Automotive

Interior car heater w/timer?

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  • Dec 2nd, 2009 11:42 pm
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Deal Addict
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Jul 12, 2005
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Stoney Creek

Interior car heater w/timer?

I don't want to pay big bucks to get a remote starter installed (plus I wouldn't want my engine idling). I use a block heater when I'm parked at home, so my engine is warmed up before I leave for work, but this doesn't help the interior temperature.

I'm looking for something that would plug into my cigarette lighter and heat the interior using the car battery. I can't find anything like this anywhere. Would this drain the battery too much if running for 5 minutes or so without the engine running?
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Jun 26, 2005
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[rfdlink=/forums/autolink/redirectpage.php?linkid=24]Canadian tire[/rfdlink] has a few models of these heaters you can buy.

One thing, if your engine isn't running, I'm guessing your key isn't in the ignition, you have to check if your cigarette lighter is actually supplying any power. Plug somethng into it when your car is OFF, and see if there is power.

If there isn't any power, then you'll have to turn the key to at least 1 click to the ON position in order for the heater to work.

Battery drain? Not that bad, look at the voltage/wattage on the heater. Unless your battery is very old and its an old car.
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Jul 12, 2005
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Yes, power is supplied to the cigarette lighter when the engine isn't on. I've seen interior car heaters in [rfdlink=/forums/autolink/redirectpage.php?linkid=24]Canadian Tire[/rfdlink], but I'm looking for a heater that has a timer or a timer I could use with it that would turn the heater on at a certain time in the morning so my windshield and interior are nicely heated by the time I leave for work in the morning.
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Sep 4, 2003
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I personally wouldn't recommend running anything OFF your battery especially when your car isn't running. You're just asking for trouble in the long run.

When its cold, your battery (depending on type) will be putting out maybe as little as 50% of its rated power. You need that power to crank your car when cold. Running a heater will only draw down your battery.

If you want 'instant' heat when you start your car and get going, check into what they call 'inline heaters'. These are inline heaters that go in series with your cooling system, you plug it in as you would a block heater, but this heats and circulates your coolant. Because your coolant is already warmed up when you start the car, you should start getting warm air thru your vents (how hot it would be depends on the size of your engine block I would assume). I knew a guy who used both, had a block heater and an inline, in Winnipeg of all places, and it worked like a charm for him.

If you prefer to have an actual heater in the car, then go with something like the Temro car warmer, they plug in just like your block heater. Keep in mind, depending on how cold it is outside, and windy, these sometimes have very little affect...basically just takes the chill out of the inside of the car. I used one when in Winnipeg in my truck, on warmer days above -15c or so w/o much wind, the truck was nice to get into, not warm or hot, but no chill, but if I came out at night at -35C with 30km/h winds, I really didn't think it made that much difference.
[OP]
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Jul 12, 2005
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Thanks, I'll have to look into that. I have a 4 door Jimmy SLT and use a block heater. I find that helps the heater get going a bit quicker, but that's after a few minutes of driving still.
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Jan 22, 2004
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Toronto
Those 12V car warmer is not designed to warm your car. It is designed to defog the window only. The wattage is about 250W which draws 20A on a 12V system already. The wattage can not be too high cause it will overload the system. A household heater will have wattage in the range of 1000 - 1800 watts. So a 250W heater won't heat up the whole interior of the car by too much.

Unlike deep cycle batteries the car battery is designed to provide a high cold cranking amp and a low reserve. It is not designed to be drained. Even draining it to half of the reserve will significantly shorten the battery life.

So an inline coolant heater is your best bet.
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Thanks DZ.

Is an inline coolant heater something I'd have to have installed by someone? Any idea on the cost?
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Sep 6, 2002
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h00ch wrote:Thanks, I'll have to look into that. I have a 4 door Jimmy SLT and use a block heater. I find that helps the heater get going a bit quicker, but that's after a few minutes of driving still.
You DO NOT need a block heater for winters in ontario, especially now.Perhaps when it reaches -20 and below, with major wind and you dont have a garage. Block heaters are meant to keep your engine block from freezing, not for comfort or speediness of your engine warming up. You think wasting all that power is better then ideling for 3 minutes?

get yourself a remote start, there like $99 for the ones w/o fancy 2 way communication.

frankly I have a remote start and if its anywhere near -14 im starting her up for 3 minutes.
Did I post something that interests you? Feel free to PM further questions.
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Jul 12, 2005
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I use my block heater when the nights are especially cold (usually not until January/February) and yes, I park outside all the time and we get lots of wind because I have a huge parking lot across the street from our house, so no wind barrier at all. It definately helps. I've looked at remote starters, but they're quite expensive to get installed (at somewhere other than Canadian Tire/Future Shop, etc).
Newbie
Nov 7, 2009
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Hamiltone
I was thinking of a remote starter as well but was told that i might void the warranty on my brand new car. Also was told that it was illegal to install in Manual transmission. So looking for car warmer instead. Any ideas?
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