Heaters for RVs and caravans – what you need to know

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Snow-capped peaks and frosty mornings might be romantic for some, but if you are traveling in an RV or caravan you will appreciate the comfort and coziness of being inside with a good heater and observing a cold day from inside your vehicle. With the right heater installed, your vehicle will feel warm cosy, and more like a home. There are several different types of heaters available for caravans and RVs. 

Air heating or water heating?

RV and caravan heaters can use either air or water to transfer heat from the heater to the vehicle. Air heating takes place when the air in the vehicle is heated directly with a heating element. This type of heater is very common and can use various energy types. Water heaters on the other hand transmit heat through a water circulation system similar to a central heating system. Water is first heated and then heat is transferred to the vehicle through a heat exchanger. 

Energy options for running RV and caravan heaters: gas, diesel, or electricity?

RV and caravan heaters differ in terms of the energy type they use. Air and water heaters can be run on gas, diesel or electricity. Gas heaters are very common in RVs and caravans as gas has often already been installed for a cooker and a fridge. Gas heaters are available as either air or water heaters. They can be free-standing or built-in to the body of the vehicle. Diesel heaters are clearly ideal for vehicles that run on diesel as the heater gets the fuel it needs for heating directly from the fuel tank. RV and caravan heaters that run on electricity are of course particularly useful at campsites. They tend to be compact and, consequently, easily installed. They distribute warm air optimally and can be utilized alone or in combination with another heater if necessary. Electric underfloor heating can be installed in a vehicle to provide consistent, efficient heat but is typically more expensive to install than other options.

The importance of efficient venting.

Any RV or caravan that uses gas for heating must be vented outside because the resulting exhaust is made up of gases such as CO2. If CO2 collects inside your vehicle, it can be deadly. Even a dual-fuel water heater that runs on either electricity or gas, may still require venting when it is running on electricity. This is because the gas supply may still have a pilot light burning even when running on electricity. Ventilation also provides a means of removing water vapor that condenses on cool surfaces. These are the same venting requirements that exist in modern houses that have efficient draught-proofing. They also need to incorporate a way of letting oxygen in and water vapor out. 

Keeping your RV or caravan warm when the weather is cold is essential for your traveling comfort. But with the right type of heater, it is easy to maintain a warm and cozy atmosphere inside. It’s important to consider fuel type, heating capacity, safety features, and government regulations when selecting the best heater for your vehicle. But by following the tips and guidelines above, you will find it easy to ensure that you and your vehicle remain warm and comfortable whatever the temperature outside.

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