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Motorhome Block Heaters — Not Just For Winter Use!

Motorhome Block Heaters — Not Just For Winter Use!

Does your RV have a block heater? Do you only RV where it’s mostly above freezing, so you never use it? Maybe you should sometimes.

Since a block heater is designed primarily for helping an engine start in extremely cold conditions, many people never use theirs, even if their motorhome is equipped with one. But even if it’s not below freezing,  there are times when a block heater can make starting easier, and be good for your engine’s health, too.

After long periods of inactivity in just moderately cold conditions, an engine can take longer to start, causing extra wear and tear on internal components before oil can begin fully circulating. It’s also tougher on your battery and starter motor.

If you ever take advantage of discounted monthly RV park rates, check out the short video above. Even if you’re not in extreme cold, your engine, batteries and starter motor will appreciate the extra care.

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Efrain

Tuesday 19th of January 2016

Hi the name is Efrain when you leave the engine heater plunged for at least three days will it damage anything ?

TheRVgeeks

Tuesday 19th of January 2016

Hi Efrain. It won't damage anything, but there's no reason to do that. The purpose of the block heater is to aid starting, and overnight before the day of departure is plenty long enough to do the job.

smokeycamping

Thursday 5th of February 2015

Some great points about using the block heater, the issue with planes is correct they can spot heat their blocks are set-up much different and you do not want to run the block heater to long, but in a big diesel it is not any problem as the block design is made in such a way as they wanted to be plugged in and left on for an extended time period. With a diesel when you run the block heater you will get capillary action so that it almost seems like the engine is running and this is why you can leave them plugged in for extended time. your points on helping the batteries and the starter are very good points as both are expensive items to replace today.

TheRVgeeks

Thursday 5th of February 2015

Before we started RVing, we owned a Bellanca Super Viking (turbocharged 300 HP Lycoming IO-540). Whenever we were planning a trip during very cold weather... we twice flew it to the Bahamas in February :) .... we had a great way to pre-heat the engine. I had taken a little ceramic heater and attached a length of 8" round flexible aluminum duct tubing to the front of it. The night before any cold-weather start-up, I'd stop by the hangar, which was conveniently only 10 minutes from our house, to fire it up. I'd put the heater on the hangar floor, with the end of the tubing inserted into the bottom of the engine nacelle alongside the nose gear, gently blowing warm air all night. When I would arrive the next morning, the engine compartment was so toasty that it warmed my hands when I'd open the access panel to check the oil. LOL The engine started as easily as a summer day every time.

Gilbert D. Juarez

Wednesday 4th of February 2015

Thank you.

Carl W

Wednesday 4th of February 2015

Thank you!

Carl W

Wednesday 4th of February 2015

Great info as usual. I try to apply my old "round engine airplane" logic and use the block heater anytime temps are below 50f. Is there any concern about "spot heating" caused by leaving the heater on for extended periods of time since the engine fluids aren't circulating?

TheRVgeeks

Wednesday 4th of February 2015

We've never heard of "spot heating" being a problem, especially just for an overnight. I used to work in the bus business, and both companies I worked for had rows and rows of plugs in the lots. Any time the temperature was forecast to drop below freezing, every coach in the lot got plugged in every night. They all started instantly in the morning, and I'm not aware of any adverse effects.

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