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Electric baseboard heater?


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Has anyone installed an electric household type baseboard heater or two in an RV? I'm considering doing this with a separate cord to the power post in an RV park. I'm thinking I could plug into the 50 amp with the factory AC cord for the trailer and plug into the 30 amp outlet with the separate cord for the heaters.

Ideas? suggestions?

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I have not done that but I have seen it done. You should install a distribution panel for the heaters so that each one or pair has a separate circuit breaker for safety reasons, then connect the new power cord to that distribution panel via a main breaker of 30A.

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The only worry about baseboard heat is if it warms the wall above the heater and it is a vinyl covered one that can't take the heat.

 

With a 50 amp service you should have no issues powering several baseboard heaters, remember that a 30 amp service is 30 amps or 3,600 watts while a 50 amp service is 100 amps or 12,000 watts split between two phases of 6,000 watts each.

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Maybe - what do you consider a baseboard heater - An 8 foot (or less wall heater or a Broan 112 kickspace heater??

 

http://www.amazon.com/Broan-112-Kickspace-Heater-Thermostat/dp/B0014ZQ05E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421962855&sr=8-1&keywords=broan+kickspace+heater

 

If a kickspace heater is also considered, then the answer is yes - twice - once in a Newmar and once in the current New Horizons. Both times in the space under the drawers near the bedroom.

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A few thoughts FWIW which is what you pay here NOTHING LOL

 

1) A 50 amp service should already have sufficient capacity to power electric baseboard resistance heaters (Subject to wattage DUH) since you obviously wont be using your AC units at the same time.

 

2) Of course, regardless if you plug into the RV pedestals 120 VAC 30 amp NEMA TT30R or 120 VAC NEMA 5-15R or 5-20R Duplex Receptacles, that's just one branch circuit, so take a look at the total heater watts and amperage and I wouldn't suggest drawing more then 24 continuous amps out of the 30 amp receptacle,,,,,,,,,,16 out of the 20 amp,,,,,,,,11 out of a 15 amp.

 

3) While the branch circuit (via RV power pedestal) already has overload protection, I'm the type of safety minded guy who would add a small distribution panel in the RV to provide additional overload protection for new circuits inside the RV supplying auxiliary heaters. Although it can be considered "overkill" you would use a 20 amp breaker to feed a circuit to a heater (subject to its watts and amps) if it has 20 amp rated conductors or a 15 amp if it uses 15 amp rated conductors (another DUH), and again size the conductors to have a minimum ampacity of 125% of the maximum continuous heater load.

 

4) Of course, you need to use 120 Volt heaters, many of residential are 240 volt. The 50 amp RV supply system has 240 volts present but I'm NOT going there lol

 

5) SURE this will work and its your RV and your choice, but since you're not going to be using heat at the same time your other major AC loads are being used and since the 50 amp system already has sufficient capacity to supply at least X watts of power that can be used for heating purposes, sure you even need to do this??????????????? If you do and if your panel has sufficient space for additional branch circuit breakers (may not?????????????) you may consider adding new dedicated branch circuits for newly installed heaters. Id much prefer that over just powering them from existing receptacle circuits.

 

As always NO WARRANTY Im a longgggggggg retired Electrical Engineer and rusty as an old nail, but believe the above to still be accurate or I wouldn't put it out there.

 

John T

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We have one of the oil-filled radiator heaters in our RV that we use. It cost under $50, it doesn't need 240-volts, it has selectable wattage ratings, it won't burn furniture (or people) even at full 1500-watts, and we can hide it away back in the rear bedroom when we're underway. It takes up a little floor space but when we need it we park it up forward just behind the driver's seat. Since our rig is mid-entry no one goes up there when we're parked (except the dog, Mindy, who loves that heater LOL).

 

Even if we're only connected to 30-amp it will work; we just turn the wattage down to 750. Between that heater and the regular propane built-in furnace (and an electric blanket) we've been comfortable down into the low 20s waiting for parts at an RV repair facility on 30-amps.

 

WDR

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A few years ago I considered using baseboard heaters but decided against it. I have a few of them in my home and I think that they get too hot for the close tolerances in a RV. Also 240 volt ones wouldn't work out and I never found out if 120 volt units are available.

 

I did a lot of searching and came up with these wall mounted electric heaters from e heat. http://www.eheat.com/envi-high-efficiency-whole-room-plug-in-electric-panel-heater-hh1012t/

 

These heaters are low wattage (475 watts) and are only 2 inches deep. The only place that gets hot is directly above the unit. The front and sides barely get warm. About two years ago I installed one on the back wall in our Class C rear bedroom and it works out great. It has a thermostat so I can adjust the heat as desired. This year I installed another one on the wall by our entry door. They have a cord and just plug into the nearest outlet. They have an easy to use on/off switch.

 

They are a little pricey but work out well. A wall mounted thermostat would work out better but that involves a line voltage thermostat and the related wiring.

 

I am also interested in checking out that kickspace heater mentioned by Bill B.

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I view any sort of electric resistance heat (I'm NOT talkin heat pumps here fellows) for RV use purely as back up for the main heat source i.e. an LP Gas Furnace, other then perhaps to take the chill off on a not so cold morning. The thing is if I recall correctly (NO Warranty) electric resistance heat produces 3.41 BTU/Watt. A 1500 watt 120 Volt cube heater would produce 3.41 x 1500 or 5115 BTU of heat. The 475 watt heater mentioned would only produce 475 x 3.41 = 1620 BTU (3240 for two). Now if you compare that to say 1000 BTU per foot in an RV, a 30 foot unit may be equipped with a 30,000 BTU Furnace, which in electrical terms would = 8800 watts or over 5 of those 1500 watt cube heaters AND THATS A LOT OF ELECTRICITY. At 120 volts, that 8800 watts computes to 73 amps to produce the heat a 30,000 BTU furnace would generate.

 

Sure there are times when I'm camped and NOT charged separately for electricity so in that case crank up the electric heaters to save on LP gas HOWEVER if you're only connected to 30 amp shore power that's 3600 watts max or 12,276 BTU of heat (and that's crowding the system and not allowing for other use). If connected to 50 amp you could come more near heating only with electric subject to size and temperatures etc.

 

So again adding some auxiliary electric heat isn't a bad idea, just don't overload the circuits as even a small 5115 BTU cube heater still draws 12.5 amps and 16 amps continuous is all I feel comfy with on a 20 amp branch circuit or 12 on a 15 amp branch circuit. With all the light flammable wood and plywood and fiberboard in an RV coupled with so so quality receptacles and wiring, I'm just not a fan of too much electric heat in an RV, but yall do as you please..............

 

That's my story n Ima stickin to it lol (subject to math errors)

 

John T

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Yeah John regarding too much electric heat in an RV is why I like these e heat heaters. They draw about 4 amps each and when located on opposite ends of the RV they are each plugged into a different circuit. Also 475 watts rather than a 1,000 or 1,500 heater means less concentrated heat in one area. There are no fans so there is no noise compared to a propane furnace where you have to turn up the TV when the furnace runs. The last few nights were below 50 degrees and with the two heaters running we were down to about 65 degrees in the morning. One run up to 70 degrees with the propane furnace and we were good to go again with the electric heat. The rear heater in the bedroom cycles during the night as we just want to take the chill off as I am next to the wall and can get cold feet. Lol. Three windows in a camper bedroom can let a lot of cold air in. I have used the cube heaters and they also help out but again concentrate the heat in one area and it seems like they are always in the way and I am either winding up the cord or tripping over them.

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  • 11 months later...

No reason to replace electric heaters, they don't wear out and all have the same efficiency. They may break at some point, either the element or the thermostat but until then just keep them dusted and they will serve you well.

 

Definitely . Amazing how much dust accumulates inside an electric heater . I've found that blowing the interior out with compressed air makes all the difference . I do that about twice over the Winter .

 

A couple years ago , a fellow camper offered a nice heater as they were tossing it out due to low performance . I took it . Tore it apart and cleaned it thoroughly , which , obviously , had never been done before . We are still using that heater as our main daytime heat source . We never leave an electric heater plugged in while we sleep . We set the thermostat for the furnace to maintain temperature at night .

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Baseboard and many other electric heaters depend on air-flow to move the heat out and into the room, it is surprising just how little dust it takes to stop up the flow and reduce the heat output. Once the heat is not moved out into the room the heater internal parts overheat and their lifetimes go way down.

 

An electric brick heater is easy to clean, just use compressed air blowing against the fan direction. An air compressor is best by a long shot, a canister type vac can work well too but it will move less of the really stubborn dirt. A can of compressed air is pretty lame but if kept warm (run some hot tap water on it) it has enough pressure to get out the big chunks. For heaters you can't take outside you can blow into them to get the dust moving while using your vacuum to suck up as much of the dust blowing out as possible. If you keep them reasonably clean you'll avoid the dust baking on and getting too crusty to blow out, if that happens you are going to have to take the heater apart and brush / scrape the crusty stuff out.

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If you have 2 roof top AC units, you can replace the single pole circuit breaker with a dual single pole circuit breaker. Now you can run 2 special outlets in your Rv. And yes there is a 115 volts baseboard heater that is portable. I have one.

 

In fact, I recently replace my engine block heater switch with a switch/outlet combination. Now I can run 3 electric heaters without going through my Inverter/Charger circuit.

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