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Old 01-07-2014, 11:51 AM   #43
"Formerly Diplomat Don"
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I did fire investigations for 15 years. Electric heaters themselves rarely failed and caused a fire. Most fires associated with electric heaters came from items set too close to the heater, pets knocking down items onto the heater and the use of additional cords attached to the heater cord that were under rated (don't use extensions).

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Old 01-07-2014, 01:00 PM   #44
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Do NOT take the use of electric space heaters in an RV lightly:



Originally Posted by Diplomat Don View Post
I did fire investigations for 15 years. Electric heaters themselves rarely failed and caused a fire. Most fires associated with electric heaters came from items set too close to the heater, pets knocking down items onto the heater and the use of additional cords attached to the heater cord that were under rated (don't use extensions).
Another thing is never hide the cord under and an area rug or mat or coil the cord up. Also, don't plug the heater into an extension cord unless it's heavy duty (min. 14 ga.) and keep the cord length short.

If the heater is rated at 1500 watts, that's 12.5 amps. Some appliance and extension cords are light gauge wire and can't handle continuous duty at 12.5 amps and the cord and/or plug can get hot.

Rv's aren't as well-insulated and sealed compared to a house plus you often can't put in enough watts of heat in the RV and the heater(s) can end up running continuously 24/7 so there's a greater chance of a cord and/or plug overheating.

There should be min. 3' clearance around a space heater, unless the operating manual says otherwise. Heaters must have a safety label like UL or CSA and must be fail safe so that if they tip over, they shut off.

Portable/temporary space heaters should not be left unattended. They are for temporary use only. Don't think it's okay to plug one on in inside your RV and leave it there for extended periods.

Infrared heaters heat objects, not the air. They are "people heaters" and are good for open warehouses and repair shops. If used for keeping the entire RV warm, they are no more efficient. Used for heating people, they can be roughly 10% more efficient.

Safety info. on these sites:


Heating Fire Safety: Wood Stoves, Space Heaters & Fireplaces

Space heaters involved in 79 percent of fatal home heating fires

Gil & Deb & Dougal the Springer Spaniel
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:24 PM   #45
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I am in TOTAL agreement with you!

However, most RVer's go about their lives like it won't happen to them regardless of what others say or some people like you and I try to warn them about the dangers.

My approach is to offer people knowledge and wisdom about situations and sometimes that comes with real life experiences, then they can choose to do as the please.

It's their RV and their stuff. If a bad situation were to occur then that's the consequence of making those choices.

We all have thousands of choices to make everyday and with each choice comes a consequence, good or bad.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:48 PM   #46
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Yep, but the smarter person would at least assess all the potential risks and warnings involved before doing something risky.

It makes me wonder what your insurance company would say if you left a heater plugged in unattended and there was a fire? If you left your house unattended long enough and their was a flood from a burst pipe or hose, you'd be in trouble.

I installed a permanently mounted fan forced heater in our last trailer. I was VERY surprised to discover that it ran non-stop with the stat. turned down as low as it would possibly go, and that was in somewhat mild temps. (not below freezing). Now we just let the TT get as cold as it wants over the winter.

Part of my job as an engineer was designing electric heating installations. The thought of plugging in a portable heater and just leaving it there scares the bejesus out of me. But I know lots of RV-ers do it.
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:51 PM   #47
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We only use them when we're in the coach. If we go out I rely on the furnace until we get back.
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:43 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Ed-Sommers View Post
A heater is no more dangerous when you are gone, as when you are there.

However, your imagination may be more active!

X2- we use them at night while asleep so why not while gone. During the winter, leave one going all the time set very low just to keep inside somewhere near 30. The water system is completely winterized but like to keep things near the freeze mark so we don't have to empty all the canned goods. they have enough salt no to freeze even down to 28*. Of course the bottles of booze never freeze. this way all we have to do if we want to go is fill the water tank.
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Old 01-08-2014, 10:36 AM   #49
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I have 4 space heaters in this RV, How many are in use depends on the weather and the site (i'm on a 50 amp site, it hit 11 degrees Monday night and I had to turn one off so the Propane furnace would send more heat to the basement to prevent freezing)..

Of the 4, 2 have tip over switches (this is a switch in the base of the unit, if it's not sitting flat on the floor it's not working) the other two have over-temp (Limit) fuses and breakers. or some other form of tip over protection.

I leave them on (all or part) depending on the weather. Sub freezing I need 'em all.

There is also electric heat in the basement.
Home is where I park it!
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:30 PM   #50
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I keep hearing a heater is a heater and 1500 watts is 1500 watts no matter what i comes out of . In theory that is true but different types of heaters distribute heater in different ways . If I set an oil filled heater in the lower area of my 5th wheel I will be rather cold . Ceramic heaters , oil filled heaters heat the air .
The feeling of warmth has nothing to do with air temperature which is why even on a cold day if the sun is shining brightly you feel warm but step into the shade you instantly feel cold . It is the infrared Rays of the sun your feeling . The humidity level is another factor .
This is where a good infrared heater comes in it heats objects including you not air.
I use 2 in my 5th wheel one in the bedroom and one in the lower area and can stay completely warm down to the upper teens . They are not all created equal though you get what you pay for I have tried several of the cheap ones but my favorite are the ones by The Living Well Company they make the Comfort Furnace ant the Heat -A-Lot copper lined heating chambers and by wrapping the heating elements in stainless steel they are able to get 5600 Btu out of them . There not cheap but they have saved me tons of propane full timing .
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Old 11-19-2014, 08:28 PM   #51
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A word of caution. I was running space heaters and burned out my inverter because all the plug in circuits ran through the inverter and it was not designed to take those loads all the time. I had 2 20 amp circuits run that I can plug into that do not run through the inverter. One is in the front of the coach and one in in the bay next to the water compartment.

Others have pretty well addressed safety issues and proper procedure. I think Myredracer covered it very well.
I would also recommend a 2A,BC fire extinguisher mounted in plain sight, 2 would be better front and back. Those little 1A,B,C's may work ok in car but you are in a house.
Also at least think of and plan how to bail out of your MH in the event of an emergency. Remember your main exit may no longer be available. If it's not you have a much better chance of getting out if you have a plan on alternative routes out of your MH based on different locations of the problem and at least rehearsed them with out actually bailing out. . This can apply in multiple situations from fire, accidents, freaked out wildlife in the house, etc.
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Old 11-20-2014, 12:48 AM   #52
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Oil filled electric heater is left on low setting when sleeping there or when leaving the RV. Short time or long time away.
Vince and Susan
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Old 11-20-2014, 04:53 AM   #53
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pi agree with you. it is a good idea to open your emergency acess windows yearly. the first time i tryed mine i couldnt get them open even pushing against them with my feet. i would have been toast if i had to get out of a window in an emerbency, so please make sure they open yearly, happy camping all
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Old 11-21-2014, 04:06 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by 38 Special View Post
I rarely use them on the road. But have one running when at home set on 55 degrees pretty 24/7 in the Winter.
Same thing here.

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