Electricity Usage for Engine Heaters

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Jul 7, 2014
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Winnipeg MB CA
I put a cartridge heating element in my Scion Tc. Toyota has a hole cast in the head/block to put it into. About 2.5- 3 hours gets me to about 70 degrees according to my UltraGauge even when it gets down to single digits.
That's about 21°C, similar to what I see here. The Scangauge might read as high as 23°C, but quickly goes lower when the coolant starts circulating, before coming back up.

I have had no issues starting a vehicle down to -23F since 1988.

The reality is at those temps the issues I had an engine block would not help much as I stalled engine letting clutch out on a manual transmission in neutral.
Yes, I've had to start unplugged cars in cold temperatures - my record is -38°C (-36°F). (There were various unsuccessful attempts made too.)

But, the toll on the battery, engine, and starter, not to mention the extra fuel used during the long warmup, makes it something I try to avoid.

Synthetic oil helps a lot!

Regarding the cold thick gear oil in a manual tranny stalling the engine, I remember those days well. I used to start the car in N with the clutch pedal depressed (even before clutch safety switches). I had an epiphany and switched over to synthetic MTF, which made a world of difference.

A 110v block heater is 400w to 1500w.

A slow EV charger using 110V is around 1300w.
I was surprised there was that little difference, but it makes sense. At 120 V and 12 A (the practical cap for continuous current on a 15 A breaker), power consumption would be 1440 W. That's 3 to 4x a typical block heater, but not nearly as high as my WAG.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2020
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657
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Canada
Nice combo. Is the oil-pan heater magnetic?
No, it's a stick (3m glue) on one. I've had it for 5 years and it just started peeling off in one corner. I'll need to high temp rtv it back on.


Do you run them together or separately, and what determines your choices?
I plug in the block heater all night (12 hours) at work and plug the oil pan heater in for the last two hours before I go home. If it's less then -18C I don't bother with the pan heater, less then -14ish then sometimes I don't plug in at all. I command start for 5 minutes before I walk out the door.

I don't leave the pan heater plugged in for more then 2 hours at a time.
 
Joined
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Messages
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No, it's a stick (3m glue) on one. I've had it for 5 years and it just started peeling off in one corner. I'll need to high temp rtv it back on.



I plug in the block heater all night (12 hours) at work and plug the oil pan heater in for the last two hours before I go home. If it's less then -18C I don't bother with the pan heater, less then -14ish then sometimes I don't plug in at all. I command start for 5 minutes before I walk out the door.

I don't leave the pan heater plugged in for more then 2 hours at a time.
Friends's son came over with his Suzuki SUV last fall. He'd experienced hard starting the winter before, and wanted me to check his block heater.

Block heater ohmed open. That's usually the plug. I probed the conductors, and they were open farther down.

Traced the cord down, and found the "block heater" was actually an oil-pan heater, glued on with silicone goop.

Peeled off the silicone and found degraded and broken wires.

The young man replaced it himself and did a good job.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2020
Messages
657
Location
Canada
Friends's son came over with his Suzuki SUV last fall. He'd experienced hard starting the winter before, and wanted me to check his block heater.

Block heater ohmed open. That's usually the plug. I probed the conductors, and they were open farther down.

Traced the cord down, and found the "block heater" was actually an oil-pan heater, glued on with silicone goop.

Peeled off the silicone and found degraded and broken wires.

The young man replaced it himself and did a good job.
VW engine heaters that are dealer installed are stick on pan heaters. A lady at work has a 5 year old Jetta and they wanted $450 to put a new one on her car. I told her to get a $50 one from Amazon and she had a friend put it on for her. Unreal.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
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3,228
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near Cincinnati, OH
I was surprised there was that little difference, but it makes sense. At 120 V and 12 A (the practical cap for continuous current on a 15 A breaker), power consumption would be 1440 W. That's 3 to 4x a typical block heater, but not nearly as high as my WAG.
It's not a little difference, watts is not watt hours. You'd best not drive far if you've only charged your EV at 1300W for 3-4 hours. I suppose in an ideal EV ownership situation, that IS going to be the case, that you never have range anxiety and don't have to rewire your service or garage for use because always driving short distances, but we've been talking about cold temperatures and the EV needs some of that just to get the cabin up to temp (and maintain that) too.
 
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
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Location
Winnipeg MB CA
It's not a little difference, watts is not watt hours. You'd best not drive far if you've only charged your EV at 1300W for 3-4 hours. I suppose in an ideal EV ownership situation, that IS going to be the case, that you never have range anxiety and don't have to rewire your service or garage for use because always driving short distances, but we've been talking about cold temperatures and the EV needs some of that just to get the cabin up to temp (and maintain that) too.
Agreed, the per hour consumption ratio for EV charging vs. a block heater can be as little as 3:1, but of course the EV has to run for quite a few more hours, so total power consumption is much higher.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Joined
Dec 14, 2002
Messages
48,981
Location
New Jersey
The last time I saw a cord sticking out of the grille of a vehicle...was back when I still lived in Illinois. Since moving to Virginia I haven't seen that at all.
I’ll be sure to snap a pic from one of my vehicles next time I’m in NOVA.. :)
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Joined
Dec 14, 2002
Messages
48,981
Location
New Jersey
We had a PHEV during a recent trip to Europe. We could set the plug into the wall charger to pull 6,8,10, or 12A. Of course it’s a 220V interface.

B08A79CC-C47A-46F7-AA9B-B1D46A1AAC48.jpeg
 
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