Advice on backup portable heater (1 Viewer)

smiffy64

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After recently having to come home early due to my Truma combi failing completely, I have decided to invest in the best backup heater solution for motor homes. I am prepared to pay, as long as it has enough features to justify the expense.

Incidentally my Truma repair (a new long data cable) is in hand.

I am not fussy about being off grid, so some experience of what power rating you guys have noticed is the average limit, before tripping any EHU in sites.

Also bulkiness and weight would have to be considered.

I bought a Dimplex M2GTS. It had a lot of great features. Thermostatic control, ECO mode which lowered the wattage and regulated the heat. At £75 it was a bit plasticky.
But the reason I returned it is due to the noise from the fan motor and not the usual fan blowy noise.
I decided I could not live with it if it was on during the night.

I already have a small 800W oil filled heater, but it just is not powerful enough, although it is silent, obviously.

What I need is:

Thermostatic control with variable wattage settings and not one that switches on and off, and when on is at full power.
I want quiet so that I can get to sleep at night without having the noise like a hair dryer droning away.
A remote control would be nice so I could control it from bed.

You could say that a good oil heater (although they could be heavy and tricky to store) or one of those fancy lighter but still bulky mica panel heaters.

So it's not overkill I want, but as practical as possible in a motorhome setting.

Over to you...:D
 

hilldweller

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Over to you...:D

Just in case you've never seen this in past discussions, our insurers and others clearly state that if you use your own heater, which they and the converter have no knowledge of, you will not be covered if it sets fire to your van. I guess it is logical even if unwelcome.

So choose your heater very carefully.

Naturally no problem with the claim if the Truma sets on fire.
 
Aug 18, 2011
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We bought a Dimplex back in 2007,,1 KW and 2 kw settings,,paid about £16..It has been brilliant,,,BUSBY.

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smiffy64

smiffy64

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Richard and Ann,

I followed your link and I think I may have learned something, presuming I understand correctly. Do PTC elements automatically reduce their power draw as they reach desired temperature? I.e. Not full pelt rating of say 2000W when auto switched on by the thermostat? So maybe PTC is the way to go rather than Mica panel or oil filled?

I have been looking at Klarstein on Amazon. Seem to be German and of high quality. Anyone had experience of these?

Thanks for the replies.
 
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smiffy64

smiffy64

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So choose your heater very carefully.

Yep, and is one of the main reasons for asking you guys. I forgot to add SAFE in my original post.:rolleyes:

I also have two dogs that share our minimal space, so I would want it to be on the table, with auto shut off if toppled (most have that nowadays which is good) So if it is going to be a ceramic heater then I suppose one with the quietest fan would be perfect.
 
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Recently bought one of these, paid £40. Pretty quiet, when I'm in bed I cannot hear it running, auto cut of if knocked over.
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smiffy64

smiffy64

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Just in case you've never seen this in past discussions, our insurers and others clearly state that if you use your own heater, which they and the converter have no knowledge of, you will not be covered if it sets fire to your van. I guess it is logical even if unwelcome.

So choose your heater very carefully.

Naturally no problem with the claim if the Truma sets on fire.


Sorry hilldweller, I have just realised what you are saying. Insurers will not pay out if a fire is caused by a cheap or faulty heater. Hmmm...So are you saying that using a backup heater is not recommended, for insurance purposes?
 
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As regards the insurance side of it...Yes Hilldweller is spot on. We have a ceramic unit on board just in case. Our insurance company wanted to know it all about its specs before we could use it without any problems.
It now is classed as an optional extra on ours and separately covered just in case!!

Kev
 
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smiffy64

smiffy64

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As regards the insurance side of it...Yes Hilldweller is spot on. We have a ceramic unit on board just in case. Our insurance company wanted to know it all about its specs before we could use it without any problems.
It now is classed as an optional extra on ours and separately covered just in case!!

Thanks Kev and hilldweller. You have just informed me of what type of heater I must choose.

Just renewed my Motorhome fun subscription today after being out for a year and I am already getting my moneys worth :cool:

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Jan 19, 2014
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Richard and Ann,

I followed your link and I think I may have learned something, presuming I understand correctly. Do PTC elements automatically reduce their power draw as they reach desired temperature? I.e. Not full pelt rating of say 2000W when auto switched on by the thermostat? So maybe PTC is the way to go rather than Mica panel or oil filled?

I have been looking at Klarstein on Amazon. Seem to be German and of high quality. Anyone had experience of these?

Thanks for the replies.

What happens is when they are first switched on the resistance of the 'element' is lower so they draw more current, my 1kw one in the bike shed pulls 1.6kw when first switched on and reduces over about 10 seconds to 1.1kw where it settles down. (yes I really am that sad I have a remote monitor on it :ROFLMAO:
)

If the fan fails the PTC element gets hotter and the resistance shoots up therefore self regulating and safe. Allegedly :)
 
Aug 18, 2011
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Sorry hilldweller, I have just realised what you are saying. Insurers will not pay out if a fire is caused by a cheap or faulty heater. Hmmm...So are you saying that using a backup heater is not recommended, for insurance purposes?
How would they know if van was burned out..Its like saying they wont pay out for theft if you don't lock the van or put the alarm on,,they would not know.BUSBY:D
 

mikebeaches

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Recently bought one of these, paid £40. Pretty quiet, when I'm in bed I cannot hear it running, auto cut of if knocked over.
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Hello - the fan heater sounds interesting. Do you happen to know if the air filter mentioned can be cleaned?

I think it's a fairly 'hostile' air environment in the van (ours anyway), and I reckon a filter would be handy.

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Aug 19, 2014
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What about the expensive but efficient heater/ coolers from Dyson... Sorry can’t remember the product name
 
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Hello - the fan heater sounds interesting. Do you happen to know if the air filter mentioned can be cleaned?

I think it's a fairly 'hostile' air environment in the van (ours anyway), and I reckon a filter would be handy.
Yes it's easily cleaned, I didn't know it had one until I purchased the heater. We have carpets down in the Winter and I have cleaned it twice, needs doing now as you can see. It's a two minute job.
IMG_20190211_092918.jpg

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Lenny HB

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We carry a small 1.5kw fan heater for the rare occation we are on a EHU, I would never have on if we were not in the van & we never use heating at night.

If you want proper backup why not fit a Propex gas heater, small & compact, easy to install available in 2kw & 2.8kw, even make one that can be mounted under the vehicle.
 

mikebeaches

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Yes it's easily cleaned, I didn't know it had one until I purchased the heater. We have carpets down in the Winter and I have cleaned it twice, needs doing now as you can see. It's a two minute job. View attachment 282944
That's great thanks - appreciate the info!

Very helpful seeing the image. (y)

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Last edited:
Aug 6, 2013
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Just in case you've never seen this in past discussions, our insurers and others clearly state that if you use your own heater, which they and the converter have no knowledge of, you will not be covered if it sets fire to your van. I guess it is logical even if unwelcome.

So choose your heater very carefully.

Naturally no problem with the claim if the Truma sets on fire.
I'd imagine the same applies to any electrical accessory - phone chargers spring to mind.
 

mikebeaches

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Yes it's easily cleaned, I didn't know it had one until I purchased the heater. We have carpets down in the Winter and I have cleaned it twice, needs doing now as you can see. It's a two minute job. View attachment 282944
Sorry, could I ask one more question, regarding the power rating.

It is listed on the Amazon site - as per your link - as 850/1800 watts, but lower down the listing, in the specification chart it says 1500 watts - so some confusion?

I think the maximum power rating figure will be printed on the label which is in the bottom right of the image you kindly posted, but I just can't read the figure from the photo. Would be grateful if you could tell me what it is - thanks and apologies for being a pain asking all the questions.
 
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I'd imagine the same applies to any electrical accessory - phone chargers spring to mind.

I was wondering about cooking appliances such as remoskas, halogen ovens and slow cookers which are often mentioned on here. They must all fall within the same category as ancillary heating as far as insurers go then. If a heater supplemental to the vans own heating system must be declared to insurers then surely these cooking devices must be too as they are extra to the vans designed hob/oven/grill. Technically, I suppose you could even include a kettle in that lot. Where does the line get drawn as far as insurers are concerned? I suppose the only answer would be to ask the insurers 'my van has 240v power sockets - what plug in electrical equipment that I could use would I need to declare to you?'

Sorry to the OP for going off topic.

I use a small ceramic fan heater when required, but only when we are in the van, and it does not get left on overnight. It has the usual tip over cut out switch (which works) and has power options of 1500w or 750w. I usually turn it on 1500w to get the van warm and then switch to 750w which is enough to keep the whole van comfortably warm.
 
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smiffy64

smiffy64

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I have shortlisted a few. Some are rated as 2000w but can be reduced to 1200w. So are these ones at risk of tripping the EHU on some sites?
 
Jan 19, 2014
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I have shortlisted a few. Some are rated as 2000w but can be reduced to 1200w. So are these ones at risk of tripping the EHU on some sites?
Maybe, remember the PTC ones draw more than their rated wattage on start up (y)

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Jul 13, 2008
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Sorry, could I ask one more question, regarding the power rating.

It is listed on the Amazon site - as per your link - as 850/1800 watts, but lower down the listing, in the specification chart it says 1500 watts - so some confusion?

I think the maximum power rating figure will be printed on the label which is in the bottom right of the image you kindly posted, but I just can't read the figure from the photo. Would be grateful if you could tell me what it is - thanks and apologies for being a pain asking all the questions.
99% sure it is 800/1800, I can check later as I'm out at the moment.
 
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I have shortlisted a few. Some are rated as 2000w but can be reduced to 1200w. So are these ones at risk of tripping the EHU on some sites?

Watts = Amps x Volts
2000 = ? x 250 yeah, I know it's 230V BUT 250 makes mental arithmetic easier
Current = 8A actually 8.7A

Most sites give you 10A, so you will probably be OK SO LONG AS YOU ARE CAREFUL! :LOL:

On a very cold, very wet night at Les Anderleys we had the "fire" on (1500W = "6A") when I decided to boil the kettle (2000W = "8A") for a late night drink.

6A + 8A = 14A
Supply was 10A so "plop". Suddenly we had no heating and no hot drink.

It remained like that until after breakfast when I went and found the site manager.:oops:

Gordon

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