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Old 11-23-2021, 07:51 AM   #1
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Electric Heat Backup

We full time in the North Point Below. We go to Florida for the winter but may one day need to stay on Long Island for the winter. My worry is the furnace. If it fails in the middle of a freezing night and i canít get it repaired quickly iím in trouble. I was thinking of installing a 5000 watt fan forced electric heater in the basement and wiring a relay on the furnace to run the fan with the electeic heater to heat the living space and underbelly in an emergency. Anyone have an opinion.
Note: the furnace must be removed for repair and the location itíís in a service tec may refuse to touch it.
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Old 11-23-2021, 08:06 AM   #2
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5000 watt using a full 120 volt supply is going to draw 41 amps. If the voltage is lower like 110 volts it's 45 amps.
That's a lot of draw for a single device.
If you are connected to a 30 amp RV pedistal it's a no go.
On a 50 amp RV pedistal you have 25 amps split as two circuits so no go with that either.
1500 watt heater is more doable on 50 amp pedistal at 12.5 amps. Leaves room for microwave, fridge, lights etc.
Wife's hair dryer is 1750 watts draw is 14.5 amps. We have popped the 15 amp circuit breaker with it if the volts is low.
You are going to have to watch your voltage carefully


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Old 11-23-2021, 08:19 AM   #3
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I think you're better off using a couple or three 200 watt personal heaters, it doesn't take much to prevent things from freezing.

I had those set up in our 08 SENECA, one in the utility bay and one near the fresh water tank on the other side and never had anything freeze even when the temps hit 15 and it did not have any kind of weather package. Never ran the furnace either, always used space heaters and the heat strip in the a/c. Since I was paying for elec I used it.
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Old 11-23-2021, 09:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadrunnerII View Post
5000 watt using a full 120 volt supply is going to draw 41 amps. If the voltage is lower like 110 volts it's 45 amps.
That's a lot of draw for a single device.
If you are connected to a 30 amp RV pedistal it's a no go.
On a 50 amp RV pedistal you have 25 amps split as two circuits so no go with that either.
1500 watt heater is more doable on 50 amp pedistal at 12.5 amps. Leaves room for microwave, fridge, lights etc.
Wife's hair dryer is 1750 watts draw is 14.5 amps. We have popped the 15 amp circuit breaker with it if the volts is low.
You are going to have to watch your voltage carefully


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On a 50 amp rv pedestal you have 2 50 amp legs for a total of 100 amps
You would be better off with 2 smaller heaters connected to each leg of your panel
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Old 11-23-2021, 10:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billcf7 View Post
On a 50 amp rv pedestal you have 2 50 amp legs for a total of 100 amps
You would be better off with 2 smaller heaters connected to each leg of your panel
X2

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnWedell View Post
We full time in the North Point Below. We go to Florida for the winter but may one day need to stay on Long Island for the winter. My worry is the furnace. If it fails in the middle of a freezing night and i can’t get it repaired quickly i’m in trouble. I was thinking of installing a 5000 watt fan forced electric heater in the basement and wiring a relay on the furnace to run the fan with the electric heater to heat the living space and underbelly in an emergency. Anyone have an opinion.
Note: the furnace must be removed for repair and the location it’s in a service tec may refuse to touch it.
Caveat-I'm not a licensed electrician, but here we go:

I assume that you have a 50 Amp split-phase connection on your RV. If so, you could go with billcf7's recommendation or you could possibly go with a single 240 Volt, 5 kW electric heater. That would draw about 20 amps on each split-phase leg; vs a 120 Volt 5 kW heater that would draw about 41 Amps on one leg (obviously a no-go on a 30 Amp RV service).
Another thing to look at: if you indeed have a 50 Amp split phase hookup, make sure the loads in your electric panel are "balanced". Example: electric water heater on one leg of the split phase and microwave on the other leg, etc. Doing this will serve to somewhat equalize the loads on each leg of your split phase service.
This is about as deep as I want to delve into this subject while playing keyboard electrician. Someone in your area who has knowledge of electricity and can actually see what your setup is, could give better guidance than I.
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Old 11-23-2021, 10:28 AM   #6
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2x on the load balance checked. Do not assume that every RV is wired the same.
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Old 11-23-2021, 01:41 PM   #7
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Actually I am a licensed electrician. I have a 230 Volt 50 amp service for the trailer and I have another 30 amp 230 V service right next to it I could use for the heater. voltage and current are not a problem. I just wanted to use it to heat the entire trailer with one unit. that was my question. I plan on using the propane heater the entire time, it’s only in the event of an emergency.
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Old 11-23-2021, 03:32 PM   #8
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2x on the load balance checked. Do not assume that every RV is wired the same.
Amen to that. Just found out that all the AC outlets on our '21 Pinnacle are wired together to a measly 15A breaker. Tried to plug in 3 small 2-300 watt electric heaters, one in the basement and two inside. After a while the breaker would trip. Tried moving them around with the same result, so I kept one inside and connected the one in the basement to an extension cord from the shop. As it turned out, even this cold morning (32F), the 3 AC thermostats' were showing 60F.
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Old 11-23-2021, 03:34 PM   #9
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JohnWedell: Looks like you have plenty of Amperage for your needs!
Crack the whip on Reddy Kilowatt if/when you have issues with your propane heat.
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Old 11-23-2021, 04:16 PM   #10
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My biggest concerns with adding heat to the cargo hold is fire danger. 5000 watts (17KBTU) is a lot of heat, and figuring out how to distribute it safely. Being an electrician, I am sure you are very aware. Freezing pipes would be my 1st concern. As a couple electric space heaters and your fireplace could get you though until the furnace is repaired.

A few years back I saw an add on electric heating element for a RV furnace. In my quick search I did not find them. As I recall they had 3 versions. One designed for 50amp RVs, 30 amp RVs, I do not recall what the 3rd power configuration was, maybe 120V 15amp (only a vague memory at the moment). It does not totally isolate you from the furnace if it has issues. But, it would allow you to use quiet electric heat any time. Possibly cheap heat if electric is included in the camp fees.

I installed a 6000Btu electric heat strip in my Coleman AC. Works great, The air does not feel very warm, but it keeps the HTT nice and warm. Downside, when the AC unit is on, it is noisy, but we are warm (DW likes the white noise at night). Not sure if your Northpoint's AC can accommodate this electric heating element. On my AC, it was very easy to install. As an electrician if your AC was not designed for it, I would think it would not be hard for you to design an appropriate control circuit. This will not protect your plumbing as it is all in the basement, and the AC ducts do not go down there.

I live up north were it gets cool in the winter. I probably would spend some times looking at the plumbing and determining if I could heat trace and insulate all the plumbing lines. also add tank heaters. I would also consider a very small (700 watt??) heater for the wet bay (lot going on behind the panel). Connect it all to a single power source that can be switched on when you want it. If you lose the furnace, use your fireplace and a small electric space heater to keep the cabin warm until the furnace is repaired.

Edit:
This is very similar to the electric heat furnace add on I saw a few years back.
https://www.amazon.com/RV-Electric-H.../dp/B008Z6C6VC
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