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Installing a Radiant Propane Heater

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A propane supply is located
January 31, 2009: When in Arizona a few weeks ago, I watched my friends Terry and Ted install a propane radiant heater in Terry's new fifth wheel trailer. The radiant heater is different from our catalytic heater but accomplishes the same purpose. The radiant heater has bricks which absorb and reflect the heat while glowing red with a visible pilot flame. Our catalytic heater has a mat which absorbs and reflects the heat but no visible pilot flame. Both heaters require no vent and are 99%+ efficient in converting propane to heat. The RV furnace, on the other hand, is only 60% efficient or less and drains the battery quickly if your aren't connected to shore-power.
Ted begins by finding a propane supply line only a few feet from the location of the new heater. After the propane is turned off and double checked, Ted cuts the line using a tubing cutter. This will be the location where the "T" will be installed.
Ted has been a pipe fitter in a past life so has the tools to complete this job. He uses a flaring tool to create a connection for the "T" in both tubing ends. The "T" is installed using two wrenches so the tubing is not crimped causing a poor fitting and leaks. Ted uses a flaring tool to create a connection for the "T"
Install the "T" Measuring for placement of the heater
Drilling a hose hole through the cabinet Heater is connected to the cabinet wall
Ted tests for leaks Terry measures for placement of the heater and marks the location of screw holes and the hole for the propane hose. The hole is drilled using and hole-cutting attachment. The heater is mounted to the cabinet wall. Note the shut off valve to the heater (blue knob).
After all fittings are secured, Ted tests for leaks using an electronic tester. I used a soapy water mixture when I installed my catalytic heater. Soap water would work in this case too. After all fittings are checked, Terry lights the pilot and tests the heat coming from his new heater. Now Terry can efficiently heat his RV without drawing down his battery storage. Both Terry and I use a "Mr. Heater" as portable propane radiant heat in his fifth wheel. The Mr. Heater work very well for quickly heating small spaces like the bathroom and bedroom.
Terry feels the heat from his new heater

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