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Old 01-10-2010, 09:34 PM   #1
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Electric heaters

i'm living in my airstream in vancouver, WA this winter.

my furnace works fine, but i'd like to get a small electric heater to help out(1500watt or so)

they always say not to use those types of heaters on an extension cord, so i guess i'm just wondering if there are any issues using one in a 35 year old trailer with 35 year old wires.

anyone have any input??

thanks, G
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:42 PM   #2
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Have used this model for over 10 years, works very well.World Marketing of America B-6A1 1500W Original Disc Heater
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:44 PM   #3
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I have used ceramic heaters and oil filled in my 79 unit with no problems.
They sure help on cutting the propane usage.
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:23 PM   #4
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Hi, Oil Filled.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:26 PM   #5
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The extension cord bit may be about if there is a motor (fan) in your heater, the voltage at the end of your cord might become too low for the fan motor. Most motors like full voltage and 60 cycle.
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:06 AM   #6
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the cord must be rated for the heater's power consumption. the longer the cord, the heavier wire you will need. you also need to check the trailer power cord ends.

we still need an opinion on the old wiring possible deterioration. anyone?
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:07 AM   #7
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We use a Pelonis, electric ceramic with fan, from Camping World. Keeps propane use to a minimum.
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:30 AM   #8
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Just make sure the Amps aren't too much on the heater also. they may be small but they can pull a lot of electricity. Stay Warm!
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:41 PM   #9
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35 years from 2010 means your Airstream is a 1965 model or there abouts. I have a 1967 Caravel and have had no trouble with the wiring. That being said, things I would check are the amperage of the circuit breaker protecting the branch circuit of the outlet you will be using and what other electrical devices are or could be on that same circuit. I would also check the type of wiring. If it is aluminum like the wiring in my 67, then there is a possibility of corrosion occuring at the terminals where the wire is connects to the wall plug. Corrosion can result in an increase in the resistance between the wire and the terminal which, if severe enough can lead to the wire overheating where it connects to the outlet. In wood frame homes the overheating problem has lead to house fires. I would inspect the terminal connections to check for corrosion. The corrosion issue is less of a problem if the circuit operates significantly below it rated capacity. However, a 1500 watt load on a 120 v circuit can draw around 12 amps, which would be a significant amount of the capacity of a 15 amp circuit but less so of 20 amp circuit.
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:17 PM   #10
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Oops. My math skills clearly need some work. 35 years from 2010 is 75 not 65. I think by 1975 Airstream was no longer using aluminum wiring so the aluminum wiring issues would not apply.
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:48 PM   #11
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We use a 1500w ceramic in our '80 Excella without problems. Aluminum wiring even if your trailer has it is really not an issue if it was installed correctly in the first place. If you have been using a microwave, toaster or hair dryer in your rig you should not have a problem because a small electic heater draws about the same amount of current. If you need an extension cord please read the label and get a 12 Gauge cord, the one's that say "for appliance use" generally are the heavy guage.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:51 PM   #12
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Extension cord usage is still good advice, if you have cut some of the new extension cords you will find minimum wire is used and they have eliminated the ul seal on a lot of them. Buy a heater with high and low power setting, usually they are 750 and 1500 watts, most wiring can handle the 750 watts as long as water heater, all the lights, refrigerator, microwave, tv's and especially A/C strip heater isn't on at the same time. Good idea to have a voltage meter plugged in to watch system.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:07 PM   #13
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Iíve been running two this winter during an interior remodel. One is a ceramic disc and the other is a cheepie wire-wound from Menards. I can manage 60f. when itís 15f. outside. One is on a short room air extension cord.
I have 30 amp at home and donít have any voltage drop issues until the 500 watt work lights need to be turned on. The í72 has copper wiring and the cords and outlets are cool to the touch. (I burned an outlet up on my í67 with AL wiring.)
So far, so good. I think you'll be OK too.

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Old 01-12-2010, 11:36 AM   #14
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thank you thank you

thanks so much for all the replies..
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:25 PM   #15
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Are you thinking of the extension cord connecting your trailer to power? They are much heavier than a typical extension cord and present no problem.

They are concerned about connecting a 1500W heater to a dollar store cord which is way too small. Such a cord could heat up. If some papers or a a blanket fell on the hot cord it could eventually start a fire.

In your case you should not need a cord of any kind inside the trailer and the one outside is plenty heavy duty.
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Old 02-03-2010, 06:25 PM   #16
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Unless it is really cold, we run our Pelonious electric heater at half speed, 750 watts. We aren't worried about the wiring in our 2004 Safari but the heater at 1500 watts is quite hot to the touch. If the temps are in the 50's, half speed on the electric heater keeps the trailer warm enough so the furnace rarely goes on. If temps are below freezing, we run the heater at full power and make sure there is nothing flamable around the electric heater.
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:30 PM   #17
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Electrical Codes prohibit any type of extension cord inside your home for resistance heaters. The current draw on electric heaters (and other electrical appliances with resistance elements like toasters, coffee pots) is too high for most home-type extension cords. The high current draw can soften and melt the insulation and create dangerous fire hazard in your home or RV.

Every rule has an exception, and many people survive unsafe things. Increase your chances of survival through safe practices.

Jim
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:20 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vancouverG View Post
they always say not to use those types of heaters on an extension cord, so i guess i'm just wondering if there are any issues using one in a 35 year old trailer with 35 year old wires.
Well, if your trailer wiring has any problems that should find them.
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:32 AM   #19
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I don't think you would have any occasion to use an extension cord inside a trailer. I think they must have been asking about the cord connecting the trailer to power.

That cord is a special heavy duty one, well up to the job of powering an electric heater. An air conditioner draws way more power than a heater. Not to mention all the other electrical appliances you might use. The electrical system has plenty of capacity for a heater.
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:39 AM   #20
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Ganaraska,

We were rallying this past week and saw folks running 50' 14-3 extension cords as extensions beyond their 30' 10-3 power cord. But they monitor for voltage drop and we encouraged them not to pull AC for fridge, space heater, microwave, etc.

Good observation about the short cord distances inside the trailer, and I like your answer.

Jim
in Okeechobee, FL
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