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Old 11-04-2009, 10:15 PM   #1
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electric heater use in a motorhome

in our previous rv we had trouble when we tried to use an electric heater of 1500 watts in the lower setting, would kick the breaker... our present rv has a more heavy duty residential type wiring, we use 50 amp for the rv....question: are those of you who use electric heaters doing any special outlet wiring for your heater or just using one on the standard outlets that are in motorhomes?????? we have purchased a new 1500 has 2 other lower settings...ceramic heater...we would not leave this on a night or unattended but are these heaters safe for use to conserve on propane?????thanks faye
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:44 PM   #2
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You'll be fine on a standard 15 amp circuit. We use one all the time, including at night. We leave it in an open space where there is no chance of touching anything flammable...does great.
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:54 PM   #3
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We're not doing anything special other then to avoid overloading the circuit as most if not all our outlets are fed through the inverter. In our case the inverter has a 30 Amp bypass breaker, which totals 3600 watts of AC loads.

Don't exceed a total of 3600 watts and you should be fine. Two heaters at 1500 watts should theoretically work but it trips that 30 amp inverter breaker on our coach. Or as the DW has discovered you can't have your heaters and coffee at the same time in the morning, or two heaters and blow dry your hair.
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:01 AM   #4
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Yes they are safe when used as directed. We use ours on the standard outlets in our coach with no problems or heat build up of the plug or wiring. 3 weeks ago, when we were on vacation in MI, the night temps were too low for our heat pumps to put out heat. The heaters kept us warm without us having to use up our propane.

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Old 11-05-2009, 12:16 AM   #5
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We've used one 1500 watt electric heater on the regular coach outlet for years with no problems. Keeps the coach about 65 when the ambient is around 40/45 degrees. Others are correct when they say don't exceed 30 amps or the inverter pass through will trip.
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Old 11-05-2009, 04:19 AM   #6
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I use a dedicated 20 amp outlet for my heater. This leaves alll 30 amps of my incoming service for other things. No you don't have to. There probably is no safer heater to leave on all night than a good quality ceramic. When you first use it, check to see if the wire heats up after running for awhile. If it does, be careful of and watchful of your heater. I have ceramics (cheap ones) that this happens and good heaters that do not ever heat up.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:56 AM   #7
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I'm a big fan of the ceramic electric heaters as an auxiallry heat source in our RV as well. I posted this in a different thread also, but I prefer the ceramic heaters with 3 heat settings rather than just two. Typically these heaters are 1500 watts so a two setting heater draws 750/1500 while the 3 setting units are 500/1000/1500.

I highly prefer running the heaters on the medium (1000 watt) setting as this does not draw the maximum permitted amperage from the coach wiring for extended periods such as overnight. It also allows running two heaters on 1000 watts each in different locations in the rig without maxing out the supply breaker if you happen to be put on a 30 amp site.

I also plug one of my heaters into the outlet that feeds my electric dryer as it does not run through the inverter.
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:35 AM   #8
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I purchased a ceramic (2 heat setting) space heater from Home Depot. The unit would cause the inverter to reset the entire MH on the low heat setting so I took it back and have not used another since. When using the space heater I checked to make sure I wasn't max'ing out the 50 amp shore power service. I've heard a lot of people use space heaters for supplimental heat, but I just think it's too dangerous in a small confined space. There's too much at risk for the little savings.
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe-K View Post
I'm a big fan of the ceramic electric heaters as an auxiallry heat source in our RV as well. I posted this in a different thread also, but I prefer the ceramic heaters with 3 heat settings rather than just two. Typically these heaters are 1500 watts so a two setting heater draws 750/1500 while the 3 setting units are 500/1000/1500.

I highly prefer running the heaters on the medium (1000 watt) setting as this does not draw the maximum permitted amperage from the coach wiring for extended periods such as overnight. It also allows running two heaters on 1000 watts each in different locations in the rig without maxing out the supply breaker if you happen to be put on a 30 amp site.

I also plug one of my heaters into the outlet that feeds my electric dryer as it does not run through the inverter.
us to
we have one that has a automatic setting so it complety shuts down when the room is warm and will cycle as needed vice running all night
i did run a hard wired outlet for it off off a branch box so i would have to use an extension cord.
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:43 AM   #10
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Again there are ceramic heaters and there are ceramic heaters. Purchase a good one and you are completely safe. I prefer Pelonis, I have a Chinese knock off that the wire going to it gets as hot as the unit does. This is very dangerous and should never be left on for long periods of time or unattended.
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:14 PM   #11
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we use two electric heaters, one in the rear and one in the front of the coach when our grandson travels with us and have no problems, if you make sure youdo not run anything else on the same circuit. follow all safety guidelines that come with the heater and you should be safe.
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:17 PM   #12
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Most RV outlets use a simple push in connector for the wires. While the outlet itself is rated for 15 amps the connectors for the wires are not. (Cheap Chinese crap) If you want to use a ceramic heater and pull nearly full rated amps through the wiring, buy a good quality home outlet with screw terminals made here in the USA by Leviton and certified for use to it's rated amperage. Use it instead of the outlet supplied by the manufacturer. They are notorious for overheating when pulling lots of amps through them. It's also a good idea to check all your connections between the outlet and the breaker. I have seen many terminals not screwed down on breakers and many neutral wires loose in the negative buss in RVs along with ground wires not grounded and connectors screwed into wood or plastic that should be attached to the frame.

I do not understand the RV industries poor standards in construction and rarely does price prevent trouble either. It seems poor quality workmanship along with sourcing the very cheapest parts are commonplace. I can simply tell you that in a stick built home, none of the practices and many of the products used in RVs would ever pass code or an inspectors keen eye and stick built homes do not need to withstand the constant vibration a trailer or motor home must endure. Not until the average buyer demands better quality will manufacturers provide them and as much as I dislike the legal system, nothing will change until manufacturers get sued because of their use of inferior products and the poorest workmanship putting lives at risk to save a penny.
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:58 PM   #13
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I second the above post. Check your outlets. After running your heater feel the plug in our new motorhome the outlets would get hot if I ran my heaters on high. I replaced the receptables and ended the worry. While I was at it I replaced the microwave, and basement receptables remember they are wired in series, so you could run a heater in front and have a bad connection at another receptable. Test your system and know which receptables are on each circut.
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:16 PM   #14
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We use 2 Lakewood brand 3 foot long low profile oil filled electric radiant heaters. They are filled with oil which is heated up and then the oil heats up the fins and the fins radiate the heat and they work great. No noise or drafts from a fan, just an occassional light "tinkling" of the metal fins as they expand or contract while heating. We have 1 setting up front on the dog house and 1 out back in the bedroom. We are very happy with them and I'm sure we saved the cost of them the first year we had them in propane costs. They are available at Menards and have 2 settings, 900 watts and 1500 watts and a temperature setting knob. With both of them on the 900 watt setting we can still use our other electrical appliances as long as we shut off the electric water heater.
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