Block heater questions (Real simple one, really!)


Old 01-22-13, 10:38 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Canada
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Block heater questions (Real simple one, really!)

2005 Dodge Caravan.

So, the other day while filling my windshield wiper fluid i realized lo and behold, I have a block heater! Never noticed this little cord sticking up by the front drivers side headlight. I've never used one as I've never had one before!

First question, why didn't they stick this thing out the front grill like every other block heater cord I've ever seen. This little short one is (appears to be) too short to even stick out from the engine compartment. I have to leave my hood open a crack at night to have it plugged in via an extension cord.

How long is it advisable to leave it plugged in? It's around -15 degrees Celsius here right now. This morning I plugged it in when I got up, then unplugged 45 minutes later when I left for work. I was thinking the temp gauge would jump right up when I turned the ignition key. Instead, it stayed on C but I did notice the engine did warm up faster than usual. Got to work and asked my boss about this. He said when he uses his, he leaves it plugged in all night! Seems like a bit of overkill to me, but again I'm not knowledgeable about these things.
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Old 01-22-13, 07:20 PM
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its meant for an over night thing.but for 15C kinda not needed.but kinda wish i was that warm. -8c here
Old 01-23-13, 05:45 AM
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Ha, thanks Iceman but it's -15c here not 15c. With a foot of snow added yesterday and another due today.
Old 01-23-13, 07:37 AM
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Get a timer and a two prong adapter and set the timer so it turns on the heater 3 hrs before you start it. Set timer so it shuts off sometime after you leave for work.
Old 01-23-13, 07:44 AM
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Thanks mla. Yep, just found a timer at Canadian Tire today online. Block heater plug is three prong so it's grounded and no need for an adapter. My world got buried under 1.5 feet of snow between yesterday and today so I've had opportunity to surf the web and figure out what I need and how to use these things.

I agree that three hours should suffice as well.

Going to head out into the world today and unbury my van, check to see that the roads have reopened, etc. and pick one up. Just out of curiosity, why would you suggest that I set the end time for after I leave for work? I would think I want it set to shut off just before I leave?

The other day I unplugged the thing and there was a small spark. Kind of like when you unplug a small heater or hair dryer when they're still running. I would think you'd want the electrical draw to be nil to prevent this? I'm not sure. I'm an electrical disaster and prone to electrocuting myself.
Old 01-23-13, 07:52 AM
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Maybe a block heater is an option in your neck of the woods.
Down here they only come in diesels.

My Ford van has one and I certainly am using it this week. I have it on a timer and allow it 3-4 hours which seems to be plenty of time.
With a 1000 or 1250 watt element it sucks up the juice.
Old 01-23-13, 08:24 AM
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My world got buried under 1.5 feet of snow between yesterday and today
You're up on the shore of Huron or Georgian Bay? .....I've seen on the radar a squall that's been pounding that area for two days straight and still going strong.....with Hwy. 21 closed north of Goderich.....

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Last edited by Halton; 01-23-13 at 08:49 AM.
Old 01-23-13, 08:39 AM
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I don't plug mine in unless it's going to be at least 5 - 10 below zero Fahrenheit, which, IIRC, is around - 25 C. Modern cars still start easily in pretty ugly conditions these days. In fact, we were - 15 F yesterday morning and I had not plugged it in and it started right up. If you're parking in a garage at night, I would not bother at all. I use a timer as well and kick it on three hours before I intend to start the car.

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