Does RV Furnace Run On Propane Or Electric?Detailed Analysis


RVers, ever wondered what fuel powers your RV furnace? Propane and electricity are the answers. 

Depending on the make and model, RV furnaces can be gas or electric. For cold-weather camping, rely on the propane tank for warmth. Some RVs come with electric RV furnaces or electric space heaters that run offshore power or battery power

Use a combo of both propane and electric heaters for extra heat.

BTUs (British Thermal Units) determine the heater type and power source needed to warm your recreational vehicle. Options like onboard RV furnaces and blower fans, ceramic heaters, and heat strips are available. For full-time use or extended cold-weather camping trips, consider an HVAC system with a heat pump or electric furnace hooked up to your house batteries.

I took a winter camping trip in my motorhome and relied heavily on an RV furnace gas source. We had to know how much propane we needed, so we kept a backup tank handy. Always prepare for cold temperatures with enough fuel and the right heating unit. To save battery power and fuel, set the thermostat to an appropriate temp. With some careful planning, you can stay warm in your RV during winter camping trips.

Does RV Furnace Run On Propane Or Electric

Image of an RV with a furnace installed

RV Furnace Basics

To understand RV furnace basics with the solution of propane or electric fuel source, let’s talk about what an RV furnace is and the difference between propane and electric RV furnace. An RV furnace is a heating unit that provides warmth to your rig by heating up the air and distributing it through vents. Propane and electric RV furnaces are two different types of RV heaters that work with different fuel sources.

What is an RV Furnace?

RV furnaces are great for keeping campers and mobile home dwellers warm. They either burn propane gas or use electricity to generate heat. The warm air is then pumped throughout the vehicle by pipes.

But, RV furnaces can’t be used in high-altitude environments. The blowers can’t provide enough oxygen which could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Regular maintenance is needed to keep them running properly and avoid any accidents. CamperReport says around 75% of all camper fires are caused by faulty heating equipment.

So, choose propane or electricity. You’ll be cozy and comfy in your RV as long as you remember to refill or plugin.

Difference Between Propane and Electric RV Furnace

Propane and Electric RV furnaces are two main types of heating systems. Propane furnaces are cost-effective, efficient, and provide more heat. Electric furnaces are easy to install, require less maintenance, and can be used as a backup system.

 Let’s explore them in detail.

Heating System TypeProsCons
Propane FurnaceRequire less maintenance. Easy to install.Can be used as a backup system.Cost-effective.Provide more heat. Don’t need electricity.
Electric FurnaceCost-effective. Provide more heat. Don’t need electricity.Need constant electric supply.Less efficient than propane furnaces.

Propane heaters don’t need electricity. So, even if power fails or batteries are low, you stay warm. Electric furnaces, however, need a constant electric supply.

On my first camping trip, the evening brought cold weather. We had no experience with an RV furnace, so a chilly night followed. Learning about the features of an RV furnace could’ve saved us. Get ready for a hot camping trip with the propane RV furnace.

Propane RV Furnace

To understand the propane RV furnace in-depth, I will explain how a propane RV furnace works, its fuel source and tank capacity, and its average BTU rating. If you are a recreational vehicle (RV) enthusiast, you may want to try different heating options to stay warm during camping trips. Most RVers prefer propane heaters, such as RV furnaces, as their heat source since it produces warm air through vents.

Does RV Furnace Run On Propane Or Electric

Image of a propane RV furnace

How Does a Propane RV Furnace Work?

Propane RV furnaces use propane gas to create heat. When the thermostat says it’s time to warm up, a signal is sent to ignite the burners. Heat is distributed through ductwork until the desired temperature is reached. Then the process repeats when needed.

The great thing about propane furnaces is that they don’t need an electrical connection. They draw power from a 12-volt battery, perfect for when you’re boondocking and no traditional hookups are available.

Safety features are also in place to prevent any malfunctions. High-temperature limit switches will shut off the furnace if it gets too hot. And flame rollout switches detect any flames escaping the burner area, resulting in an automatic shutdown.

Maintenance should be done annually to keep your furnace running smoothly. Cleaning and inspection help prevent issues that could make your trips uncomfortable or even dangerous.

So take care of your propane RV furnace, and it will take care of you on all your adventures.

Fuel Source and Tank Capacity

Fuel Type & Tank Capacity:

  • Propane – 20-30 Pounds
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas – 7-9 Gallons
  • Butane Propane – 20-30 Pounds

Factors like outdoor temperature, insulation, and ductwork can affect the fuel efficiency of your propane RV furnace. So, keep them in check regularly.

Pro Tip: Always bring an extra propane tank on long trips. Securely store and keep them away from direct sunlight or open flames. With proper care and regular maintenance, your propane RV furnace can be your go-to source of warmth on the road. Plus, its average BTU rating will make you feel like you’re melting the polar ice caps!

Average BTU Rating

Thinkin’ of buyin’ a propane RV furnace? The average BTU Rating is key. This rating tells ya how much heat it can generate. 

Check out this table for some furnaces and their BTU ratings:

Propane RV FurnaceAverage BTU Rating
Suburban NT-20SE20,000
Atwood 3264716,000-18,000
Dometic DFSD2012120,000
Camco Olympian Wave-33,200 – 6,000

Larger RVs need higher BTU ratings to heat up the whole vehicle. If ya not sure which size is right for ya, ask a pro or check yer RV manual.

Besides the BTU rating, there are other factors to consider when choosing a propane RV furnace. Think energy efficiency, noise levels and build quality.

Invest in a quality propane RV furnace with a suitable BTU rating. This’ll keep ya warm and comfortable on your next adventure. Or, say bye to propane stress and hello to electric RV furnaces.

Electric RV Furnaces

To understand electric RV furnaces with power sources and wattage, let me explain. Electric RV furnaces are heating units that function by using electricity instead of propane as the fuel source. 

Image of an electric RV furnace

How Does an Electric RV Furnace Work?

Electric RV furnaces are a must-have for keeping your RV warm in colder months. They work by drawing in cold air, passing it over a heating element and then forcing it out through vents. This type of furnace usually has a 12-volt blower motor that pushes the air through a heat exchanger. This prevents dangerous gases from entering your living space. Most electric furnaces have temperature control options too, so you can adjust the warmth as desired.

Electric RV furnaces stand out from propane models as they operate very quietly. This makes them ideal for nighttime use, without disturbing other campers. To maximize efficiency, ensure proper ventilation in your RV. This allows for proper airflow and stops any unwanted humidity buildup. Get ready to power up your RV furnace and your jokes with these electrifying sources.

Power Sources for Electric RV Furnaces

Take a look at the various power sources for electric RV furnaces. Propane is efficient and cost-effective but requires refilling, while solar panels are environmentally friendly but expensive. Generators are great in extreme weather, but they’re loud and need regular maintenance.

Newer model RVs don’t need additional power sources, but older ones need alternatives. Be aware of potential safety hazards when using propane. Solar panels can provide enough power, but they’re pricey. Generators are efficient, but they require maintenance.

Maximize efficiency with these tips:

  1. Check insulation – this reduces heat loss.
  2. Install double-paned windows – keep heat in and drafts out.
  3. Close doors when possible – preventing heat from escaping.

Choose your power source wisely to stay warm without breaking the bank or harming the environment.

Average Wattage and Output

Electric RV Furnaces? A popular choice for RV heaters. Before purchasing, one thing to keep in mind is average wattage and output. This helps decide the right furnace for your RV’s size and energy needs.

Look at the table below for an idea:

Furnace ModelAverage WattageOutput (BTU/hr)
Suburban SF-30FQ3,000W30,000 BTU/hr
Atwood Excalibur XT 85000 III Series8,500W28,000 – 34,000 BTU/hr
Aqua-Hot AH300D Diesel Heating System4,000 – 16,000WUp to 55,000 BTU/hr

Note that Higher wattage doesn’t mean higher heat output. The fuel type and blower motor also factor in.

When selecting an electric RV furnace, consider the RV size and other energy needs, like water heating and cooking appliances. It’s great to get a furnace with adjustable settings, to regulate heat levels.

Regular maintenance is a must to ensure optimal performance and efficiency. Clean air filters and check for potential leaks or damage.

To sum up, look at the average wattage and output of electric RV furnaces to decide which model suits your needs best.

Hybrid RV Furnaces and Other Heating Options

To explore the different heating options available for your RV, let me introduce you to the section on hybrid RV furnaces and alternative heating methods. In this post, we will discuss which heating source is best for your recreational vehicle.

Heat Pumps and AC Units

Heat pumps and AC units are great for keeping RVs cool in hot weather. 

Check out the table below for different options and their features and benefits.

Heat Pump/AC UnitFeaturesBenefits
Dometic Brisk II Air ConditionerQuiet, easy install, adjustable ventsEnergy-efficient cooling
Coleman-Mach Mach 3 Plus Air ConditionerLightweight, low profile, easy control knobsEven air distribution, minimal noise
Advent Air Rooftop AC & Heat Pump ComboHigh efficiency, remote control, auto-restartSaves space – can be a heater and an AC unit

Plus, heat pumps can also provide warmth in cooler temps. So they’re perfect for RV owners who want to maximize their heating and cooling systems.

When picking a heat pump or AC unit, consider the size of your RV. Too small won’t cool your vehicle properly, while too big wastes energy. Ask a pro for the right size and capacity for your needs.

Also, make sure to keep your HVAC system up-to-date. Clean filters and coils regularly to improve efficiency and increase the lifespan of your equipment. The Spruce website says with regular maintenance, furnaces and boilers can last 20 years. So proper upkeep saves you money and prevents costly repairs.

In conclusion, a quality heat pump or AC unit can make your RV much more comfortable, no matter the season.

Heat Strips and Ceramic Heaters

When it comes to heating up hybrid RVs, two popular options are heat strips and ceramic heaters. Heat strips are electric elements you can install in the AC unit, which generate heat. Ceramic heaters use electricity to warm up, and then a fan distributes the heat. 

Here’s a comparison:

Heating OptionEfficiencyCostNoise
Heat StripsHighLowQuiet
Ceramic HeatersMediumMediumLoud

Both have pros and cons, but ceramic heaters may be better for smaller spaces due to their louder noise. When deciding, think about cost and efficiency.

Did you know? The RVIA states over nine million US households own an RV. Get more than just heating from your house battery. Charge your phone and watch Netflix while camping.

Using House Batteries for Extra Heating

RV owners often battle the cold. House batteries are a great solution.

Here’s a 5-step guide:

  1. Buy an inverter to convert DC to AC.
  2. Get a heater that uses AC power.
  3. Check the wattage and make sure your batteries can handle it.
  4. Connect the inverter, battery, and heater following manufacturer instructions.
  5. Turn on the heater and enjoy extra warmth.

To avoid inconvenient power outages, keep an eye on battery life and recharge regularly.

My friend and his family braved chilly autumn weather in their RV. They had the perfect solution, house batteries for extra warmth. Despite the cold, they stayed cozy inside and it was a total lifesaver.

For those who prefer hot, cold, or just right, these temperature-regulating options will make their hybrid RV feel more like home.

Climate Control and Temperature Regulation

To regulate the temperature in your RV, you need to understand the different climate control options available. In order to do this, I suggest exploring two sub-sections: the thermostat and blower fan, and HVAC systems and vents. 

Each has its unique approach, and you can choose the one that works best for you based on your preferences and needs.

Thermostat and Blower Fan

Thermostat and blower fan are key parts of climate control systems. The thermostat turns on or off the heating or cooling system to regulate the temperature. The blower fan helps spread air evenly across the room.

Modern thermostats have programmable features. This allows users to set different temperatures for different times. This results in improved energy efficiency.

Don’t let your home’s climate control fall behind. Upgrade to a modern thermostat and blower fan for better comfort and energy savings. Act now. Don’t settle for stale air when you can have clean, fresh air with a functioning HVAC system.

HVAC Systems and Vents

Time to get to the bottom of HVAC systems and vents. They provide us with the comfort and air quality we need. 

Let’s learn more about them.

HVAC SystemsVents
DefinitionRegulates heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in a building.Airflow opening through ducts or ventilation system.
FeaturesLowers power bills.Creates better air quality for higher productivity.Keeps the desired temperature.Redirects air as needed.Comes in the ceiling, floor, and wall types.May contain filters for cleaner air.
BenefitsHealthy air circulation.Prevents moisture build-up.Healthy air circulation.Prevents moisture build up.

HVAC systems are not just for homes, they’re used in commercial buildings too. And vents come in different types for different locations. Wall vents are sturdy, while floor vents need easy cleaning.

Don’t take your HVAC systems and vents for granted. Regular maintenance can save you time and money, and keep your home safe from health risks due to poor air quality. Schedule an appointment today and enjoy the fresh air.


RV furnaces can run on both propane and electricity. Propane heaters are the most common fuel source, but electric RV furnaces and space heaters offer an alternate option. Electric RV furnaces use wattage to produce heat, while propane furnaces use BTU rating. Heat pumps and heat strips in AC units are extra heating options. Propane tanks must be monitored for hours used. For those relying only on battery power, ceramic heaters or electric wall heaters with a blower fan help conserve energy. To be efficient, close vents and windows to conserve heat and prevent drafts. With many options available, finding the right fit can ensure a cozy stay.