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Author Topic: heating a 5th wheel  (Read 3937 times)

Myron

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heating a 5th wheel
« on: September 29, 2007, 02:23:05 PM »
Hi Friends
 Have recently bought a 5 th wheel. The heat is very noisey when it kicks on. I am wondering if any body uses a electric heater?? If so how big and what kind is best.
Thanks Myron

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: heating a 5th wheel
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2007, 06:18:30 PM »
Most RVers carry an electric space heater. The best ones have ceramic heat elements as well as ceramic controls.

You can run a 1500W space heater from most electrical outlets, but often you need to back off to a lower wattage to allow for other power consumption in the RV, so you want a heater with at least two selectable wattage ranges (1000 and 1500 are typical). If you have only 30A service (3600 watts total), 1500W takes a big bite out of your power budget.

The fans of some of these heaters are remarkably noisy in a small space like an RV. Try them out in the store (but there is a lot of background noise there) or better yet, buy from a place with a no-questions return policy. Physically larger heaters (but still 1500W max) often make less noise, because they aren't pushing the air through such a small space.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

egdeaile

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Re: heating a 5th wheel
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2007, 12:31:54 AM »
Hi,

I don't know the size of your fifth wheel, so this may or may not apply. I own a 23 foot fifth wheel that has a half-height fifth wheel bedroom. It is small. I use two electric heaters exclusively to heat it. I use a radiant type heater with fan forced air for the larger compartment. In the bedroom area, I use a small utility heater. Both are UL Listed (very important for equipment like this). Both have two ratings. The smaller one has 750 watts and 1500. The larger one has 1000 watts and 1500. I use the small one set to 750 and change the other one as necessary. I have 30A, and they work in this configuration.

If I turn both to 1500, though, I pop the breaker for my receptacles. I am currently looking into wiring one into the same circuit as my air conditioner so that it can be off by itself. Both heaters cost less than 40 dollars (Wal-Mart). They work great, but you have to keep safety in mind with these heaters. You have to be able to set them up three feet from anything and make sure nothing is going to leak/spill on them. These heaters will start fires very easily if left unattended with obstructions or whatnot, so use with care. I live in my trailer by myself, so I don't have any pets/kids to worry about getting burned on my heaters, which is another consideration.

Wattage is not the only consideration, though. Design has a lot to do with it. I do not have a whole lot of volume to keep warm, so I didn't need anything fancy. The local shelf at Wal-Mart has everything from the cheap heaters I bought (that work very will with some noticeable background noise) to a whisper quiet ceramic one that sits in a metal cradle and sends heat 360 degrees and has a remote control.

My main reason for the electric heat is that my furnace eats propane like candy, so I use the electric so I do not get stuck trying to switch tanks in the middle of the freezing cold night.

Hope that helps, and be safe!

--
Christopher

1994 Chevy K2500 Cheyenne
1984 Great Divide Fifth Wheel 23'
Using a fithwheel to gooseneck adapter.

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: heating a 5th wheel
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2007, 12:00:11 PM »
Quote
You have to be able to set them up three feet from anything and make sure nothing is going to leak/spill on them. These heaters will start fires very easily if left unattended with obstructions or whatnot, so use with care. I live in my trailer by myself, so I don't have any pets/kids to worry about getting burned on my heaters, which is another consideration.

That's why I strongly recommend the ceramic type of heater. They have no glowing elements and remain at most warm to the touch. Safe for children and pets and won't harm nearby objects with intense heat. Best of all, the ceramic controller is self limiting as far as electrical current is concerned - if it begins to overheat for any reason, the electrical current draw goes DOWN rather than up (as it does on a wire coil heater), so in effect it shuts itself off if there is a problem. Much safer.  They only cost about $10 more than the traditional electric heater - typically about $40.

We have a Holmes 1-Touch which is a bit taller than some other models but  silent in operation. You have to get within a few feet of it to hear it at all and it is still only a low hum.  I don't much like the electronic thermostat, which offers only 5 degree increments (65, 70, etc), but the silent operation is a huge plus in the relatively small space of an RV.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

RadioFace

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Re: heating a 5th wheel
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2007, 09:42:34 PM »
That's why I strongly recommend the ceramic type of heater. They have no glowing elements and remain at most warm to the touch. Safe for children and pets and won't harm nearby objects with intense heat. Best of all, the ceramic controller is self limiting as far as electrical current is concerned - if it begins to overheat for any reason, the electrical current draw goes DOWN rather than up (as it does on a wire coil heater), so in effect it shuts itself off if there is a problem. Much safer.  They only cost about $10 more than the traditional electric heater - typically about $40.

We have a Holmes 1-Touch which is a bit taller than some other models but  silent in operation. You have to get within a few feet of it to hear it at all and it is still only a low hum.  I don't much like the electronic thermostat, which offers only 5 degree increments (65, 70, etc), but the silent operation is a huge plus in the relatively small space of an RV.

Yes we do the same to save on propane and is a whole lot quieter than the furnace blower.  In the northern climates such as I am in ND, does anybody leave  electric heat on during the winter months just to keep the camper above freezing inside?  Of course mine is winterized but I don't relish letting the temp drop to sub zero inside it.  The dealers leave them cold but this is our "baby". ;D
Every meal is a feast, everyday is a parade and every paycheck is a fortune.  Spring is nearly here!!!  Time to wax the fiver. :)

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: heating a 5th wheel
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2007, 11:24:00 PM »
I turn on the heat on the occasional below freezing night when at home, but that's in north Florida.
If you winterized, I see no problem letting it stay cold.  Remember that winterizing in that case means removing canned goods, bottles of cleaning agents, etc.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

Ron

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Re: heating a 5th wheel
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2007, 07:09:43 AM »
When we had our Bounder parked in Burlington Vermont for a couple winters we winterized but never had any heat on till we dewinterized them.  No problems developed.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE