Catalytic heater installation

My first major “mod!”

After returning from a quick trip to Walmart to pick up a carbon monoxide detector, I put Bridget and Spike in their pen.  Before long Chip of Bakers RV Service drives up in his white pick-up. A quick hello to me and the crew, and he sets to work.  Yesterday we decided that it would not be a good idea to have a seat cushion directly above the heater.  Okay with me.  I need storage more than seating.  White plastic drawers go above the heater, set back enough to be safe.  They look nice there and so handy!

I clear off the bench seat area and Chip opens the compartment.

Propane line to heater with shut-off valve

What does he see?

A copper propane line!  Great!  (This is the line that supplies propane to the refrigerator.)

Chip cuts the line to attach the tubing for the heater, along with a shut-off valve (red).

Next he drills three holes through the fiberglass so the heater can be attached by three screws.

Chip positions the heater on the fiberglass.

Then he drills a larger hole for the flexible tubing (yellow) going from the heater to the copper line inside the bench.  He finishes the job by using silicone to fill in the space between the flexible tubing and the fiberglass.

The alarm is loud enough to raise the dead!

Next he affixes the carbon monoxide detector to the fiberglass section above the heater near the ceiling.

He has enough foresight to mount it low so there’s enough room to slide up the front piece to replace batteries!

It has a lighted window displaying the amount of CO it detects.

Meanwhile I’m studying the instruction manual on how to operate my new Wave 3 catalytic heater.

Chip cleans up the area and asks me if I’m ready to start it.

Now we have heat without shore power!

He demonstrates the steps and explains what I should expect at each step.  Ooh, it heats up fast.  The pad turns a reddish glow.  Then he has me say the steps back to him.  He even reads aloud the steps in the manual and tells me to review the manual again before each lighting.

I pay Chip, we shake hands, and as he walks to his truck, he tells me, “Try it out and let me know if you have any questions or problems.”

I let the crew in after Chip leaves. Bridget gives me her poor-little-ol-me look because she had to be in the pen so long. Spike gets something to eat.

The cost of the heater was $192.50 through  Installation labor and parts amounted to $130.  So the total cost . . . $322.50!

I sent back the black cover for the heater.  I don’t have the white replacement cover yet, so as soon as the heater cools off, I’ll tape something over it to protect the pad.

I’m so happy to finally have my heater installed!



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
This entry was posted in Bridget The Widget, Casita, Simple living, Spike The CoPilot and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Catalytic heater installation

  1. Chuck says:

    Looks like a great and NEAT installation.

  2. Old Fat Man says:

    Please check the plastic above the heater and the fiberglas of the refrigerator that is close to the left side of the heater for the first few times you use the heater. If needed sheet metal heat shields can be made and attached to deflect the heat away from the items if they get hot. Remember water is generated from the use of the heater and can cause condensation inside the Casita, especially if you get away from the dry desert.

  3. Whee heee what a great installation! I can see why you want the white cover instead of the black. Above ours it never gets that warm on anything above it, even on our lambrequin (side valance) You can figure in the costs of the extra flexible line, the valve and the couplings were about $30 of your price too. He did you a good job!

    You are gonna love it!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Karen and Steve,

      One of the things I love about my Casita is there is a lot of white. It gives it a very fresh and airy feeling. No way can I have a big ol’ black blob sitting in the middle of it!

      I’m pleased with the work Chip did and the price is very reasonable.

  4. Donna K says:

    Heater looks great. It’s nice to be warm and cozy when it’s chilly outside.

    Bridget…the Original Drama Queen…so cute…so pitiful!!

  5. Kim says:

    Poor, poor Bridget…. the Janis Ian of the dog world.

    The heater looks positively cozy and should warm up the interior of the Casita quickly!

  6. Bob says:

    Bridget, Drama Queen … very descriptive. I have one of those too. A 6 year old black cocker spaniel whose name is appropriately “Prissy”. My feisty one (2 1/2 years old) is named “Fancy”. Both are female, both black, both cockers.

    Heater install looks good. Hope you get your white face plate soon.

    I use Walmarts for a lot of things, too. So handy for me, and usually good value.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bob!

      Your girls sound like a lovely pair.

      Walmart is like an oasis in the desert. Many rural towns have no nearby access to goods. I remember the ladies I met in Santa Rosa who drive 80 miles to shop at a Walmart.

  7. kayjulia says:

    I think you will like your new heater. I like mine, I have a wave6 and it heats up my 28′ RV just fine. I have it on an 8′ hose so I can move it about and direct the heat where I want it. It is quiet and efficient. I never liked the noisy furnace kept waking me up.

    Happy Trails

  8. parker says:

    I am constantly amazed at how fast you are adapting to ‘Full-Time RV living! Ithink you have a generous amount of ‘Gypsy Blood’ that is just now beginning to surface! I for one am proud of you!

  9. Reine says:

    You’re gonna LOVE it. Great installation. Just remember to open the fantastic fan about an inch and maybe open a window about an inch to be sure you have enough oxygen. Don’t worry bout running it on high if it’s really cold. Looks like Chip left the required clearances. The heat radiates mostly forward. Enjoy

  10. Christine says:

    I love reading about your adventures. Just curious how he mounted the carbon monoxide detector?


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Christine!

      The CO detector came with a slide-out piece of plastic with two screw-holes. Once the screws were in the fiberglass, the plastic piece was put back onto the detector and the whole thing was positioned over the screws. (Hard to explain!) It’s easy to do.

  11. Bob Giddings says:

    Keep the cushion. You may want a seat there again, when you cover up the heater for 2/3 of the year. I just used a plastic grocery bag for a cover, but I grew up in the the ’60s, and grunge was always my idea of fashion.

    I am picking up my new trailer today, so I’ll be installing my Wave 3 in the next week or so. It is great at combating drafts that the regular heater just seems to suck in. Just have to be careful to turn it off when you leave for very long.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bob!

      I put the cushions in the PTV. I will keep them. Right now I have the plastic grocery bag on the heater.

      Congratulations on your new trailer! What did you get? Good luck installing your Wave 3.

      • Bob Giddings says:

        I went nuts and bought a 2009 toy hauler, even though I no longer have the appropriate toys. Sold my motorcycle after my brother had a near fatal accident last year.

        It looks like this one, only without the lurid red decor. Click on a picture, and you get a pop up slide show:

        I was intrigued by the versatility, and the possibilities of all that space under the elevator bed. The price was right, at $10500. Came with a WD hitch. Plus it has a carrying capacity of 3500 lb., and a screened back that lowers down to make a ramp, or even a sort of platform patio. What’s not to like? It weighs empty about 800 lbs more than your Casita weighs loaded. 4240 lbs. In fact, if it was a little taller I could probably carry your Casita inside it like a Russian doll. Fortunately I also have a PTV, an F250.

        And sadly, now I have a 1992 Lazy Daze for sale. :o(

  12. Bob Giddings says:

    O, and one more thing. You don’t mention it, but I hope Chip put a bit of board behind the fiberglass for those mounting screws to bite into. Or used bolts. Fiberglass, especially thin fiberglass, sometimes doesn’t hold screws well, especially weight-bearing screws. Tends to loosen up as you bump into it, over time. YMMV.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hey, Bob! Where were you yesterday or the day before that? I would’ve had Chip do the board thing if I had known!!!!

      Just kidding . . . At least I know to check it and if it looks like it isn’t holding well, I know what needs to be done. Thanks.

      What is YMMV?

  13. Bill Kelleher says:

    Here is a link to internet slang. 🙂

    Bill Kelleher

    PS I didn’t give you a recommendation on a pressure regulator because I have only had my trailer for two years, but i was a steamfitter so knew you needed one.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Bill. I looked at the slang site. God help us all.

    • Bob Giddings says:

      One way to avoid the need for a pressure regulator is to just not ever attach an outside line to the trailer. In 5 years of living in a fifth wheel, I always used the onboard fresh tank and the water pump. Filled through the gravity feed. Can’t overpressure that way.

      That said, I carried one around with me. Who knows why.

  14. Richard H says:

    Good stuff, Sue – there’s nothing like a bit of comfort when you’re ‘roughing it’…

    Chip sounds like one of the good ones – I especially liked his demanding that you have the co2 detector in hand before he’d install the heater – that guy cares…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Richard!

      You’re right about Chip. He wouldn’t leave until he was absolutely sure I knew how to operate the heater. I had to recite the steps and everything! LOL

  15. Jim Melvin says:

    Glad you finally got it installed. They are really greast and don’t use too much propane. Nice to be warm during the cold days ahead of us. It looks like Bridget is already enjoying it.

  16. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Sue & gang,
    Those heaters are very well recommended.. Nick Russell warms his 40′ Winnebago with one..
    Glad you had a competent and caring mechanic; they’re few and far between.. Watch out for Barney & his buddy BillyBob.. They’ll get you in trubble!! At least they know Mew Nexico inside out.. They may be AWOL until warmer weather!! The ONE good thing I know about them is
    they are animal lovers and will drink tea with you.. Sure am glad you had a ramblin’ daddy, so you got the right genes!! Wherever you go I hope you have: Smooth roads, clear blue skies &
    balmy breezes!!!!!!!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Butterbean!

      Nice to know you approve of my Wave 3 heater! Yeah, Chip is a treasure, especially for someone who isn’t that great at fixing and installing things. I know he will do what’s best for me.

      I think I’ll be okay with Barney and Billy Bob, as long as I see them one at a time! They probably are a bad influence on each other, dontcha think?

      Another good thing about them is they are willing to share what they know . . .

      Take care . . . Always glad to see you here . . .

  17. lonewolfgal says:

    Sue, I will be interested in hearing how the Wave 3 works out for you. I was planning to order my SD with a furnace, but you’ve got me reconsidering.

    Say, I have a dog pen like yours — actually, two pens 16′ long by 36″ high. I notice you set up your pen in a rectangular arrangement away from the Casita. I had envisioned setting up the 32′ length in a three-sided configuration, 8′ X 16′ X 8′, with the Casita itself comprising the other 16′ side (blocking off the open space under the trailer using a 16′ long by 12″ high fence). With this arrangement the awning would shelter a substantial area of the dog pen, a plus in rainy weather, and I could simply open the Casita’s door to let my dog in and out. Do you think this idea sounds workable?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, lonewolfgal,

      It will work great, absolutely! Not only do I think it’s workable, Connie explained how she does something similar. Her comment is under the May 16 post “Dog Exercise Pen.”

      I was planning to use the pen that way, and may do so yet. Right now it seems better to have the crew in the pen away from the door. I use the pen when I’m trying to get things done, that is ….. when I’m going in and out the Casita door (to get something out of the PTV or whatever), and I don’t want Bridget under my feet. And I don’t want to have to keep opening and closing the pen.

      I hate the thought of you not ordering the furnace because of what I’ve written, and then regretting your decision! One owner told me it was so noisy he couldn’t sleep with it on. Maybe he’s an exceptionally light sleeper? Maybe it would be nice to have it during the day? I don’t know. It just seemed like overkill to me. I’ve always had in the back of my mind that I would try to get away from campgrounds and electric hook-ups, and that influenced my decision to skip the furnace and get the Wave 3.

      • lonewolfgal says:

        Yes, Connie’s comment tells me I’m on the right track. I think my pens might be a bit larger than yours or Connie’s. Mine are made by Precision Pet Products; I bought them at Petco. They consist of eight 2′ sections, and have a built-in, latchable gate, which is handy. 36″ height, because Lexi can leap like a gazelle.

        Another benefit of fencing off the area under the awning: it will discourage passersby from knocking when I’m inside working. I can leave the gate open when I’m free to socialize, or maybe hang a “This way to the beer” sign on the fence.

      • Sheila says:

        We are not light sleepers and the furnace wakes us up at night also. It seems as if Casita used the products with the loudest fans available.

  18. JoJo says:

    I’m happy to hear Chip is so good at what he doesn and makes sure you know what to do with the heater. Good men like that are hard to find.

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