Unlike some other vandwellers out there I have the privilege of shore power. Not 30amps mind you but a clean 15amp breaker that lets me run my electric heater (12.5amp 1500w). Right now I'm in the process of finding a larger extension cord for safety and some insulation for the roof. My plan is to get a 30ft tarp and to lay insulation on the roof, stuff the walls and tie it up super tight at the roof line. That way I can still drive if needed without taking it all off and down and it should change the heat retention qualities of the topper immensely.
I also have the feelers out for some straw bales...idea would be to make a wall around the van to minimize underflow. From all I have read on the net it makes a world of difference. I want to make them like a U shape so I can drive in and out. Then to drag a tarp across the front of the van once I'm settled.
The thing I need to worry about most is moisture. That is why I am trying to avoid the propane heater even though it would cost less and be more efficient than the electric heater. I also could buy a Mr buddy heater but the idea of the extra cost doesn't really do it for me..plus the further away I am from explosive gases during my REM phase the better. And hey I can always use another extension cord. :) Ideal would be a 220v line and a shop heater but that would be hundreds to get a line off TK's panel and get it all set up correctly.
So the idea will be to do it as safe as I can using what I have and to make is as efficient as possible in order to minimize shore power usage for heat
1 - wood stove ---> <---oh yeah!!
The issue with heat is that it's easier to heat a "something" than it is to heat the air. The van is already a horrible platform to use for efficiency being built entirely of metal...and since we can't fix that we just have to roll with it.
1 - wood stove...while awesome is unrealistic...but totally awesome
2 - electric - most readily accessible - most inefficient and most expensive over the long run but dry and doesn't need filling
3 - propane - I could sit a 100lb propane bottle beside my van and probably get away with running it off of that for the entire winter...I'm still debating this option even though I don't like it much. It is the cheapest by far and my furnace produces 16000btu's compared to the possible 5000 by the ceramic heater......
Either or the converter will need a good solid connection with shore so a new cable is needed that reaches the entire way.
1- 100ft of 10/3 all weather extension cable. I'm going with 10/3 because of the length I am running (about 65ft is all I really need). With every 50ft the amperage drops which strains everything connected to it. Currently I have a 12/3 that is just about 15ft short of the mark. 12/3 would work as it is designed to deliver 1875w and 15amps. I just figure that spending the extra $15 won't hurt...a lesson I learned after not doing something like that before. It is a heater, it does draw large amperage...better safe than sorry.
1- Camo tarp (hey why not) - I could get silver, or blue...but camo will also be useful in the future so camo it is
- a deal on batt insulation
- some nylon rope - i saw this glow in the dark rope...going to try to find that
Also needed -
Cheap stryoboard insulation
double sided tape
I have a choice...leave the upper roof vent accessible or leave an upper window accessible. I have a fantastic fan so I can run it with the vent closed for air circulation..but I like the idea of being able to open up something while I'm up there...so I'm thinking about that as I go along.
Rear doors will be cover by a blanket. Other blankets will be used to cover the entrance to the front cab and the barn doors in order to keep the heating space as small as possible.
It will get a bit cavey so I will be hitting the Value Village in St John to see if there is a funky lamp solution to let me shine while I'm in there.
Now the only reason I can really do this is because in both St George and Sussex I have access to a shower. Without that I'd probably be finding a more traditional style of housing structure to live in. However I still have yet to find work and it may be that I end of taking a job in PEI or somewhere and a traditional stick brick set up might be necessary...so staying flexible is part of my plan!
Speaking of showers...stay tuned for pictures of the bathroom renovation that was completed with the help of a very knowledgeable father.