Skip to Content

Furnaces, Heat Pumps & Space Heaters. Oh My! The Pros & Cons of RV Heat.

Furnaces, Heat Pumps & Space Heaters. Oh My!  The Pros & Cons of RV Heat.

Not sure whether to fire up your furnace or plug in the portable heater? Is it too cold to run your heat pumps? Will your plumbing freeze if you make the wrong choice? Will you freeze if you make the wrong choice?

This video takes a detailed look at the most common types of RV heat and the pros & cons of each. If you like to start the camping season early and end it late, or just buck the trend and head for a cold climate, these tips will help you sort through the benefits and limitations of the most common RV heating choices.

Depending on the temperature and how spend most of your time RVing (boondocking or hooked up… and if so, how many amps), the best heating solutions will vary. We’ll cover which heating systems help keep moisture and condensation down and which add to it… which systems are the quietest… which use lots of electricity or propane… or very little. We’ll let you know which choices are good for boondocking and which will save you money when power is included in your campground fees.

We have lots of heating options on our rig and we use them all at one point or another, depending on the situation. This overview of the good, the bad and the ugly of RV heating systems will sort out the benefits and drawbacks of each choice.


Featured & Related Products:


Recent & Related Videos:

We'd Love It If You Shared This!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Joseph

Monday 20th of April 2020

How much carbon dioxide is given off with the propane space heaters? If it is cold and you have to open a window to heat the RV it seems counter productive. Do you know anything about in floor heating strips? Thanks for the video.

TheRVgeeks

Monday 20th of April 2020

Hi Joseph! We don't have any quantifiable numbers about the amount of Carbon Dioxide the heater emits, but it isn't burning much more propane than a burner on a propane stovetop (which, if you read the manual, ALSO states that you should be sure adequate ventilation is available to avoid problems). It does seem counter-intuitive to open a window when you're trying to warm up the inside of your RV... but we haven't found it to be a problem. And since, in cold temps, you need to vent out the warm, moist air anyway (to avoid condensation forming on/in the walls, etc)... it's not really any different.

We're not familiar with the in-floor heating strips... other than knowing that, in the past, manufacturers have had some problems with them causing issues with flooring coming un-adhered (not a word, we know). Don't know if they've made progress with that or not... but it would be something we'd want to look into more before proceeding with a project like that.

Steve V

Sunday 24th of December 2017

I found this video very helpful and informative. I have a travel trailer with an enclosed insulated basement. So the only way for me to keep the tanks from freezing, as far as I know, is to run the propane furnace. I'm plugged into a 30 amp at a campsite and loving the space heater. It alone keeps the interior plenty warm. I just wish there was a way to circulate the warm air inside the trailer with the basement without having to set my LP furnace thermostat higher than the inside temperature. Is this really not possible? Of not, is there any modification I could do? I would think this is a common problem but I've found virtually nothing online.

TheRVgeeks

Sunday 24th of December 2017

Hi Seve! Thanks for the comment and great question. We have a pretty well insulated basement, and it sounds like you do, too. When we use auxiliary heating methods (such as electric space heaters) that don't send heat to the basement compartment, we put a 60-watt incandescent light bulb down there in a drop/trouble light. We also put the remote sending unit from our indoor/outdoor thermometer down there so that we can easily confirm the temperature down there without going outside. We mentioned that in a couple of videos, including our most recent ( https://www.thervgeeks.com/winter-rving/electrical-mod/ ) and in our original video about how we RV in the winter ( https://www.thervgeeks.com/winter-rving/how-to-rv-in-the-winter/ ), bit of which have some more useful information about cold weather RVing. Keep in mind that we were RVing in a somewhat moderate winter climate (BC's Lower Mainland) where the temps rarely get below the 20s. If we were in a much colder climate, with temps in the teens or single digits or below, we might need more than just a single 60-watt bulb to prevent plumbing from freezing in the basement. Hope this helps!

Ray and Susy

Saturday 23rd of December 2017

Really enjoyed the video, but the statement of (waking up dead) is an oxymoron. My wife and I are just getting ready to retire and Rv. Watch everything related to this. Keep up the good work.

TheRVgeeks

Saturday 23rd of December 2017

Thanks Ray & Susy! That “wake up dead” thing is a lyric from a (twisted) lullaby I learned when I was a kid. LOL

gmoney

Wednesday 20th of January 2016

That's the plan! Tks

gmoney

Tuesday 19th of January 2016

Wow! Lots to consider, we won't be staying long in northern states, so light bulb is simple effective idea, will hook that up. My main concern was the overnighting and concerns with holding tanks of water, grey water, what babes should be off during our travel through cooler northern states at night ? Should I be thinking about a small v line heater?

TheRVgeeks

Tuesday 19th of January 2016

You mentioned your RV is sealed and insulated underneath. If so, short periods of slightly below freezing temps shouldn't be a problem. Watch the weather forecast and stick to the coast if you can.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

PLEASE NOTE: We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We participate in the Amazon affiliate program, which provides a means for us to earn a small commission by linking to products there. But our opinions are our own and we only link to products we can recommend to friends with complete confidence. And using our links won't cost you an extra penny!