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Old 10-31-2014, 12:43 PM   #1
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Question Ceramic Heaters

Ok so you all will probably be laughing once you read this but oh well.

So my husband and I went to turn our heater on. We had it on a couple weekends prior and it worked just fine. It was a colder weekend so we turned it up so company and the dogs wouldn't get cold. Well it warmed back up for a week or two then we got another cold day and went to turn it on. No luck. Nothing coming out of the vents. So Michael checked online before we called a repair person. We discovered that our heat comes from the propane tanks. Well we checked and found out that we had drained them. So we went to fill them up no biggie there. We spoke with our neighbors and they said they just use heaters during the winter cause propane is so expensive to use. So I bought 3 tiny heaters that actually push out a lot of heat for their size. The problem isn't the size and them not filling the room with heat. The issue comes when we try and turn them all on. If we turn on more than one we trip a breaker. I am an idiot when it comes to Volts, Hz, BTU's, or Watts. So here is my question. Why are they tripping the breaker? Here is information about the heaters.

Three Settings: High (1500W), Low (750W), or fan only.
Then it says 120V, 60Hz, 5120BTU's.

Like I said this is foreign language to me. I would like to use all the heaters at once. We tried different plugs in the walls but the ones in the main living area and the second bedroom seem to be all on the same circuit. It trips it too if I turn on the main living area one and the master bedroom one as well.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-31-2014, 12:57 PM   #2
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Heaters pull a lot of amps. Once you exceed the amp rating for the circuit they're on, you blow fuses or breakers. There's really nothing to be done for it. What we normally do is set the furnace to about 50 degrees so it knocks the chill off and run one space heater to maintain it at around 65 degrees. Depends on the size of the trailer as well. It's going to require a little compromise...dress a little warmer, bring a few more blankets, and use a little more propane. It's more than doable though.
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Old 10-31-2014, 12:58 PM   #3
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You only have roughly 1800 watts available for a 15 amp circuit. So, with nothing else on the circuit, you may be able to run one at 1500w OR two at 750w...
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Old 10-31-2014, 12:59 PM   #4
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Assuming you have a 30 amp service in your camper at 120 volts you have ~3600 usable watts. You could only run 2 heaters at a time on high and consume 3000 watts leaving only 600 to run everything else in your camper. Those two heaters would also have to be on separate circuits(breakers), probably 15 amp each and capable of 1800 watts per circuit. If it was a 20 amp then you would have ~2400 usable watts on that circuit. But you still have only 3600 watts available for the entire system. Drawing more watts/amps then a particular circuit is capable of will quickly overheat the wiring and trip the breaker.

disclaimer: I am not an electrician Someone else may be able to describe the situation more accurately.
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Old 10-31-2014, 01:03 PM   #5
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Each heater 1500watts is a lot of amps.. Close to 15amps...( if you have 15amp breakers thats the limit it would trip )and being a heater its a steady draw..It would do best for each heater to be on its own circuit...or try running two heaters on low (750watts.. )

Simple way to guesstimate amps.. On a steady draw (1amp =100watts..)

Hope this helps
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Old 10-31-2014, 01:07 PM   #6
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Try running two, and not getting behind on the heat, to where you want to crank them to high. Do a little experimenting to see what works. As mentioned, all three on high at the same time, may be needing more power then your system provides.
We can get by with 2 in our 26WFKSS V-Lite. The one on the kitchen circuit, I turn off(or make sure it's on low), when I want to use the Kuerig, or Microwave.
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Old 10-31-2014, 01:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by raspivey View Post
Heaters pull a lot of amps. Once you exceed the amp rating for the circuit they're on, you blow fuses or breakers. There's really nothing to be done for it. What we normally do is set the furnace to about 50 degrees so it knocks the chill off and run one space heater to maintain it at around 65 degrees. Depends on the size of the trailer as well. It's going to require a little compromise...dress a little warmer, bring a few more blankets, and use a little more propane. It's more than doable though.
Thanks! This is our first winter in our RV and we don't really know what we're doing. We did fine in hotter months with the A/C running or keeping windows and doors open for a breeze. But this cold has got us a little flabbergasted. LOL Suppose to be a freeze warning this weekend. I don't know where this weather has come from but BRRRRR!!!!!
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Old 10-31-2014, 01:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rsscully View Post
Assuming you have a 30 amp service in your camper at 120 volts you have ~3600 usable watts. You could only run 2 heaters at a time on high and consume 3000 watts leaving only 600 to run everything else in your camper. Those two heaters would also have to be on separate circuits(breakers), probably 15 amp each and capable of 1800 watts per circuit. If it was a 20 amp then you would have ~2400 usable watts on that circuit. But you still have only 3600 watts available for the entire system. Drawing more watts/amps then a particular circuit is capable of will quickly overheat the wiring and trip the breaker.

disclaimer: I am not an electrician Someone else may be able to describe the situation more accurately.
We actually have 50 amp service in our RV.
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Old 10-31-2014, 01:17 PM   #9
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My experience has been that your GFCI outlets will be on one circuit and all non-GFCI on another. The GFCI are typically located near the sink are in the kitchen and in the bathroom. My advice would be to run 2 on low, 1 on each circuit. You greatly reduce the likelihood of overloading a circuit and creating an arc fault problem at the outlet by doing so. What we do is run 1 radiator type that has 2 settings (600/900/1500) on medium and 1 ceramic type on low (750W) for a total of 2250W of heat. This typically maintains the trailer in temps down to the low 40's (30' bunkhouse with 1 slide). If the camper is cold and we are trying to bring temps up, we run the ceramic on high. I would personally NEVER sleep with any electric heater on high in a camper. Make sure nothing covers any of the cords and that nothing flammable is anywhere near the front or heat output direction of the heater.

Edit: Just caught the 50A service. You are still overloading an individual circuit. You still most likely have only 2 "legs" of AC service feeding outlets even with 50A service. I think the advice above still stands- with 50A you just don't have to worry about using other appliances like you would with a 30A trailer. You'll be able to run the heaters like I stated above AND use the microwave, fridge, water heater, etc. on AC. Just don't try to run anything else on the outlet circuits while the heaters are on- such as a hair dryer, toaster, etc.
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Old 10-31-2014, 01:28 PM   #10
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Another option is to run a heavy gauge cord to the power pedestal to the 20amp plug so you can run one heater all by itself on high.


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Old 10-31-2014, 01:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsscully View Post
Assuming you have a 30 amp service in your camper at 120 volts you have ~3600 usable watts. You could only run 2 heaters at a time on high and consume 3000 watts leaving only 600 to run everything else in your camper. Those two heaters would also have to be on separate circuits(breakers), probably 15 amp each and capable of 1800 watts per circuit. If it was a 20 amp then you would have ~2400 usable watts on that circuit. But you still have only 3600 watts available for the entire system. Drawing more watts/amps then a particular circuit is capable of will quickly overheat the wiring and trip the breaker.

disclaimer: I am not an electrician Someone else may be able to describe the situation more accurately.
Excellent post rsscully, electrician or not.

Here is the boring part, but once you understand it, then you will have a better understanding of how much stuff you can turn on at a time...either per circuit, or per total.

Watts = Voltage X amps

or another way to look at is

Amps = Watts divided by voltage

Taking what you know from the heaters tag:

Amps = 1500 watts (high setting) divided by 120 volts

So doing the math, it takes 12.5 amps to run the heater on 1500 (high) watts or 6.25 amps on the 750 (low) watts.

Most subcircuits in your travel trailers are going to be controlled by subcircuit 15 amp breakers, so you cannot exceed 15 amps per subcircuit by much if everything is correct. Depending on how your particular RV is wired, it could possibly have about all the outlets on the same subcircuit....or could have some outlets on one subcircuit and some on another.

So what this means, then EVERYTHING on that subcircuit needs to stay at/below 15 amps to keep the subcircuit breaker from tripping. You also have a master power circuit which can be 30 amps on some TT....and thus all the subcircuits added together cannot exceed 30 amps, or they trip the master 30 amp circuit breaker.

You have to practice power management, and not exceed the amps per subcircuit or master circuit. This includes televisions, microwaves, coffee pots, hair dryers, space heaters, water heater elements, air conditioners, and so forth as for anything in your RV that operates off of 120 volt power.
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Old 10-31-2014, 01:41 PM   #12
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Another option is to run a heavy gauge cord to the power pedestal to the 20amp plug so you can run one heater all by itself on high.


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Have seen people do that. Just make sure to use a 12 ga. or heavier cord. IF you have an open spot for a circuit breaker, you could also possibly install a dedicated outlet for a 3rd leg to run a 3rd heater on.
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Old 10-31-2014, 02:02 PM   #13
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As we don't have any slide outs my thoughts are to install an outdoor outlet on the outside and run that to a new outlet on the inside. This would let us run the heater from the 15 amp circuit on the pedestal and leave the 30 amp circuit for everything else. It would also let us use appliances we might not normally due to concerns about overloading the 30 amp circuit.
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Old 10-31-2014, 02:04 PM   #14
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Talking UPDATE

Looks like running 2 heaters at 750w is working. No problems. Nice and toasty in our rv. Thanks everyone for the information!
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Old 10-31-2014, 02:21 PM   #15
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Looks like running 2 heaters at 750w is working. No problems. Nice and toasty in our rv. Thanks everyone for the information!
Not to beat a dead horse- but, once again, if you'll run them on separate circuits, they will run on high. I just wouldn't recommend it for extended times or while sleeping. Plug on into a GFCI and the other into a non GFCI.
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Old 10-31-2014, 02:54 PM   #16
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Looks like running 2 heaters at 750w is working. No problems. Nice and toasty in our rv. Thanks everyone for the information!
Glad you got it going now. If you are interested, Forest River, INC has a list in their FAQ section of their website for some common appliance amperage draws, that also explains what happened to you with your heaters.

http://www.forestriverinc.com/FAQ/#5
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Old 10-31-2014, 03:29 PM   #17
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Lol.....this is exactly why I'm sitting with my feet in a pool, ....in Florida!
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