EZ Heating System
Installation Cost Operation Installation Fan Speed Control
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During my recent plane upgrade, I decided to install an oil heat cabin system. Previously, I had the typical heat muff, and a 12v electric heater. On occasion, it has been so cold in the plane that my water bottle froze solid and some of my instruments stopped working during the coarse of my flight!!
My original heat muff was good to about 30 deg F and with the addition of the electric heater (35+ amps) the cabin was comfortable to about 20 def F, OAT. I did my best to reduce air leaks, and increase the efficiency of the heat muff. Even with both heaters, I still had a lower OAT temp limit of about +10F. Canards DO NOT stay warm in the winter with “plans” type heaters. The basic problem is, the small surface area and short contact time with the heat source (the exhaust pipe) only allows for about a 60 F temp increase, additionally only a meager amount of air then goes into the cabin (even when I installed a booster fan). Any warm air you may get from the muff is immediately discharged overboard to allow for the flow of more air from the outside. Imagine trying to heat your house that way! The key to any heating system is BTU capacity and/or the ability to re-circulate the air through the heater to reheat the warm cabin air. Neither of these methods are available in the ‘plans’ type heater.
The system I built is it completely solved the cabin heat for my plane and now have tremendous amounts of exhaust free heat. The air discharged is so hot from the heater it will burn your hand, additionally, the air is recycled in the cabin so the longer it is in operation, the hotter the cabin gets. Make sure you have a way to slow the fan down otherwise you will cook in the winter.
NOTE: this install does not take the place of an engine oil cooler. It does not have any overboard air outlet so you will still need an external oil cooler. It was quick and EZ install to solve the cabin heat problem without modifying the plane in any structural way. The only holes I drilled in the plane was two holes for the bulkhead fittings in firewall. Ideally, for a new install, you can build in the necessary duct work to use only one cooler for both engine cooling and cabin heating needs.
FINALLY I can fly up north in the winter for holidays and not freeze my kister off.. My mother is happy too, as I told her I would NEVER fly up to PA for winter holidays because it was just TOO dang uncomfortable in my plane. I really don't know how you Yankee's can fly in such cold.. Now at last I can too!