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Is It Safe to Use a Space Heater in an RV?

If you plan on spending time in an RV in cold weather, it’s a good idea to have a backup heating source in case the propane runs out or the furnace stops working. But is it safe?

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Safety risk of using an electric heater in an RV

According to a 2018 report by the National Fire Protection Association, problems with home heating systems are the second leading cause of home house fires, and of those, 48% of fires are related to space heaters.  That means space heaters carry risks no matter where you use them.

Reduce your risk: safety guidelines for using a portable space heater in an RV

1. Keep flammable items at least 3 feet away from the space heater. 2. Supervise children near portable heaters. 3. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

How space heaters may cause fires in RV’s

Electric space heaters can start fires by causing cords, power outlets, and the wiring inside your walls to overheat.

What kind of electrical outlets are in your RV?

Most American homes (and RV’s) use a combination of both 15 Amp and 20 Amp circuits.  20 Amp circuits are wired with 12 gauge wire, but 15 Amp circuits may be wired with only 14 gauge wire.

The Bottom Line

If you do decide to use a space heater, either as backup or as a primary heating source, I would recommend first evaluating the electrical outlets, breakers, and wiring in your RV to determine whether they are capable from handling the draw of a space heater.

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