By Greg Illes
We’ve been running non-fan-driven heaters for quite a while now, for all the well-known reasons: outstanding propane efficiency, zero battery usage, silent operation. We’ve used ceramic heaters like Mr. Heater, but those have altitude limitations, and we switched over to a true catalytic heater, the Wave from Olympian.
But whether the units were ceramic or catalytic, we always found that they were fairly directional in nature. Being radiant heaters, they tend to heat up whatever is in front of them. Stuff off to the sides gets warmed only by radiation and convection from other things getting warmed up in front.
That was all well and good while our heaters were free-standing on the floor, because we would just rotate them to point at who/what we wanted. But I wanted a tidier cabin and decided on a wall-mount configuration. It was obvious in advance that a fixed wall-mount would have too-limited coverage, so I needed a way to redirect the heater output across a more diverse area.
I thought at first about having the unit dismount from the wall, but that would involve a folding stand and more complexity than I wanted to deal with. Quick and simple was what I wanted.
I decided on a swing-out configuration, where the heater would swing away from the wall and be pointed through about a 75-degree arc. To do this, I mounted the heater on a plywood board, and hinged the board to the wall (a cabinet, in my case).
To keep things snug and rattle-free during travel, I used another hinge, with a removable pin, as a latch. This turned out to be less rattle-prone than any standard latch I could find. The propane feed is on a flexible line, and as a bonus I installed a friction-slide from a storage chest lid to hold the heater in position (it’s at the bottom, out of sight in the photo).
This whole setup works like a charm and takes mere seconds to deploy or hook back up for travel. I can point the heater toward the dinette when we’re eating, or back toward the kitchen and bedroom for whole-coach heating.
I stained everything a nice golden oak to match the RV woodwork, and sewed up a vinyl cover with embedded magnets to keep the dust away from the catalytic bed. This setup has traveled to Alaska and the Arctic Ocean and worked flawlessly anywhere and everywhere.
photo: Greg Illes