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Old 12-25-2018, 02:48 PM   #1
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How Cold? Space Heater 120v

Merry Christmas!
We are road tripping and visiting family over the holiday in NorCal. We'll be traveling south down Hwy 395 during some cold weather in our E-350 with penthouse. Night time lows are forecast to be 10-15* during some of our nights camping. We're planning on staying at RV campgrounds with hook-ups.
My question: Can a 1500 watt electric space heater keep up with heating to a comfortable ~65* in our van with the top up?


Experiences? Thoughts?


We could always stay in a hotel, but what fun is that?


Thx
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Old 12-25-2018, 03:30 PM   #2
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Great question! Here is our experience with the same-
1500 watt heater in 10 deg temps will be marginal at best. We had an oscillating 1500 w tower in a stock roof/no pop top. It was okay.

The bigger issue is going to be the RV parks you stay at. You may find the parks prohibit electric heaters. The Mammoth RV Park is one of those. They (and other TVs) get really pissed off when the breaker trips and shuts down 20 sites. Definitely do not tell them you are planning on using an electric heater.

Using it on low and NOT using any other heavy current devices will allow you sneak through, if careful. Use zero degree sleeping bags or blankets over the top of other sleeping bags and you will be warm in the bag, but it will be cold in the cabin.

1500watts is about 5000btu. An Espar D2 heater is 7500 btu, a D4 is 13500 btu as a comparison. An Olympic Wave 3 catalytic heater is 3000 btu. I would consider a D2 (or the gas equivalent) to be minimum comfortable level for a pop top in 10deg.

1500w and a Wave 3 together might do it.
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Old 12-25-2018, 06:36 PM   #3
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Obviously I'm not aware of all your circumstances, but if there isnt a pressing reason to do so, just dont pop the top - you'll be better insulated so heater will be more effective.
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Old 12-25-2018, 10:58 PM   #4
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With my top down, a 1500w heater was plenty in 10deg weather during the daytime. I had to run it on the lowest setting at night when using my winter weight sleeping bag or I got too warm. I'm not sure it would have been enough heat though if I was only using a blanket, so winter rated gear will assure a warm nights sleep. Interesting, it was easy to see where my biggest heat leaks were because there were icicles everywhere the snow had melted.
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Old 12-26-2018, 05:34 PM   #5
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I haven't purchased one and can't comment on quality but trucker sites have mattress bunk warming pads that are 12vDC. They don't pull a lot amperage wise and I've always wanted to have one as a backup just in case the Espar heater craps out. But a 110vAV electric blanket might be OK provided you have shore power.
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Old 12-26-2018, 06:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb View Post
I haven't purchased one and can't comment on quality but trucker sites have mattress bunk warming pads that are 12vDC. They don't pull a lot amperage wise and I've always wanted to have one as a backup just in case the Espar heater craps out. But a 110vAV electric blanket might be OK provided you have shore power.
The mattress bunk warmers work OK, at least for me in the small space of my teardrop trailer. They are a slow build-up of heat so its best to get they started a couple of hours before hitting the rack. Also, on High, they can draw up to 7A's so you are aware. That said, the duty cycle is something like 50% so it's not terrible.


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Old 12-26-2018, 09:18 PM   #7
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How Cold? Space Heater 120v

I just picked up a 2000 watt generator to power my 750 watt ceramic heater and electric throw down from Costco.

This will be my set up when I am boon docking and is complimentary to my Propex HS2800 heater. With the top up, it is still cold sleeping in the PH even with the Propex full blast.

I like to be in short and T when I sleep regardless of exterior temp.

Good luck
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Old 12-29-2018, 12:24 AM   #8
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My double big angus and air mat keeps me warm until I need to pee in the am and thatís dam cold until I make coffee
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