Hi folks! I am wondering about the issue of ventilation in the van. There are of course simple fans that extract the air. However, extracting heated or air conditioned air equals energy loss. What to do? I know about energy recovery ventilation. Has anyone tried an energy recovery ventilator in a van?
Greetings & Welcome!
With all due respect, what’s possible, isn’t always practical. Having a little extra heating or cooling is simpler, and doesn’t add any extra components to break down or malfunction.
Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of more complicated and/or more expensive solutions to simple problems. In the end, my original solution always turned out to be the best.
Climate control is one of the easiest challenges we face. I’ve done winters down to -120°f and summers up to 120°f and high humidity too. With a wick type kerosene/diesel heater that requires no power, & an indirect style swamp cooler, I can be comfortable inside my rig 24/7. Since the heat requires no power, and the swamp cooler only draws 1.9 amps @12v on high, and under 1 amp on low which is where it is usually set, it is very energy efficient, and can flat freeze you out.
I have a high top van with windows all the way around, that I rarely cover, and no added insulation, heating & cooling is simple & easy. Sun in the winter, shade in the summer, and additional heating or cooling if needed.
Adequate ventilation is required at all times to prevent moisture build up. Since ventilation alone is used much more often than either heating or cooling, keeping it as simple as posssible has obvious advanntages.
Thanks so much for your insights:) I was looking at energy recovery ventilators. All it has is two simple fans and an enthalpy exchanger that does not consume any energy. So, it looks like it would be somewhat bigger than a fan and consumer only a bit more energy than a regular powered fan. It allows not just heat but also moisture to move between the incoming airstream and the outgoing airstream. So, it would also help with moisture control. Have you every tried something like this anywhere at all - even in your home?
Yes, I tried one, and the only notable difference was it’s huge energy consumption. Each of it’s fans drrew about 1 amp, so 2 fans x 24h =48 amps per day, with no notable improvement in heat required, or moisturre reduction.
Cutting out the bulkhead so air could circulate front to back, and switching away from a Mr. Buddy heater to a dry, wick type kerosene heater was what actually solved my problems. (The 2x expensive roof vents didn’t help either.) The dry heat & removing the bulkhead were the winning strategies. After that I added those pillow type roof vent insulators to the roof vents, and that made a huge difference in the amount of heat I needed to stay comfortable. No more ice in the cab either.
Dry heat and a fan to circulate that heat all around rather than just at the ceiling seems to work the best.