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Old 01-09-2011, 03:27 PM   #1
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Is it ok to plug in small oil/radiator heater?

We want to use a small oil-filled "radiator" type heater (1500 watt) to help heat our trailer. Is it ok to plug it in one of the trailers electric outlets or should we rig a 110 with hd extension cord from the 110 outlet at the campsite? We are on shore power with 1992 Excella 29'.
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LawChick View Post
We want to use a small oil-filled "radiator" type heater (1500 watt) to help heat our trailer. Is it ok to plug it in one of the trailers electric outlets or should we rig a 110 with hd extension cord from the 110 outlet at the campsite? We are on shore power with 1992 Excella 29'.
I'm sitting next to one right now. I've been using it for three or four years now, and used 1,500 watt ceramic heaters before that. No problems plugged into the Airstream's outlets.

I really like the oil radiator electric heaters better than the ceramic ones. They keep the inside very nice without the noise.

I do have the heat pump in my Carrier rooftop AC going, so I guess the noise of a ceramic is a moot point right now. The absence of noise when I'm not running the heat pump is very nice.
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:37 PM   #3
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We just plug directly to our normal 115 vac outlets. All of our outlets are 15 amp household variety outlets. 1500 watts is a little under 15 amps. 1500/115= 13amp.
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Old 01-09-2011, 04:07 PM   #4
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yes generally it's 'ok'.

the trailer has some of the same features as household wiring.

but with a few extra features (12 volt) and with many limitations.

almost every 1500 watt appliance (and all space heaters) comes with a warning...

NOT 2 use an extension cord (even those labeled heavy duty)

there are several reasons for that warning beyond corporate CYA.

so using an extension cord plugged in outside and snaking into the trailer is not a good idea.
_________

there are many threads and websites that explain basic wiring and electrical limitations (rv specific)

there are even books specially on rv wiring/power/12v and ac/dc issues.

when connected to shore power,

the trailer is essentially a giant extension cord with breakers.

so IF you over load any one outlet or any one breaker bad things may happen.
_________

it's important to know about the 'shore power' source...

-is it 15/20 or 30 amp?

-is the voltage proper?

-what is the capacity of the wiring and junctions and so on...?

how much (if any) does the voltage drop as amps in use goes up?

get out a multimeter or buy a display gizmo and check the shore outlet.

then check the trailer outlets.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f314...ars-61076.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...elp-33986.html

find the breaker box and look at the 4-6 breakers (there should be 1 30 amp and a couple of 15/20s and a couple of 20s)

determine WHAT is connected to each breaker and where the appliance outlets are on those breakers.
___________

while many of us do use space heaters safely, we've also had the experience of OVERLOADing a circuit.

simple things like flipping on the water heater (if it has an electric option),

or running the fridge on AC, while trying the microwave, or CHARGING the batteries...

in combination these things will overload.

and IF the shore outlet is only 15 amp with standard household wiring,

using a 1500 watt space heater may be an issue.

((is that smoke i smell....))

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:00 PM   #5
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Yes

If your trailer is equipped with Air Conditioning and I'd bet it is. The electrical system should have no trouble handling the oil heater. I'm refering to the size of the shore power service. If it can handle the load of the AC when it's running on high cool. The heater won't be a problem.
If there is a voltage drop problem it may affect other devices in the trailer, but all that will happen with the heater is it will put out less heat. Volts x Amps = Watts. Watts = heat.
If you have a volt meter, check the voltage at an outlet when the heater is running; anything over 110 volts is OK.
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:36 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone. I think I now have an idea now why the 110 outlets at the campground are kinda' melty burnie looking! Our trailer will not allow the AC and the microwave to run at the same time. I don't figure I'll use a microwave much. It's camping! And there's a cook stove!
We are plugged into 30 amp electric, as our trailer wiring dictates.
Reading your comments, I think we'll forget plugging into the campground's handy dandy, if slightly singed, 110 outlet.
If we smell hot wire - or the breaker goes off - we'll know we're overloading it I guess. There is nothing else plugged in or on.
Appreciate everyone.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:23 PM   #7
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...We are plugged into 30 amp electric, as our trailer wiring dictates...
ok good info.

many older or poorly wired or FULL campgrounds have issues with the electricity...

this commonly happens in the summer when everyone is trying to make cold air...

but it also can happen in the winter as folks try to save their lp gas and use the electricity to heat...

i try to avoid campgrounds with flakey juice, but there are a couple of locations where no other options exist.

with the voltage monitors one can WATCH the voltage drop in the evening as dozens of space heaters go into action...

that's when i turn OFF the heavy electric loads and use lp gas or grab a hat and slippers.

without some way to watch 4 this u are left to looking for clues after the fact, like those melted outlets.

unfortunately those hot melted outlets usually are connected to 30 amp cords that are hot and melting too...

so keep an eYe on your 30 amp cord/plug and check it for warmth or heat damage.

often simply cleaning/abrading the contacts will improve the current flow and lower the wire heat/resistance.

have fun and don't let all of this worry u much...

rv'n is supposed to include a bit of danger...

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:25 PM   #8
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Use it...

It is what I use in my AS when it is stored in the winter months.

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Old 01-10-2011, 01:45 PM   #9
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A fact to consider is that a large heater like that will tend to "smoke out" any loose or corroded electrical connections in your trailer. Not necessarily a good thing.

Anytime I use a large heater like that where the wiring is in doubtful condition, I go around and check for hot spots either using an IR thermometer or my hand. In a trailer the main thing is to check to see if any of the other outlets are heating up, especially the outside outlet, the shore power inlet, and both ends of the shore power cord. Any noticeable warmth after a few minutes of running the heater is indicative of a problem that should be investigated and resolved.
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