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Old 12-04-2015, 03:17 PM   #1
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Space Heater

We took out our 1st motor home a 2005 Forester 2 weekends ago when the winter storm hit central IL. I had an old space heater to use in the morning around the dinette. It immediately blew a fuse and knocked out half of my outlets. So I'm looking for a new space heater that won't create such a draw on the electrical. Any suggestions?
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Old 12-04-2015, 03:34 PM   #2
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We have one of those ceramic tower type heaters that we use. When it is on high it can draw around 13 amps, low is around 6 amps. What I did to avoid having to worry about what appliance was running when the heater was on was add a 20 amp power inlet and outlet to the trailer. I plug my 30 amp line into the 30 amp inlet and run a 20 amp power chord to the 20 amp inlet.
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Old 12-04-2015, 07:06 PM   #3
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I have a Soleus brand 400/800 watt flat panel tower radiant heater with swivel.

It was hard to find one that went down to 400 watt. Amps on low: 3.3. Amps on high: 6.7.

I keep it on low all winter, and turn it up if needed when I am in the TT. Hasn't tripped any breakers and the impact on the sticks and bricks electric bill is minor.

I like that it is tall.

Mine was ordered from Home Depot, but this site has more information:

Heaters | Portable Electric | SoleusAir Flat Panel Reflective Heater HE08-R3-21 | 246184 - GlobalIndustrial.com

I bring it when camping, but also bring a Vornado brand VH2 whole room heater as a backup as well. Neither has tripped a campground breaker, and we also have an oxygen concentrator plugged in while camping.
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Old 12-04-2015, 07:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by actadh View Post
I have a Soleus brand 400/800 watt flat panel tower radiant heater with swivel.

It was hard to find one that went down to 400 watt. Amps on low: 3.3. Amps on high: 6.7.
Most circuits inside the RV are going to be controlled by a 15 amp circuit breaker.

If you know the wattage of a heater (hair dryer, microwave, etc), it's real easy to configure the amps.

Watts = volts X amps.... or watts/divided by volts = amps

Using actadh's heaters example above, you can see that 400 watts/divided by 120 volts = 3.33 amps or rounded to 3.3

800 watts/divided by 120 volts = 6.66 amps or rounded to 6.7 amps.

It's good for RV'ers to know this formula to keep from overloading circuits (which includes the amperage of all 120 volt items on that same circuit).

Just for an example, a 1500 watt heater on 120 volts uses 12.5 amps and an 1800 watt one uses 15 amps..... so you can see how space heaters (and hair dryers) can require some high amps.

You just have to practice energy management sometimes and figure out what amps your appliance needs vs what your circuit has the capability of. Even with a 15 amp circuit breaker, that doesn't mean you should use 15 amps of appliances constantly.... which still may cause the breaker to trip.
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Old 12-04-2015, 08:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by toddlafond View Post
We took out our 1st motor home a 2005 Forester 2 weekends ago when the winter storm hit central IL. I had an old space heater to use in the morning around the dinette. It immediately blew a fuse and knocked out half of my outlets. So I'm looking for a new space heater that won't create such a draw on the electrical. Any suggestions?
Electric heaters are essentially 100% efficient, meaning that they will put out X amount of BTUs and draw the equivalent in amps (for example, 1500 watts is about 13.63 amps on 110VAC). In other words, it doesn't matter if it's a ceramic heater or a straight electrical heater, a fan heater or an oil bath heater, the BTU's and the amps will be the same. So the only way to reduce your current draw is to reduce the BTU rating of your heater.

Most electric heaters have 2 heat levels, 1500 watts (13.63 amps) and 750 watts (6.8 amps). There are a few out there (I have a small Vornado model) that have 750 watts (6.8 amps) and 375 watts (3.4 amps).

There are a few others that use different heat levels than I've discussed above, for example, 1500/1000/500 watts.

But the bottom line is you need to drop the power (wattage) of the heater to solve your problem. Of course, you may NOT be happy with the amount of heat it puts out. If you have this problem, then your only option is the suggestion above to run a separate HEAVY DUTY extension cord to the 20amp outlet on the camground post to your heater.
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Old 12-04-2015, 08:28 PM   #6
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What about portable propane heaters? I see some that they say don't need to be vented to the outside. I am not going to use one in my motor home but I also have camper in a permanent location up north that could use some extra heat when we area there. I have not looked into them very much. I would still be worried about fumes etc
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by keith_h View Post
We have one of those ceramic tower type heaters that we use. When it is on high it can draw around 13 amps, low is around 6 amps. What I did to avoid having to worry about what appliance was running when the heater was on was add a 20 amp power inlet and outlet to the trailer. I plug my 30 amp line into the 30 amp inlet and run a 20 amp power chord to the 20 amp inlet.
This is the answer. I blew fuses and even melted a connection prior to running a separate inlet/outlet just for the heater. I have never had a problem since doing this about 13-14 yrs ago. We also use the heater circuit for other high amperage uses (hair dryers, etc.).
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Old 12-04-2015, 11:31 PM   #8
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Here's a non-electric option:

Olympian Wave 8 Catalytic Safety Heater - Camco 57351 - Portable Heaters - Camping World
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:49 AM   #9
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Thanks for all of your help I will certainly look into those options. I now know that when my wife has on her electric blanket to only use the GFI outlets in the bathroom and kitchen. They are on a separate circuit
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Old 12-05-2015, 06:55 PM   #10
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Thanks for all of your help I will certainly look into those options. I now know that when my wife has on her electric blanket to only use the GFI outlets in the bathroom and kitchen. They are on a separate circuit
This is the one we ended up with and we are very pleased with it. It is rated for 1400 watts and only needs 15 amps. Here is the thread I started it in, Portable heaters

Has not trip any breakers and our tt furnace hasn't come on since then.
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