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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > The GEO Method and Space Heaters - Thoughts?

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Baja Man

Inland Empire, CA

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Posted: 11/20/22 08:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

deltabravo wrote:

Baja Man wrote:

1. Will only run propane heater while we are awake.
2.

BTW...are electric heaters safe to run while asleep?

pianotuna:
Is the reason to change the 120V outlet where a space may be used to replace with a house grade or better quality one?


There's no reason not to run the propane furnace when sleeping.... I do it all the time when I'm dry camped.

Yes, electric heaters are safe to run, any time. If they weren't safe to use, they wouldn't be sold.
If you have pets or children, then they may not be the best source of heat at night, because a blanket could fall on them, a pet or child could knock them off a counter, etc.
Good heaters have a tip-over shut off mechanism.

I installed a dedicate electrical outlet specifically for plugging a heater into.

Video of the outlet upgrade project


Thanks for the link to the added outlet!

Is the OEM wiring of smaller gauge, thus not appropriate for the amps of a heater? Or is it because it is a dedicated outlet to one breaker? In the video I did see where he is using 14ga romex and a 15amp breaker.

BTW...I just noticed the video is from Delta Bravo....hey you're famous!!!


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Baja Man

Inland Empire, CA

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Posted: 11/20/22 09:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you all for the very useful ways to keep warm safely and how to clean my tanks.
Much appreciated.

I have a small electric space heater we will take.

Will use propane (as needed) as suggested during awake hours. We'll try electric space heater first since there are full hook ups.

Extra blankets, beanies, socks, and warm clothes in general. We should be good to go.

I like the idea of filling the black tank a second time (after initial dump) using the flush system. I do have a clear angle fitting to view dump contents.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 11/21/22 08:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Baja Man,

Please replace the outlet where you intend to connect the electric heater.

I replaced all but one of the outlets.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

ktmrfs

Portland, Oregon

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Posted: 11/21/22 10:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

Baja Man,

Please replace the outlet where you intend to connect the electric heater.

I replaced all but one of the outlets.


the trailer backstab outlets are a bigger issue and more failure prone when used with inductive loads. e.g. microwave, motors, AC units, than they are with a pure resistive load. e.g. heater, toaster, coffee maker.

That said I did replace my backstabs in the trailer with high grade outlets. IMHO the el cheapo sticks and bricks outlets even though they aren't backstabs are no better than the trailer backstabs. The springs on the contacts are cheap material and loose tension with any heat from high load current and aren't good under inductive loads either.


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LMHS

NM

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Posted: 11/22/22 12:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Heater:

This is my full-time set up and the reasons behind it...

I have a dual control heated electric mattress pad on my bed. It's the kind you sleep on top of as opposed to sleeping under a heated electric blanket (heat rises). I have a 0°F sleeping bag opened up flat and tucked inside a "full" duvet cover as a "comforter". The duvet covers cut down on having to wash the bulky sleeping bag. The only problem with the duvet cover is that I had to add buttonholes to the sleeping bag (to secure it inside a duvet cover) and a full-size duvet cover fits widthwise but is a tad long by about 6-8 inches (I shorten the duvet cover).

I have a small electric space heater in the bedroom. I do use electric even though the first house my husband and I owned burned down due to an electrical fire. The bedroom is kept cooler at night for sleeping.

My main heating source is a fan-forced ventless propane residential fireplace with a thermostat. I do run it all night. The fan is not set up to run during a power outage. I also have a "Tag-a-long" indoor propane space heater (back-up heat source for the bedroom) and a Mr Buddy indoor propane space heater (just to warm up the bathroom for showers) plumbed into the main LP system. I do have a CO & LP detector.

I lived for a very long time in an area that tended to lose power a lot in the winter. I learned to have heat and cooking sources that could still be used in the event of a powder outage. I'm talking about power outages that could last up to a week. I haven't lost power for very long in years but it wasn't that long ago that northern NM lost power for over a week due to a winter storm. We only lost power for 1 day, but it was a very cold day and night. At that time, I was still running the fireplace off a single 20LB BBQ tank (to see how much LP it used). I learned that the fireplace could run 24 hours for 7 days on one full tank (4.7 gallons). That's better than the propane generator which eats a tank in 8 hours but always starts right up even after not having run for two years. The worst LP consumption the fireplace had was 5 days on the 20# tank but the fireplace was cranked up really high and ran constantly. I eventually put two marks on the thermostat knob (high and low) of the temps that I typically use. We get single digit temps in the worst of winter. Occasionally those single digits are negative.

Since I am on metered electric, and I do keep track of my actual usage (not dollar amount), I know that whether I use propane or electric, it is basically the same. I either pay for the propane (250 gallon propane tank gets filled to 200 gallons, or less as we pay up front before it gets delivered, every 8-10 months) or I pay for the electric. I do think I stay warmer with propane than electric (I "FEEL" warmer). I also think the electric oil filled radiator doesn't work once it gets below 45°F. Maybe I just got a sucky one.

BTW, statistically, unvented gas appliances put out less humidity than an adult does in normal breathing. So basically, for each unvented gas appliance you use, it's like adding an extra human breathing in the same time frame.

I used to live in 80% (and higher) humidity. I currently live in a desert. My aluminum-framed, single pane windows have PVC framed interior storm windows with a layer of Reflectix between the storm window and the aluminum-framed, single pane window. Creating a thermal break between the aluminum frames and inside had to be done otherwise it was all a waste of time. The front windshield and entry door have packing quilt-Reflectix curtains over them to keep the cold and heat out (or in, depending on the seasons). The curtain over the door means the dog can go in/out as she wants without me having to play door attendant for her. I bought cheap cotton (washable) drop cloths from Harbor Freight to cover the somewhat ugly packing quilts that come in odd colours at times. I'm a big fan of cotton drop cloths and I love the natural colour and texture of the washed canvas. I replace the quilts (Harbor Freight) and Reflectix every few years as the sun rots them. I tried clear bubble wrap and while it worked and it wasn't dark inside, the bubble wrap lasted less than a year before the sun destroyed it.

Baja Man

Inland Empire, CA

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Posted: 11/22/22 07:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

Baja Man,

Please replace the outlet where you intend to connect the electric heater.

I replaced all but one of the outlets.


Is this appropriate grade? It has side screws as well as push in connections. Is screw connections preferred in RVs?

Also, should I expect a receptacle box or will I find those enclosed wirecon type boxes/receptacles? If the latter, perhaps an old work box and receptacle would be best.

15 amp residential receptacle

Thanks!

* This post was edited 11/22/22 07:44pm by Baja Man *

ktmrfs

Portland, Oregon

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Posted: 11/22/22 11:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Baja Man wrote:

pianotuna wrote:

Baja Man,

Please replace the outlet where you intend to connect the electric heater.

I replaced all but one of the outlets.


Is this appropriate grade? It has side screws as well as push in connections. Is screw connections preferred in RVs?

Also, should I expect a receptacle box or will I find those enclosed wirecon type boxes/receptacles? If the latter, perhaps an old work box and receptacle would be best.

15 amp residential receptacle

Thanks!


I never use "residential grade" switches, outlets etc.

the outlets are designed ( and code required) to be used in a box, the RV outlets are designed to not need a box. Problem is that many trailer walls are to thin for most boxes, need a shallow box.

use a comercial grade outlet or better. They have much better and higher spring contact on the blades, better material on the blades and better frame and better side lugs.

Baja Man

Inland Empire, CA

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Posted: 11/23/22 07:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So how about these....assuming a box can be installed.

If box will not fit, where can the higher quality RV specific receptacles be sourced? How will I know they are better than what I have? The ones I have seen appear to require a tool to install wires in rear. They also appear to be of same quality as I have now (stab style).

Commercial grade outlet

ktmrfs

Portland, Oregon

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Posted: 11/23/22 09:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Baja Man wrote:

So how about these....assuming a box can be installed.

If box will not fit, where can the higher quality RV specific receptacles be sourced? How will I know they are better than what I have? The ones I have seen appear to require a tool to install wires in rear. They also appear to be of same quality as I have now (stab style).

Commercial grade outlet


that's what I have used however do NOT install the 20A outlet on a 15A circuit!!!!!! against code, use the 15A outlet, you don't want to be able to try to run something with a 20A plug on a 15A circuit.

There is a "shallow" retrofit plastic box that in my trailer was shallow enough to fit in the existing wall.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 11/23/22 09:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Would seem easier at this point to just use your furnace and a little more propane…


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