Propane Radiant Heaters

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    Anyone using a propane radiant heater in the RV while boondocking? I hear they really help conserve the propane and more importantly not having to run the big propane RV furnace really saves the batteries. Anne is a little scared to have on in the RV though…

    The MH9B little buddy is a 4,000-9,000-BTU portable, indoor safe radiant heater. A single 4,000 heat setting delivers sufficient radiant heat for a space up to 200-square-feet. Safety features include a tip over switch that will shut the heater off if it gets knocked over and a low oxygen sensor that shuts the heater off when oxygen levels in the room get too low. The pilot design will also shut the heater off completely if the pilot light goes out. Heater uses a knob for ignition and a separate single button acts as a kill switch. Clean burning and nearly 100-percent efficient.


    I would love to have one of these! Running the central heat in my travel trailer destroys my not-so-hot 12 volt battery. So, we just ’take the chill out’ then bundle up to sleep. Since I have a CPAP (with it’s own deep cycle battery), I get freezing cold air blasted to my sinuses all night. Only an issue when boondocking, though.


    Basic ‘blast dry, unheated air up your nostrils for 8 hrs’ with my settings uses 1.1 amp/hr.  If you want to save you sinuses, you can turn on the humidification a tiny bit, or a nice amount, and use a total of  3.3 amps/hr and 4.48 amps/hr, respectively.  If I need to heat it some (cuz we are boondocking and the trailer is getting pretty cold inside at night), amps/hour becomes 4.7-5.  Plus, my 450 watt modified sine inverter uses a small amount.

    Pressure settings are determined from a sleep study, initially. I stop breathing about 9 times/hour and oxygen saturation drops to 73%. Besides all the other risks of stopping breathing (lol), I wake up with a brain searing headache that will NOT go away with anything (meds, warmth, darkness) for the entire day.

    So, I have a deep cycle class 27 battery beside my bed, that is ONLY used for my CPAP. No computer charging or ipod charging for my 14 yr old daughter. (It definitely forces her to plan ahead – charge EVERYTHING in the truck as we are driving! She’s in charge of electronics and rechargeable lantern battery when we are cruising down the highway!) Also, we have a 45 watt solar set-up (Harbor Freight $129 with coupon) that I hookup directly to CPAP’s battery to carry me a few more days of boondocking before inverter starts squacking about ‘low charge.’

    So, if anyone has any questions about traveling with a CPAP, direct them to me if you want and I will share my experiences, recommendations, and best products (and least $$$$) I’ve found to keep the air coming!  (Plus, I am an RN)


    Thanks for the info, I have a much clearer picture of what you have to go through.  I guess 1000w generator would be ideal to have but they can be pricey for the nice, small and quiet ones


    Ray, you’re using these heaters, right?  We love ours but have to be very careful cuz of our critter’s tails in small TT.  Question:  Do you use the small propane bottles, or do you have the hose to connect to tank?


    Yup, got the Big Buddy, the install is on my blog –

    I use one of the big RV tanks and sit it outside with a hose running in. The unit can eat those small bottles in no time.


    Is there not a concern with carbon monoxide using a propane heater inside?


    Yes, most definitely. This one is designed as indoor safe tho. But you do need some ventilation. We leave all our roof vents open and crack a nearby window. We have a carbon monoxide alarm and propane alarm, but the big concern is it would use up our oxygen as it does have an open pilot flame thus the ventilation to let new air in. The unit has a low O2 auto-shutoff as an extra safety measure.

    We don’t sleep with it on, just use it till bed and in the morning to keep us nice and warm.



    Plan on getting a couple additional heaters,for next winter. Buddy heater or oil filled type electric heater. May be selling home,then living in a 5th wheel until building a small home in a different location. Sounds challenging trying to winter over here in PA in a camper, but will research everything.


    Hi Larry, not sure if you’ve seen this video, it has some good tips on winter RVing. Hope I never have to. 😉



    I haven’t heard of anyone using them, but Eva-Dry makes a 12 volt dehumidifier that uses peltier cooler technology, and has one model that can dry 2200 cubic feet of air. The power draws appear to be quite low, and it comes with a 120 vac adapter.

    Seemed like an ideal RV accessory, dries the air, dumps the heat back into the rv and runs on 12 Vdc. Seems a bit more environmentally friendly than using the chemical drier packs.

    Any thoughts?


    That’s what I need for fall on Vancouver Island for the few months we spend in the wet cold air, mostly in October, sometimes we get some condensation on the walls and windows by morning.

    Eddie & Aileen

    Has any one tried a Olympian Wave 8 Catalytic Safety Heater, My friend has one in his fiver and loves it. He found his at Campeing world at-

    Thay have 3 sizes 3000 btu,6000 btu,8000 btu.Wave Heaters can be used inside an RV as a portable unit or permanently mounted. Thay say it is safe for operation at altitudes up to 12,000 feet. This is on the next “mods” upgrade when we can get that darn money tree to start blooming!


    Ray thanks for the video, also eddie for  the link for catalytic heaters.


    Hi Eddie and Aileen. I purchased my Wave 8 from Amazon last Dec. The temps in Quartzsite AZ were consistently below freezing overnight for a week and we got tired of listening to the furnace blower. We don’t have a spot to permanently mount it so mine is a portable with a 12′ hose that I run out a window to a 20 lb tank. I hope to eventually have it plumbed in. We leave it running all night with no worries about CO. We keep our bedroom door closed with our windows cracked open as well as the roof vent. The bedroom remains cool for sleeping and the rest of our 37′ 5th wheel is toasty warm when we awake. The only negative that I learned after our purchase is that “any” heater with a pad is susceptible to dust contamination. Well our rig gets very dusty inside…especially when you spend 6 months in a desert. The heater has to be returned to the factory for pad replacement and apparently isn’t cheap. Time will tell how many years we can go before replacing the pad.

    Knowing what I know now I would buy the Procom Blue Flame catalytic heater. It’s an flame type that’s not affected by dust and looks more like a small fireplace. This unit has a fan in it that you have the option of using or not. The only negative I’ve heard is it’s not a very good fan.

    The pad style heaters are a radiant heater that heats objects that in turn heat the air so are a little slower in the beginning. The flame style heats the air so the heat is more immediate. Our heater does a great job…it’s just that dusty pad replacement that gets me. You’ll ruin the pad if you try to vacuum it.


    I’ve always been somewhat leery of catalytic heaters, unless properly maintained they can be extremely dangerous. I used to repair catalytic cargo heaters, and I can tell you very few places are equipped to test these  properly. It’s not enough to just check your gas pressure and ensure it lights.

    1. If the heat is uneven over the surface of the pad, something you can only check with a high quality, high range infrared thermometer, don’t use it.

    2. If the pad has been wet, it will have to replaced. A teaspoon of water will ruin the pad.

    3. The unit should be covered when it is not in use, silica and organic dusts will greatly shorten the pads life. The unit should be covered with poly, and not scented kitchen catchers. Green garbage bags are the best covers. The catalytic elements we used where shipped from the manufacturer in these.

    4. There is no safe way to clean the pad. I can’t emphasize this enough. Any disturbance of the matrix of the pad will cause uneven combustion and carbon monoxide emission.

    5. If you see anything like a flame after initial start up, DON’T USE THE HEATER!

    6. Did you know that it is illegal to use one of these to ship live cargo? Proper heat levels must be maintained using other technologies.

    Anybody who uses one of these units should read the following link.

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    With the prevalence of Chinese products in the marketplace, look for AGA, CGA, UL, or CSA markings on the packaging, at least you will know they meet the minimum safety standards.

    My personal opinion based on my trade knowledge. I would not use one or endorse these in any way. Low level CO is dangerous, especially if the exposure is continuous. A great number of RV’ers are older, with compromised health or chronic issues. My health is priceless, I’d rather have a larger battery bank, burn more propane, and put up with the furnace noise and keep the combustion gases outdoors, than compromise just to save a few bucks. I’ve already spent a small fortune to get the truck and trailer plus all the extras I’ve added, it seems like a false economy to me.

    end of rant. 😉

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