I’m putting all this here in case others find it useful. We recently purchased a 30T motorhome. It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows my wife to learn that she wanted a fireplace in the motorhome. We have added a fireplace to each of the two homes we have owned. Why not add one to a home on wheels? She even knew where it would go. Photos at the end of this post.
I knew it was just going to be a visual fireplace with maybe a little heat that we probably wouldn’t use very often. No gas, no wood.
There were several things I needed to figure out:
- Is there a fireplace that would fit?
- Can I get power to it?
- Heat dissipation
On the 30T driver side, there is a countertop with cabinets at the bottom. Remove the doors and center post of the middle cabinet and it leaves a perfect spot for the fireplace. The sofa is opposite the spot, leaving the perfect spot for early morning coffee or snuggling during a thunderstorm.
As the title of the post says, I chose the Touchstone Sideline 28″. Primarily due to size. It needed to be less that the opening and depth and this was pretty much the only one I could find that would fit. Fortunately, it turned out to be a very nice unit. Multiple flame colors and brightness, hi/low heat settings. And less than 6 inches deep.
Of course, electric fireplaces draw power and motorhomes are not known for having excess power. In the back of the cabinet, there is a TV mounted on a televator. The outlet powering them was accessible through a thin interior cabinet wall. After some digging around figuring out where all the breakers were, I discovered the outlet was on a 20A circuit. Excellent!
The Touchstone came with a small heater at the top. Normally, you install fireplaces in places where you don’t need to worry about the heat. However, there was a “little” design feature of the 30T that needed to be addressed.
Just above the cabinet area is a built-in, non-removable table. The underside of the table would be about 6 inches above the heater. This, of course, didn’t change where she wanted the fireplace. I don’t know if that was faith in my ability to figure something out or just another instance of her successfully bending the world to her will.
I learned from Touchstone that the max temperature at the output was 165F and there was an internal safety cutoff at 212F.
Ok, now all I had to do is figure out a way to dissipate the heat so it wouldn’t damage the table, or, you know, start it on fire. Fire on a motorhome can really ruin your day.
I’m not going to recall all the ideas I had because it turns out that Winnebago already had solved this. There is a metal storage area under the table surface. The metal would dissipate the heat, right? I was sure, well, at least sure enough to buy the fireplace and go for it.
When the unit arrived, I plugged it in and tested it. The HI setting on the heater sends the hot air out from the fireplace. Holding my hand flat above the heater right at the fireplace was not uncomfortable. Touchstone also said that no heat is dissipated on the sides, top, or back of the unit and that was true.
So far, so good.
I had to get to the outlet. Since this is a motorhome, the cabinet interior walls were made of very thin veneer. It will also will be driving down the road, which means road vibrations. So a grommet to protect the cord from the vibration was in order. Time to drill a hole. Thin veneer, piece of cake, right? Wrong. There was a support piece on my first attempt. Sigh. Second hole worked. A short power strip to consolidate the TV and televator plugs, and the fireplace plugged in fine.
The opening I was mounting in was a couple of inches wider and taller than the fireplace. I talked to my creative and handy neighbor (everyone should have one!), Gary. He took my poor idea of a couple of pieces of wood and suggested a much better solution: do a cabinet frame insert. He had the skills and tools to make it and did so (you really need a neighbor like Gary).
We spray painted it glossy black so it would blend in with the fireplace.
The firebox mounted easily with screws. The black glass front hooked on (with a bit of felt over the mounting screws to prevent rattle when driving down the road) and screwed in place.
To test the heat dissipation, I turned it on HI and left it to run for a while. After about ten minutes, the metal on the bottom of the table was still only warm to the touch. Whew.
Here are the pictures from the installation.