RV furnaces are often thought of as mysterious, but they’re actually quite simple to understand. The basic idea is that the furnace heats up the air and pushes it into the vents in your RV. There are two main types of furnaces: gas or electric. Gas furnaces burn propane while electric ones use electricity from a home’s electrical grid (typically through an inverter). Either way, you need a steady stream of energy to keep things going smoothly.
The heating process relies on a flame thrower, typically located in the firebox at the bottom of your RV furnace, which heats up air being drawn in from outside the vehicle. This heated air then flows into the space you’re trying to heat and helps keep it warm with thermal insulation and ducting inside your RV. Here’s how it all works!
I’ve also written a post on the 10 Best & Most Energy Efficient RV Furnaces (in 2022).
A furnace is a device that heats air to make it warm
RV furnaces are items that simply heat air to make it warm. It can be used in different ways for heating and air conditioning. The heat from the furnace travels through the vents until it meets with the cold air and pushes it out or through a duct system and into another space.
Depending on how the furnace works, the heat may also travel outside and heat up an unoccupied space. The furnace in an RV is the perfect way to stay comfortable while traveling. It’s like having your own kind of personal sauna, and it also keeps things nice and cozy inside!
The RV furnace has an outdoor unit and indoor heating coils
The furnace’s heating coils are located in the furnace cabinet. Instead, these coils do not burn but transfer heat to your RV’s interior through the forced warm air. The higher you set the temperature for your thermostat, the more frequently the heating coil cycles on and off. It is an efficient way to keep your camper’s interiors heated all winter long without burning precious fuel unnecessarily.
Different types of RV furnaces
The fan also includes an insulated hot surface which helps ensure that the air stays warm as it circulates. It also allows for airflow into cooler areas where more heat is needed, providing good air circulation and good heat distribution throughout the vehicle.
The main differentiator between these types of furnaces is what they use to create heat. As I mentioned above, the vast majority of RV furnaces utilize electricity, propane, or diesel as their main heat source.
1. Electric RV furnaces
Electric furnaces are by far the most common type found in RVs. These devices consist of a heating element that generates heat when electricity passes through them. Many electric furnaces also come with fan-powered venting systems to help distribute this warm air throughout the cabin for maximum comfort.
2. Propane RV furnaces
Propane furnaces offer an alternative means of generating warmth. Rather than utilizing an electrical current to generate heat, they instead use gas stored within the unit itself (LP Gas).
When turned on, propane heats up and gets pumped around the cabin to ensure warmth. It is not as common as electric models but does offer an excellent alternative for those interested in using more “eco-friendly” energy sources.
3. Diesel-powered RV furnaces
Finally, there are diesel-powered furnaces. These types utilize fuel from the vehicle’s tank to create heat and distribute it throughout the cabin. They can be extremely powerful and efficient but will often require that you run your engine while driving, impacting the level of convenience you get out of your furnace.
Some people may prefer this type over others due to its sheer power and efficiency, but many like the idea of keeping their vehicle still when they want heat rather than having to push the gas pedal to generate it.
An RV furnace will keep you warm when camping outdoors
When camping outdoors in cold weather, an RV furnace will keep you warm. The furnace can be installed either inside the RV or outside the RV. The heating system basically transforms the outside air to heat the space inside your recreational vehicle. You can install this equipment in your cabin or outdoors. The outdoor installation will provide heat that radiates throughout the place. This option offers a safe and convenient entryway
RV furnaces have thermostats to regulate temperature
Thermostats are used to regulate the temperature and efficiency of modern RV furnaces. The thermostat should keep the furnace burning at a consistent temperature to avoid wasting gas and money heating your RV.
However, some RV furnaces do not have a thermostat, which means they continue burning gas until it is empty. This means that you could be left with no heat or cold air, even if it’s set to keep your RV at a specific temperature. An RV furnace with a thermostat is more effective.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do RV furnaces run on electricity?
Not only does an RV furnace run on electricity, but it can also run on propane and diesel fuel, depending on the make and model. Fuel availability varies by area, of course.
An RV furnace is ventilated with warm air through a ducted heating system or convection heat transfer in the vehicle’s body section. This means that any type of heat source will produce warmth, at least so long as it is confined to the right space.
Some furnaces are designed specifically for use in RVs because they are compact, have minimal power draw, don’t require too much ventilation or maintenance, and are quiet when operating at minimum burn levels.
Do RV furnaces run on 12 volts?
Yep. Most RV furnaces operate off of 12-volt power from your vehicle when you’re traveling. You probably don’t have to worry about that, just plug it in and turn it on, and the typical furnace should work just fine. Pretty neat, huh?
Will the RV furnace run without propane?
This is a great question. I guess the trick is to figure out what type of RV furnace you own. If it’s propane, and you don’t have any, then your RV furnace won’t work. However, there are plenty of other fuel options that can power an RV heating system.
Personally, sometimes I prefer electric ones because it doesn’t require any fossil fuels to operate, but there are other choices too for those who insist on burning gasoline or diesel. And obviously, if you want natural gas heating, purchase a conversion kit or hire someone to make the changeover for you!
How long will RV furnace run on propane?
Furnaces are designed to burn the fuel they’re intended for, so there’s no standard answer to that question. An RV furnace can run on propane for about 24 hours when set at low heat. In an RV with only 8 minutes of on-time per hour, the furnace will run for 2-minutes full cycles every 15 minutes. This can keep you warm enough through some cold temperatures.
If you want to keep warm while camping in cold weather, an RV furnace is the way to go. RV furnace technology has come a long way.
Modern furnaces have thermostats to regulate temperature for efficiency and comfort, so you can keep your house nice and cozy while camping in the wintertime.
An outdoor unit is connected with an indoor heating coil, which means it doesn’t matter what type of RV furnace you choose – they all work similarly! Have any questions or comments? Share them on the section below, and happy RV-ing!