Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-04-2015, 05:41 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
2014 27' FB International
Avila Beach , California
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 60
Space Heater and Generator Question

Admittedly, I am an electronics neophyte, electric shop being the only class I ever failed in Junior High, there I admitted it!, So before floating this out to you experts I attempted to search the "forum" certain the question has been addressed before...couldn't find anything, so here goes.

While boondocking, rather than using the furnace we decided to use our Yahama ES2000i generator to power a small space heater to warm the coach- think we were trying to conserve the batteries. However, each time we fired up the heater the generator went into overload mode and consequently went down. By the way, little else was drawing power at the time, no lights were on, no water pump, etc. nada... This is, as I said, a very small heater, 120V, 60Hz, with current under maximum continuos draw of 12.5 amps, and power variable from 0W to 1500W (this really sounds like I know what I'm talking about, huh?, really not a clue, but reading from the heater owner's manual).

Anyway, my question: If this generator can power our home's freezer when the power went out, why would it overload with this small space heater?


"don't let life get in the way of living"
LOGRIDER is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 05:55 PM   #2
3 Rivet Member
Vintage Kin Owner
Currently Looking...
egg harbor city , South Jersey
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 186
I have a 2000i different brand generator. It has no problem with a 1500 watt heater with built in fan. try yours with a different heater, is it the generator or heater problem?

Zil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 06:08 PM   #3
Rivet Master
2013 31' Classic
billings , Montana
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,187
Try running the heater on a lower setting like on low or medium...
tjdonahoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2015, 04:38 AM   #4
Rivet Master
2005 19' Safari
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,359
The Yahama ES2000i is rated for 13.3 amps continuous, and your space heater draws 13.6 amps at 1,500 watts; so you are overloading your generator.

Most electric space heaters use 750 or 1,200 watts on low, so you might be able to use a lower setting. However, you will probably have to avoid using other 110 volt AC appliances when your heater is on.

Your propane furnace provides more heat and uses less current when boondocking. Then, you can use your generator to recharge your batteries during breakfast or lunch.
Phoenix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2015, 05:56 AM   #5
Rivet Master
jdalrymple's Avatar

2009 27' FB Flying Cloud
1991 35' Airstream 350
Siloam Springs , Arkansas
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,490
The total draw of the heater and the small load of other appliances in the trailer are combining to overload the generator.

A modern freezer requires only about 8-10 amps to start up, and then only 2-4 amps to run. Significantly less than the continuous 12-14 amp draw of a space heater.

Also, the process of running a generator to power an electric heater is a fairly inefficient way of space heating.

If you are going to run a generator, you might as well use the furnace. The generator powers the converter, and the converter powers the furnace and keeps the batteries charged.

The generator then has a little left over to power the TV or other small appliance.

We prefer to use a propane catalytic heater that requires no electricity.

This comment will not doubt start a debate on the safety of these heaters, but modern units are equipped with a variety of safety features, that when coupled with a little common sense, render a perfectly safe and convenient solution.


Jeff & Cindy
Hunter RIP

'09 27FB Flying Cloud
'91 350 LE MH
jdalrymple is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2015, 06:22 AM   #6
Rivet Master
Tincampers's Avatar

2014 25' Flying Cloud
Box Elder , South Dakota
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 1,070
Originally Posted by jdalrymple View Post
...that when coupled with a little common sense...
There's the disconnect...:-)
Tincampers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2015, 07:15 AM   #7
Rivet Master
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 811
Your converter when charging the batteries uses enough power so that the generator will not run a space heater on the high setting. The heater will run on the low setting but why bother? The low setting doesn't provide much heat. The furnace is more efficient at turning fuel into heat.
We use our generator to supplement our solar system to charge the batteries.
We camp off the grid frequently so we got an Olympian catalytic heater. It produces heat without using electricity. It is just the thing for warming up the trailer in the morning without running the generator. I don't use it when we are sleeping.
handn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2015, 07:19 AM   #8
Rivet Master
AnnArborBob's Avatar
2014 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Chelsea , Michigan
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,622
Images: 12
I am always amazed at the lengths some people will go to to avoid using propane!

#1 using your propane furnace is actually less expensive than using a generator to make electricity to run a furnace, #2 you probably have more propane carrying capacity in your tanks that you have in a five gallon can of gasoline and #3 propane is safer to use than gasoline. Bottom line, there is no good reason to use your generator to heat your trailer. Save the generator for charging up the batteries after running your furnace all night long.

As for your original question about overloading the genny, is it possible you were running the fridge on electric as well? If so, that added to the genny's load.
Bob Martel
WBCCI# 5766
AnnArborBob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2015, 07:55 AM   #9
Site Team
Lily&Me's Avatar

2006 22' Interstate
Normal , Illinois
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 10,768
Agreeing with everyone else, using your furnace off the battery is your best heat source when boondocking.

We did this for 3 cold days, and 3 colder nights, camped at Padre Island NS last year. Had to leave only because we were out of propane for the generator and the furnace.

If we had topped the propane tank off before we went to the beach, we could have stayed longer.

The battery will run your furnace. It really will.

You can run the generator to recharge in the morning, or turn your engine on to charge both batteries.

🏡 🚐 Cherish and appreciate those you love. This moment could be your last.🌹🐚❤️
Lily&Me is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2015, 10:42 AM   #10
2 Rivet Member
Trailer's Avatar
2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2016 25' Flying Cloud
Palm Springs , California
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 36
Lets go to the other season...Summer. What size generator do you need to run the air conditioner?
Trailer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2015, 11:11 AM   #11
3 Rivet Member
Nomad518's Avatar
2001 25' Safari
Fair Oaks , California
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 237
Another advantage of using your propane powered furnace instead of an electric powered space heater is that your furnace distributes the heat throughout your AS with ducted outlets. The space heater sits in one location and doesn't really spread the heat out evenly throughout the interior space. I save my electric powered space heater for RV parks where we have full hook ups. I use my propane powered furnace when we're dry camping with no hook ups. Then, I use my generator during the day to recharge the battery. Our 2001 Safari only has a single battery. It does a good job of running things so long as we use our generator about an hour in the morning and another hour in the afternoon or evening (avoiding quiet times). We returned from 4 nights on the beach in Northern CA yesterday. Temps ranged from upper 30s at night to 60 during the day. It was cold enough to need the furnace and we used it as described. We were very comfortable. Just make sure you have at least one full tank of propane.
Nomad518 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2015, 06:43 PM   #12
2 Rivet Member
2014 27' FB International
Avila Beach , California
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 60
Thanks to all who responded, we are most appreciative for your input and the insight you provide.

Obviously we are newbies and learning something new everytime we venture out. Hopefully, one day we will be able to actually answer someone's question, rather than being the "poser" ( being the undisputed king of the parenthetical phrase, I couldn't resist the dating phrase, most of you younger folks not appreciating the phrase "poser"). Anyway, thanks again to all!

"don't let life get in the way of living"
LOGRIDER is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2015, 07:14 PM   #13
Rivet Master
cwf's Avatar

1999 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Round Rock , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5,472
Images: 2
Glad to hear you are at least CAMPING!!!

You learned a very valuable lesson. Keep the Furnace on... run Genny in morning and evening to recharge Batteries... If Batteries are too weak, there are 'fixes' for that as well.

Peace and Blessings..
WBCCI# 30676
cwf is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Generator Storage space for 1973 LY Trade Wind mick20 Generators & Solar Power 4 08-12-2012 07:48 AM
Space Heater for Winterization jjagnew Winterizing, Storage, Carports & Covers 6 09-18-2010 01:38 PM
Can the circuitry handle an electric space heater wacnstac Furnaces, Heaters, Fireplaces & Air Conditioning 15 03-30-2007 08:05 PM
Electric Space Heater Pecos Pete Furnaces, Heaters, Fireplaces & Air Conditioning 13 02-02-2007 11:09 AM
Electric Space Heater Recommendaton flyfisher General Interior Topics 15 03-04-2006 07:02 AM

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:33 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.