We live in a part of the world that sees snow in the winter and drought in the summer. We travel to biking destinations across the country. We wanted insulation, heat and cooling options that will work for our lifestyle.
Espar/Eberspacher Airtronic heaters use an electric fan to push air over a heat exchanger that surrounds a little diesel furnace. The heater lives inside the van, bolted to the floor, and the combustion air intake and exhaust pipes both attach under the van.
We installed one just before the weather turned cold for the winter. It’s very fuel-efficient, and really keeps the van warm.
The best thing is, there’s no additional fuel tank to fill because it runs from the van’s tank. No dangerous propane tanks, no inefficient electric heaters!
Rather than running the Espar heater all night long, we use a 12v heated mattress pad to keep the bed area toasty warm, then we just reach an arm out and turn on the diesel heat in the morning before venturing out of bed.
We stuck a fan in the ceiling to pull air through the van and help keep it cool. It works really well when a window is cracked open, but has more trouble getting airflow when the van is closed up. We’re currently looking at potential solutions to that problem.
Opening the sliding door and the rear doors creates a great draft. Unfortunately it also lets in any bugs that are around. We made bug screens for the sliding door and will be doing the same for the rear.
There’s no point having a great heater or a good cooling system if all that hard work just dissipates through the walls, floor and roof. Here’s our list of insulation options for you to choose from. We ended up using Thinsulate.
The glass in the van is a massive heat gain/loss area. We bought a sun shade made specially for the windshield and made ones for all the other windows from Low-E foil faced foam with magnets around the edges.
Heating and Cooling news
- Making foldable window shades from Low-E foil-faced foam
- Window covers – insulation where it’s most needed
- Hot water options in an electric van
- 12v electric mattress pad for cheap overnight heating
- Hot and cold running water
- Hot water tank safety switch and LED indicator
- Comparing van insulation options
- Espar/Airtronic altitude sensor
- Contemplating breaking completely good windows
- Toasty warm diesel heat
- Adding a fan, voiding the warranty