RV heat

RV Heating Systems : What Are the Different Options?

Having an effective heating system in an RV is critical, especially when temperatures start dropping towards sub-zero. Here are the different options out there in terms of RV heating systems.

Life in a camper is all about adventure, but that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice comfort in the pursuit of location freedom. With the right knowledge and preparation, your campervan can feel like a home from home, with a warm shower, a comfortable bed and even Wi-Fi connectivity.

Several RVs at Indie Campers are equipped with integrated RV heating systems, alternatively, you can rent an RV and include a portable fan heater with your booking, perfect for exploring Europe throughout the chilly winter months.

Travel in style with blown air parking heaters

Some factory-fitted RVs like those produced from large-scale motorhome manufacturers might be equipped with a built-in parking heater. Parking heaters, otherwise known as “blown-air” or “auxiliary” heaters, can be powered by diesel, electric or gas.

The design of diesel-powered heaters varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the general premise is more or less the same—air is warmed up to a specified temperature, then pumped through the campervan’s living compartment via a series of tubes and vents.

The perks of these systems are that they heat a space evenly with dry heat, which reduces condensation—an issue frequently encountered when heating small spaces like those found in RVs. They’re also efficient, drawing low power from the vehicle’s leisure battery and consuming diesel from the main fuel tank via an auxiliary fuel line. Diesel is a bountiful resource for most RVs, so it’s a good solution for those camping in remote locations.

Combi heaters work similarly, fuelled either by electricity or gas, to heat both your water and the interior of your camper. Some Indie Campers models, including the Nomad, Atlas and some California models, feature an integrated heating system for maximum comfort in colder climates.

Maintaining a blown-air heating system

Once a blown air heating system has been installed, there’s very little for you to take care of. An annual system service is recommended to keep the unit working optimally, but this process involves tasks that fall outside the standard skillset of a typical traveller. It’s best to have your system serviced by a registered auto-electrician, or contact the manufacturer of your unit directly.

RV heat

If your system is powered by gas or electricity, make sure to keep an eye on your gas tank and battery level, respectively. If your cooking stove draws from the same gas tank as your heating system, an empty tank could result in a cold evening meal—not a pleasant prospect if you’re camping in chilly conditions!

Blown-air systems allow warm air to enter your RV via a series of vents. Identify these early on and make sure not to block them by placing anything over the vents, doing so will cause your unit to overheat and switch off. 

Alternatives to blown air heating systems

Whenever you turn on the heat inside the RV with portable devices, always make sure that a window is left open to allow oxygen to flow freely into the vehicle. Some heaters cause carbon monoxide levels to build up inside the RV, which can be dangerous.

Oil-filled radiators

Oil-filled radiators are extremely safe to use, as they don’t blow hot air directly into your camper. These heaters are plugged directly into your main power outlets and can draw a significant amount of power, so you’ll need to have your engine running or be hooked up to mains before turning it on.

Oil-filled radiators can take some time to heat your RV, but the heat they do produce is dry and doesn’t cause much condensation. The major issue with oil-filled radiators is that they’re not very compact and can weigh a lot, making them impractical for moving around your camper.

Halogen heaters

Halogen heaters create heat through the halogen light bulb that emits infrared radiation—they’re the ones that glow that cosy orange colour when you turn them on. The orange glow is great for creating a warm ambience, but they aren’t particularly effective at heating large spaces. 

Halogen heaters do consume lower amounts of electricity than other portable heaters. You’ll still need to ensure that your engine is running, or you’re connected to mains electricity so that you don’t run down your battery.

Fan heaters

Fan heaters heat your RV quickly, blowing hot air through a built-in fan. The speed at which fan heaters can heat a small space makes them ideal for restoring your body temperature after a brisk winter stroll.

A portable fan heater, connected to a 220V plug, can be added to any Indie Camper van rental. These small fan heaters do a fantastic job at heating your RV during the cooler months.

Fan heater rv

Europe is full of stunning winter destinations that become even more magical as the temperatures drop, all you need is a way of keeping cosy once you return to your RV.

About the Autor

Marie Ducharne