Block heater enough to warm van?

#1
This is my first post but I've been looking around for awhile. I've searched but only find info on the intended usage and nobody mentions what I'm interested in. I've been planning on building a Toyota Van or a Previa for family camping and DD duty. I had the bright idea of installing a block heater (or 2) and maybe a 12v coolant circulation pump along with an onboard battery charger like you would find on a boat. All of this for the purpose of heating the interior of the van in the winter. I want to be able to plug my van in at a campsite or on my family's property and run the vehicle heat with no worry of fire or CO. I'm just not sure if a block heater has enough wattage to keep up with heating the inside of a car or if there are better solutions for heating the van without burning anything or risking a fire/ toddler burning themselves.
 
#3
A block heater isn't designed to provide that kind of heat and neither are the inline heaters spliced into the heater hose.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
#4
You'd have to really insulate the skin of the vehicle and maybe even put some e-film on the windows to retain much heat from an electrical source. It would be a lot of juice, wherever you got it from.

You'd do better to mount a ceramic / catalytic propane radiant heater where a 'toddler' couldn't reach it. But even then you aren't going to KEEP a vehicle comfortably warm continuously. Buy better sleeping bags / blankets.
 
#5
You'd have to really insulate the skin of the vehicle and maybe even put some e-film on the windows to retain much heat from an electrical source. It would be a lot of juice, wherever you got it from.

You'd do better to mount a ceramic / catalytic propane radiant heater where a 'toddler' couldn't reach it. But even then you aren't going to KEEP a vehicle comfortably warm continuously. Buy better sleeping bags / blankets.
Encouraging someone to use a propane heater in an enclosed space borders on criminal. CO poisoning.
 
#6
Encouraging someone to use a propane heater in an enclosed space borders on criminal. CO poisoning.
Not really, heaters like that are operated everyday in enclosed spaces, as long as there is a window cracked or a tent flap open or a vent in use there is no danger for someone with sense, which I know is giving them the benefit of the doubt but hey some of us still possess that trait.
 
#7
The OP has access to 120v power supply. An electric space heater is the best/safest option from the standpoint of fire and CO poisoning. Propane is the worst option.
 

HenryJ

Expedition Leader
#8
A block heater won't be enough. If you can plug it in use an electric space heater, there are many safe options.
Yes indeed. I have been using a Zerostart "Little Buddy" cabin heater in my trucks for nearly couple decades now. Keeps the interior tasty warm and the windows defrosted / melted.
I added a thermostat to mine. My son's car has a timer so it is ready to go before school.
The only way to go for rigs that have to sit outside around here.

I even packed a small generator on a couple of our winter expeditions. The thought was to use it to power the electric heater if we REALLY needed to. The little 900w generator ran it just fine. Never did "have to use it" though.
 
#9
Use the blockheater a couple hours before you intend to start up.
A space heater for your interior.
Unless you are in antarctica, cheapo 750-1100Watt is plenty inside a Previa size van.
 
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rayra

Expedition Leader
#10
Encouraging someone to use a propane heater in an enclosed space borders on criminal. CO poisoning.
Your ignorance is criminal. As is your imagining anybody was recommending things be closed up tight. There's an entire market niche of propane catalytic heaters MEANT to be operated in tents and similarly confined spaces. Yet you can only imagine Death.

https://www.amazon.com/catalytic-heater/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i:aps,k:catalytic heater

eta the outputs of catalytic burning of propane are carbon DIoxide and water vapor. And heat. And not carbon monoxide

https://www.amazon.com/Portable-Cat...d=1510040209&sr=8-6&keywords=catalytic+heater

Safe Portable Gas Catalytic Heater | Perfect Camping, RV, Tent Heating Tool With Foldable Legs by MARTIN

Many companies, making many of these products, for many years, used by a great many people. Yet all you can muster is complaint about what you imagine to be someone else's ignorance on the subject.
 
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#11
eta the outputs of catalytic burning of propane are carbon DIoxide and water vapor. And heat. And not carbon monoxide.
Thats right if correct oxygen percentage, atmospheric pressure and undamaged or uncontaminated catalyst are present. If not, just breathe deep & visit Elvis.
 
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#12
Rayra I'm not going to get into a major discussion here, its a waste of time trying to explain any thing to you.
Fact, people die every year from CO poisoning from poorly maintained or vented propane heaters.
Fact, these heaters all state: DO NOT OPERATE WHILE SLEEPING
Fact, the OP has an infant, particularly susceptible to CO poisoning
Fact, the OP wants a CO safe option
Fact, the OP has the ability to plug the vehicle into 120volt outlet
Fact, an electric space heater meets his needs
Fact, a propane catalytic does not.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
#13
Rayra I'm not going to get into a major discussion here, its a waste of time trying to explain any thing to you.
Fact, people die every year from CO poisoning from poorly maintained or vented propane heaters.
Fact, these heaters all state: DO NOT OPERATE WHILE SLEEPING
Fact, the OP has an infant, particularly susceptible to CO poisoning
Fact, the OP wants a CO safe option
Fact, the OP has the ability to plug the vehicle into 120volt outlet
Fact, an electric space heater meets his needs
Fact, a propane catalytic does not.

What a pile of fear-driven, fear-mongering BS. Flies in the face of a camping industry that has been marketing propane catalytic heaters for use in confined spaces for literally decades. You are peddling ignorant irrational hysteria 'for the children'.

On top of it all, if you or anyone else is so concerned, a CO alarm is available for far less than the cost of the heaters themselves.

Now kindly quit trying to impose YOUR inappropriate level of fear on other people.

https://www.rei.com/c/tent-heaters?r=c&origin=web&ir=category:tent-heaters&page=1


eta - your issue is so vanishingly small that it doesn't even merit mention in the CDC's info on CO poisoning -
https://www.cdc.gov/co/default.htm
 
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#14
FACT, PEOPLE die from deep frying turkey every year, yet people still do it, just cause someone dies doing it, doesn't mean it isn't safe, morons will always find away to kill themselves if they ignore simple directions and safety precautions.

propane heaters, like any other HEATING device, are as safe as YOU make them. keep them maintained, keep them in a safe space during use, and don't be a tool. people die from electric heater caused fires too.

"Although a mighty delicious tradition, deep-frying a turkey on Thanksgiving can be risky. Every year deep-fryer fires are responsible for five deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes, and more than $15-million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.Nov 27, 2013"