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Old 03-03-2011, 12:41 PM   #1
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Electric panel heaters?

I've seen several discussions regarding budget house heating when parked. For those who need infrequent heat, the Mr. Buddy propane heater seems to work fine if 120v hookup is not available. Others have used electric space heaters with some success. My van does not have a heat source other than the standard engine heater so I'm considering what to do.

I'm wondering if a heater like this could have an application in a SMB type van?:

http://www.eheat.com/products/Envi-H...HH1000%29.html

The description claims that 1 panel can heat a 140 sq. ft. room.

The benefits as I see them:
  • low profile[/*:m:1wfds88o]
  • silent (doesn't matter if it has to run all night)[/*:m:1wfds88o]
  • inexpensive[/*:m:1wfds88o]
  • no extra gadgets to transport/store[/*:m:1wfds88o]
  • no risk of tip-over[/*:m:1wfds88o]
  • no fuels to deal with[/*:m:1wfds88o]
  • no potential CO or moisture from combustion in the cabin[/*:m:1wfds88o]

The problems (there may be more I'm not thinking of):
  • having a large, flat area to mount[/*:m:1wfds88o]
  • 120v hookup[/*:m:1wfds88o]
  • not listed or rated by manuf. for van/RV use (that I have found)[/*:m:1wfds88o]
  • warnings against using product with extension cords (if using an appropriate cord, I'm not sure how real this concern is)[/*:m:1wfds88o]

I'm just throwing this out as a discussion topic as I consider different options. I know there are other furnace options but to keep the discussion on topic, I'm only looking at 120v solutions for a budget, lightweight campervan/SMB build when electric hookup is possible. I'm only looking to take the edge off in the compartment during the spring and fall, not hold it at 68*F all night when its 15*F outside.

Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:54 PM   #2
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Re: Electric panel heaters?

You're not planning to run it off an inverter are you?
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:31 PM   #3
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Re: Electric panel heaters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
You're not planning to run it off an inverter are you?
No. I would envision having it plugged directly into a heavy duty extension cord well above it's amperage rating. The same would apply for any electric heater I decided to go with.
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Old 03-04-2011, 06:56 AM   #4
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Re: Electric panel heaters?

Electric heat: watts is watts

The one you show is 450 watts w/o a blower. Seems low. We have an 800w/1500w electric heater with a built in fan. Can raise the inside temperature about 30F above ambient. A 450 watt heater should give you about 10-15 degree temperature rise above ambient. Enough?? When it has been below 30F out we have had it on the high setting sometimes. Also use axillary low wattage fans in the van to move the air around more to even the temperature out. I do not think you would be happy with a heater without blower to at least mix the van air some. Lots of cold glass windows and air leaks in a van. Again not only do we use the fan on the heater we also use other low noise, low wattage fans to move the air around the full 20 foot length of our van.
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:09 AM   #5
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Re: Electric panel heaters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LenS
Electric heat: watts is watts

The one you show is 450 watts w/o a blower. Seems low. We have an 800w/1500w electric heater with a built in fan. Can raise the inside temperature about 30F above ambient. A 450 watt heater should give you about 10-15 degree temperature rise above ambient. Enough?? When it has been below 30F out we have had it on the high setting sometimes. Also use axillary low wattage fans in the van to move the air around more to even the temperature out. I do not think you would be happy with a heater without blower to at least mix the van air some. Lots of cold glass windows and air leaks in a van. Again not only do we use the fan on the heater we also use other low noise, low wattage fans to move the air around the full 20 foot length of our van.
Good points. You would probably need 2-3 minimum to make it worthwhile and you're still faced with little air movement. I figured it was worth the question.

What heater are you using? A Honeywell HZ-315 (below) is also on my list of possibles. I like it's square shape (more efficient to store) and controls on the front.

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Old 03-04-2011, 11:09 AM   #6
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Re: Electric panel heaters?

Sorry can't remember the name off hand and our van is in storage for the winter.

It is similar to the one you show. Small, square. The controls though were located not on the front. I built the heater into a cabinet (no tip over or storage problem) and mounted the controls on the cabinet face. Over time I resided that the temperature control was just to cheap and had to slop. I bought a 120v thermostat at our local hardware store wired it in. Temperature setting works much better.

Below is a picture of the built-in black faced heater:



I just uploaded a close up of the installed heater area:

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