How Does An RV Furnace Work? Principle, Efficiency, Benefit


Rima Chatterjee

RV Furnace


RV furnace, or RV heater, is a must-have for winter camping. It runs on propane and battery power to generate heat. An electric signal is sent to ignite the pilot light in the combustion chamber. Fuel is then released and mixed with air, setting alight with the ignitor. A blower fan starts up and pushes air through the return vents and into the combustion chamber. The heated air then moves through another vent into the RV. You can adjust the temperature as needed.

To keep you safe, RV furnaces have two safety switches. The sail switch checks for airflow, and the second safety switch shuts off the unit if there’s no venting exhaust. To make the furnace work more efficiently, do regular maintenance checks. Installing a propane detector is a great safety measure. Also, understand how much propane your heaters use. Buy an appropriately sized heater with enough BTU rating to limit fuel usage. If you have access to shore power, use an AC-powered unit to save ampere hours and reduce carbon emissions.

How Does An RV Furnace Work

Components of an RV Furnace


To learn about the basic components of an RV furnace, check out this section with a focus on propane usage and RV furnaces, electrical signal and how it works, and how shore power can help. It’s important to know how each of these sub-sections affects your RV heating system, so you can avoid issues and keep warm and safe on your travels.

Propane Usage and RV Furnaces

Propane is a must for RV furnace functioning. With an efficient system, you can enjoy cozy warmth in cold nights. Let’s discuss the components and propane usage of an RV furnace.

ComponentDescription
ThermostatSends signals to the furnace to regulate RV temperature.
Burner assemblyCombusts propane gas and air to generate heat.
Vent systemExhaust gases out of the RV through a chimney or sidewall vent.

Also, make sure you have enough airflow to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Regular maintenance and inspections are essential for a working furnace.

Did you know RV furnaces date back to the 1930s? They were designed for mobile homes to provide heating without electricity. Later, they became a hit among road trip lovers who wanted camping comfort.

Get ready to explore the fascinating world of RV furnace electrical signals!

Electrical Signal – How it Works

RV furnaces require an electrical signal to control their operation. This voltage sends a signal to the thermostat when the set temperature is exceeded. This triggers the furnace’s ignition process, initiating the blower motor to pull air in. Gas valves open, allowing propane to flow and create flames. These flames heat up the heat exchanger, distributing warm air around your RV.

For safety, RV furnaces have safety controls like flame sensors and limit switches. It is essential to keep up with RV furnace maintenance for safety. Cleaning components such as burners and nozzle assemblies annually is recommended. For added safety, use shore power to ‘plug in’ your RV for electricity.

Shore Power – How it Helps

Shore power is vital when it comes to RVs. It provides electricity when you’re at a campsite or elsewhere, so you can run appliances and charge batteries without needing a generator.

No worries about energy running out, and you can use high-power devices like ACs & heaters without draining onboard systems.

Plus, it extends battery life, saving money and reducing fuel consumption & emissions.

You’ll need the right connection cords & adapters for shore power. Campsites may have 30- or 50-amp services – adapters let you access power no matter where you park.

Equip yourself with the gear, and take advantage of this reliable energy source! Your RV will thank you!

Heat Generation in RV Furnace


How Does An RV Furnace Work

To understand how your RV furnace works and the mechanism for heat generation, let me walk you through the section on Heat Generation in RV furnaces. In this section with sub-sections on Combustion Chamber, Pilot Light, Gas Valve and Ignitor, you will learn about the specific components that are involved in generating heat in your RV, enabling you to maintain a comfortable temperature in your vehicle during cold weather conditions.

Combustion Chamber

The combustion chamber is an essential part of an RV furnace. It allows fuel to be burned and heat to be produced. It’s made to ensure complete burning and good ventilation. Let’s check out the various pieces that make up the combustion chamber with exact info.

  1. Component: Burner Assembly
  2. Description: Delivers propane or natural gas and ignites it for combustion.Component: Flame Sensor
  3. Description: Detects the flame to ensure continuous heat and safety. Component: Furnace Control Board

Description: Controls the gas flow to keep the optimal temperature and prevent overheating.

Plus, all parts of this system follow strict quality standards. Fun fact: Did you know improper maintenance and damaged parts can cause gas leaks in your RV furnace? Check it! Pilot lights may be small, but they’re important for your RV furnace – without them, your camping trip would be cold.

Pilot Light

The pilot light is a must for an RV furnace to run properly. It starts the combustion process and creates heat. When you need the furnace, the pilot light stays lit.

For safety, follow the manufacturer’s instructions when lighting the pilot light. Don’t forget to check the gas supply first.

The pilot light can get dirty or worn out over time, making the flame weak or preventing ignition. Regular maintenance is key.

Someone learned this the hard way on a cold winter night in Canada. Their RV furnace wouldn’t start – the dirty, corroded pilot light was causing issues with the ignition system. They were stuck freezing until help came!

Always remember to turn off the furnace before trying any science experiments. You’ll need a gas valve and ignitor, not a match!

Gas Valve and Ignitor

Gas Valves and Ignitors in RV furnaces are vital for transforming fuel into heat. Issues with these components can cause the furnace to become less efficient or even stop working. The Gas Valve regulates gas flow, controls gas pressure, and prevents gas leaks, while the Ignitor generates sparks, activates propane, and guarantees ignition.

It’s important to keep these parts in good condition. Regular maintenance is key to their longevity and performance. Have a certified technician check them periodically.

For the best performance, invest in high-quality replacement parts from reliable brands like Suburban or Atwood. They’ll guarantee reliable ignition and sustained heat. Furthermore, keep the area around the furnace clean to avoid dust and debris buildup, which can affect the efficiency of all heating components.

Regular inspections, quality parts, and proper upkeep can help you stay warm during winter travels while saving time and money. Why hire a personal trainer when you have a blower fan to whip you into shape?

Blower Fan – How it Works


To understand how the blower fan works in your RV furnace system, let me explain two key sub-sections associated with it – Blower Motor Kick and Return Air, Sail Switch and Limit Switch. The blower fan plays a significant role in heating up your RV during cold weather. Understanding these sub-sections will help you troubleshoot any issues and keep your heating system running smoothly.

Blower Motor Kick and Return Air

When it comes to a blower fan, the motor kick and return air are key. Motor kick is the start. The motor turns on, spinning fan blades and creating an airflow that pulls return air into the system.

Let’s check out the details of blower motor kick and return air in a table:

Blower Motor Kick and Return Air
Motor Kick Time0.5 seconds
Return Air Rate700 CFM
Blower Wheel Diameter (inches)12
Maximum RPM (revolutions per minute)1750

Half a second is all it takes for the fan to get up and running. It has an impressive return air rate of 700 cubic feet per minute. This is thanks to the 12-inch blower wheel diameter spinning at 1750 revolutions per minute.

These figures may change depending on factors like blower design and application needs.

For example, HVAC technicians had to replace a failed motor in a commercial building. Dust had accumulated on the motor’s fins and caused it to overheat. Upon replacing the unit, they heard the powerful motor kick and felt an immediate improvement in building airflow.

Sail Switch and Limit Switch

Check out these two important switches for your blower fan! The sail switch is located near the blower housing. It detects air pressure and ensures proper air circulation. The limit switch is near the motor or in the control panel. It prevents the motor from getting too hot by automatically shutting it off.

Make sure these switches are installed and maintained properly to avoid any malfunctions. Plus, don’t forget about the thermostat. It’s like the bouncer for your HVAC system, deciding who gets in and who gets kicked out.

Thermostat – How it Works


To set the perfect temperature and level switch for your RV furnace, it’s important to understand how the thermostat works. In this section, we’ll discuss the mechanics of the thermostat and how it regulates the temperature. We’ll also cover sub-sections such as setting the temperature and AC speed, and the hour and level switch. By learning these details, you’ll be able to comfortably enjoy your RV heating system during the cold winter months.

Setting the Temperature and AC Speed

Setting the temperature and AC speed is a must for efficient and comfortable cooling. Here are some simple steps to follow:

  1. Locate the thermostat and turn it on. Set it to ‘cooling’ mode. Adjust the thermostat’s dial or keypad to your desired temperature. Most thermostats let you set temperatures between 60°F and 80°F.
  2. Change the fan speed to suit your needs. For quick cooling, select ‘high’. For a milder environment, choose ‘low’ speed.

Wait for fifteen minutes to see if it matches your comfort level. If so, do regular maintenance of your air conditioner.

It’s important to note that not following these steps correctly can be uncomfortable or damaging to appliances. This can lead to unnecessary expenses or even worse. So, make sure to observe each step to avoid costly repairs and breakdowns.

Hour and Level Switch

The Hour and Level Switch is essential for many electronic devices. This switch controls when certain functions turn on or off, e.g. at a certain time or when specific levels are reached.

See the table below for factors that determine how the switch works:

FactorDefinition
HourTime of Day
LevelIntensity/Consumption rate
ControlOn/Off
Set PointReference value

The set point is crucial for the switch to work correctly. Without it, the device can’t identify when to activate or deactivate. It also guarantees accuracy in controlling both time and intensity.

To save energy, remember to set the right values for Hour and Level. Standby mode is more efficient than turning off completely.

To sum up, using this switch properly ensures optimal performance while saving power.

Vent and Exhaust System


To ensure the efficient functioning of your RV furnace, it’s crucial to have an understanding of the Vent and Exhaust System. The system comprises of two crucial elements – the Air Intake and Exhaust Vents, and the Carbon Monoxide and Propane Detector. These components are designed to work together to facilitate proper air circulation, direct exhaust, and safeguard against gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning. In this section, we will explore the significance of these sub-sections and the role they play for keeping your RV furnace working safely and smoothly.

Air Intake and Exhaust Vents

Introducing airflow is essential for proper ventilation. It’s all about controlling and managing indoor air quality. Here’s what you need to know:

TypeLocationFunction
Fresh Air IntakesOutside walls & roofsIntroduce fresh air
Return Air IntakesNear floor on interior wallsDraw in stale air for reconditioning
Exhaust VentsRoof/Attic area & Exterior walls near ground levelEject indoor air from the building

Fans move air in and out of homes, businesses, and other applications. Materials used include plastics, steel, aluminum, and rubber seals that regulate pressure.

Improper vent configuration can hinder heating or cooling. Recently, I visited a relative’s house and their HVAC wasn’t working. We noticed an obstruction on one duct connected to an exhaust vent. After resolving it, the HVAC worked better. Proper installation and maintenance is key for ventilation systems. Make sure your carbon monoxide and propane detector is working – you don’t want your last words to be ‘I smell gas.’

Carbon Monoxide and Propane Detector

It’s essential to have the perfect dual-sensor alarm for protection from carbon dioxide and propane leaks. Carbon Monoxide and Propane Detectors must be tested frequently. Check them every few months for low battery life or damage. Press their test buttons to test their sensitivity. Keep your RV furnace in top condition for a cozy road-trip – it’s like a mobile igloo with wheels!

Using RV Furnace – Tips and Maintenance


To make sure your RV furnace works effectively over time, you must take care of it and get it serviced regularly. This section is all about using RV furnace – tips and maintenance with a focus on regular maintenance and cold weather. You’ll also find valuable information on how to deal with propane tank and propane leak, as well as tips on how to eliminate pet hair and dusty smells from your RV.

Regular Maintenance and Cold Weather

Keep your RV furnace in check during cold weather. Change air filters often to avoid clogs or damage. Check the thermostat’s calibration and wiring, and make sure they’re connected. Lubricate the fan motor and bearings once a year for optimal performance. Scan the gas lines, pressure regulator, and burners for leaks and rust. Always use a qualified technician for repairs.

Pro Tip: Invest in a self-diagnostic furnace to detect problems before they become serious.

And remember: A propane leak in an RV is just nature’s way of telling you to get a new air freshener!

Propane Tank and Propane Leak

Propane is a must-have for RV furnaces to stay warm in chilly weather. But, a propane leak can cause major problems, if not taken care of. Check the propane tank’s valves for corrosion and leakage, and make sure they’re closed when not in use. Additionally, don’t store flammable items near the tank.

Safety is key, so fit a carbon monoxide detector and check it before every trip. This combination of measures will ensure a pleasant camping experience.

Pro Tip: If you smell gas inside your RV, don’t turn on any lights or appliances. Immediately switch off the main propane supply. Just when you thought you were safe, your RV furnace turns it into a joke.

Pet Hair and Dusty Smell

Maintaining a clean RV is essential for an enjoyable trip. Pet hair and dusty smells can really ruin the experience. But, don’t worry, here are some tips to help.

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean floors, rugs and upholstery often to reduce pet hair and dust.
  • Air Quality: Use air filters to capture particles that cause odours and allergies. Keep them in good condition to avoid respiratory issues.
  • Storage: Store items properly to prevent dust buildup. Vacuum-sealed bags are great for storing clothes and bedding.

Remember to take care of minor details too, like RV furnace maintenance. Humidity buildup can cause musty smells, and if left untreated, can lead to dangerous mold formation.

Make sure ventilation systems are cleaned regularly, and use high-quality filters. Also, watch out for humidity levels inside your RV – too much moisture from condensation is bad news.

So, now that you know the importance of maintaining a clean RV, let’s implement these tips on our next trip – Happy Camping! Sorry electric space heaters, but hydronic heating is the coolest!

Alternative Heating Systems – Hydronic Heating and Electric Space Heaters


To help you choose an alternative heating system for your RV, let’s examine hydronic heating systems and electric space heaters. When it comes to hydronic heating systems, the BTU rating and size of furnaces are important factors to consider. On the other hand, electric space heaters depend on both gas and electricity supply, like ampere hours and battery, to function properly. Let’s have a detailed look at these two sub-sections and pick the ideal option that best suits your needs.

BTU Rating and Size of Furnaces

BTU rating and furnace size are key when selecting an alternate heating system. To discover the right system for your home, you should take into account the square footage of the area to heat, the insulation in your walls, and the local climate conditions.

Here’s a table with common BTU ratings and related furnace sizes:

BTU RatingFurnace Size
40,0001.5 tons
60,0002 tons
80,0002.5 tons
100,0003 tons

It’s essential to remember these numbers are just general guidelines and may differ based on individual circumstances. Consulting a professional installer or contractor can help identify the ideal furnace size for your situation.

When considering an alternate heating system, be aware that hydronic heating often has a larger initial expense due to installation costs. However, it could lead to considerable savings in the long run through lower monthly energy bills.

My friend recently changed to hydronic heating and noticed their monthly energy bill decreased by half during winter months. It might be worth considering if you’re searching for a sustainable and efficient alternative heating option.

Gas and Electricity Supply – Ampere Hours and Battery

Gas and electricity supply is vital when you’re thinking of alternative heating systems. To make an informed decision, you need to know the ampere hours and battery capacity of your system.

Here’s a table with the required data for gas and electricity supply:

SystemAmpere HoursBattery Capacity
Hydronic5-50Not Applicable
Electric Space HeaterUp to 6Up to 8

It depends on the size of your house or room. For unique details, contact a certified professional.

Recently, a friend had expensive energy bills due to incorrect wiring of their electric space heaters. It showed that it’s important to get professionals to install and make sure everything is working properly.

Don’t wait until you’re freezing to death. Invest in a hydronic heating or electric space heater!

Conclusion


Mastering an RV furnace’s workings can ensure a comfortable time on the road. Propane runs from a tank to the furnace, and batteries and electrical signals also feature in the heating process. A shore power connection is not always needed. Safety switches, vents and fans are vital too.

The furnace has several parts: circuit board, gas valve, blower motor, igniter and limit switch. When the desired temperature is set on the control panel or thermostat, these parts work together. Air enters the combustion chamber via an air intake assembly. It mixes with propane and is ignited by a pilot light or electronic ignition.

Hot air blows from the heat exchanger through several RV vents. The blower fan distributes it throughout the RV. Knowing how much propane is needed per hour helps keep warm and conserve the tank. Regular maintenance prevents dusty smells and pet hair buildup.

Pro Tip: Ensure sufficient propane is available. If camping at a free site where access is limited, electric space heaters can be used instead for warmer nights.

About the author

Debarghya Roy: A heating systems author, Passionate about energy efficiency and sustainability, Sharing insights and empowering readers through informative blog articles.