Thursday, October 17, 2013

Let There be Heat!

Hello from your guest author Jacob ( I am the guy in the photos playing with power tools). Well the seasons have begun to change up here in the Northwest; the leaves are at their peak, mushrooms have sprung up everywhere, migratory birds have returned, and the night time temps continue to drop. When we first arrived back from Maui, the weather had us contemplating our Airstream living situation. But, the last few weeks of October have been pretty spectacular and have allowed us to reconsider. Ever since we first decided that we needed an Airstream trailer we had dreamed of it having a small/cute woodstove for heat. After living in the trailer for a while now we have come to learn the value of our precious space in Blue Moon. In total we have 75 square feet of open floor space and the dogs take up about 8 square feet a piece.....that doesn't leave much room for even the smallest woodstove! Lucky for us our buddy Andrew told us about the Dickinson marine heaters that are designed for boats and run on propane.

These stainless steel heaters mount on the wall and have a nice little glass window so you can see the flame....this really adds to the ambiance and the romance. The other cool thing about one of these vs. a woodstove has to do with safety: the Dickinson heater intakes air from outside the trailer, so as not to deplete the oxygen inside our trailer. A woodstove uses the interior air for combustion, which can be dangerous in a small space. The ability to wake up and press a button for heat instead of building a fire is also something Heidi is not complaining about. I ordered one of the heaters from Fisheries Supply in Seattle and it came in just a couple of days. The installation of the heater took four easy steps:

1) Drill hole in the ceiling where you want the flue pipe to exit. The heater comes with a flexible, double-wall flue pipe which could be bent in Dr. Seuss fashion to conform to our curvy trailer's walls.

2)Run 12 volt power to the heater for the heater's fan = small moment of flashbacks to gutting when we had to remove the wall panel to access the wiring! We quickly replaced it.

3) Run a propane line from the propane tank to the heater (up through the floor). In the photo above, I am holding my hand-formed, very special connector piece of copper pipe.
4) Rivet the heater to the wall. Airstream owners are well-accustomed to using rivets in place of screws. The aluminum panels are too thin to hold a screw. The vent cap was also riveted to the outside of the trailer in the photo above.

It was not too terribly difficult to install and has made a huge difference in our overall comfort. It heats the whole Airstream without a problem, even on the lower setting. We were worried about the heater's fan being to noisy, but it is very quiet and circulates the warm air very well.
We're pretty stoked on our little heater. Here's to a beautiful fall!

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