People starting their adventure with a motorhome or caravan sometimes find it difficult to find themselves in the maze of heating devices and gas-powered accessories. In this article, we would like to systematize our knowledge in this field and pay attention to possible methods of heating, as well as storing and refueling gas.
Gas - how to transport and refuel
The most popular gas tank used in widely understood caravanning is a replaceable 11 kg cylinder. The downside is that it is made of steel and has a high weight. Due to the weight and dimensions, NANO cylinders available at numerous network gas stations and some DIY stores (they are equipped with a dedicated filling connector), and recently also GAS BANK cylinders have also become popular. Although the latter solution is associated with a high purchase cost, the wide range of refueling nozzles available makes it easier to fill in most European countries. We also have the option of connecting a gas level sensor . The cylinders are also light, handy and safe - link
Appropriately selected reducers are extremely important in the installations of our cars and caravans. The working pressure assumed as a standard is 30 mbar and we must remember this parameter when selecting gas accessories. The reducer, or pressure regulator , is an extremely important element. In many countries, it is forbidden to move around with gas installations on without crash sensor protection. This term means a gas shut-off valve in the event of a violent shock (implied collision / collision). Especially in the winter, if we have a supply of two cylinders, it is worth considering the use of the DUO version of the above-mentioned reducer, which will automatically switch gas supply from one cylinder to another when it is exhausted - link .
It is also worth using gas filters in order to minimize the risk of damage to devices and to keep the installation clean. We should also remember that pure propane is optimal for camping applications, especially in winter.
Our western neighbors also require regular periodic inspections, during which the tightness and efficiency of the gas installation are checked. The standard and statutory obligations in this area do not apply in our country, but many self-respecting services are authorized and offer this type of service in accordance with the German standard. Each inspection is confirmed with a certificate and a sticker recognized throughout Europe.
Permanently installed gas tanks are a frequently discussed topic, especially among motorhome users. It is best to entrust the installation of such a tank to a specialized company. It is important that both the type of tank and the method of refueling comply with European regulations. The use of gas appliances in recreational vehicles while driving without the appropriate approvals and safeguards provided by law may have unpleasant consequences in the form of large financial penalties - especially in countries such as Germany, the Benelux countries and France, this should be remembered.
Heating - types and models
In our motorhome and caravan heating system comparison, we will focus on the most commonly used factory solutions. The undisputed market leader is the Truma brand and its flagship COMBI model, available in 4kW or 6 kW versions, heating the air (hot air is blown through a system of dedicated channels) and water.
TRUMA Combi , in addition to the standard strictly "gas" version, is also available in variants D (powered by diesel fuel) and E (system equipped with an additional electric heater, ideal for stationary use, eg at a campground). The heart of a Truma heating system is always the so-called "Stove", and connected to it are the air intake ducts distributed throughout the vehicle. As the heat is directed upwards, the outlet openings are usually found in the cabinets near the floor and in the area of the entrance / seats.
An alternative to TRUMA heating systems used in caravans adapted to winter use and in some motorhomes (usually above 3.5 t GVW), you can find an ALDE water heating system - e.g. Premium brands such as Pilote or Frankia - link
Alde is the perfect solution for those who travel a lot in winter. It is not a hot air supply installation, but a system based on liquid circulation - in the system of heating pipes (e.g. floor pipes) and radiators. Heating is effective and pleasant and we are not dealing here with a blow of heated, dry air. Additionally, as part of the ALDE installation, it is possible to integrate an additional heat exchanger connected to the engine compartment, and even a system for preheating the drive unit before starting the vehicle. In extremely low temperatures, this may have a significant impact on the durability and operating parameters of the engine.
Controlling heating and air conditioning in a motorhome or caravan will be facilitated by a dedicated Truma module - the so-called iNet box - link
This solution is compatible with both Truma and Alde control panels (iNet Ready must be displayed on the panel housing). Using a mobile phone, we can remotely start heating or air conditioning, check the gas level (an additional sensor will be required), turn on the light integrated in the air conditioner, diagnose the unit or update the software.
Gas in a motorhome and caravan - accessories
Gas can also be used in a refrigerator / freezer in a motorhome and caravan and it is an extremely economical fuel for such applications - in summer we do not have to worry about high gas consumption and we can achieve far-reaching independence without overloading the batteries and not relying on a stationary electricity connection.
An extremely popular piece of equipment recently is the gas grill , which allows you not only to prepare delicious and healthy meals, but also to "take" the kitchen outside. Cooking on a gas burner outside is definitely more convenient than generating high temperature inside a motorhome or caravan - link
When deciding on a gas grill for a caravan or motorhome, we do not have to take the cylinder outside - an extremely practical solution will be a dedicated, external socket - gas connection with a quick-release system - link
A properly installed socket is safe and allows you to avoid uncontrolled leakage (opening the valve is possible only after the quick-coupler is properly connected to the socket). This solution will also allow us to avoid the use of an additional reducer.
Remember that all gas accessories must be adapted to the working pressure of 30 mbar applicable in Europe. Importing a gas grill from, for example, the USA may be associated with a potential risk of failure or malfunction.
Each accessory should also be installed and serviced by an authorized service - just like in the installation at home - no kidding with gas.
| Author of the article: Maciej Kinal The article was prepared in cooperation with CarGO! Rent a Camp|