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Old 12-31-2012, 11:44 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by rawlus View Post
Have you thought about radiant electric floor heat like is used for residential installation? A more permanent solution, takes up no floor space, nothing to setup each trip, controlled by thermostat, etc. thermosoft is one brand but there are many others, often used in bathroom or kitchen renovations and easily DIY.

We only have a small A frame popup and use a micathermic radiant heater for the off-season camping, takes up little space and makes no noise whatsoever (no moving parts)
hmmmm...that sounds interesting. Can I just lay it down on top of the existing linoleum and walk on it?
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:49 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by KyDan View Post
To a certain degree (no pun intended) amps can be converted to Watts and watts
to BTUs which are heat.
So if you get a 1400 watt heater, you are gonna get pretty much the same BTU over
various brands. Some have blowers, some don't. Some are oil filled, some are ceramic.
These have different effects. Oil filled don't use a blower and they tend to level out
the heat rather than off/on - warm/cold cycle of say one with a blower.
Oil filled are pretty much silent. Blowers make noise.
The bottom line is if 1400 watts won't keep up you need more watts.
One way to do that is with an extension cord stuck in thru the slide out gasket
which is plugged into the campground power post in the 120v duplex outlet.
This way you won't trip the outlet breaker in your trailer by plugging 2 heaters
in inside your RV.
If your question pertains to keeping your RV warm while parked at home the answer
is still more heaters using more watts and spending more $$ on your electric bill.
Electricity is cheaper than LP whether it's at home or in a campground.

My 2¢
Exactly the answer I've come too. I appreciate all the posters, but I can't find anyone saying my one (1) space heater kept me toasty at 70 all night without a furnace in 30 degrees.

So I need two heaters. Doesn't matter much which two, except personal preference (noise, evenness, ease of travel, etc).

And btw, good idea on the extension cord through the gasket. I might use that - although I think I can plug both heaters in - one 12amp and one 8 should be fine. Plus I'd rather avoid the extension cord with the space heater.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:59 AM   #23
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Just keep in mind a 1500 watt heater is approx 1.5KW. The fixed heaters are from 15,000 to 35000 btu's. I just converted a 35k btu gas furnace to elec 1500 watt for comparison. It would take about 6.8 small elec heaters to match the output of the "big guys". I use both a firepllace at 1100 watts and a floor heater of 1500 watts. Sometimes ya just gotta kick in the big guy.
Lol - as I read this it's snowing. I think you're right, and just hope I can push our "must have" furnace nights into the 20's. But it might stay in the 30's and with two we're just supplementing the furnace. No biggie.

But that vornado sure does look interesting.....
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:04 PM   #24
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oh, and this is totally about sleeping IN the RV. I'm not storing it and trying to keep it above freezing or anything. See my avatar - that's our RV parked in the garage. I don't even winterize!

I kept reading about the infrared bulbs being fragile, but with actual confirmation, I think I'm going to go with adding the vornado. Plus we have a trip in a few weeks - so I can see how it works.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:27 PM   #25
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Two heaters of the type you use will not keep my 5er at a toasty temp all night in 30 degree weather. The bedroom one is ok but not the living area. You need to stand right next to it to feel good. We use them to assist with the furance.
We try to keep ahead of the weather and not be any place that is going to be cold.

Last summer, July, at Excapee's in Livingston, TX, were you pay for metered Electric
at 12.5 cents per KWH, it was more then $5 per day to run two ACs, one 15,000 and the other 13,500.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:48 PM   #26
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The electric radiant floor heat is meant to go underneath the floor covering, tile, wood, vinyl, etc. so yes you walk on it, but no, you can't lay it on top of the linoleum. You'd have to peel it up and put it underneathm or put it on the Lino and then put another flooring over it
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:14 PM   #27
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I personally think an electric heater is a great idea. Furnaces are very noisy. We used ours once and couldn't take the noise so I installed a 1KW, semi-recessed, hard-wired heater in the ceiling near the A/C unit as in this photo. It runs on a low voltage thermostat on the wall that looks exactly like the one for the furnace. All wiring is hidden in the walls and ceiling and looks like a factory install. Our trailer is on the smaller side at 20' and is a single area except for the bathroom. It has worked very well. Only thing is that I wish I had installed a 1500W unit instead as the one I used cycles on and off more often than I'd like. It still makes some noise but is waay quieter than the furnace and we can sleep at night. This is my favorite mod. I've done to our TT.

I guess if you get charged a high rate at a c/g, propane may be a better option. At least on electric though, you never need to worry about draining the tanks dry when you least want it to happen and you don't have to drive around lokking for a place for a fill, esp. if it's dark and/or cold out.

If you wanted to retrofit with a heater(s) installed in the ceiling, your camper would have to have fiberglass insulation to be able to fish wires in.

If you have a 30 amp service, you are pretty much restricted to using a max. 1500 watt heater so that you can still use other things. If you have a 50 amp service you can install more or higher wattage heaters. In a larger camper with several rooms and a 50 amp service, you'd want an electric in each divided space.

I think if you want to use an elctric heater(s) in cold weather, unless you have a well-insulated or 4-season camper with more/better insulation, you won't get enough heat out of an electric heater. But I doubt you would remove the furnace, as it'd still be there for the times when it gets cold and you need more heat.

Radiant heaters heat people and objects and not air. They are in the order of only 10% more efficient than space heaters. I don't see them working well in an RV since the ceilings are too low. You'll often see these heaters in warehouses and shops with high ceilings and in spots where people work a lot in the same location like at a counter or workbench.

I don't see how electric radiant heating cables would would in an RV. These normally need to be installed in a mortar bed. I'm not aware of any electric ones that work on or below a wood subfloor unless there's something new out there.

If you are using plug-in portable heaters, especially ceramic types, you need to be careful where you place them so as not to potentially cause a fire. The oil-filled heaters are quite safe but bulky. There is a retrofit kit available to attach to a furnce, but is very expensive and from what I read elsewhere, it's questionable if you'd reach a payback point to cover the approx. installation cost of $1500. Plus the kit is not a DIY install.

And if you are going to use portable plug-in heaters you need to be careful of what recept. you plug it in to, that there are no "dysfunctional" wiring connections at the recept. you are plugging into or downstream recepts., and never hide the cords under carpeting, dog beds etc. as the cords can overheat. It's also not good to let the heaters run non-stop as they aren't normally designed for 100% duty cycle. You can find posts/threads on this forum on all this.

What I think would be cool is an underfloor hot water radiant heating system like used in homes (we have it). This would be a serious retrofit though, if even possible at all, plus you'd need space for a boiler of some sort, circ. pump(s), valves, etc.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents for the last day of 2012.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:23 PM   #28
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I don't see how electric radiant heating cables would would in an RV. These need to be installed in a mortar bed. I'm not aware of any electric ones that work on or below a wood subfloor.
The technology has advanced over the past few years. They can be done easily and without a mortar bed. The brand I referenced in my original reply is just one option.
Laminate Floor Heating - ThermoSoft

Incidentally, thermosoft makes many of the heated mattress elements in RV use and it is based upon the same principle as their ready to install radiant floor pads.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:33 PM   #29
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rawlus, that's good to know. Are there limitations on it's use? Can laminate be plastic type I wonder or the normal type? Will read up on the link.

Electric radiant floor heating would be great in an RV. Nothing nicer than toasty warm toes in the morning. I know from experience though that you have to be careful not to place things on it that act like insulation like thick floor mats and dog beds as you can cause localized overheating.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:37 PM   #30
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Two heaters of the type you use will not keep my 5er at a toasty temp all night in 30 degree weather.

We try to keep ahead of the weather and not be any place that is going to be cold.
I keep trying to get my inlaws to move to Florida, so we can visit a warmer climate - but I guess in the meantime I'll just have to deal with these Missouri winters. Could be worse I guess- could live farther north where winter accounts for 1 of 2 seasons...

I think I'm just resigned to two heaters to help the furnace. Still better than no heaters to help the furnace!
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:39 PM   #31
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They have similar limitations as regular underfloor heating, should be installed only within walking areas of floor, not under bookcases, appliances, etc. can't be cut to shape but can be pieced together. I believe they are compatible with most laminate flooring, glue down, floating, snap-lock, etc. I would look at floor manufacturer recommendation tho for final confirmation as its more about the floor being compatible rather than the heating element being compatible.

It would be an interesting experiment in a small camper for sure.
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:36 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by rawlus View Post
The technology has advanced over the past few years. They can be done easily and without a mortar bed. The brand I referenced in my original reply is just one option.
Laminate Floor Heating - ThermoSoft

Incidentally, thermosoft makes many of the heated mattress elements in RV use and it is based upon the same principle as their ready to install radiant floor pads.
I read over the materials you listed. Looks to me its designed to work with existing heating systems to maintain the floors comforatable which few heating systems can do. There does not seem to be enough energy use to warm an entire room when it's a temp difference of 50 deg inside to outside, even 20 deg differential would be too much. Thats the entire problem with RV's, they simply can't insulate them well enough to keep the heat in for very long. When I wrote to post about keep your gas heat ready, I knew this box has 35K and 20K heaters installed alsready, FR knew when it gets cold, its the only way to maintain above freezing.
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:56 PM   #33
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Unlike the propane furnace which seeks to heat air these underfloor systems create a sense of warmth without necessarily heating the air itself. Think of the large propane patio heaters that can be run in below-zero environments, as long as you're underneath the radiant canopy you can feel its warmth, but it is not heating the air around you appreciably.

I have friends who have only radiant underfloor heat in their homes, it does fine without supplemental sources if engineered correctly.

For an RV I'm not sure what the outcome might be. I do know that a good deal of the sense of cold I feel in my camper is due to a cold floor. And I know that I feel warmer with a radiant micathermic heater radiating its warmth towards the bed.

It would be an interesting experiment to redo the floors in my camper, perhaps with a thermally reflective underlayment followed by these insulated panels and see how it affected the sense of comfort overall.

The thing with these units is that the air temp can be kept much cooler and you still feel comfortable due to the infrared radiation.

Further searching has revealed radiant floor systems in use and/or designed for rvs
http://www.warmfloor.com/en-us/resid...omes-boats-etc

http://www.goldheat.com/category/products/for-owners/

http://www.speedheat.us/applications...v_heating.html
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:12 PM   #34
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Understood and found they are also thinking higher requirements for RV's.
"STEP RV™ has a higher wattage output than the standard residential elements, as these types of applications normally have higher heat losses."
This may be an understatement. Good luck with it.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:06 PM   #35
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wow... I saw this on the Woodalls forum. check it out...very interesting

Woodalls Open Roads Forum: Electrical fire hazard from using electric space heaters
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:06 PM   #36
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Posted: 02/19/12 12:27pm Woodalls forum

With my last coach, we occasionally ran one or two 1500 watt electric space heaters, when connected to shore power in RV parks, to conserve use of propane. At one point I had a problem with my inverter and called an RV Electrical Systems specialist to help.

This is what he relayed to me:

This info is from the RV electrical specialist I spoke with:

"Portable electric heaters convert electricity into heat and in doing so cause a high amount of current to flow through your electric wiring in the RV. Your RV's electrical wiring system is designed to handle short duration use of high wattage appliances such as the microwave, hair dryers, and vacuums. The problem arises when a high wattage appliance is used for extended length of time (like an electric heater running overnight).

Your RV electrical system is protected by circuit breakers and GFI outlets to protect against electrical shorts, ground faults, and over current conditions.

The problem is that most circuits are protected by 15 amp circuit breakers. A 1500 watt electric heater normally pulls 12-13 amps, not enough to trip the breaker but just under its load rating. This amount of high current flowing through the wiring components for an extended length of time gets them very hot, hot enough to melt wiring insulation, electrical connectors, outlets, and destroy GFI outlets (if in the circuit). This could (and has) resulted in an electrical fire from the insulation or other electrical component overheating to the point of igniting. Your circuit breaker cannot sense the danger until it is too late and a short occurs from overheating wires touching.

If your coach is equipped with a hard wired inverter and an electric heater is operated for an extended period of time on one of the inverter supplied outlets, damage to the inverter or fire may very likely occur at some point. Last season alone, Sundance Custom RV was called due to 2 inverter fires and several more damaged from use of electric heaters.

The reason for the concern is that when shore power is supplied to the inverter, a set of relays (transfer switches) closes and the inverter becomes passive on the circuits it will supply power to, but the current still goes through the inverter relays. These relays are the "weakest link" in the circuit. Excessive, long-duration current on the circuit overheats the contacts on these relays until they either melt together (inverter damage) or overheat and ignite (inverter fire).

RECOMMENDATIONS
1) Utilize your RV's furnace for space heating
2) Check the manufacturer's label on the electric heater for the wattage of the unit. If it is rated at 1500 watts only - don't use it longer than a few minutes at a time. If it has a lower setting, 1000, or 750 watts, then use the lower settings, with caution.
3) Don't use an electric heater on a GFI protected circuit.
4) Never leave an electric heater unattended (this includes while sleeping)
5) Don't use an electric heater on an inverter supplied outlet.
6) Test your smoke detector regularly.
7) If you smell or see smoke when an electric heater is in operation, turn off the main circuit breaker (or park circuit breaker) and evacuate the coach immediately and call the fire department. Some fires occur inside walls and are not readily visible until too late."

This morning I did a test to try to find an outlet in my new coach which isn't fed through the inverter.

While connected to shore power, I shut off the 30A breaker coming from my inverter and then tested all the outlets in my coach to try to find one with power to it. It seems every outlet in my coach is fed through the 2800 watt Magnum Inverter.

I'm considering having an additional circuit installed in the coach, independent of the inverter, specifically for operating an electric space heater while connected to shore power.

What are your thoughts on this?
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:10 PM   #37
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and then I saw this too about the heater coil that can be added to the a/c unit. Says it gets too hot and melts the plastic housing! YIKES!

MPG A/C Warning - Do not install heat strip in Dometic unit [Archive] - Heartland Owners Forum

"If you are thinking of installing a heat strip in your Dometic, A/C, DO NOT. I just had one installed and picked it up yesterday. Another member took his to his dealer to have the heat strip installed and they refused, stating that Dometic had declared it a fire hazard. I just finished speaking with Dometic about the heat strip and they said, "No, do not install the heat strip." It doesn't matter if there is a position on the front that says "Heat". The housing is plastic and the heat will melt the plastic, possibly causing it to catch fire. My dealer knew nothing of this, but said bring it back and they would remove it and reimburse me the cost. They are doing a follow up with Dometic now."
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:09 PM   #38
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so campnqueen, you got any solutions?
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:20 PM   #39
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Hey Road Trip... I knida think along the lines of rlocicero. Use the built in furnace. At night we have a heated mattress pas on our bed... heat the bed before we get in and then turn it off. Used very little power. Also helps to have two big dogs that sleep with you!
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:50 AM   #40
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I'm considering having an additional circuit installed in the coach, independent of the inverter, specifically for operating an electric space heater while connected to shore power.
What are your thoughts on this?
I am not familiar with the wiring in coach with built in inverter.
In MY trailer there are extra slots in the circuit breaker panel.
They accept normal plug in breakers like found at most any home supply
store such as Home Debit ( I mean Depot!) Lowes or a decent hardware store.
I plugged in a 15 amp breaker and ran a short wire to a new outlet in the
toe kick area nearby. We use this for our space heater.

I suggest you can maybe have something like this done as well.
Also-- as mentioned by me earlier- you can snake an extension cord
thru a slide seal and plug directly into the home style outlet in the power
pole at your campground.
Someone said they didn't want to use an extension cord on a heater.
OK you can purchase 14 gauge heavy duty or even 12 ga
super heavy duty extension cords.
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