How to Make an RV Furnace More Efficient

How to Make an RV Furnace More Efficient

Almost every RV comes with a built-in furnace to warm up the interior on your trips through colder climates. The most common RV furnaces run on propane gas. An inefficient furnace can quickly burn through your propane, adding to your expenses or even leaving you shivering in the cold in the middle of nowhere! Neither of those options are very attractive, so you might be wondering how you can make your RV furnace more efficient. Luckily, by investing a little in some relatively simple upgrades for your RV, you can stop blasting your furnace constantly to stay warm.

Method 1 of 3:
Improving Your RV’s Insulation

1
Plug up any air leaks around windows and doors. Inspect the seals and weather stripping around all your RV’s windows and doors for damage and feel around them with your hands for cold drafts. Replace damaged or missing seals or plug up leaky spots with silicone rubber stripping or spray foam. [1] X Research source This will keep warm air from escaping out through cracks around your doors and windows and stop cold drafts from sneaking in. If you notice a draft while you’re on the road, you can use something like painter’s tape or any other type of tape you have handy to cover up leaky spots temporarily until you can make a more permanent fix.
2
Cover your RV’s windows with reflective insulation. Purchase a roll of reflective insulation and cut pieces to fit into all your RV’s windows. Push the insulation against the glass in window nooks or stick it to any flat windows using painter’s tape or adhesive Velcro strips. [2] X Research source This will trap more warm air from your furnace inside your RV, instead of letting it escape out through the window panes. It will also stop areas near windows from feeling colder. Another way to improve your RV’s window insulation is to replace single-pane windows with double-pane glass, if you don’t already have double-pane windows. This is obviously a more expensive option, but it can go a long way towards improving your furnace’s efficiency.
3
Place styrofoam or commercial vent insulators over your RV’s roof vents. Purchase a commercial vent insulator or cut a chunk of styrofoam to fit in your roof vents. Push the material up into the vent to stop warm air from escaping out through it. [3] X Research source Commercial vent insulators are basically just pre-cut foam squares with reflective insulation on them that are specially designed to insulate your roof vents. In a pinch, you can shove pillows up into your RV’s roof vents to insulate them.
4
Hang quilted or fleece curtains over windows and doors for more insulation. Purchase or make curtains out of quilted fabric or polar fleece that completely cover all your windows and doors. Hang them up instead of regular curtains made out of thin fabrics to keep even more warm air inside your RV. [4] X Research source To seal the curtains over your windows and door, you can put Velcro strips along their edges and around the edges of the windows and doors. Just press the curtains into place whenever you close them so no air can get around them.
Advertisement

Method 2 of 3:
Adding Alternative Heat Sources

1
Purchase a box-style electric heater for your RV for a cheap heat source. Box-style electric space heaters are very affordable and efficient. Buy one and plug it in inside your RV to heat up the space without using the built-in furnace. [5] X Research source You can buy many models of this type of electric heater online for well under $50 USD. You could get multiple smaller box-style heaters and position them in different spots around your RV to get it nice and toasty all over. This type of heater uses a ceramic heating element and a fan to provide heat.
2
Buy an electric radiant heater for a quiet, concentrated, portable heat source. Electric radiant heaters are small and portable like box-style heaters, but they are quieter and provide more focused radiant heat. Purchase one of these heaters and put it in your RV wherever you’re hanging out to warm that area up and avoid using the furnace as much. [6] X Research source These types of heaters are also known as infrared heaters. They have a heating element that glows red when hot and emits infrared heat. You can find a radiant electric heater online for around $100 USD on average.
3
Install an in-wall electric heater as a furnace alternative if you have the budget. This is a more expensive option, but it is a good permanent source of heat that doesn’t really take up any space. Purchase a wall heater unit and get it installed professionally in your RV’s walls by an RV mechanic. [7] X Research source You can even potentially install multiple vents for an in-wall heating system to heat your whole RV and stop using your propane furnace altogether, as long as you have electricity. These in-wall units go for more than $100 USD, plus you’ll have installation costs to consider.
Advertisement

Method 3 of 3:
Optimizing Your Heat Use

1
Set your RV’s furnace to 52–54 °F (11–12 °C) at night. Rely on your blankets and layers of clothing to keep you warm at night instead of your furnace. Lower your thermostat to this temperature range before you go to bed, so it will only turn on occasionally when it gets really cold during the night. [8] X Research source If you still feel cold at night when your RV’s furnace is set this low, you can use an electric heating blanket to keep you warm.
2
Pull in any RV slideouts that you aren’t using at night. Cozy RV slideouts that you use during the day, like additional living and dining area space, to reduce the amount of space you have to heat at night. This will help keep you nice and cozy, and you can open them right back up again in the morning! [9] X Research source Don’t worry about closing a bedroom slideout at night, since you probably want the extra space to move around in there. Just close any slideout spaces you know you won’t need until the next day.
3
Park in spots with direct sunlight on cold weather days. Look for camping spots or RV parking spots that receive a lot of direct sunlight during the day. This will help warm up the inside of your RV, even when outdoor temperatures are cold. [10] X Research source For example, if you’re looking for a spot in a campground, pick an open area rather than one surrounded by a lot of trees that shade it.
Advertisement

Method 1 of 3:
Improving Your RV’s Insulation

1
Plug up any air leaks around windows and doors. Inspect the seals and weather stripping around all your RV’s windows and doors for damage and feel around them with your hands for cold drafts. Replace damaged or missing seals or plug up leaky spots with silicone rubber stripping or spray foam. [1] X Research source This will keep warm air from escaping out through cracks around your doors and windows and stop cold drafts from sneaking in. If you notice a draft while you’re on the road, you can use something like painter’s tape or any other type of tape you have handy to cover up leaky spots temporarily until you can make a more permanent fix.
2
Cover your RV’s windows with reflective insulation. Purchase a roll of reflective insulation and cut pieces to fit into all your RV’s windows. Push the insulation against the glass in window nooks or stick it to any flat windows using painter’s tape or adhesive Velcro strips. [2] X Research source This will trap more warm air from your furnace inside your RV, instead of letting it escape out through the window panes. It will also stop areas near windows from feeling colder. Another way to improve your RV’s window insulation is to replace single-pane windows with double-pane glass, if you don’t already have double-pane windows. This is obviously a more expensive option, but it can go a long way towards improving your furnace’s efficiency.
3
Place styrofoam or commercial vent insulators over your RV’s roof vents. Purchase a commercial vent insulator or cut a chunk of styrofoam to fit in your roof vents. Push the material up into the vent to stop warm air from escaping out through it. [3] X Research source Commercial vent insulators are basically just pre-cut foam squares with reflective insulation on them that are specially designed to insulate your roof vents. In a pinch, you can shove pillows up into your RV’s roof vents to insulate them.
4
Hang quilted or fleece curtains over windows and doors for more insulation. Purchase or make curtains out of quilted fabric or polar fleece that completely cover all your windows and doors. Hang them up instead of regular curtains made out of thin fabrics to keep even more warm air inside your RV. [4] X Research source To seal the curtains over your windows and door, you can put Velcro strips along their edges and around the edges of the windows and doors. Just press the curtains into place whenever you close them so no air can get around them.
Advertisement

Method 2 of 3:
Adding Alternative Heat Sources

1
Purchase a box-style electric heater for your RV for a cheap heat source. Box-style electric space heaters are very affordable and efficient. Buy one and plug it in inside your RV to heat up the space without using the built-in furnace. [5] X Research source You can buy many models of this type of electric heater online for well under $50 USD. You could get multiple smaller box-style heaters and position them in different spots around your RV to get it nice and toasty all over. This type of heater uses a ceramic heating element and a fan to provide heat.
2
Buy an electric radiant heater for a quiet, concentrated, portable heat source. Electric radiant heaters are small and portable like box-style heaters, but they are quieter and provide more focused radiant heat. Purchase one of these heaters and put it in your RV wherever you’re hanging out to warm that area up and avoid using the furnace as much. [6] X Research source These types of heaters are also known as infrared heaters. They have a heating element that glows red when hot and emits infrared heat. You can find a radiant electric heater online for around $100 USD on average.
3
Install an in-wall electric heater as a furnace alternative if you have the budget. This is a more expensive option, but it is a good permanent source of heat that doesn’t really take up any space. Purchase a wall heater unit and get it installed professionally in your RV’s walls by an RV mechanic. [7] X Research source You can even potentially install multiple vents for an in-wall heating system to heat your whole RV and stop using your propane furnace altogether, as long as you have electricity. These in-wall units go for more than $100 USD, plus you’ll have installation costs to consider.
Advertisement

Method 3 of 3:
Optimizing Your Heat Use

1
Set your RV’s furnace to 52–54 °F (11–12 °C) at night. Rely on your blankets and layers of clothing to keep you warm at night instead of your furnace. Lower your thermostat to this temperature range before you go to bed, so it will only turn on occasionally when it gets really cold during the night. [8] X Research source If you still feel cold at night when your RV’s furnace is set this low, you can use an electric heating blanket to keep you warm.
2
Pull in any RV slideouts that you aren’t using at night. Cozy RV slideouts that you use during the day, like additional living and dining area space, to reduce the amount of space you have to heat at night. This will help keep you nice and cozy, and you can open them right back up again in the morning! [9] X Research source Don’t worry about closing a bedroom slideout at night, since you probably want the extra space to move around in there. Just close any slideout spaces you know you won’t need until the next day.
3
Park in spots with direct sunlight on cold weather days. Look for camping spots or RV parking spots that receive a lot of direct sunlight during the day. This will help warm up the inside of your RV, even when outdoor temperatures are cold. [10] X Research source For example, if you’re looking for a spot in a campground, pick an open area rather than one surrounded by a lot of trees that shade it.
Advertisement