you have access to a standard mains power source or a
generator then you will be able to use portable
electrical heaters to heat your RV, trailer or
motorhome. The usual
safety precautions should be taken when using
heaters in confined spaces.
you intend to use a generator
to run the heating appliance make sure you keep in mind
the amount of wattage the heating unit requires to
operate before buying a heating appliance. For example,
if you have a Honda EU20i it has a 2,000 watt capacity
so the heater you buy will need to have less wattage
(say 1,800 watt) for the generator to be able to run it.
Electric radiant/bar heaters are not covered here as
these are considered unsafe for use in RV’s. Oil filled
column heaters are also not included as they draw a lot
of electrical current and can trip electrical circuits.
Electric fan heaters
can supply almost instantaneous heat but they tend to be
the least economically efficient of the electric heaters
and they also should not be left unattended. The noise
can vary from make and model depending on the fan and
the fan settings. The plastic surface does not get hot
but the heating grill can get very hot. To avoid burns
make sure you purchase a fan heater with a plastic cover
over the heating grill. Select one that has an
automatic cut-out feature for such things as the heater
tipping over or overheating.
– although ceramic heaters are not the most energy
efficient heaters they are more energy efficient than
most types of electric heaters. Most models of ceramic
heaters incorporate a fan which makes them quite
effective for larger spaces. Some models come with a
heat sensor to assist maintaining the temperature in the
room. Look for ceramic heaters that do not have exposed
radiant heating elements and have safety features such
as thermostat and tilt safety cut-off switches. Items
of clothing or anything flammable should not be placed
on top of or close to the front of the ceramic heater
and these heaters are not recommended to be used with an
Sunbeam has a range of ceramic heaters from 1800 watts
to 2400 watts. Other brand names for ceramic heaters
are DeLonghi, Honeywell and Holmes.
There are electric convection heaters available but note
not all models come with a fan. The convection heaters
are more suited for long heating periods rather than the
occasional fast heating and one that has a fan is more
effective as it disperses the heated air. These heaters
rely on natural convection with the heated air rising
and being replaced by cooler air flowing being drawn
over the heating element.
The convection heater operates similar to an electric
fan heater but the surfaces do not get hot so there is a
low risk of fire ignition and they are better if there
may be young children around. Convection heaters
however can take up valuable floor space, so the
physical dimensions (size) of these heaters may make
them unsuitable for an RV. In some models the fan can
also be a bit noisy so you would have to talk louder or
have the TV up higher to be heard.
Some brands of convection heaters have features such as
electronic thermostat, timer, remote control, thermal
cut-out or tilt switch and frost watch.
Some brand names are Dimplex, Sunair, Celsius, DeLonghi,
Prima and Raypak ‘Paloma’. One of the DeLonghi models
has a safety tilt switch feature where an alarm will
sound if the heater is tipped over accidentally. It
also has anti-frost protection and a thermal cut-out.
Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners
Most caravan trailers, fifth wheelers and motorhomes
have an air conditioner but not all have a heat cycle.
Some air conditioners have a fan heat cycle or there is
the Air Command air conditioner which is a true reverse
cycle air conditioner. Air Command claim their ‘Wren’
a reverse cycle refrigerative heat pump, which produces
almost twice the heating output compared with their
competitors' products. The Wren also has an auto
de-icing function on the heat cycle.
you are away from a power source, a good size generator
such as the Honda EU20i (2,000 watt) will run a standard
air conditioner in your RV.
However, if you want to run an air
conditioner on a generator in temperatures in the high
some users have reported generators of that size
tripping out due to the heat so they believe a larger
generator is required (ie.
the Yamaha 2.4).Thermostats in air
conditioners have been known not to cope with the load
in very cold conditions so travellers have looked
to the fuelled blown air heaters as another option.
See article-Heating your Caravan
with Gas / Diesel
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