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Old 01-17-2021, 08:09 AM   #1
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Name: Alex
Trailer: 1973 Trillium 1300
British Columbia
Posts: 13
Best portable AC heater?

Hi all - our 1973 trillium had had the furnace removed, but for now weíre hoping to always find hookups for cold camping, so I was wondering what the best type/style of AC heater is?
Ceramic vs fan vs baseboard type?
Thermostat essential, or could we just use a timer to have it turn on every hour or two?
Would a 1500watt one overload the wiring/system (not sure what max wattage it can handle?)

Iíve read a few posts on here from folks who use all of the above but thereís little talk of the differences, pros and cons.
I know thereís tripping hazard for the cable but we might just place on sink, and as you can get some for $30 itís an easy heating fix (plus no venting required) when you have shore power...

Your wisdom would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks.
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:16 AM   #2
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Name: Ryann
Trailer: 1974 Trillium 1300
FL
Posts: 72
We use a small 1500 watt heater that sits on the floor or the sink. If it tips over, it shuts off. It works extremely well in freezing temps to keep the camper and dogs toasty. We know our power limits, and 1500watts on one breaker is fine for our set up, but you should check/know the amount of amperage your outlets can take.
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Old 01-17-2021, 09:42 AM   #3
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escapeó 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 4,412
I installed an industrial / commercial grade 120 VAC receptacle on its own separate 15 amp circuit / breaker to use with our electric space heater
Our heater is an inexpensive Honeywell 360 with Hi / Low settings and built in thermostat
We always camp with utilities in cooler weather even though we have the factory furnace because our furnace has failed 3 times and is not reliable.
I added a 120 VAC heater receptacle because the trailer’s factory installed 120 VAC receptacle would overheat when we plugged in the electric heater.

My goal was safe , dependable , comfortable heat
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Old 01-17-2021, 10:25 AM   #4
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Name: Perry
Trailer: 2018 Escape 5.0
Lanesboro, Minnesota, between Whalan and Fountain
Posts: 347
We had a Honeywell 360 for a number of years in our campers. Once we connected it to a thermostat that was plugged into the 110 outlet we could get the Honeywell to keep a decent temperature. Throwing out the heat in a 360 degree pattern caused the area near the heater to heat up, causing the heater to go on and off. The colder the outside, the more it went on and off. That thermostat that it plugged into solved that problem. It worked wonderful at least 200 or more nights for us, but like all cheap heaters finally crapped out (vibration going down the road.

We now have a Vornado VH200. The internal thermostat works perfectly. The Honeywell put heat out in a circular pattern so it was constantly going off and on, but the Vornado throws heat in one direction so the thermostat works better. We like that we can direct the heater to our sleeping area at night, and move it to direct heat to our kitchen/dinette area during the day.

We only have around 20 nights with the Vornado so we’ll see how long it lasts, but so far it’s great. OTOH, not knowing about the Vornado, we would have purchased another Honeywell 360.

Enjoy,

Perry
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2018 Escape 5.0 TA - 2019 Ford F-150, 3.5 V6 Ecoboost,

Previous Eggs - 2001 Scamp 16' Side Bath, 2007 Casita 17' Spirit basic, no bath, water or tanks, that we regret selling, 2003 Bigfoot 25B25RQ, that we also regret selling
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Old 01-17-2021, 10:35 AM   #5
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escapeó 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 4,412
I wish they still made the original Pelonis electric heater . With variable heat output and a variable speed fan , it provided quiet , even , dependable heat .
The newer Pelonis heaters are cheap , Chinese copies and not worth the price.
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Old 01-17-2021, 11:07 AM   #6
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Name: Jennifer
Trailer: Casita
Ontario
Posts: 80
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We use a Pelonis cube ceramic heater. It has a tip over switch (not just a fuse that blows after you melt the floor). Multiple speed fan. Thermostat. Seems to do the job if we don't want to use the heat strip in the AC.

I found it at a yard sale for $5. Actually, I have found 2 secone-hand and I keep the other as a spare.
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Old 01-17-2021, 11:18 AM   #7
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escapeó 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 4,412
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer Minogue View Post
We use a Pelonis cube ceramic heater. It has a tip over switch (not just a fuse that blows after you melt the floor). Multiple speed fan. Thermostat. Seems to do the job if we don't want to use the heat strip in the AC.

I found it at a yard sale for $5. Actually, I have found 2 secone-hand and I keep the other as a spare.
We made the HUGE MISTAKE of not getting the heat strip on our 2018 Escape !
We had the heat strip on our 2013,Casita SD , in fact it was standard equipment
I assumed based on our Casita that the strip heater would also be standard equipment on an Escape —BAD ASSUMPTION ON MY PART
If I could I would add an aftermarket strip heater but the model A/C Escape uses is not designed to accept the heat strip and replacing the whole A/C unit seems a little drastic
I will know better the next time .
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Old 01-17-2021, 11:37 AM   #8
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2017 Escape 21
Oswego, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
I wish they still made the original Pelonis electric heater . With variable heat output and a variable speed fan , it provided quiet , even , dependable heat .
The newer Pelonis heaters are cheap , Chinese copies and not worth the price.
2X. I found 4 of the older ones (1986) at the Nantucket "Take it or Leave It" building. A great heater!
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Old 01-17-2021, 01:07 PM   #9
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
Alberta
Posts: 651
Whichever heater you select I would suggest one which will shut off if tipped over.
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Old 01-17-2021, 04:25 PM   #10
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Name: Greg
Trailer: 2008 Casita 17 SD
Washington
Posts: 1,660
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I've always used a small ceramic heat cube. Works great and has never been a problem.
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:17 PM   #11
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Name: Elliott
Trailer: Bigfoot
Everywhere
Posts: 350
I've gone through a few of these over the years. The small ones all kinda suck and have heatsoak issues because they don't run the fan after the heating element clicks off. Eventually they overheat and fail. I've also found that they fall rather short of their rated output after the first few seconds, probably limited by the PTC element. They seem to all be about the same in terms of design and construction (plunger tip sensor on the bottom, overheat fuse inside, PTC and metal heating element, and a small cheap fan with a shaded-pole motor blowing across it).

For a long time, I just ran two different space heaters on low (theoretically 700W or 900W each depending on the model, but in practice more like 350-500W). Kind of awkward, but avoids the overheat issues entirely and gets me around 800-900W of heat

More recently, I've switched to a Vornado Velocity 3. It has the same issues with the fan not running longer to cool the heating element and PTC limiting actual power output, but the higher fan speed helps a bit. It also has a medium setting rated for 1200W (actual 900W).

The only one that's a significantly different design is the Dyson, and I really don't see how it's worth anything like the $400+ it costs.
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:28 PM   #12
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Name: Dan
Trailer: Scamp
Minnesota
Posts: 646
It doesn't really matter. 1500 watts is 1500 watts; they all consume and put 1500 watts of heat into your camper.

https://youtu.be/V-jmSjy2ArM

--Dan Meyer
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Old 01-18-2021, 12:52 PM   #13
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Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
Posts: 982
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex T View Post
Hi all - our 1973 trillium had had the furnace removed, but for now weíre hoping to always find hookups for cold camping, so I was wondering what the best type/style of AC heater is?
Ceramic vs fan vs baseboard type?
Thermostat essential, or could we just use a timer to have it turn on every hour or two?
Would a 1500watt one overload the wiring/system (not sure what max wattage it can handle?)

Iíve read a few posts on here from folks who use all of the above but thereís little talk of the differences, pros and cons.
I know thereís tripping hazard for the cable but we might just place on sink, and as you can get some for $30 itís an easy heating fix (plus no venting required) when you have shore power...

Your wisdom would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks.
Most timers are not rated for heaters. So don't go that route. We have 2 different heaters. One is a round Honeywell that puts heat out all around and only a very small area gets hot to the touch which means our kitty was safe around it. It has a thermostat so to speak that shuts it on and off. If it tips at all it shuts down instantly. So if a pet moves it you would be safe. It ran us about $60. We got it because we left our other one at home by accident and had to have one. We are happy with it and actually bought a 2nd one at a yard sale. We also have a small Edenpure that we've had for years. It has thermostat type settings, heats one direction and really no dangerous hot spots. It is larger and more trouble to store but works great. We run both off of our 110V outlet. We have a larger Edenpure we use in our motorhome and it works great for it. If you go cheap you get what you pay for.
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Old 01-18-2021, 03:54 PM   #14
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Name: Alex
Trailer: 1973 Trillium 1300
British Columbia
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jann Todd View Post
Most timers are not rated for heaters. So don't go that route. We have 2 different heaters. One is a round Honeywell that puts heat out all around and only a very small area gets hot to the touch which means our kitty was safe around it. It has a thermostat so to speak that shuts it on and off. If it tips at all it shuts down instantly. So if a pet moves it you would be safe. It ran us about $60. We got it because we left our other one at home by accident and had to have one. We are happy with it and actually bought a 2nd one at a yard sale. We also have a small Edenpure that we've had for years. It has thermostat type settings, heats one direction and really no dangerous hot spots. It is larger and more trouble to store but works great. We run both off of our 110V outlet. We have a larger Edenpure we use in our motorhome and it works great for it. If you go cheap you get what you pay for.
Good point on the timer - didn't even think about that! Christmas lights are totally different than a 1500W fan heater.
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Old 01-18-2021, 03:57 PM   #15
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Name: Alex
Trailer: 1973 Trillium 1300
British Columbia
Posts: 13
Thanks all!
I previously got a cheap ($25 CAD) fan heater to dry out the trailer (https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/f...5866p.html#srp) (had been sitting in the pouring rain without cover for a few days before we got it - windows are next on the list of fixes - it does have automatic tip over stop, but sounds like if using over night we'll want one with a thermostat, and good to have a fan one vs. ceramic, and one that is unidirectional.
Thanks again!
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Old 01-20-2021, 02:42 AM   #16
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Name: Elliott
Trailer: Bigfoot
Everywhere
Posts: 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Meyer View Post
It doesn't really matter. 1500 watts is 1500 watts; they all consume and put 1500 watts of heat into your camper.

https://youtu.be/V-jmSjy2ArM

--Dan Meyer
I'd assumed that was true until I actually measured current draw on a few. Turns out most or all of them draw (and therefore heat) less than the rating under typical circumstances. I assume it's the PTC element, especially since they do briefly draw the full rating on startup. The Vornados get a bit closer since they move more air through, but still below the rating. If you stick it in a below-zero room it might do 1500W, but at room temperature it's more in the 900-1200W range.
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Old 01-23-2021, 02:55 PM   #17
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Name: CityofDestiny
Trailer: Escape 21C
Washington
Posts: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex T View Post
Hi all - our 1973 trillium had had the furnace removed, but for now weíre hoping to always find hookups for cold camping, so I was wondering what the best type/style of AC heater is?
Ceramic vs fan vs baseboard type?
Thermostat essential, or could we just use a timer to have it turn on every hour or two?
Would a 1500watt one overload the wiring/system (not sure what max wattage it can handle?)

Iíve read a few posts on here from folks who use all of the above but thereís little talk of the differences, pros and cons.
I know thereís tripping hazard for the cable but we might just place on sink, and as you can get some for $30 itís an easy heating fix (plus no venting required) when you have shore power...

Your wisdom would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks.
We keep a ceramic with us in our Escape 21 and use it as a go-to heat source when on hookups. We've got the propane furnace and the heat strip in the AC but those both generate noise at night and tend to kick on and off a bit. On hookups, we run the 1500 space heater on the low setting at 750 watts. It is relatively quiet, produces some white-ish noise and cycles less frequently. Depending on ambient temps, it does a great job heating the entire trailer, even on low.
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Old 01-23-2021, 03:28 PM   #18
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Name: bob
Trailer: Was A-Liner now 13f Scamp
Missouri
Posts: 3,190
dont use furnace

we boondock have never fired up the furanace scared of it and gobble 12v battery power. so we went to propane heater yes I know you must vent!

bob


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex T View Post
Hi all - our 1973 trillium had had the furnace removed, but for now weíre hoping to always find hookups for cold camping, so I was wondering what the best type/style of AC heater is?
Ceramic vs fan vs baseboard type?
Thermostat essential, or could we just use a timer to have it turn on every hour or two?
Would a 1500watt one overload the wiring/system (not sure what max wattage it can handle?)

Iíve read a few posts on here from folks who use all of the above but thereís little talk of the differences, pros and cons.
I know thereís tripping hazard for the cable but we might just place on sink, and as you can get some for $30 itís an easy heating fix (plus no venting required) when you have shore power...

Your wisdom would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks.
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Old 02-18-2021, 11:28 AM   #19
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Name: Rohan
Trailer: Monaco Coach
Iowa
Posts: 1
A gas heater

I recommend a heater for you, but I warn you right away that it is expensive. My parents have been using it for several years now.

Vario Heat is a German heater, produced in two versions - Eco with a capacity of 2.8 kW and Comfort - 3.8 kW. The heater is designed for heating air only. Its power is 15% higher than that of its predecessor, and the airflow rate is almost doubled. What's new is that the Vario Heat can be installed under the floor, making it almost inaudible.
The main characteristics of Vario Heat Eco: gas consumption - 7,76 ounces/h, airflow rate - 155 m3/h, Comfort: gas consumption - 10,22 ounces/h, airflow rate - 210 m3/h. With the supplied CP plus electronic control panel, you can set and maintain the exact air temperature in an RV, which provides a very comfortable night's sleep.

Also, you might be interested in some cooling methods
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