How To Turn On Furnace In Travel Trailer? Important Tips

I’m a frequent traveler and I know how important a reliable RV furnace is when the outside temperature drops. A good RV furnace can make your journey more comfy and enjoyable. But, not all furnaces are created equal. Size, BTU rating, power source, and flow of air all affect their performance.

how to turn on furnace in travel trailer

Most RV furnaces run on propane. Additionally, electricity is used for ignition. To use it efficiently, you’ll need to know how much propane you’ll consume and what power source is needed – such as batteries, shore power, or a generator.

An RV furnace is not the same as a space heater. It has exhaust vents that take gases away from your rig safely. Plus, it’s equipped with a thermostat to control the temperature inside the vehicle.

Once, my Forest River travel trailer’s furnace wouldn’t turn on in the cold. After troubleshooting, I found clogged ducts from pet hair were blocking airflow and causing overheating. So, I cleaned them and reset the sail switch and limit switch. Finally, it was back to producing hot air!

Understanding RV furnace power source and system

RV Furnace Power Sources and Systems Explained

RV furnaces are commonly used for providing heat in travel trailers. These furnaces can be powered by different sources such as propane, electricity, or generators. Propane is usually the primary power source for RV furnaces, and it can be stored in propane tanks. The size of the tank depends on the consumption and how much propane you use over time. In cases where there is no access to shore power, a generator can be used as an alternative source of electricity.

Understanding RV Furnace Power Source and System

To fully grasp the concept of RV furnace power sources and systems, we need to look at various factors that come into play when using RV furnaces. The table below provides detailed information on the various power sources, furnace models, and BTU ratings. Additionally, it provides information on how much propane is required for specific furnace models and how many watts a generator should produce to power an RV furnace.

Power SourceFurnace ModelBTU RatingPropane ConsumptionGenerator Wattage
PropaneModel 120,0001.4lbs per hr2500
ElectricityModel 225,000N/A4000
GeneratorModel 330,0002.2lbs per hr5000

It is important to note that RV furnaces use propane as their primary power source. Therefore, it is essential to check the propane tanks’ level before embarking on any journey. Additionally, it is essential to conduct regular maintenance checks, including ensuring that the pilot light is functioning correctly. To achieve optimal temperature levels, airflow is crucial, and vents should be kept clear of any obstructions, such as pet hair or debris.

  • To get the most out of your RV furnace power source, it is advisable to invest in a good quality converter to help regulate DC power. 
  • Additionally, investing in a space heater is a good backup option, especially for those who travel to very cold regions. 
  • Lastly, it is crucial to learn how to operate the furnace’s control panel or thermostat to avoid any mishaps that could cause damage or compromise safety.

Choosing between propane tanks or shore power for your RV furnace is like deciding between a hotdog or a hamburger both will get the job done, but it’s all about personal preference.

RV furnace power source: propane tanks or shore power

RV furnaces can be powered using either propane tanks or shore power. Let’s explore this topic further and gain a better understanding of how it works.

To show the differences between these two power sources, here’s a table:

Power SourcePropane TanksShore Power
AvailabilityMust be filled periodically, limited supplyUnlimited as long as there is a power connection
CostCheaper in the long term but with upfront cost for tanks and refilling.Usually more expensive due to charging fees from parks or campsites.
Noise LevelLoud when in use due to fan for combustion.Silent while operating.
Maintenance RequiredRefill and inspection are necessary.Testing circuits occasionally is all that’s needed.
Environmental ImpactBurning propane releases carbon emissions.Shore power utilizes clean energy sources, making it better for the environment but lacks mobility.

To sum up, both electricity and fuel can be used as an RV furnace power source; however, they are different in terms of cost, noise level, availability, environmental impact, and maintenance required.

Fun Fact: Did you know the technology behind shore power started in the 19th century? It was made to allow large ships to connect with electrical networks in different harbors worldwide. Pretty cool!

Components of RV furnace system

RV furnaces have components that work together for heating. 

The blower motor, exhaust vent, intake vent, sail switch, limit switch, pilot, spark, thermostat, and control panel all have a key role. Information on the components includes their size and power needs. For example, the blower motor is sized according to the furnace’s capability. Sail switches require propane or natural gas.

RV furnaces have evolved since their beginning eighty years ago. They were first fueled by kerosene or stove oil, located outside the RV. Now, they are small and work using electricity or propane. Plus, electronic ignitions make them more efficient and easier to use.

Turning on the RV furnace is like entering a relationship – you don’t know if it’ll be a warm experience or a cold one.

Turning on the RV furnace

When the temperature drops, one may want to turn on their RV furnace. Here’s how to get it done:

  1. Check the propane tank levels. Make sure there is enough propane to run the furnace.
  2. Switch on the main power source, either by plugging into shore power or turning on the generator.
  3. Set the thermostat to the desired temperature level.
  4. Turn on the RV furnace using the control panel or manual settings.
  5. Wait for the furnace to lightly roar to life and provide heat throughout the RV.

Pro Tip: Regular maintenance of RV furnaces is critical to ensure optimal performance and avoid any potential hazards.

It’s important to note that RV furnaces come in different sizes and BTU ratings, so it’s helpful to know the specific unit’s capabilities. Additionally, proper airflow through the vents and ducts is crucial for efficient heating. One should also be cautious of any potential build-up of gases or pet hair in the system that may cause issues with the pilot or sail switch. By following these steps and taking these precautions, one can enjoy a cozy and warm RV on cold nights.

“I always check my propane and power before turning on the furnace in my RV – because no one wants to freeze in the middle of nowhere.”

Checking the propane tank and electrical power supply

Before turning on an RV furnace, careful checks of both the propane tank and electrical power supply must be done. Consider these:

  • Check the propane tank gauge. Make sure there’s enough fuel for the furnace.
  • Examine all propane connections with soap and water solution to detect any leaks.
  • Plug the RV’s electrical power supply into a shoreline or generator that can supply ample power.
  • Replace any blown fuses or tripped breakers in the electrical system before attempting to use the furnace.
  • Set the thermostat correctly and switch it on to activate the furnace.

When starting up the furnace, it might emit smoke or odor. This should disappear swiftly. Test the furnace by measuring the temperature of the airflow with a thermometer, making sure it reaches the operating temperature within a few minutes.

A colleague of mine was stranded in icy temperatures while camping. Their furnace wasn’t working because the propane levels were too low. They had to ask other campers for help, as they neglected to inspect their tank levels before leaving. This was a valuable lesson to never overlook essential steps when getting ready for RV travel.

Set the thermostat temp to avoid making decisions yourself!

Setting temperature level on the thermostat

Flip the switch and get cozy with your RV furnace! To make sure it works effectively, you must set the temperature correctly. Do this by:

  1. Locating your thermostat
  2. Turning on the power
  3. Setting the mode
  4. Choosing the desired temperature
  5. Waiting for the furnace to start
  6. Keeping an eye on things

Some RV thermostats have extra settings, so read your owner’s manual. Remember other factors like insulation and sealing can help too. Fun fact: RV furnaces were first used in trailers in the 1920’s for winter camping trips!

Turning on the power switch and blower motor

To start the RV furnace, locate the power switch. Usually found on the furnace or thermostat panel, flip the switch to the ON position. Then, turn the blower motor switch to the AUTO or ON position. Adjust your thermostat to the desired temperature.

Ventilate your RV while using the furnace. Service and maintain it regularly for optimal performance and safety. Make sure your propane tank is full. Check for obstructions that could block airflow vents and cause overheating.

Follow these steps and suggestions to turn on and use your RV furnace properly. Enjoy its performance for years to come! But don’t forget to turn off the gas first – it’ll be hotter than your furnace if you do!

Igniting the pilot light or activating the spark ignition

To fire up your RV furnace, you need to first ignite the pilot light or activate spark ignition. Here’s how you do it!

  1. Locate the furnace. Refer to your RV manual if you don’t know its position.
  2. Turn off the LP gas supply. Make sure the propane tank lever is off.
  3. Ignite the pilot light or activate spark ignition. Use a lighter or hold down the trigger.
  4. Wait 30 seconds. Keep holding down the trigger or flame for at least 30 seconds.
  5. Release trigger or switch off. Release the trigger after 30 seconds. Then, switch on your thermostat.

Remember these tips when igniting the pilot light or activating spark ignition:

  • Refer to your RV model’s manual for steps that differ from the ones mentioned above.
  • Wait five minutes if you fail to ignite the flame. Safety first!
  • Check for any leaks in the propane line before lighting.
  • If you’re dealing with an electronic ignition system, make sure your batteries are charged.

For regular maintenance, remove any debris from the burner assembly. Also, check if there’s any dirt clogging up the gas passages.

So what are you waiting for? Get ready to heat up your RV with the fiery passion of a thousand tea lights!

Using alternative heating methods

As RVers, we are always looking for alternative ways to heat up our RVs. Here are some ways to heat your RV without relying on the furnace:

  1. Use a space heater: This is a great alternative to the furnace, and it can be used to heat up a small area. You can use an electric or propane space heater depending on your power source and preference.
  2. Use an electric blanket: This is a great way to stay warm during the night, especially if you’re using a 110v power source.
  3. Use heated blankets or sleeping bags: This is an excellent option for those who love camping during winter. These options will keep you warm and cozy without having to rely on the furnace.
  4. Use your oven: Your oven can be a great source of heat during the winter. Just be sure to keep an eye on the food you’re cooking and always keep the exhaust vent open.
  5. Build a fire outside: If you’re camping in an area where it’s allowed, building a fire outside will help keep you warm.

It’s important to note that when using alternative heating methods, you need to be mindful of the power consumption and heat levels to avoid any accidents or damages to your RV. Additionally, if you’re using a generator, make sure it’s rated for the proper wattage and can handle the load.

It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan and to consult a professional technician if you’re not sure how to use a particular heating method safely.

Lastly, I remember one time we were camping during a particularly icy night, and we ran out of propane for our furnace. We ended up having to sleep in our sleeping bags and use hot water bottles to stay warm. It was definitely a learning curve, but we were safe and cozy inside our rig.

If you’re feeling chilly in your tiny home on wheels, a space heater can make you feel like you’re living in luxury (or at least not in Antarctica).

Space heaters for small RVs or trailers

For small RVs or trailers, efficient and safe heating is a must, particularly in the colder months. Space heaters may be a great solution for these confined living spaces.

  1. Invest in a ceramic space heater, as they are energy-efficient and effective, plus come in a compact size that fits perfectly into small RVs or trailers.
  2. Select a space heater with an automatic shut-off feature if it overheats or falls over. This is essential to prevent fire hazards.
  3. Propane heaters should be avoided as they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Electric or battery-powered heaters are much safer.

Also, make sure the space heater is on a level surface and away from any flammable materials to avoid any accidents. Plus, good insulation for the RV or trailer will help to retain heat and minimize heat loss.

Altogether, safety should be taken into consideration when opting for other heating methods. Stay warm and safe in your small trailer or RV with these tips. Upgrade to hydronic heating and you’ll never have to choose between staying warm and having a functional shower in your RV again.

Hydronic heating systems for larger RVs

Let’s investigate Hydronic heating systems for bigger RVs. These systems spread heat through hot water in pipes, tucked away in the RV walls and floors. This way, the heat is distributed more evenly and the RV remains snug.

Hydronic heating systems for larger RVs can be broken down into four main components:

  1. The boiler, which is the core of the system heats the water.
  2. Pipes, which circulate the heated water around the RV walls and floors.
  3. Radiator, which acts as a heat exchanger to transfer warmth from pipes to air.
  4. A control system, which provides more control like timers or temperature sensors that adjust output according to the temperature.

When compared to other heating methods, Hydronic heating is more efficient and reliable for large recreational vehicles or motorhomes with multiple zones and lots of insulation. But remember, Hydronic systems must be installed by a professional because they need modification of the RV infrastructure (e.g., pump, plumbing). Also, they need regular maintenance to avoid damage and keep them going.

Don’t miss out on ideal heating for your RV trips! Consider Hydronic heating systems for an alternative way to keep your home away from home warm and toasty while traveling long distances in colder months. 

If your RV furnace conks out, try snuggling up to your partner for warmth – or get better insulation.

Tips for maintaining and troubleshooting RV furnace

RV Furnace Maintenance and Troubleshooting Tips

Maintaining and troubleshooting an RV furnace can be a daunting task, but with proper care and attention, it can be a seamless process. Here are some tips to help you keep your RV furnace in top condition:

  1. Regularly clean and inspect the furnace and all its components, including the ducts, exhaust vents, and air intake vents.
  2. Familiarize yourself with your RV furnace manual and understand the location and function of all the controls and switches. Keep a record of any maintenance or repairs.
  3. Check your RV furnace’s batteries, shore power, and propane tanks to ensure it has adequate power and fuel supply.
  4. Test your RV furnace before embarking on a trip to ensure it’s working adequately.

If you notice any issues with your RV furnace, troubleshoot the problem to identify the cause and address it immediately. Here are some common furnace problems to look out for:

  • Low-temperature levels: Check the thermostat and power source.
  • Lack of airflow: Check the blower motor and return air.
  • Pilot light won’t ignite: Check the propane tank and sail switch.
  • The blower motor won’t function: Check the limit switch and voltage supply.

Pro Tip: Regularly check for pet hair and debris build-up, which can clog your RV furnace’s components and affect its consumption and efficiency. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean away debris and keep your furnace in top condition.

“My RV furnace may not be the cleanest, but at least I make sure its air filters and exhaust vents get more attention than my ex’s social media accounts.”

Regularly cleaning air filters and exhaust vents

It’s important to keep your RV furnace in tip-top shape to prevent clogging, reducing airflow, higher fuel consumption, malfunction, and even hazardous conditions. Neglecting maintenance may cause serious issues like carbon monoxide poisoning. Here’s how to regularly clean the air filters and exhaust vents:

  1. Switch off the furnace and unplug the power source.
  2. Take out the air filter from the furnace unit.
  3. Vacuum or wash the filter with soap and water.
  4. Check for any debris in the exhaust vent. Use a vacuum or brush attachment to remove it.
  5. Put back the filter and turn on the furnace to check if it’s working.

Remember to note down when you last cleaned the air filters. Prevention is always better than cure!

And don’t forget to check those ducts for your pet’s fur!

Checking for pet hair or debris in ducts

To keep your RV furnace running smoothly, it is essential to check the ducts for pet hair and debris. Here’s how:

  1. Turn off the furnace and let it cool down.
  2. Locate the air intake and output vents.
  3. Remove any covers or filters and check for pet hair/debris.
  4. Use a flashlight to peek inside the ducts.
  5. Vacuum and clean any obstructions if needed.
  6. Replace the filters and covers.

Don’t forget to check the ducts regularly so you can avoid problems like bad air quality, high energy bills, or even damage to your furnace. Also, investing in more efficient filters specifically designed for RV furnaces could be useful.

Surprisingly, you can find all sorts of things in the ducts, like forgotten toys or dead animals. So, it’s best to be thorough when inspecting for safety and enjoyment.

Monitoring propane consumption and DC power supply

For optimal furnace efficiency, keep an eye on your propane and DC power supply. Always check propane levels before trips and refill as needed. When sleeping or leaving the RV, avoid using propane-powered appliances (except the furnace). 

If your fridge isn’t propane-powered, consider electric cooling. Monitor battery charge level – a low battery can affect furnace performance. To keep the battery charged, you may need a generator or solar panels. Avoid running electronics for long periods without shore power or a generator, as this drains the battery faster.

To ensure furnace longevity, maintain safe propane usage, and monitor DC power levels and usage. Additionally, understand how other appliances affect propane consumption. Replace old batteries regularly to prevent furnace issues and prolong their lifespan.

Understanding common issues and solutions with RV furnaces

RV furnaces are essential for a great camping experience. They provide warmth and comfort during cold nights. But, like any mechanical component, they can have issues that need maintenance and troubleshooting. Here’s a guide to understanding common issues and solutions with RV furnaces.

Sail switch malfunctionCheck the sail switch for dust. Replace if needed.
Temperature control problemsSecure thermostat wires. Replace the thermostat if needed.

RV furnaces run on propane gas. Use proper ventilation and carbon monoxide detectors when operating it. Also, have a professional inspect your furnace each year.

Another thing to keep in mind is battery power levels. Furnaces need 12-volt DC power. Weak or insufficient batteries can cause malfunctions.

A fellow camper encountered a furnace issue while camping in cold weather. The furnace wouldn’t stay lit, despite regular maintenance. It turns out the gas line was clogged with debris. It had to be professionally cleaned. This shows why you should check all components of your RV furnace regularly.

Maintaining and troubleshooting your RV furnace is key for a comfortable camping experience. Follow these tips and address any issues quickly for toasty adventures in the wild! Upgrade your RV furnace accessories and replacement parts for extra warmth, even if it’s not broken.


Amazon and other online retailers for RV furnace products

Online shopping for RV furnace products has never been easier. Amazon and other online retailers offer a wide variety of accessories and replacement parts. Here’s a table of online retailers that have RV furnace-related items:

Online RetailerRange of ProductsDelivery TimePrice
AmazonMany options2-3 daysReasonable
Camping WorldLimited selection, good quality4-5 daysExpensive
eBay MotorsPlenty of options, great pricesVariesCompetitive
etrailer.comSpecializes in RV furnacesSame-day shipping possibleReasonably priced
WalmartGood deals for simple needsVariesCompetitive

When searching for online retailers, consider the price, range of products, and delivery times. Ensure you’re buying from reputable sellers too.

Online shopping has changed the way people buy microwaves and appliances. It gives convenience and better bargains than in-store. With internet access, you can purchase anything with a few clicks. During a pandemic social distancing is necessary and online shopping is perfect for this.

Many consumers have reported high satisfaction levels with their online purchases. It’s especially helpful when it comes to complex furnace repairs in an RV. Don’t Google your symptoms, seek advice from a technician instead.

Seeking advice from RV technicians for complex furnace repairs

Complex furnace repairs need expert RV technicians. Their experience helps diagnose and fix issues. Special tools and training can help identify and solve problems quickly.

Safety is key. Always turn off the gas supply and power source before repairs and wear protective gear.

RV technicians can provide furnace replacement parts. Only high-quality parts that are suitable for your RV make and model. Protect your investment with equipment proven to last.

An example: A family was prepping for a camping trip when their furnace broke. It was beyond their skill level, so they found an RV technician. He diagnosed the issue, had a replacement motor, and charged a fair price – saving them money from DIY repairs.


If you are an RV owner, you understand the importance of having a fully functional and properly maintained furnace system. In this guide, we will provide you with valuable resources and information about RV furnace accessories and replacement parts like Accessories, Replacement Parts, and Brands. If you are new to RV furnaces, we recommend consulting with a certified technician or professional to ensure proper installation and handling of parts and accessories. It is important to remember that each RV furnace system may have unique details. Consulting the owner’s manual and understanding your specific model’s requirements can prevent any potential damage to your RV or the furnace.