Propane Furnace versus Electric, Plug-in Heater

Discussion in 'Heating / Cooling Systems' started by catsklgd1, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. catsklgd1

    catsklgd1 New Member

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    The PUP we just bought does not have a heater. Most of our camping will be done between May and October in temperate climate areas. Do we even need a heater? We are considering having a propane furnace installed, or possibly just purchasing a small space heater that plugs in. What do you think?
     
  2. RetAF

    RetAF Member

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    Get yourself a good ceramic heater "just in case" and you should be good to go. That's assuming you'll camp where electric hookups are available.
     
  3. badgamuss

    badgamuss Member

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    We use both. The small electric heater we use most of the time. Just to take the chill out of the air. If it gets real cold I will use the furnace. That will get things cooking real fast. [:D]
     
  4. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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    FYI, a 1500 watt electric heater is gonna use 12.5 amps. At that rate the typical 90-100amp hour battery ain't gonna last long since you can only use 40-50 of those amps.
     
  5. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 Active Member

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    If you're camping primarily with hookups, I'd just go with a good plug in ceramic heater. If you don't camp with hookups, this is not an option as these are 110/120 VAC devices and those applications do not work with a 12V battery as your only power source.

    I've never camped with hookups, so the propane heater that came with the p'up is what I use. That said, I don't use it that often...it's almost never on during the camping "season" (MMDay weekend through Labor Day weekend) as overnight lows in the mountains here are usually in the mid to upper 40s to low 50s....that's perfectly fine for me without a heater. I primarily use mine during early season (March, April, early May) and late season camping (mid to late Sept, Oct) and obviously it comes into play for any winter camping we may do.
     
  6. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

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    I posted a lengthy reply in your other thread/poll on the matter before I saw this one.
     
  7. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Whether you chose the plug-in space heater (assumes you have a site with power hook-up) or a furnace depends on what you're looking for. Are you used to ground camping without heat? You may be just fine without either. If you will seldom need heat, and will be in electric sites, a space heater is the least expensive alternative. You can always try it, and if you find you are extending your camping season, or want to do mostly dry camping (with solar panels or a generator to keep the battery going) you could add the furnace later.
    Our previous pup did not have a furnace. We used a plug in space heater on some early or late season trips (along with all the heat retaining measures we could manage), when we deliberately found campgrounds with power. We sometimes used a fan in hot weather; also in sites with hook-ups.
    The space heater worked well for us, but it did vastly limit our choices in campgrounds.
    Others may suggest a portable propane heater, but we did not think it was a wise idea for us - that pup was tiny and it was interesting enough to find a safe place to put the space heater. (That's not even going into the whole debate over other safety issues with them, not gonna go there.)
    We now have a built-in furnace, and we have used it on most of the trips since we got it just before Labor Day '11. Much of our camping is in the high desert or mountains, so it can be chilly at night and in the morning. We did fine for years ground camping and in the previous pup without heat, but I got spoiled by the furnace rather rapidly.
    On some trips, we still find campgrounds with power and use the space heater along with the furnace, but that is mostly just for winter camping - with lows from the teens through the 20s. We added solar panels so we can dry camp and recharge the camper battery, the furnace fan uses power from that if we're not plugged in. (We also bought a 12v Endless Breeze fan for hot/humid weather, but that was an end of season purchase so have not had a chance to use it.)
    ETA: Using any type of heater also requires the use of heat-retaining measures, or you're going to be using more LP or power and having more difficulty keeping it warm - and I don't suggest trying for tropical temps inside a pup either. Heat-retaining measures can include PUGS (inside and out), throw rugs, Reflectix, etc. and are discussed in the cold weather camping area.
     
  8. CamL48

    CamL48 New Member

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    As to whether or not you even need a heater, only you know the answer to that. Some people can sleep outside in 25F weather and be fine; others can be in a 65F house and need a thermal blanket on Hi. So, it depends on you, the weather you're camping in, the type of bedding you have, and several other very personal and unique variables.

    Propane heaters can generate CO if they're not running efficiently. So, some people get concerned about having them in tents and campers. (Note that built-in propane furnaces exhaust to the outside, so any CO would be on the outside of a trailer/PUP/motorhome.) Your call if that's a concern. I slept with Buddy and Big Buddy heaters in my tent for years ... others would never do that. You can also get portable CO monitors to help alleviate concerns. But, otherwise, it is an option. You can search around here and find more info on the Mr. Heater Buddy line of heaters, which is probably the most common portable propane heater.

    As mentioned above, electric heaters only work if you have electrical hook-ups. Your plug-ins will not run off battery. If you have electric hook-ups, then definitely a cheap $15 walmart ceramic heater will be great. You'd already paying for electricity ... may as well use it and save your own propane.
     

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