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  • Writer's pictureNot a Regular Skoolie

Tips & tricks for Skoolie diesel heaters

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

Keeping warm in a Skoolie during winter can be tricky but thankfully diesel heaters are a great option. They provide forced heat for little fuel consumption.

Commonly referred to as “Chinese Diesel Heaters”, these devices got their nickname for being a much cheaper replica of branded heaters from North America. At roughly 15-20% of the cost, these models are well worth it.

While we cannot speak for all models as we have only tested three of the Happybuy units, here are some of the things we have learned with the use of ours.

The overall functionality of these heaters is impressive. The adjustable thermostat offers a great display of the heaters entire system while offering great temperature control amongst other features such as timers, alarms and even passwords.

Being able the run at different speeds, the heater is able to balance strong heat and fuel efficiency. Using only a couple litres or less of diesel a day when running full time, the amount of fuel used is truly sipped at a very low speed. You can actually hear just how slow from the noise of the pump. So be sure to put it in a quiet place.

While the primary fuel source may be diesel, these heaters also require a 12v connection to run. For those of you planning your solar and power, don’t worry we have some good test figures for you.

When running in stand by mode and producing low maintaining heat, the heater will draw an average of six watts. However, if running in high, to increase the temperature, the power usage will average as high as 50 watts. The main start up of the unit will draw up to 120 watts for a few minutes.

So if you’re wondering how much power and fuel you will need, it is really going to depend on the weather and how well insulated you are. Cold fall nights might only need 8Ah and less than a litre of diesel while freezing winter nights are more likely to be at least 25Ah and three or four litres of diesel if not more.

Installation is pretty straight forward and takes a couple hours if not the better part of a day if you have lots of cutting and such to do. The best advice we can give you is to follow the instructions well. Some small details are very important.

You will want to make sure your fuel pump is at the proper 45degree angle or the seals might dry, crack and leak. Don’t bend your exhaust pipe either or your heater will clog. Make sure all your line connections are tight as well because you definitely don’t want fuel leaks.

Should you have any issues along the way of your installation, the unit has a very good error code reporting system. This means the display will tell you exactly where your problem is if you are experiencing any such as low voltage or fuel.

From our personal experience, make sure to follow the proper exhaust instructions. A simple bend in your hose will reduce the airflow of the heater dramatically and cause it to clog. This will mean the messy job of disassembling and cleaning your heater for it to work again.

It all might seem like a lot of guidelines to follow but don’t let it scare you. These heater systems are simple and very effective. You won’t be disappointed with how much power they have.


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