Space Heating Redux


We have been ditzing around with space heaters ever since we started RV’ing.  We might finally have found a better solution.

When we are parked and plugged into shore power it would be crazy for us to spend money to burn propane when electricity is available at the power post.  Because we spend most of our time in warm areas,  heating the coach isn’t a huge issue.  But during periods like this when circumstances prevail against us we need take extra precautions.

Heat PumpOur coach is equipped with two roof mounted heat pumps — sort of air conditioning in reverse.  They provide all the heat we need most of the time.  Except… Except with the temps get down to the lower 30’s or below.  At those temperatures there isn’t enough heat in the air for the heat pump to suck it out of the air and turn it into viable heat for the coach.  (I know that sounds crazy — how can air that’s 35º provide enough heat to keep the coach at 70º sounds crazy but it works.) Occasionally we’re just in the mood for something quieter than the whole house heat pump, for those times we carry two small electric heaters.

Our Holmes Space Heater
Our Holmes Space Heater — this is what we started with 4 years ago.  We’ve been through two of these, but for $15.00 apiece it’s not a huge investment and they get a lot of use.

We keep one in the front lounge and one in the bedroom.  The coach bedroom is small enough that down to the 40’s the bedroom heater rarely turns on.

The lounge is a different matter. Without the benefit of our body heat and with a volume about 3X larger than the bedroom, that space cools off quickly. The lounge heater will run most of the night if the temps drop below 50.

Lasko Heater
Our second heater, a Lasko tower ceramic heater.  This has done a fairly decent job but I’ve never thought that it produced all that much HEAT.  As a redeeming factor it does have a digital display, and it oscillates.

Overnight we maintain 60º.  That way when I get up and wander around in the middle of the night the room is warm enough that I’m comfortable.  And, come morning the coach warms rapidly.  We bump the temperature to 68º and soon we are comfy and cozy.

When the temps drop into the 20’s it’s a different story.  Journey (our previous coach) was shorter and had 2 room slide-outs.  She was much easier to keep warm during the winter! Oh, the things you don’t think about when you’re buying an RV.  Our first winter in Serendipity we spent in S. Texas. Even though it was a cooler than average winter most of our nights were above 45º.   This is our first time in this coach with repeat nights in the low 30’s and below.

Lasko heater
Our third heater purchase, a Lasko “warm air” ceramic heater.  We bought this about a year ago and probably should have returned it right away.  But we bought it at a time of year when there weren’t many heaters for sale in the store.

We have been experimenting with better mousetraps. Finding the right solution for US isn’t rocket science or anything and we haven’t spent all that much money compared to our monthly heating budget in the school.  Even if we throw away a couple usable heaters — which we have NOT done — we still have spent less than one month’s heating bill for our last house.

After the other evening when I kicked one of our heaters and broke it, we went looking for a replacement. Which search brought up a longstanding curiosity.  I have sat in other RV living rooms where the owners had infrared heaters which seemed really warm.  But after trying a unit rated for medium sized rooms I really didn’t care for the performance. I don’t know if we picked a cheap version and a more expensive one might have done better, but we weren’t satisfied with that experiment.  We get a reasonable amount of air leakage with those 4  extendable slides and I think the infrared units might work better in a sealed environment.

Our Patton Recirculating Heater
Our Patton Recirculating Heater.  This little guy puts out a LOT of heat! It’s quiet compared to the three above. Finally a heater that puts out as much heat as the old fashioned ones I used to have.

While out shopping, we saw a Patton Recirculating Heater.  I had been looking for a couple specific models that we could not find in any of the local stores, and this Patton unit looked like one of those old Milkhouse heaters.  With easy product return policies we picked on up and gave it a try. Boy, am I glad I did!  This little guy is well built (as much as I can tell).  The parts are hefty, the cord is heavy (it does not get hot to the touch), it’s nice and stable, and it puts out a LOT of heat.  I like it enough that I’m going to scrap the Lasko “warm air” unit that we bought last year (actually, we’ll take it to St. Vincent DePaul for resale) and buy a second Patton heater.  This combo will do as much as we want for as long as they last.

So, I’m hoping we’re set for another year or so.  The cost of each heater is about as much as we might spend for a single night here at the State Fair RV park.  reduce reuse recycleAt the cost of propane they won’t take long to pay for themselves, and after that if they break, they break, we’ll go get another one.  I realize that may not be in keeping with my mantra:  reduce, reuse, recycle — but it’s getting harder and harder to find things that are built to last for any considerable length of time.  And when you find one you better buy it wen you can because sure as anything once people find out they last the manufacturer will cheapen them up and soon they’ll be junk like everything else. sigh.

It’s Friday, later today I go back to the doctor’s office.  We’ll do another EKG, and a mini-electrocardiogram.  I’ll get scripts to keep me supplied with meds until my December meds mailing.  And maybe, just maybe, we’ll find out if we’re clear to leave or whether we still need to see the doctor the week following Thanksgiving.  We’re still paid up here till 12/15 based on prior conversations but the idea of knowing what lies ahead would be enough to inspire us to new endeavors.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

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8 Comments

  1. I wholly agree with the electric space heater thing. We’ve got a nice ceramic one that I put out on the floor in the living room, and it seems to keep the whole 40ft RV warm. We only have 2 slides but the do leak heat. We have the same 2 heat pumps you have, but I find out here in the desert SW, they really dry you out. The Space heater doesn’t.

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    1. Dave,

      Mind if I ask which heater YOU use? All of ours have been ceramic as well.

      I guess ‘warm’ is a value judgment because we used to be able to keep our first RV warm with one, but this one not so much — even though this one has better insulation in the walls. AND, there’s the matter of how cold is cold. Since arriving here we have had consistently cooler temps than most of the temps we had in Oregon during the Winter.

      Our first RV was had two smaller slides. This one has 4 slides and they are all larger than the two in the Winnebago. I am quite surprised about how much difference the added square footage in the slides makes to the overall situations.

      I agree about the impact of the heat pumps on humidity! Very much a drying out — which is what you would expect from what is basically an A/C running backwards. 🙂

      I see I need to check out your blog, Dave.
      P

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