Even though it IS technically a mod, it’s also super easy!
Our new RV, the Winnebago EKKO, does not ship with an electric heat option. Most times, that’s just fine with us, since the propane tanks are plentiful and the Truma VarioHeat is pretty efficient. But there are some times when we were wishing for an electric heat option. Here are a couple examples:
- It’s winter, and we’ve got the RV parked by the house while we take a couple days to load up for a trip. It would be great if the rig could be comfortable and the water didn’t freeze while we do it, but we don’t want to burn up our propane before we even leave the house. Electric heat makes sense here.
- If we’re staying at an RV park (and we do sometimes… we still have day jobs!), it just makes sense to use the electricity that we’re paying for to heat the rig. This saves the propane for our time off-grid.
With those scenarios in mind, I had been looking for an electric heat option for a while. This is what I landed on: The Heat Storm Infrared Wall Heater WXG. (And though that’s an Amazon affiliate link, we have no relationship at all with Heat Storm.)
There are a few reasons I went with this one. First, I didn’t want anything that sat on the floor and could get kicked around, knocked over, or have something thrown on top of it to cause a fire hazard. I also didn’t want a tabletop model because… Mel the cat. So the fact that this heater mounts on a wall is ideal. I also wanted something fairly small – this one fits nicely on a spot of wall we otherwise weren’t using, and is only 13 inches by 17 inches by 4 inches deep. Since we have 20,000 watt hours of battery capacity, I wanted something I could run off battery power if I wanted to. This heater is 1000 watts max, and has a low setting that only consumes 500 watts. (I’ve verified that the Heat Storm only consumes as much power as advertised.) We could easily run it off battery power overnight. And finally, I wanted something quiet, which this unit is. (They claim 44 dB. I haven’t verified that, but it isn’t loud.)
The install couldn’t have been easier. Our unit is simply hanging on two screws securely fastened into the wooden cabinet. I did remove the “grab bar” by our entry door to provide more room for the heater, but you could install it a bit further inboard and leave the grab bar. (Don’t tell Stef, but I put double sided tape on the grab-bar for a week before removing it, and nobody noticed, so I know we weren’t using it.) I also swapped the fire extinguisher over to the other side of the door. The final part of the install is providing it with power. I ran a new outlet so that the cord would be almost undetectable, but if you’re OK routing a cord to a nearby outlet, you wouldn’t have to do that.
So How Does It Work?
At first, I was cautious about leaving it on unattended. But after a couple weeks of solid performance, I’m less worried about that. At only 1000 watts, it’s not going to keep the whole rig toasty in Fairbanks in January, but it does rather well in the situations we bought it for. We’ve used nothing but the electric heater with temperatures down into the 40s, and that’s been fine for sleeping. While parked in our driveway, it can easily keep the rig above freezing during a chilly overnight in the 20s. We’re satisfied.
I should point out that there are other models of the Heat Storm that have Wi-Fi connectivity and such. We didn’t want that, but they are available.
One limitation to be aware of: This is not a ducted heater, and it can’t take the place of the Truma VarioHeat for some functions. For example, this heater by the door has no capability to keep the water service bay or the garage heated by itself, but the VarioHeat does. The way we’ve been working around this is to run the Truma VarioHeat, fan-only, at a low setting (2 or 3). This circulates the air in the cabin, and takes some of the warm cabin air to everyplace the ductwork runs. It’s not a perfect solution, but it seems to be working, and if we were really worried, we’d just turn on the VarioHeat.
Well, that’s about it. Any questions, sound off in the comments below.