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Heating your Caravan, Trailer, Fifth Wheeler, Campervan or Motorhome 

People like to travel in their RV all year round now and it can get very cold at night at any time of the yearSo, letís look at some ways to heat your RV and stay warm wherever you are.


Safety Precautions: To reduce the likelihood of a source of ignition for a fire heating appliances with a naked flame or the likes of a bar heater are best avoided in your RV.  A safe heater should have a safety cut-off feature and make sure the power cord does not pose a trip hazard. Care should always be taken to ensure any electrical items or gas appliances have been serviced, make sure you have a fire blanket, a fire extinguisher and ensure the smoke and carbon dioxide detectors in your RV are working.  See Caravan / RV Fire Safety article

The heating unit you select should be suitable for the size of your RV and you should confirm this with the manufacturer.  Combustion gases such as carbon monoxide, water vapour and nitrogen dioxide from heaters are vented into the air so there should also be adequate ventilation.  For safety reasons, consider the installation of a carbon monoxide detector.  Choose one with a digital display as this will monitor even low levels of carbon monoxide.  Note: Appliances should be shut off when you go to bed.


What are the heating options available?

Most RVís are now insulated and have an option for double glazed windows which provide some buffer against weather conditions.  For best efficiency close the door of the RV, draw the curtains over the windows and maintain a temperature of about 20 - 23 degrees C.

Some RVís may already have existing heating appliances or have an option to upgrade.  For example, the Geist Xklisive range of caravans has an upgrade pack available that includes underfloor heating and Winnebago motorhomes have an option for a diesel furnace heater.

There are several heating options available for your caravan, trailer or motorohome such as reverse cycle air conditioning, electric ceramic heaters and LPG gas or diesel fueled air heaters.


Heat Measure

You will note some heating appliances rate the amount of heat being produced as an equivalent of a BTU or kW.

What is a BTU?

BTU = British Thermal Unit.  A BTU is defined as the quantity of energy necessary to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. 

1 BTU is the equivalent of the heat of a single wooden kitchen match.

What is a kW?

kW stands for kilowatt.  A kW is defined as a unit of electrical power equal to 1,000 watts (or 1.341 horsepower). A kilowatt-hour equal to 1,000 watts of electricity used for 1 hour and it is a common measurement for how electricity is sold. 

1 kW = 1000 watts

1,000 watts = ten 100W light globes

1W = 3.4127 BTU/hr



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