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Author Topic: Redirect AC to back of the van  (Read 724 times)

univan

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Redirect AC to back of the van
« on: September 20, 2018, 09:28:26 PM »
I am planning to live in a van whilst I am at Uni. I start back next week so I am looking for a quick solution for heating the van in winter.

I am looking to redirect one of the AC vents using flexible  dryer extractor piping combined with a remote engine start system.

I am unsure of the best point to connect into the AC, I am thinking that by removing the glove box I should be able to access a good connection point.

If anyone has any pointers it would be extremely welcome.

Camper_Dan

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Re: Redirect AC to back of the van
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2018, 11:30:53 PM »
Greetings and Welcome!

This is a very poor idea.  Not only  is it very hard on your engine, you are also putting yourself at great risk of dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.  No matter what you're doing, a carbon monoxide detector/alarm is highly  recommended right up their with a smoke detector and a propane deteector if you're using propane.

There are multiple ways to heat your van that are much safer, and will be much cheaper in the long run.  The two most common options are either kerosene or propane.  General consensus is that it's not good to run unvented propane while you sleep though, and I agree.  The kerosene stoves and heaters use a wick instead of the fuel being pressurized, so if the flame should go out, there is no danger of turning your rig into a propane bomb. 

You didn't mention where you're at or the temperatures you're expecting...  I do winters down to -40f and below at times, and I do run my kerosene heater all night to keep my whole van above freezing.  If below freezing isn't a huge issue, I usually don't run my heater over night, but it is within reach of my bed where I can fire it up without getting out of bed, then let it warm the van before I actually crawl out of my warm and cozy bed.

There are also 12v electric blankets, mattress toppers, and seat cushions.  I have a 12v electric blanket that I use and love, and I also use a heating/cooling seat cushion as a mattress pad.  I normally only use one or the other, and not both at the same time.  They don't seem to use much power.

Many people just use their camp stoves for heat while they're up and around.  Some people will use a pot of sand or dirt over the burner they're using to help store and radiate the heat long into the night. 

A good sleeping bag or enough covers, along with good clothing, a ski hat or mask, and gloves can keep you warm without the need for heat while sleeping.  Some people will also take hot water bottles to bed with them, especially near their feet if they're prone to getting cold.

I carry 3 sleeping bags, a lightweight one, a medium one, and a heavy one.  I can use one, two, or all three in any combination to keep me pretty comfortable.  You want gear that requires no fuel or power for in case of emergencies. 

Cheers!
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univan

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Re: Redirect AC to back of the van
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2018, 08:56:11 AM »
I am in the UK so expecting a lowest temperature of around -5 celsius. I think I wasn't clear enough I am only using this method to heat the van up before I go to sleep, and switching it on in the morning to warm the van before I get out of bed, so the engine will be idling for 30min max on cold days (the remote start system cuts the engine after 15 minutes of inactivity).

I don't have any electrics installed yet, I need to get a battery to battery charger before I can charge my leisure battery.


But it's reassuring to know that a good sleeping bag etc can get me through the night if worst comes to worst.

Thanks for the thorough response.


Camper_Dan

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Re: Redirect AC to back of the van
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2018, 11:47:59 PM »
Greetings!

Oh, ok, I was thinking you might be planning on running the engine while you were sleeping.

I would still get a carbon monoxide detector.

You shouldn't need to worry about the heater ducts, as long as there is an open pathway between the front and back.  Maybe a clip on fan to  help circulate the heat to the back.

I am a little concerned  that 15 minutes might not be long enough for the engine to warm up enough to be throwing out enough heat.  I have to drive several miles before my van starts throwing any heat at all when it's cold out.  I suppoose you could restart it for another 15 minutes if needed.

If your dash cigarette lighter port cuts off with the ignition, the fan would shut off too, if it doesn't, it should be easy enough to rewire so it does.

Isolator's, relays, or solenoid's are pretty cheap and easy to install to charge your house battery while driving.  99% of the time, that's all I need to keep my house battery charged, and I really don't drive  that much, a few miles maybe, every few days.  Driving charges your batteries pretty quickly.

Another cold weather trick is to get dressed while in your sleeping bag.  Also keep your next days clothes in the sleeping bag with you, so they're warm and dry when you put them on.  This can even help a lot even if you're getting out of your bag before getting dressed.

Doing a google search for cold weather camping tips & tricks can get you all sorts of neat little ideas.

Cheers!
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