to re-tension them at some point, but that will be a price worth paying for keeping the upholstery fade free and the van warm in winter.

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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by Paramedic on Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:37 am

With no concertina blinds in the cab, we exclude the harmful effects of the sun (during storage) with cardboard backed with cheap silver screen material shaped to fit side windows and same for roof lights. On all habitation windows, these are cut to size with silver backed foam (camping sleeping mat purchased from Tesco) positioned up and behind curtain/blind pelmet and tucked behind window locks. Very quick to slot in position and easily removed and rolled up for storage. The idea being all the blinds do not lose tension of the springs during periods of storage.

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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by daisy mae on Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:56 pm

The way I see It on reading all the replies,  depends whether you use your van all year or lay it up. I use mine all year round, if not for camping depends on circumstances at the time, also in day to day driving, so I like to keep the van cosy in bad weather.

As always each to their own.
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by Paramedic on Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:26 pm

Paramedic wrote: The idea being all the blinds do not lose tension of the springs during periods of storage.
Please pay no attention to the last sentence of my post. Obviously the tension springs refer to the fly screens and not the sun blinds that operate by friction only. confused3

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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by frederic on Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:13 pm

Silentnight 500watt oil filled heater in the Original Factory Shop for £20
Works for us especially when aided by  12volt freestanding computer fan, were in Morrison's recently reduced to £1.50, blowing across the fins!
And when even colder, a 750/1500 watt  Diddy fan heateras well at the rear of the van!
(when on hookup of course!)
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by pstallwood on Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:14 am

i use a dehumidifier on a time switch so it is not running all the time. Bought it about 15 years ago after the wooden drawer under the cooker swelled in our first van, an Executive, so much wouldn't open.

I also use a greenhouse heater on the frost stat setting.

Peter

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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by bikeralw on Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:34 am

I'm with the few here who have no heating on during winter layup. A waste of money in my opinion if the van is not being used for long periods. Modern vans have so much ventilation built in that any background heat just rises to the roof and escapes through the rooflights.
I do follow all winterisation procedures, and also leave several trays of those moisture absorbing crystals around the van.
Al.
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by Greyhound on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:19 am

bikeralw wrote:I'm with the few here who have no heating on during winter layup. A waste of money in my opinion if the van is not being used for long periods.

I'm of a similar opinion.

It's moisture that's the potential problem, and heating it is more likely to cause it to condense again and drip off cold surfaces.

A dehumidifier is the way to go IMO and I leave one in mine on a timer so only operates now and again, but each to their own.
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by dbroada on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:52 am

Sorry to hijack the thread a bit but this will be my first winter with a nice van so maybe I should consider what to do. The problem being it is not really practical to plug the van in to the mains anywhere.

Does anybody have any recommendations for a 12v low current solution or even a volt free one?

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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by Gromit on Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:46 pm

I'm not even convinced about de-humidifiers??

In a fully enclosed space I wouldn't be pondering, but as said already, there is so much ventilation in modern vans that there's a danger of trying to de-humidify the street. With the drop-outs in the floor and permanent vents in windows and roof lights it seems a bit of a pointless exercise?

Condensation only happens when there are temperature differentials. If the whole van is cold, there will be significant condensation only when a warm front suddenly arrives in very humid weather conditions. Warm wet air striking relatively cold surfaces will condense, but there's not much we can do in those circumstances.

It is worth noting however, that the warm wet air very soon finds its way into a closed up van - reinforcing the futility of many precautions suggested in this thread. If the van was fully (or even nearly) sealed the effects of a warm front would be negligible, because the warm wet air would not be able to get in.

Having said all that, that water which is removed from the air by a de-humidifier is not going to condense anywhere in the van - so it is probably worthwhile. It certainly won't make matters worse - but if it was possible to be really effective there would be no more condensate after a few days, as the air trapped in the van would be dry! The fact that water continues to condense in the tank (and never stops doing so) clearly indicates that as fast as you dry it out, more wet air comes in.

Have we got any members we can quiz from Iceland or Northern Scandinavia??

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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by Greyhound on Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:03 pm

I guess the whole thing is a common sense approach.

Keeping cupboards and bench seats open and ventilated is probably the most important thing.

We take as much soft furnishing out too that may hold on to moisture.
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by daisy mae on Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:43 pm

I have never had a problem with condensation or moisture , I leave everything in the van, I had no damp anywhere when AS did a hab check a few weeks ago. I read that humidifiers make things worse. never used one so cannot go on experience. I can only go on what we have done for decades.I have heat  on lowest setting.





There are two camps here, those that heat their van and those that don`t, so anyone undecided you could try both to see what works for you, just an idea, It can get confusing especially if you are a newcomer to MH`s.


Last edited by daisy mae on Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:46 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : last sentence)
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by Greyhound on Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:21 pm

daisy mae wrote:I read that humidifiers make things worse.

A humidifier is the worst thing. A dehumidifier however ;)
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Re: Keeping the van warm!

Post by bikeralw on Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:21 pm

But Margaret is in a different situation than most on here in that she uses her van on a daily basis. The original poster is asking about heating during periods of non use in the winter.
My van is also dry as a bone, and no heating on over the last 6 winters.
One thing I wouldn't recommend to a newcomer though is an all enclosing cover. I purchased one several years ago, made to measure with a breathable membrane etc. I used it for one winter and it's the only time I've had mould spots in the van, covering all the cold hard surfaces. In my opinion covers just block the natural ventilation and are best avoided. I sold mine on after only a few months of use.
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