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Are Space Heaters Safe in My RV? | RV Safety Tips and Tricks
Are Space Heaters Safe To Use in my RV?

Are Space Heaters Safe To Use in my RV?

So Many Sizes and Shapes To Choose From

Are Space Heaters Safe to Use in My RV? – What You Need To Know


Well, it’s that time of year when the temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere are getting colder the further north you go and, as we all probably know, winter and RV’ing are not very compatible.

Then I got to thinkin, Are space heaters safe to use in my RV? Are they safe for my readers to use?” Is there anything we need to worry about?

Now, I don’t use my trailer at all in the winter, ( call me a woos. I can take it), but, I know there are some hardy souls out there who do. And, as I said, RVs and winter living don’t really go together. The walls in most of them are thin (2 inches), so, there isn’t much insulation. The insulation under the floors isn’t that great either although it is a little thicker and most underbellies are sealed up these days.

Overall, you’ll be pretty scuppered (Father-in-law vernacular for “out of luck”) when it comes to keeping yourselves warm and snugly in your RVs when those temperatures start to get down towards the freezing level and beyond. (“Baby, it’s cold outside”, I’m sure you recall the song?).

I was actually thinking about using a space heater in my own RV, a travel trailer, just to keep the chill out and the air a little drier and I started to wonder, is it safe to use a space heater in your RV? If it is, what’s are some of the best space heaters (next article) to use for this purpose? Which ones should you stay away from?

The Included RV Furnace!Our RV Furnace is simmilar to this one


So, what do we do if we want to camp when it’s cold anyway? Well, let’s talk a little about that heater that comes with your RV, the one that runs on propane.

First and foremost, they do a pretty good job of heating up space in an RV, what with all the floor vents that are in most units. That’s what they are built to do. Our “Couples Trailer” is a little smaller than those used by families so, even though there are no heater vents on the floor, the heater still does the job. However, the drawback is that, on those cold nights, no matter what kind of RV you have, it’s going to use a lot of energy (propane) to keep your unit warm.

Second, they can drive you nuts on those cold nights when they keep going on and off and, on and off throughout the night. I don’t have to tell you, RV furnace fans are loud and on those cold nights they can stay on for a loooong time.

Last of all, some older motorhomes, small trailers and especially those older van conversions, don’t come with heaters unless you install one so when it gets cold, there aren’t many choices other than extra blankets Or a really good sleeping bag (or a big dog?). Hot water bottles won’t do the job either. (I can hear some of you younger folks saying, “What’s a hot water bottle?”)

Many different options to choose from

Enter the Space Heater


I did some research trying to find information about the major causes of RV fires. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be much info on that specific subject. There was, however, a lot of info around the causes of house fires but little if anything to do with RVs

However, what i did find was a little surprising.  My research found that during the period of 2011 and 2015, portable as well as stationary space heaters were found to be responsible for more than two out of five (43%) home heating fires in the US and five out of six (85%) home heating fire deaths” (https://www.nfpa.org/) I had no idea that it was that high.

So, are RV’rs at a higher risk than homeowners when using space heaters? I ‘m no expert but I think the risks are about the same. I suppose it could be a little higher because RV’rs are living in a smaller space. However, I think that with proper attention to safety, at home or in our RVs, we can significantly reduce that risk.

Space heaters have been around for many years now and the technology behind them has been getting better and better. With features like tip-over switches on the bottom and other sensors, they are much safer now than they used to be.

But, how are you supposed to know which one is right for you? After all, you want it to be practical, affordable and, most of all, you want it to be safe especially if you’re travelling with children and/or pets.

Many people like to take their RVs with them when they go hunting. Around our area, that’s from September to the middle of December depending on what one goes out hunting for. It’s good to have a little extra heat after a long cold day in the woods. The ones that run on Propane are great for those Ice-fishing huts too.

At a campsite with power, an electric ceramic space heater would be a great addition on those cold nights. They come in various sizes and configurations so there are choices for everyone.

Space heaters, good ones, are quite good at providing dependable heat in an enclosed space while higher quality ones come with energy-efficient and durable components that help make them last a lot longer and they are pretty quiet as well.

I’m going to presume that you are still in the research process, trying to figure out what the best option would be for you because you’ve found this post. So Let’s discover together what I think are some of the best, and safest, space heaters for our RVs.

 

What About Those Safety Features?


And Children Too
Built To Be Safe

There was a time when these units first hit the market, there were no safety features at all. I guess manufacturers thought that the consumer was pretty cautious or they probably didn’t think about the possible issues that could arise from them.

Well, things have changed a lot over the years. Due to fires and loss of life because of these devices, laws have been created that have changed the way these heaters are made and, these days, they are much safer.

Today, the better ones on the market all have auto shut off safety features that kick in if they get knocked over or even if they are lifted. There is a button that compresses under the unit. When it’s knocked over or lifted this button decompresses and shuts off the heater.

Others run on propane and have a pilot light. If the pilot goes out or the unit gets knocked over, the unit automatically shuts off.

But, there are other things we can do to increase the safety of the space heater we have chosen. And it doesn’t take very much.

  • First and foremost you must read the owner’s manual and follow the safety recommendations.
  • Make sure all the smoke and CO detectors are working properly and replace them at least every year. Check them before you go out for a camping trip and replace it if not working.
  • Only use heaters with an auto shut off when tipped over.
  • Do not use or leave a space heater running when you are not home.
  • Maintain a minimum of at least 3 feet of empty space around your heater.
  • Don’t allow children to play near the heater
  • Make sure your heater is on a flat and solid surface.
  • Make sure there is adequate ventilation. Open RV windows and roof vents. This will allow fresh air to move through the RV.
  • Don’t disable any of the sensors or safety switches.
  • Don’t use with extension cords. If you must, make sure the extension you use is CONSTRUCTION GRADE. That’s at least 16-gauge.

RV Electrical Panels

RV Electrical Wiring – Is It Adequate


Most RV electrical panels look very similar and this brings me to another thing that you need to take into consideration when purchasing a Space heater for your RV. Is the wiring in your main panel adequate? An easy way to find out what the gauge of wire is in your trailer is to ask your service technician.

Another interesting thing that I found out during my research for this article is that USA electric outlets weren’t designed to be heavy enough for the task of providing 1,500 watts continuously for hours on end. the chances are that this is the case in other countries as well so, that might be worth checking out as well.

A typical electric space heater, (lets’ use a 1500W ceramic heater), will draw about 12 1/2 AMPS. the formula to calculate that is  Watts divided by Amperage + Amps. That is the first part of the puzzle.

You might think that would be just fine for a 20 Amp outlet and I would too. But, it turns out that those 20 Amp outlets are only rated for 16 Amps (80% of 20Amps) on a continuous basis. Now you’re down to a 16 Amp outlet providing 12.5 Amps.

That circuit could be using only 14-gauge wire when it should be 12-gauge (14 is thinner than 12) which would only be using a 15-amp circuit breaker. 80% of a 15-amp capacity is only 12-amps. Heater draw – 12.5-amps. The actual capacity of a 15-amp circuit breaker is 12-amps. Looks like we have a problem here. Read more about Heater safety here.

So. it would seem that the wiring could be an issue and should be checked by asking your RV service guy some questions.

You might want to sign up for the newsletter from the link I provided. It’s really good and the website is jam-packed with information about everything to do with RV’ing.

 

Final Remarks


Well, we’ve covered a lot in this article and I really hope it has been helpful to you as you try to make a decision about using a space heater in your RV. Check out my next post.

Yes, there have been some issues with these but I really believe that these issues are caused more by the users NOT taking proper and adequate safety precautions when using them. Sadly some people look for short cuts and, in the end, that can and has been very costly. I repeat, VERY COSTLY. Loss of property and loss of life.

Just as an example… I receive a weekly newsletter from RV Travel.com.  This fella has been writing about all things RV for many years so, I think he just might be an authority on the subject.  Today’s newsletter contained a short article about a space heater that he and his wife have been using in their RV for several years.

To make a long story short… he noticed that the plug wire was a little worn so he decided to replace it.  he had to open the heater and was totally blown away by what he found.  Click this link to see what he found.  You will be shocked as well.

So, if you don’t get anything else out of this post, at least take away the parts about safety. We will all have a much better experience because of it. And who doesn’t want that kind of memory?

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I hope it has been a help to you and if you have any questions or other comments, please leave them in the comment section below and I will reply asap. I value your comments and won’t ignore anyone.

Happy Camping and please… be safe,

Wayne

Owner and author of My Stay Home Business

40 thoughts on “Are Space Heaters Safe To Use in my RV?

  1. Hello, Thank you for this informative article about Space Heaters. It is helpful, and your advice for safe use of them is a guideline that anyone that uses space heaters must know.  

    I have a little girl, and I know very well that with kids, we must be prudent when using these kinds of products. What I like most is that, If I buy a space heater, I can find one with the energy efficiency feature. 

    Best wishes to you

    Alketa

    1. Thank you for your comment, Alketa and, yes, safe use of these heaters should be our priority and even more so when there are children and pets around.

      You are correct.  Many of the space heaters you can buy these days have energy-saving abilities.  Most electric ones have two settings, 750W and 1500W.  Double bottle propane heaters can be used with both elements or just one turned on and others have high, medium and, low settings.

      Check out my Top 5 choices for RV heaters if you want a little more information.

  2. My family tends to go on camping trips in the summer when the kids are on holiday. Recently, though my husband and I have been looking at some new short adventures and these are in the winter months, so this article is timely. 

    I see from your article that the main thing to consider is safety, placing space heaters at the right place and keeping it out of reach of the kids. I guess reading all the details in the manual is essential because we wouldn’t want to have any accidents nor any regrets later. 

    Thank you for all this information so well explained.

    1. Hello, JJ and thanks for reading my article and leaving a comment.  

      My wife and I tend to do most of our RV camping in the late Spring and in September when it’s less active.  We prefer places that are quiet and less stressful.

      That said, we, too, have been contemplating trying to expand our horizons and get in a few longer trips and explore places away from the norm (perhaps a little boondocking).  Using a good, safe propane heater like the Big Buddy would certainly help out if we get into cooler elevations.  I love the mountains in the fall.

      When it comes to Space heaters, safety certainly should be the number one concern.  Just a few simple steps can really help to ensure you have a great trip.  

      One commenter said that they would be scared to have one in their RV because of the stats I provided.  But really, the safety precautions I listed here should be enough to allay any concerns.  

      The tip about adequate ventilation, I think, is the key to this whole safety thing.  Hot air rises so, if the roof vents are open and the windows are open enough, any stale air will go right out through the roof and be replaced at the same by fresh air.  This also helps to get rid of access moisture as well. 

      Owners manuals, they are there for our benefit and safety.  If one wants to know what the do’s and don’ts are, just read ’em.

      Have a great time planning and taking those “Winter” trips and, please, let me know how they go.  In the meantime,

      Happy Camping and Be Safe,

      Wayne

  3. Your Research is fantastic but would scare me from wanting one in an RV. When you look at all the wire gauge sizes etc it becomes complicated for the buyer. 

    I would think it might be better to list the best configuration for all conditions, like 12 gauge wire running all night etc. It makes it simple for the customer and safe for a liability outcome. The 3′ circumference might be hard to conform to for many RVs. 

    The fire statistics would be enough to scare me. I think that if can overcompensate for some of those choices it would help you and your customer.  

    In the end, you could put a disclaimer saying the choices of product needs are all based on you have a complete and safe heater solution and not the best price because safety is our first concern.

    1. Hello, Edward and thank you for your comment and your concerns. I understand where you’re coming from.

      I don’t want anyone to be afraid of these products.  That’s why I wrote about them.  You see… the statistics I provided are not very pleasant, I agree but, the overlying problem here is that many of these fires and fatalities were caused because people didn’t use proper safety precautions. pure and simple.

      I also agree that a 3-foot radius of clear space around these heaters would be difficult to achieve in some RVs.  there are a couple of ways to overcome that issue.  

      One would be to put the heater on a counter.  My wife and I do this all the time and we have never had any issues.  the air goes in through the backside of the unit and out the front so, the backside never gets hot enough to cause a problem.  Some units will actually shut down if they get too hot.

      The other solution is to have one that is propane and hangs on a wall out of the way.  they are specially built to protect walls from heat.

      About the possible wiring issue?  If you read that section closely I think you will understand why I included it.  And besides, even if the wiring turns out to be safe and you never use a space heater in an RV, it never hurts to ask a service technician some questions. At least then you would know, Right?

      I hope this is helpful to you in putting aside some of your fears.

      Wayne

  4. Hi Wayne

    This is a very important issue, especially the fire risk that is associated with space heaters in small, confined areas. this is the major difference between a home and an RV, homes tend to be bigger and it will take more time to spread, especially if you are far away from the heat source. 

    In a smaller RV, the time for you to escape can be shorter, resulting in more likely to get injured and burned.  One of the biggest problems is that American Electrical circuits is not one of the safest in the world. but then again I am used to UK electrical, where we have a lot of safety features. The voltage is  240V and therefore the current is much less, although our electrical space heaters can go up 3 kW, which will draw the same amount of current.  In the home, it can be used with the mains ring and can be used continuously. Our circuit boards have all mini circuit breakers that trip if a small current increase is detected. This makes it safer to use.

    I too think that space heater can be used in RV, something which will switch on or off when the set temperature is reached, No point overheating and wasting money. This is a thoughtful and well-researched article, valuable for most RV drivers.

    As most space heaters are large, will they not get in the way?

    Thanks

    Antonio 

    1. Thanks for the comment, Antonio.  

      It was interesting to read how different your electrical system is from that in North America.  I guess that proves the old adage that, You’re never too old to learn something new.

      Most space heaters do have a temperature setting and will switch off and on as the temperature fluctuates.  Many are also made with housings that will stay cool (like some toasters these days).

      Space heaters come in a variety of sizes, from uprights that can get up to 24″ tall (approx 60cm) but they are slim.  Others are less than 12″ tall (approx 30cm).  Others are thin enough, 2.5 ” front to back (approx 5-6cm) to hang on a wall or the side of a cabinet.

      The Big Buddy propane heaters are a bit bulkier but still small enough that they don’t take up a huge amount of space.  Check out this post for more information and sizes.

      Yes, there are bigger space heaters on the market but, I think they are more meant to be used in Industrial situations. 

      Happy Camping and Stay Safe,

      Wayne

  5. What a great, objective and informative article.  You provided a lot of information here about space heaters.  I see that you will be recommending different heaters in your next blog.  Looking forward to that.  

    It is really sad to see that high of a percentage of deaths due to space heaters.  I wouldn’t have known.

    My husband and I are not RVer’s, but we camp with our 2 horses in a horse trailer with living quarters.  So a little different than an RV, but we still need the comforts of home.  We do use a space heater, as our favourite times of the year to travel with the horses is Spring and Fall, so a little damper out and the space heater provides us with that warm.  We do have a propane heater, but like you said TOO noisy and I honestly don’t trust it.

    After reading your article, I will be much more diligent with our space heater.  Thank you for sharing and I look forward to the next post.

    Wanda

    1. Thanks for the comment AND the compliment, Wanda.  It’s greatly appreciated.  Yes, I have written a review on what I think are the 5 best Space Heaters.  You can read it HERE.

      That trailer of yours sounds interesting. Do you compete or just like having them along to ride the trails?  Does it have adequate storage for your needs when you’re away?

      Yes, it seems that deaths caused by Space heaters are a lot more common that one would think.  Just last week I was reading a newsletter I receive that mentioned there were two more deaths caused by these units.  

      It seems to always be because people are not being as diligent as they need to be which emphasizes the need to pay closer attention to the owners’ manual and manufacturers’ warnings.  I think many of these deaths could have been avoided if folks had just been more safety conscious.

      I’m glad I was able to help in some way and, by all means, Have a look at the other post.  there are some great heaters there.  A couple of them are a little pricy but I think they are the best of the best.

      Stay safe and happy camping,

      Wayne

  6. Although we don’t live in the cold part of the country, we do use our RV in the winter in California where the nights get down to freezing.  When dry camping we use the RV furnace.  

    By the way, we have a small class C. Despite the venting, I am always a little worried about the heater.  When at a site with power, we use a small space heater.  It heats the place up very well.  It is quiet.  We can place it on our counter so it is out of the way.  

    I do appreciate your cautionary steps to using a space heater.  Thanks for the article.  I really hadn’t thought through the space heater thing.  This article has helped me do that.

    1. Hello, Anastazja and, thanks for your comment.

      Yes, the mountains of California can get just as cold in the winter and they do here in Southwestern B.C.

      Venting is very important for controlling moisture in your RV as well.  Leaving the windows open no less than an inch and the roof vents open will also provide enough fresh air to keep you safe.  

      Did you watch the video I included?  This fella did some pretty extensive testing with the Big Buddy heater and didn’t seem to have any issues at all.  If you didn’t, I would encourage you to do so.  It may help alleviate some of the concerns you have.

      Placing your heater on the counter is probably the best place for it.  No one can trip over it sitting up there.

      thanks again for reading this post and I’m glad it has been of some help to you.

      Stay Safe and Happy Camping,

      Wayne

  7. I could imagine how difficult it would be to cope with the cold weather in places like yours but, thanks to the Space Heaters’ ability to warm the room, comfortable moments can be enjoyed whether resting or sleeping.

    I like the safety features you mentioned because this is what buyers should be after in purchasing and owning equipment like this. 

    It’s good that companies have thought of improving their products for the safety of owners. Life is the foremost consideration and not just comfort.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my post and leave a comment as well, Abagatan and, yes, colder weather does present some additional issues when it comes to keeping warm in an RV.  

      My wife and I haven’t done a lot of camping during the colder months but, when we have, we have been very grateful for having a space heater to supplement the heating in our RV especially in the evenings when we are inside.

      Safety features should have always been at the forefront of manufacturers’ minds and I think they should just be standard on all space heaters regardless of price.  I don’t believe they are that costly (many things are massed produced and become very cheap when done this way), so, it just seems like a no-brainer to me.

      All the best,

      Wayne

  8. Hi,

    Thanks for this amazing post!  I’ve only been on one RV trip and it was cool 34 dec F outside.  That is freezing down here in TX.  First and foremost, this article itself has most likely saved many lives.  I learned a lot from reading it.  Today’s RV’s are amazing.  Well, at least to me anyway.  There are little doors everywhere that contain everything from tools, to water hoses right outside the door to wash off your feet, etc.  

    But still, I never even thought about the safety of space heaters in an RV. This article will definitely be remembered if/when I ever come across the situation where I need a space heater in an RV or even a house.

    On our trip we had a flat tire. And after that experience, our buddy Mike, the RV owner found out that he needed a better jack, more tools, etc.  A nice article on RV Flat tires that is very descriptive and detail just like this one on space heaters would have helped us a lot!

    Thanks again! 

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and leave a comment, Jesse and yes, today’s RVs truly are amazing when compared with the early days and even a decade ago.  It seems that they are coming up with new ideas every year, better technology and better use of space, etc.

      I hope you do remember this article.  Who knows, maybe you will have an RV of your own someday.  If that happens, come on back, there is lots more valuable info here.

      You mentioned your friend Mike had a flat tire on one of his trips.  I wrote an article about RV related flats I think your friend would be interested in.  Click This link Why Do RV Tires Fail? These Reasons Might Surprise You. If your friend has a travel trailer with a double axel, there is a video that shows how to change a flat without using a jack.  I think he will find it interesting.

      I hope you get a chance to get out and do some more camping soon.  There’s just something about getting away from the city and out into the countryside that helps us to take a deep breath and relax, don’t you think?

      Wayne

  9. Hi, wow what a great post, so much interesting information and facts. I think I agree with you that the risk in-house compared to RV must be about the same but the stars surprised me too. Again it boils down to human error or complacency unfortunately and your safety tips will hopefully help us all to be more careful. 

    I’m interested to read your next post about the best heaters to use for those of us crazy enough to go camping this time of year!! And I know what a hot water bottle is – the kids of today are missing out if they don’t have one!! 

    1. Hi, Alex and thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and leave a comment.  

      Safety and avoiding the consequences is the sole purpose of me writing this post.  What would be even greater would be for those who read this to share it with their RV friends.  That would make me ecstatic. To know that I have saved a life because someone read this?… I couldn’t ask for more.

      My next post is about “Space Heaters – My top 5 choices” and you can read it here.  I found it very interesting in doing the research.  I found out that today’s heaters are actually quite safe and the one I had, even though it was good at heating, it was not safe at all.  

      Click on the link if you’re still interested.   RV Space Heaters – My Top 5 Choices.

      Happy Camping,

      Wayne  

  10. Thank you for your compassionate and comprehensive post.  It is clear that you recognize the importance of maintaining a safety mindset where this matter of space heaters is concerned.  

    I like that you apply your remarks to in-home use, as well as RV use, and that your post emphasizes how the safety record for both are similar.  

    Your genuine concern is felt, and that is important to me, although I am not an RV’er.  I appreciate your providing other sources of information on the subject, and believe you are on the right track with your approach to preparing people with safety mindset.  

    1. Yes, I do, Earl.  I truly believe that if everyone were more safety conscious we could rid ourselves of so much grief.  This should be forefront in everything that involves some degree of risk whether out and about in our RVs, towing or not towing.

      Too many people take chances out there, not thinking about the other person next to them at the campsite or on the highway.  I think you would agree, it’s not just about us.

      The stats that I presented are for residential fires.  I couldn’t find any information concerning RVs but, I think it’s safe to say that most of these would easily transfer over.  

      Just this past week I read about two more deaths related to space heaters in RVs.  It’s tragic and, I think, avoidable if one just observes safety, getting those combustibles out of the way and making sure there is adequate ventilation.  

      If you know any RVers out there who might benefit from this information, please pass it along,

      Wayne

  11. This is such a useful, practical and informative article! There is so much to consider when choosing a heating system for a small space and your safety tips are really good. 

    I think if in doubt, ask the opinion of an expert, like the person who services your RV, because this is something which can have tragic consequences if not thought about properly. Great article, thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you for your comment and, yes, It may seem like there is a lot to consider and if this is new to someone I suppose it could be.  

      A large portion of people do know about space heaters but some don’t take the time to check them out for safety features and some (I would call them boneheads) go so far as to disable them 🥴👎 and that’s an even bigger issue.  These features are meant to protect so why would disabling them even be a consideration??

      I agree,  ask your dealer service tech when in doubt.  If they are on the up and up, they will tell you what you need to know.  Practicing GOOD SAFETY will almost guarantee unnecessary tragic consequences.

      Wayne

  12. Electric space heaters help keep the humidity down as well. Having said that, the humidity does make it feel warmer and will keep you from that dry itching. Hence, a humidifier can be used too.

    But the humidity in a RV can build up and run down the walls and in closets causing mold to form in dark spaces, requiring lots of towels to soak up the water around the bed and seats in corners.

    1. I don’t think that is correct. Space heaters warm the air and warmer air actually will hold more moisture.  It will feel warmer but when the air cools the condensation will start to form on the cooler surfaces as a result. 

      Where I live, the humidity in the offseason can be very high for long periods of time because it rains a lot.

      Colder air won’t hold as much moisture and, thus, it condenses just about everywhere there is a cooler surface so, yes, using a dehumidifier would be a better idea.  

      I was watching a video the other day about a couple (full-timers) who were having a humidity issue in their travel trailer while visiting relatives in Northwestern Washington.  They started out using a small dehumidifier but it just wasn’t powerful enough to do the job.

      They ended up using a larger unit from a family member that was also an air conditioner.  The downside to that was that, even though it did a great job getting the moisture out of the air, they also had to have the RV heater going to keep it warm for their pets.  This meant that they were burning through a lot of propane as well.  They have since left for warmer climates so, they won’t have that issue anymore.  

      Best to have a dedicated de-humidifier.  They are a bit pricy. There are other options but that’s for another article.

      Thanks for your comments and If you have any further comments of questions just reply and I’d be happy to do the same.

      Wayne

  13. Excellent post! You thoroughly emphasized and analyzed safety precautions, which are the number one priority when using electrical appliances in your RV. 

    Even though these space heaters have evolved toward greater safety, it is still up to the owners’ to do their due diligence to keep things safe. I agree that taking shortcuts can be very costly!

    Ronn

    1. Thank you, Ronn, for your nice comment.  I do try to be thorough.  I really want people to have the best information possible so they can make a well-informed decision.

      Due-diligence is a must even when we are camping alone.  If we have family and pets it becomes even more important that everyone knows what to do and not to do around these products.  I’m not saying that we need to paranoid we need to be smart.

      It’s just not worth carrying around that weight of guilt because we didn’t take safety seriously. 

      All the best,

      Wayne

  14. Hello

    Thanks for this knowledgeable article, and I agree with you – safety is a No 1. It is vital to read the safety rules, and it is never OK to do short cuts. 

    It is also good to know that the newest heaters have the auto shut off safety features. I am wondering what kind of heaters are safest: electric ones or gas, or propane?

    I have two electric heaters at home, but I never paid attention to when they were manufactured. Let me go to check the date and thank you for the article. This has reminded me of rule No 1 (safety).

    1. Thank you for your comment, J and I’m glad we are in agreement.  Safety should always be our #1 priority no matter what we are doing or the product we are using and reading the owner’s manual is the best way to achieve that.

      Most of the current higher-end heaters come equipped with the safety features I mentioned and they ARE CLEARLY MARKED on the boxes.  

      There are still a few of the less expensive space heaters on the market that don’t and to me, that just doesn’t make sense.  Manufactures should be forced to include all appropriate safety features on all their space heaters.

      If you think you would like to replace any of your heaters for safer ones check out my top 5 recommendations.  I’m sure you can find something suitable.

      All the best.  If you have any further questions, I would be happy to answer them,

      Wayne

  15. Thanks a lot for giving us this knowledge, Although I naturally don’t like mathematics, you broke it down and helped me understand. 

    One good thing I am taking away is always to ensure that heaters have auto control that can stop them when they are pretty hot and restore them when they are cold. 

    Also on a personal note, I must always shut down my room or space heaters when I am going out.

    1. Hello, Parameter and thank you for your comment.

      |I understand.  I’m not a big fan of mathematics either but these numbers spoke pretty loud to me as well and made writing this article even more important. 

      Having safety features is great but the user of the product still has to make sure that they exercise their responsibility: to read the manual, make sure there isn’t anything in the way, that children and pets (and some adults too) need to be kept away from them as well.

      Shutting them off when we aren’t inside should be a “no-brainer” as well.  It doesn’t take long to reheat a space after you come in.

      Glad I was about to give you a better understanding and, if you are a camper, I hope you have many great memories.

      Wayne

  16. Space heaters are devices used to heat a single room or a small area. They are powered by electricity, gas or propane. It is good to know that space heaters have undergone a thorough examination to satisfy government regulations because of the importance of safety. 

    It is also good to know that the latest space heater should be the safer one due to safety reasons. Now I know that it is better to check the date of manufacture so as to keep updated with safety measures. 

    I am sure that there shall be fewer accidents and loss of property because of governments’ stringent measures regarding safety in RVs or conventional homes.

    Thanks very much for sharing this awesome knowledge.

    Joseph

    1. Thanks for visiting my website, Joseph.  Glad I was able to help with your understanding.

      Safety is the sole purpose behind this article and I hope many will read it.  It’s just not worth having something like this if it’s not safe.  

      Lives and property can be saved if people just take the time to make sure that what they are buying has these safety features.

      Wayne 

  17. Hi Wayne, 

    Good article, I think you’re correct when it comes to using space heaters to ensure safety, you need to opt for a higher end model. The automatic safety features make all the difference, especially if you’re in a confined space like an RV. 

    It’s more of an investment; but you need to make these investments when it comes to protecting your life!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, Nate and I have to agree, safety should be our #1 priority especially when using these heaters in our RVs and If that means we have to spend a few more dollars to get those safety features then so be it.

      I, for one, don’t want to live with the consequences of cheaping out on something like this.  For a few extra dollars, just having the auto-shutoff switch on the bottom of an electric heater would make me feel so much better.  I truly believe that this should be standard equipment on every electric and gas heater.  It just seems like a no brainer to me.

      I truly was shocked when I discovered that the heater I was using didn’t have any safety features at all. It has been replaced, to say the least.

      I’m really hoping that many will read this and change out there old unsafe ones for something safer.

      Wayne

  18. This is really great to see here and I must say that you have enlightened me a lot as an RV owner. Seriously, I feel that safety should come first before deliberating over anything else concerning the space heater. 

    Since it has been proven that even homes got burnt cause of it, I feel the RV would be at more danger. Hence I would not want to risk anything at all with it.

    1. Glad I was able to “enlighten” you, Ro.  Safety is so important no matter what we are doing and, really, I don’t know why it’s so hard for some.  Whether we are out and about camping in our RV or just driving our cars, we need to have respect for the people we are with and those around us as well.

      Can you imagine how much insurance rates would go down if people would just be more considerate and safe, (gotta be careful here, don’t want to rant)?

      I suppose there could be a little more danger using a space heater in an RV simply because it’s a smaller place with less room to maneuver but, with a little forethought I think RVs can be just as safe. 

      Home or RV, don’t let the kiddos or pets play around them and make sure the space heater is far enough away from walls or any other objects.  I think if folks could just do these two things, a lot of accidents will be avoided.

      Thanks for your comments and have a safe camping season,

      Wayne

  19. It’s never good to look for shortcuts when getting things done especially when safety is an issue as well. You have given lots of good info here on space heaters in RVs.

    I will always lean on the safe side rather than take any unnecessary risks. Taking the time to read the owners manuel and its safety features is a small price to pay.

    Thanks so much for this information as it is very helpful. I will share it will my RV friends. 

    1. You’re welcome, Joseph and thanks for leaving a comment.

      That’s absolutely right, safety IS important and it really doesn’t take that much time.  Unnecessary risks can have grievous consequences that no one has to live with if they just take those extra few minutes to make sure everything has been done to secure the safety of our RVs and, more importantly, our family (pets included).

      Please, do share this site with your RV friends.  Not only will they be safer, but they will also find some other great info here as well that will help them have a better camping time.

      Again, I appreciate your taking the time to visit my site.

      Wayne

  20. Definitely RV walls are functional as long as the unit is in good working condition, as they are designed for the specific areas of your RV, this could be by far a more efficient way to heat it up during winter low temperatures. 

    If for any reason it fails or needs to be supported by other heating means, always remember that safety is first!

    In summary, legislation has evolved for our protection and we can trust any recently produced heater done under minimum American standard (Auto-Shutoff among them) and most of the risk will be most likely related to the wiring system of our RVs.

    If having the Auto Shutoff feature, most likely it will also be advertised in the label: Is there any standard (like the “Star Energy” in regards to electricity consumption efficiency) related to the safety components integrated into a portable heater? 

    Thanks for sharing this valuable information!

    1. Hello, Juan and thanks for your comments.

      With respect to RV walls, I was mostly talking about the exterior walls of an RV. An RVs exterior walls are normally only about 2 inches thick maybe a little more but not much.  Because of this fact, they only do a reasonable job of holding heat inside the RV during the late spring through the early fall.  Sometimes not even then depending on how far north or south you live.

      All that being said, that is why some people turn to “Space Heaters” as an extra source of heat and the electrical ones are especially convenient when your in a campsite that has an electrical hook-up.

      In the winter, during times of storage, they don’t have to be turned up full bore but just enough to help dry out the air inside.  Warm air holds less moisture than cold air hence, there are fewer problems with condensation on windows and walls.

      Government legislation has made these heaters much safer to use in RVs but that doesn’t mean we should be any less diligent in making sure things stay that way, and, yes, the safety features are, or at least, should be clearly marked on the exterior of the packaging.

      As far as “Energy Star” requirements for efficiency, I haven’t seen any that actually make claims about that.  I do know that ceramic heaters are pretty good at pumping out the heat even at 750W.  The gas heaters I reviewed are 99.9% efficient and if the proper ventilation cautions are put in place there should not be any issues with CO.

      I hope that all helps in your understanding and again, thanks for your comments and our question.

      Happy Camping,

      Wayne

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