Planning to Use a 1,500 watt Space Heater in your Motor Home? Read this

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If you have access to shore power and plan to dry camp during the winter, no problem, you can right away use a 1,500 watt heater for your rooms depending on their size.

What if there is an AC outlet at the camping ground? Should you connect the heater to a battery bank? Is it advisable and if so how many batteries do you need?

Read on to learn is you should power the 1,500 watt heater off a battery bank and the alternative sources of heating you should consider for your motor home.

What Battery Capacity (Ah) to Use?

This depends on what temperature setting the heater will be set to and the duration for which it will be used. Assuming that the heater is run at the mid-temperature setting (~750 watts), you’ll need about 650 Ah of usable battery capacity at 12V to keep it running for 10 hours alone.

Whereas it is possible to run a 1,500 watt heater off batteries, it requires a considerable investment in battery capacity for the heater to run a reasonable length of time.

For instance, at maximum power, a 1,500 watt heater can drain the usable capacity of a 200 Ah AGM or GEL battery in under an hour! In addition, you’ll have to invest in a charging system to keep them topped up.

You may also be interested in: How expensive it is to run a 1,500 watt heater?

Should you use Batteries? Is it advisable to use batteries?

While you can use a battery bank, it is not advisable. Consider a camping ground with a 20A outlet or higher or alternative forms of heating to avoid the likely investment required for the batteries and additional space that may be necessary for them in your RV.

What are the Alternative ways to Heat the RV?

Instead of running an electric heater off batteries, you can use one or a combination of the following options:

  • If the RV has access to 30A or 50A shore power, plug the 1,500 watt/115V heater into a 115V outlet provided the combined appliance load does not draw more than what the RV circuit breakers can support.

Be mindful of the possibility of tripping the breaker should the overall current limit of the circuits exceed the breaker amperage limit especially if running more than one large appliance.

For example a 1,500 watt heater and a microwave oven simultaneously.

Use a buddy heater instead when you are awake. It uses propane and is usually suited to heating small spaces.

  • You can use electric blankets to keep you warm during the night. They draw considerably less power usually 200 – 400 watts compared to the larger rated 1,500 watts.
  • Use the RV’s propane heater instead. You can use it to keep large spaces warm overnight without worrying about waking up to a dead set of batteries.

Related questions

Can a Car Battery Run a 1,500 watt heater?

For a short duration of about 10-15 minutes probably yes. Running it for longer durations will discharge the car battery deeply and can permanently damage it.

To run the heater off the battery, you should have the car engine running (so that the heater is supplied) by the alternator and large enough battery wire to handle the 62+ amps that the inverter draws from the battery.

Final Thoughts

It is not advisable to run a 1,500 watt heater off a battery bank because of the large battery bank required to power it for a reasonable time and the associated investment cost.

Consider the heater if you have access to shore power. Alternatively, you can use a buddy heater or a propane heater in your RV.

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