Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Ceramic Heater Safety
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Naio

Snug as a bug in a rug

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Posted: 12/13/19 06:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1. In my experience, the overheat and tip over switches do not always work. After buying a heater, I would test them before relying on them for safety.

2. Heaters with fans are designed to rely on the fan to blow the heat out. I have had a fan motor die, on a heater. The result was that the heater caught fire, because the heat built up in a casing that wasn't designed for it.

For these reasons, I don't trust anything other than oil heater to be in my camper unattended.


3/4 timing in a DIY van conversion. Backroads, mountains, boondocking, sometimes big cities for a change of pace.


Oasisbob

Portland Oregon 97266

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Posted: 12/13/19 08:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Another option is the oil filled radiator type that are electric. Mine has a built in timer and is very adjustable. We leave it on low while the rig is not being used. Timer set for evenings only when it might dip below freezing.


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rhagfo

Portland, OR

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Posted: 12/13/19 09:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dernhelm wrote:

Not sure where I should post this; please feel free to move it? I did a forum search for the subject, but couldn't find it.

Basically, I'm looking for a supplemental space heater that's "safe" to use in a trailer. By "safe" I mean it has a tipover switch, an overheat switch and if your dog wags his fluffy tail against it, it might not ignite.

Do "ceramic" heaters fit the bill?


What do you mean by "supplemental space heater"? Are you trying to avoid using your propane, or to supplement the propane furnace?


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Marcela

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Posted: 12/14/19 05:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I live in a small place without conventional central heating. I've tried a few space heaters. The oil filled radiator looking things take a lot of electric to run, they crack and creak as they heat up, but they work. Lately i've been using a quarts tube unit from lifesmart. It is the cats meow. It has a fan that is pretty quiet with different speeds and the quarts tubes last a long time. It has an eco mode that is set on 68 that I am using, depending on the temperature drop determines how many tubes light up and how fast the fan runs. Search at home depot or other stores will find them. Mine looks like a black box about 1.5' square and sits on the floor. It won't tip over and nothing gets hot that you can touch. Using these has been the comfortablist of any setup I have been using and the electric bill has so far been the cheapest. They are rated to 1500 watts when all the tubes are lit and fan on high but eco mode it might not use all the rated wattage.

Some of them have a filter on the back. This would be my choice to keep dust off the tubes.

JRscooby

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Posted: 12/14/19 05:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1500 watts is 1500 watts is the max for a plug in heater.
I have a 12 gauge extension cord with a duplex box on the end. I plug that into the 20 AMP on the post. One heater, and DW's coffee pot. My camper has a 20 AMP outlet for the AC. I plug a heater and the mattress pad in there. That leaves the other outlets for normal use, or a 3rd heater.

BarneyS

S.E. Lower Michigan

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Posted: 12/14/19 09:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Marcela wrote:

Snip... Lately i've been using a quarts tube unit from lifesmart. It is the cats meow. It has a fan that is pretty quiet with different speeds and the quarts tubes last a long time. It has an eco mode that is set on 68 that I am using, depending on the temperature drop determines how many tubes light up and how fast the fan runs. Search at home depot or other stores will find them. Mine looks like a black box about 1.5' square and sits on the floor. It won't tip over and nothing gets hot that you can touch. Snip...

Is this the one you have or one similar to it? Found on Amazon.
Barney

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BarabooBob

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Posted: 12/14/19 09:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One thing to watch out for is the so called "Amish heaters" They are no more than a wooden box with a cheap Chinese heating unit built into them. They do not produce more heat than a basic utility heater (milkhouse heater) They just look fancy and cost a $100 instead of $15 at Walmart.


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DutchmenSport

Indiana

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Posted: 12/14/19 09:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Maybe my head is in a different atmosphere or something, but in all my life, I've never had any problems with any kind of electric space heater, except once or twice. Maybe it's because I use some common sense when operating them.

Over time, and because of marketing, the old style red-hot wire heaters were replaced with the more modern ceramic, square box, style heaters, or fan blown heaters, or the oil-filled heaters. The bottom line is, what's being manufactured today is simply much, much more safe than what was manufactured 30 or 40 years ago. Used with some sensibility, and all of them should work without issue.

I have experienced failure in the oil filled radiator style heaters twice. In both situations, the heating element would not shut off. The thing just kept heating and heating and heating. What was the result? The heater itself was OK, but the electric wire running to it was extremely hot!

After two bad experiences with the oil-filled ones, I quit using them all together. Fortunately, I was right there when I realized something was wrong.

So, now migrated to the little square ceramic style heaters. Never had an issue with any of them.

I think it's more important where the portable heaters are placed, more than the brand or style you get. We have 3 places we position the heaters. The first is on top of the stove. After all, that location is designed for heat, and it's high enough and in sight enough, nothing should ever bump or tip it.

The second location is on a counter top. Never on the floor. Again, it's high enough it's in sight all the time, no threat of tipping, and in the open. Just make sure nothing is placed in front of them, or right beside them.

The third location is the bathroom shower with the door open. Yea, bathrooms get pretty cold!

I think, all the contemporary models and brands and styles are good. Mechanically, there is only so much heat electricity can produce regardless of the new-fangled claims. The difference is how the heat is disbursed from the source... fan or radiant.

So, in my opinion, go to Wall Mart, find one that fits your price range and one that is appropriate for the size it will be used in, be smart in where you place it in your RV, and just enjoy.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 12/14/19 09:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How odd. I've never had an oil filled heater fail. I've been using them for 29 years.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

ScottG

Bothell Wa.

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Posted: 12/14/19 11:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was managing an ACE h/w store about 7 years back and there was an above average (for heaters) number of radiator space heater failures. Something in the stat would fry - don't remember exactly.
I don't know if that was an on-going issue after I left the business. If I were in the market for one, I would take a close look at the reviews.


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