The Propex HS2000 and the Propex HS2211 are blown air space heaters fueled by propane or butane. Air for combustion is taken from outside and heat is transferred inside the van via a heat exchanger: it is therefore safe to use without having to vent the inside of the van and the blown heat is dry, nice! Let’s get into it!
Table Of Content
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- 6500 BTU @ 14 W.C. propane pressure (most regulators in North America delivers 11 W.C.; it still works but output will be reduced).
- Propane Consumption: 1 lb every 3 hours (That’s close to 60 hours run time for a 20 lbs propane tank. The heater doesn’t run all the time, so we should get a few weeks out of a tank).
- Electrical Consumption: 1.6 amp
- The heater is controlled by a thermostat and cycle ON/OFF to maintain the desired temperature. There is only one speed, so the Propex cycle more than a Webasto/Espar (they have 3 speeds, so they run on “low” speed without cycling too much). However the start cycle of the Propex is more quiet and doesn’t draw as much electrical current as the Webasto/Espar.
HS2000 VS HS2211
Both units are almost identical (BTU, consumption, etc), the main difference being that the HS2000 must be installed inside the vehicle while the HS2211 is designed to be mounted outside (or inside). Here are the main differences:
- Must be installed inside
- Must be installed horizontally
- Requires to pass the combustion intake/exhaust pipes through the floor (in addition to the propane line, if your tank is mounted outside): that’s two ~1in diameter holes.
- Can be installed inside or outside
- Can be installed on any of it’s wide or narrow faces, but not nose up or down
- If installed outside, the hot air / cold air ducts have to pass through the floor (in addition to the electrical wires): that’s two ~ 2.75in diameter holes.
- The HS2211 is supposed to be slightly quieter than the HS2000 (but we read somewhere it’s marginal)
Propane vs Diesel/Gas Heaters
You might have notice that we have both a Webasto AND a Propex in our Ford Transit campervan. Are both really needed? Not exactly. The reason we have both is that we initially had some issues with our Webasto (that we fixed since then), so the Propex is installed as a backup. Which one of the Propex vs Webasto do we use the most? We have a full comparison here:
- Choose a Location to Install the Heater Unit
- Route/Install the combustion intake and exhaust
- Route/Install propane line
- Route/Install the hot and cold air ducts
- Install the thermostat controller
- Connect the heater to 12V power
TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: Approximately 8 hours
TOTAL COST : Approximately 850$ USD (750$ for the heater plus material)
- Propex HS2000 Heater with installation kit (Dealer Locator)
- If your system currently uses a single stage propane regulator, it should be replaced by a two stage propane regulator (Buy on Amazon)
- 1/4″ Propane Copper Tubing
- Hardware fittings to connect the 1/4″ tubing to your propane system
- Electrical wires (Buy on Amazon) note: the diameter varies with the length of the wires required for your installation: it is your responsibility to determine which gauge to use. Please check our Electrical System Design article for more)
- Butt Connectors (Buy on Amazon)
- Ring Terminals (Buy on Amazon)
You should have propane and electricity installed! Here are our installations:
HANG ON, WE’RE NOT READY YET… THERE ARE SOME REQUIREMENTS TO FOLLOW…
We’re not your mom; it is YOUR responsibility to follow the installation requirements 😛 Make sure to read the installation manual BEFORE starting your installation:
Here is where you could possibly mess up:
- ***BEFORE connecting the unit to the 12V, the controller (thermostat) MUST be connected to the unit. In other words: connect the controller THEN the 12V power. If this sequence is not followed, this will blow an internal fuse and the fuse has to be replaced***
- The combustion intake and exhaust pipes should not be trimmed to ensure that the combustion is balanced and that the unit function properly in the long run
- The combustion exhaust pipe should have a constant downward slope: this is because condensation forms in the pipe and will block the air flow if it’s not evacuated
- The combustion exhaust pipe should be dumped outside the vehicle edge: carbon monoxide is heavier than air and will pool under the vehicle; if so, carbon monoxide could enter inside the vehicle through the floor (it’s not perfectly hermetic) and through floor vent (if you have some). Safety first!
- The combustion intake and exhaust pipes should be 0.5 meter apart: this is to prevent exhaust air to recirculated into the intake pipe (the unit will malfunction in the long run)
- The maximum number of hot air outlet is 3, providing the total combined length of ducting is no longer than 5 metres and the maximum length to the first outlet should not exceed 1.5m.
- If your propane system currently uses a single stage propane regulator, you should replace it with a two stage propane regulator; if you read the Propex Manual, you probably noticed it’s asking for that. The two stage propane regulator delivers a more constant and accurate pressure to the heater despite change in elevation.
- “The compression fitting supplied with the heater is BSPT thread; it is NOT the same as ¼” NPT fittings in the US, so please do not substitute US NPT fittings. If you need alternate BSPT fitting, these can be found at www.mcmaster.com.” Source: Propexusa.com
LET’S HEAT THINGS UP!
1- Choose a Location to Install the Heater Unit
Since we added the heater after our conversion was completed (we didn’t plan on adding a propex!), we didn’t have much choice but we found a perfect spot under our water tank near our propane tank locker. It looks like we planned for it!
2- Route / Install the Combustion Intake and Exhaust
In a perfect world, the heater unit would sit directly on the van floor, so the exhaust pipe connection is made outside the van (similar to our Webasto Installation). If the connection ever leaks, carbon monoxide will be evacuated outside. Nothing’s perfect, so our unit is installed on top of our 2in thick floor (we went crazy on our floor insulation). The heater is installed on 2in height spacers, to leave room for the intake/exhaust pipe connections:
- Before opening the holes full-size, drill very small pilot holes to confirm that it’s clear under the van floor. If you mess up, it’s easier to plug small holes…
- Drill the hole through the floor slightly larger than the pipe diameter and seal with High Temperature RTV (Red) Silicone along the pipe throughout the hole depth. That exhaust pipe gets REALLY HOT, it could melt the insulation around (if you have some)…
The combustion intake and exhaust pipe are secured to the unit using worm gear hose clamps (included with the installation kit). Make sure it’s nice and tight:
Here are our combustion intake and exhaust pipe under the van floor:
3- Route/Install the propane line
The HS2000 includes a compression fitting to connect the 1/4″ propane copper line to the heater, so you will have to provide all the remaining fittings (and the copper line) to hook it up to your existing propane system.
Some fittings require thread paste (or gas specific Teflon tape), some have to be installed dry, some require an olive and compression nut… propane is no joke, we highly recommend a visit to your local hardware store to get help from someone qualified.
DIY or not, any installation (each individual fittings and connections) must be tested for leaks with a solution of soap and water. Do it.
4- Route/Install the hot and cold air ducts
Hot air Outlet location
Keep in mind that, as opposed to a house, heat is not as uniform in a van: there are cold spots, drafts, etc. So hot air outlet location is important and the “best” location is different from a layout to another. Let’s take our layout as an example:
The cabin, sliding door and the rear doors are the coldest spots in our van. Because of our raised bed configuration, it gets pleasantly warm up there (heat rise); no outlet needed here.
The garage gets really cold because it’s low, the rear doors are cold and there is no air circulation to bring heat from our living space to the garage. But we don’t really care: we don’t live there. We could add a small hot air outlet in there to prevent our water tank/pipes from freezing, time will tell if it’s required or not.
We eat, read, work (sometimes), relax in our swivel seats and we just mentioned it’s a cold spot: an hot air outlet is needed here! We installed our Webasto heater under the passenger seat. It’s a classic location for a good reason: it takes cold air from the cabin floor and blows hot air near and parallel to our living room floor so this way, our floor gets pleasantly warm (no sleepers needed when the Webasto runs!). The hot air coming out of the Webasto outlet is not really diffused: it’s more like a jet that travel quite a distance. That helps a lot to circulate air in our living space and make the heat more uniform. We like it.
OK, we now have to install our Propex hot air outlet and under-the-passenger-seat is not an option as it’s already taken by the Webasto. We chose to install it at the opposite location of the Webasto hot air outlet, near the garage.
We think it’s the (second) best location for our layout because it blows hot air near the floor along the kitchen alley. We found that the hot air coming our of the Propex outlet is more diffused than the Webasto; it looks like it’s because of the outlet design, not because the Propex is less powerful. We prefer the Webasto outlet because it blows air further and helps to make our floor warmer and make heat more uniform in the van (more air circulation). When we use only the Propex heater, it’s warm above the bed and in the kitchen, but the living room (cabin) is not really comfortable (this is due to the hot air outlet location, it’s not because the Propex is inferior).
Cold air Intake Location
Obviously, the cold air intake should be at a cold spot… cabin’s floor, sliding door, etc. In our case, the garage floor is a cold spot so that will do it:
If the Propex and the cold air intake is installed inside a cabinet or closed space, make sure to add a vent to the cabinet so the heater has air to ingest! Also, make sure the hot air is no re-circulated in the cold air intake.
5- Install the thermostat controller
It should be installed between waist and shoulder level, at a location where there is no cold draft and not too close from the hot air outlet; this is to ensure a proper room temperature reading. The thermostat controller is connected to the heater with a 6 pins connector and the controller is attached to the wall with two screws:
6- Connect the heater to 12V power
BEFORE CONNECTING THE 12V POWER, THE THERMOSTAT CONTROLLER MUST BE INSTALLED FIRST. If not, the heater blows an internal fuse and the fuse has to be replaced.
Not sure how to wire it? Make sure to read our Electrical System Design article!
Note: A 5 amp fuse is required at the fuse block
Always turn on propane BEFORE starting the unit! If not, you could get a “Gas Lockout” fault and the gas lockout procedure has to be performed (refer to the manual).
Gas Lockout Procedure:
- First rotate the temperature knob to MAX.
- Then rotate the control knob from FLAME position to OFF position, then back to the FLAME position.
- The complete sequence of switch movements must be completed within 2.5 seconds for a lockout to be successfully cleared.
- If there is air in the gas line (e.g. after a gas bottle change), the space heater may require several attempts before it lights.
And we’re DONE! Let’s go SKIIIING!!
ON SECOND THOUGHT…
We started the thing and it fired up immediatly, so far so good! We just installed the heater (December 22th 2017), so it’s too soon for a review. This is what we noted so far:
- It seems to push the same amount of air as our Webasto
- Blow air is more diffused; air doesn’t travel as far as the Webasto. We liked the Webasto outlet a little more.
- Noise level inside the van: the fan noise is similar to our Webasto except the Propex don’t produce a “clicking” sound (which comes from the pulsations of the Webasto fuel pump). That’s a good improvement.
- Noise level outside the van: the Propex is much quieter than the Webasto (less exhaust noise, no clicking sound). If we sleep near tents, we would use the Propex as it’s more silent.
Since we will go through our propane tank much faster, we’re happy we stumbled upon this neat little device:
31 thoughts on “Propex HS2000 Heater Installation”
Thanks for your incredible website- it has been essential for my cargo trailer conversion planning.
I see that the power draw for the propex is 1.6Amps, but it’s unclear if that’s continuous, or just when the heat kicks on. Could you share a bit more about that? I want to ensure I’m not shorting myself battery space, since I don’t have an alternator to run off in the cargo trailer.
That’s continuous when it runs, because of the internal fan.
At last ! A real independent review . Will definitely buy now after your advice many thanks Derek
I just wanted to relay my thanks your post on installation and experience with the Propex. I just installed a HS2800 in my E-series, it wouldn’t have been nearly as easy without your insight and recommendations. Stoked on a winter season of travels! Cheers,
Thanks Karl, glad it went smoothly 🙂
Hey curious why you lifted the propex further off the ground when the instructions dont say that is required. Why did you do that?
Because we installed it after we hit the road; our floor and everything was already in place, so we had to work our way around that.
If you install it from scratch, then yeah there is no need to lift it off.
great website guys ! your info is concise and summarized nicely and are exactly the things i need to find out about converting my ford transit. Your comments on the tires are superb and the heater info, greatly needed as the wife runs cold.
Tires first, then heater perhaps.
Jeff Thunder bay Ontario
Thanks for the feedback Jeff, glad you like it!! Happy holidays, stay warm 🙂
The photo of the intake and exhaust underneath shows the heater’s intake in pretty close proximity to the van’s engine exhaust. Yes of course the intent is not use the heater while the vans engine is running but non the less it would be prudent to separate the two as much as possible. Best to remove all possible chances of an accident.
You’re right, we never use the Propex while using the van; but the routing of the intake is something we could improve!
Just got a hs2000, they have begun shipping them with 3/8 flare 90-degree elbow.
Hello, First thank you for all you work for the information you have put together. It has helped us a lot.
We ended up having a gas lockout on our Propex HS2000 heater. Following the lockout clearing procedure on the installation sheet did not work for us. Calling the Van Cafe’ we were told the sequence needs to be done twice As follows:
Move the temperature knob to MAX and leave it there for the following sequence.
Control knob position movement. Do this smoothly without pausing:
On (flame) – Fan – Off – Fan – On – Fan – Off – Fan – On.
Move the temperature knob back to the position you want.
Worked the first time.
Again, thanks for all your work.
You guys are amazing! Thank you so much for your blog. We are beginning a van conversion and your advices are so precious! Pymayaya
This guide helped enormously, thank your both very much. I am all the way finished with my install and have found the the 90 deg proper supplied fitting that is meant for hooking up the gas is not a compression fitting. Just male pipe threads at both ends. In your diagram you have 1/4″ tube going straight into the heater. What fitting did you use? I spent 20 minutes searching for 5/16 pipe to 1/4 comp and found nothing. So close, but I need this last part.
Thanks for any help/
Amazing build. Id be inclined to think you bought the UK version of the propex jetted for 14″ w.c. If so, are you using a 11″ w.c regulator? I imported a UK propex not realizing that the US versions are jetted for 11″ w.c. Some say that I shouldn’t have a problem with the difference. Whats you experience with a 11″ w.c regulator on a 14″ w.c propex?
We bought our Propex in the USA, so we should have the US version.
From what I was told, if you get a 14WC and use it with 11WC regulator, the result is a reduced output.
Now that you’ve got the Webasto pretty well dialed in, would you still go this route as a backup in retrospect?
I think we’d still have a backup just in case. It’s nice to know that if we forget to refill the gas tank (it happened a few times), we can count on an alternate way to heat the van.
Guess what I am doing. Putting the Propex under the passenger seat, re the video of your friends, Yuka at el.
I am pretty sure I understand how connected up your gas, but I just wanna make sure.
1) You have a 1/4″ compression fitting at the Propex, thanks to Propex.
2) You run 1/4″ copper (maybe a foot or two) to your 3/8″ tee.
3) You terminate the 1/4″ copper line with a 45° flare (remembering to have the cap already on!)
4) You attach it to your 1/4″ male flare end of your reducer.
5) The 3/8″ female flare thread of the reducer is screwed into an available 3/8″male flare thread
That’s the connections but not in order; obviously, screwing things need to be done at the appropriate times.
In the pictures, looks like a black flexible line going to your stove, but I thought you didn’t like flexible lines.
Is there such thing as a vented heater that doesn’t use propane and just electric? I am researching ideas for my Sienna minivan. Having a bbq propane tank would take up too much room.
Any electric heater is considered vented (as there is no combustion), but you would need a LARGE battery bank to support it; unless you can plug it to the shore.
Have you considered a gas vented heater search as Webasto? faroutride.com/air-heater-installation/
Hi. Not sure not how to create a new post. I see you mention the 11wc dual stage regulators work on the uk version of the propex heaters at 14wc. Have you confirmed that this works and is safe but just lower heat? I bought a UK variant and I’ve come to learn that the us distributors sell 11wc models.
Seeing negative comments in the Ford forum and elsewhere on the Wabasco, and starting to think propane…
Did you ever consider an under-floor installation of the Propex SH2211?
Also, do you think the 2000 could be put on its side and vented out the wheel well? It doesnt care about gravity, yes?
HS 2000 orientation: https://propexheatsource.co.uk/faq/can-the-heater-be-mounted-vertically
We did not consider an under-floor installation (SH2211), but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look into it 😉
What are the 12 v dc wiring diagram colours from the propex has 2000
Red is ?
My installation booklet doesn’t say
Just double checking an installation
I’ve been using the heater for a while and it works great. My one issue is that when there’s snow on the road it clogs the intake and exhaust pipes and those need to be cleared before the heater can run. Have you guys found a solution to this?
Our solution is to kick it with our foot. In other words, no. 😉
I just installed my propex in my Promaster and am very impressed at both it’s energy expenditure and output. The thing cranks! It’s almost too effective, I sleep hot at night as it is and am finding it to be too warm. Is there a way to lower the lowest temperature setting that you’re aware of (below 50deg, I think).
Cheers, and thanks for sharing!
I don’t think it can be changed. What you could do is relocate your controller where it’s warmer in your van; you should get a few degrees less out of it…