Beating Winter Temperatures in an Enclosed RV Carport by Kevin Keen

The versatility and affordability of enclosed RV cover has expanded their uses beyond just sheltering vehicles to functioning as home offices, work spaces, and/or play areas. As these uses become more integral in work and family life, having the area in which these activities take place get shut down due to cold temperatures becomes less and less of an option. As carport designs continue to evolve, making them more like room additions than bare bones shelters, a variety of heating options has also developed.

The two primary options for heating these living spaces are electrical or gas generated heat. Getting the right sized heating unit for the space being used is critical to make sure that enough heat gets generated without spending too much on a unit that is bigger than it needs to be. The following are approximations for the heater output required to warm the square footage of a living/working space:

* 250 square feet 24,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units)

* 350 square feet 36,000 BTUs

* 550 square feet 48,000 BTUs

After getting the right sized heating unit, the next decision will be how best to heat the designated area. Depending on whether heating must be spread throughout the area or targeted to a specific area will determine the proper type of heater. For heating wide areas, going with a convection heater is usually the best choice. An example where a convection style heater would be best is an area where people might be dispersed or moving around such as a play area or for a business with work areas which are spread out over the square footage of the structure. A less expensive option, such as a radiant or infra-red heater, would work if the area to be heated can be targeted to a specific area, such as a work desk. Money can also be saved by insulating the structure and adding weather stripping to doors and windows.

As more RV carports are being wired for electrical output, hooking up regulation heaters has become a common practice. For areas that dont experience freezing temperatures, space heaters can also provide enough heat from a 120 volt outlet but care must always be taken to keep the heaters upright and away from all kinds of flammable materials. A tip-over feature automatically turns the heater off or emits a beeping sound should the unit be upended.

Gas heaters can generate heat from both fixed and portable sources. Natural gas and liquid petroleum supply heaters from fixed piping systems while propane and kerosene are carried in storage tanks. With any gas based heating system it is extremely important to ventilate the heated area as well as placing carbon monoxide sensors around the interior of the structure to alert occupants of any kind of buildup of the noxious gas. Of the four gas sources, kerosene carries a consistently strong odor making it probably the least desirable source of heat, especially in an enclosed or poorly ventilated structure.