EPDM Coatings
RV LED Bulbs offer Sponsored by Spotless Water Systems Sponsored by RV Upgrades width= Composet Products EVDO

Author Topic: Heating with Diesel vs Propane  (Read 3730 times)

motojavaphil

  • ---
  • Posts: 622
Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« on: December 23, 2007, 09:27:12 AM »
We heat with a Hurricane furnace which is fueled with diesel.  It does a great job of keeping us warm.  There is a debate as to whether it is more efficent than propane.  I dont think it costs anymore than propane to heat with but I am still calculating those numbers.  Is this a desirable system or is propane better.  /we have the hydronic system for the hot water which is pretty neat.  I only use propane for the two gas burners and as a back up for the fridge.  I suspect it is the same propane in the tank from new. 
Thanks, Phil
Phil, Carol, Morgan (Black Lab), Ariel the Pup 
May The Wind Always Be At Your Back
2000 Beaver Patriot
BMW CLC, Kawi ZX10R

Gary RV Roamer

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 42212
  • We're on the road again...
Re: Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2007, 10:10:56 AM »
Most people prefer the diesel-fired Hydrohot to propane furnaces - better heat distribution, etc.  The difference is more that the entire Hydrohot heating system is better, not that diesel fuel is better than propane for heating. A good multi-zone, multi-stage propane system works pretty well too, but most coaches don't come equipped a really good one. 
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

ArdraF

  • ---
  • Posts: 7116
Re: Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2007, 01:47:30 PM »
Gary's got it right.  We've had both and it would be hard to go back to a propane furnace.  The diesel is much nicer.  Warms more evenly and it's much quieter.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Ron from Big D

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 1709
Re: Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2007, 03:14:24 PM »
Most people prefer the diesel-fired Hydrohot to propane furnaces - better heat distribution, etc.  The difference is more that the entire Hydrohot heating system is better, not that diesel fuel is better than propane for heating. A good multi-zone, multi-stage propane system works pretty well too, but most coaches don't come equipped a really good one. 

My Wanderlodge has hydronic heat that is fired with propane boilers.  System works good.  Since we live in the south, it doesn't get a great deal of use.

Ron from Big D
Staff
Artist/Photographer
http://picasaweb.google.com/remarabito

motojavaphil

  • ---
  • Posts: 622
Re: Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2007, 08:03:35 PM »
I have a friend who is a scientist and does not RV.  I was attempting to describe how we heat.  He then asked what were the advantages.  I responded that diesel provided a consistent heat and that we did not have to chase down propane stations with a 40 foot yacht.  He then asked which fuel burns more efficently and needless to say which costs more to use.  I could not answer the question.  Seems like propane is more easily excited, quicker to burn, and therefore would take more to produce an equalivant heat that slower burning diesel would.  My answer to him was more of a guess than a real answer.  I am not overly familiar with fuels, especially heating fuels.  Anyone have an idea about this?
Phil
Phil, Carol, Morgan (Black Lab), Ariel the Pup 
May The Wind Always Be At Your Back
2000 Beaver Patriot
BMW CLC, Kawi ZX10R

Tom

  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 38418
    • RV Forum web site
Re: Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2007, 08:20:11 PM »
Diesel produces more BTUs per gallon (your scientist friend will understand BTUs) and we carry a lot more diesel than propane in our mobile rigs. . Here are some numbers and references:

Exxon

The BTU content of No. 2-D diesel fuel is typically about 130,000 BTU/Gal.

DOE

LPG (Propane) ..... 91,330 Btu/gallon

I sure wish we had diesel-powered heating in our coach.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2007, 08:27:21 PM by Tom »
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Ron

  • Former Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 18115
Re: Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2007, 08:33:42 PM »
While there are a lot of advantages to the hydronic heating systems that use diesel and fuel wise the diesel is more efficient.  However from what I have seen and heard the maintenance costs are much higher on the diesel burners.  I have no experience but have been told that annual maintenance cost are $100 plus.  We replaced a sail switch on one of our propane furnances last summer at a cost of less than $20.  That was the first maintenance cost we have ever experienced on this MH after nearly 9 years and never had maintenance required on the two previous MH/s.  This was not counting replacement of the air filters.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Ragman

  • Guest
Re: Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2007, 10:29:56 PM »
It is my intention to put a diesel furnace into the RV I am building next year. I am glad to see the posts here, that confirm my choice was sound - also glad to have the name of a system - I had not got round to finding the furnace yet.

Smoky

  • ---
  • Posts: 3604
Re: Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2007, 12:06:53 AM »
Can we add a discussion on heat pumps as well?

We like our propane system, and also like our heat pump.  Most of the time in Arizona we use the heat pump, until temps get down below 40.  From 40 to 50 we use either one.  Above 50 we use the heat pump exclusively.  What is nice is that we have built in backup of 2 heating sources.  Both have been trouble free.  The propane was comfortable at 22 degrees in Montana.  Our winterizing system (traveling to Arizona)  means we don;t have to worry about being below 30 degrees very often.

 But I never looked into the cost of the heat pump.  I used it a lot last month and our total electric bill was $89.  In the summer our electric runs as high as $220 because of air conditioning.

Anyone ever cost out heat pump service in the 40 to 50 degree range?

Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

Ron

  • Former Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 18115
Re: Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2007, 08:32:47 AM »
Your heat pump being the same unit as your AC will use pretty close to the same electricity when running as when you are using them as air condiioners.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Gary RV Roamer

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 42212
  • We're on the road again...
Re: Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2007, 08:40:31 AM »
We have a pair of excellent two stage Attwood propane furnaces which are whisper quiet on the their first (low) stage, which is where they normally run.  They switch to 2nd or high heat stage if the thermostat Set temp is more than 6 degrees above the actual inside temp and rarely happens. Unfortunately the duct system to the rear of the coach is mediocre at best, a common problem in RV heating systems.

We also have dual heat pumps but don't use them much because the air system is noisy. Mostly we use them early in the morning to take the chill off  after a cool night.  Haven't ever checked on operating costs, since we haven't ever been anywhere the electric was not included in the rent.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

BernieD

  • ---
  • Posts: 5807
    • PressurePro
Re: Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2007, 09:07:35 AM »

We also have dual heat pumps but don't use them much because the air system is noisy. Mostly we use them early in the morning to take the chill off  after a cool night.  Haven't ever checked on operating costs, since we haven't ever been anywhere the electric was not included in the rent.

Gary

We also have dual heat pumps and find that if we use the rear one in the evening and the front one at nite, we stay very comfortable. Also, since the front one is connected to the furnace thermostat, if the temperature gets too low and the heat pump stops working, the furnace automatically kicks in.
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
Home is Goodyear, AZ
Missing our Travel Supreme

Smoky

  • ---
  • Posts: 3604
Re: Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2007, 10:03:21 AM »
Bernie:

Ours is set up the same way.

Ron:

I think you might be wrong, but not certain.  I have no scientific evidence other than my electric bill.  That is not hard proof, as we run the heat pump less in the winter than we do the air conditioner in the summer.  After I try to make allowance for the shorter winter running time, the heat pump "appears" to be less expensive.  And the power draw from the heat pump seems to be less than either the aircondx or the propane blower.

The propane likely uses so much electricity because we run the separately switched basement blower when it gets cold enough to use the propane system.  I leave the basement switch on all the time.  When we had the coach built we specified cold weather protection, so we have the basement blower and also the heating pads for the tanks.

So far the most economical approach "seems" to be (no scientific evidence), run the heat pumps till temps drop below 40, then switch to furnace, if the system has not already done that for us.

Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

Ron

  • Former Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 18115
Re: Heating with Diesel vs Propane
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2007, 09:07:37 PM »
Smoky,

When running the heat pump basically the function of the evaporator and condenser are reversed causing the hot air to be pumped inside and the cold air to be moved to the outside but the same components are used so the cost of operating if measured when operating will be basically the same whether running as a AC cooling the inside or as a heat pump heating the inside.  Your AC may be running more in the summertime than the heat pump has to run in the winter.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE