Low - Cost Heating Improvements

by Joe Sharpe-Velazquez

It's really cold in Oregon now, so I went at the bus this week in earnest looking to thaw out my wife's toes. It worked great, and since most of the other busses I pass look like people are dying in them, I thought I'd share:

- Opened up the front grill (where the fresh air comes in through two flaps) and duct taped those suckers closed. If I want fresh air, I've got windows, and at highway speeds I could feel lots of cold air coming in regardless of the position of the blue lever. All the foam which is supposed to seal those flaps has long since rotted away.

- Took silicone sealant and hit the gaps in my front door seals. At night, with one person inside the car looking while the other runs a flashlight along the seals, we spotted plenty of spots where the seals (which look fine) just didn't seal all that great. Ran a thick bead in these places, and now I can feel the lack of a breeze at highway speeds.

- Ran a section of 3" PVC pipe underneath, replacing the dilappitated cardboard/foil tube that was there. Actually, I ran that tube over the PVC, to act as some sort of faux insulation. Couldn't hurt. And at the front of the PVC pipe, I stuck in the 3" Atwood bilge blower 3000 Turbo, etc, etc that someone here recommended. HELLO! Doesn't make the air any hotter, but it moves a helluva alot of it. And the noise doesn't seem that excessive to me, even competing with my cutting-edge Do-Tech AM/FM non-auto-reverse broken tape deck stereo's 7 watts of power (to only the right Kraco speaker). I was truly amazed at the difference. Since I only put it in this week, I can't attest to how it will stand up to continuous use or if it will somehow throw my whole bus out of harmonic balance. (I'll report if it suffers a meltdown). But the whole gig (PVC, wiring, blower & 100 yards of duct tape) only cost about $30, so it's worth a try, right?

What did I learn? Half of the icebox effect in my bus was created by the cold air seeping in, and half by the pathetic amount of airflow. Now, it's much more air tight and I have a big red switch on the steering column that evokes a deep howl from my bus' entrials. That? Oh, that's the turbo kicking in.

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