Winter Survival Tips for Heating RVs (without Propane)!
Many RV heaters and appliances are powered by propane, but this isn’t always a convenient energy source. You have to refill propane tanks often and the cost can add up quickly. Luckily, if you want to know how to heat an RV without propane, there are many ways to do this.
For those who use their RVs during the colder months of the year, proper heating is especially important. You need to make sure that the interior stays at a comfortable temperature and that your water tanks don’t freeze. Although propane heating works pretty well, there are lots of other ways to solve the heating problem.
Insulate the RV
Before we cover how to heat an RV without propane, let’s talk about insulation! Every RV loses some heat from time to time. No insulation system is perfect, but there are lots of things you can do to keep the heat inside and the cold outside. If you want to save some money on your heating alternatives, insulating your RV is the best place to start.
First of all, focus on the most vulnerable parts of your RV. Windows tend to lose a lot of heat because glass is tough to insulate. You can remove the original windows and replace them with double-paned alternatives. This extra layer of separation helps the window retain some heat.
You also may want to consider covering the windows with heat-absorbing materials. This could include curtains, blankets, or even cardboard. Any type of padding will help the RV to conserve heat.
Doors can also let the heat out. Make sure you check the seal around your doors frequently because any small crack can let in drafts of cold air. Re-caulk the seams around your windows and doors regularly.
Covering vents is also a good idea, especially if you’re not going to be using a propane heating system. Vents are direct openings that can let the heat out and the cold air in. Covering them with custom vent covers, styrofoam, or another type of padding will help you seal in the warmth. Just make sure you remove these covers when it’s time to cook, shower, or turn on your ventilation system.
Use RV skirting
Learning how to heat an RV without propane should include the inside and outside. RV underbellies can freeze if they aren’t properly protected, and this will cause a slew of problems for the occupants.
One way to conserve heat and insulate the underbelly of an RV is to use exterior skirting. This provides a layer of protection for your RV and protects it from undergoing extreme temperature changes.
Skirting can either be bought or made and there are a variety of materials it can be made from. Something is always better than nothing, but if you truly want to conserve heat, these inflatable Airskirts are worth looking into.
Use alternative heaters
Now that we’ve covered insulation, let’s talk about how to heat an RV without propane! There are many ways you can add a new source of heat, but portable space heaters are some of the most popular and most effective options. These are usually good for heating one room at a time. They’re really great for bedrooms and other rooms that have doors you can close.
In terms of total RV heating, these aren’t the best solution, but if you have a small camper, it could be perfect. Buying multiple heaters is a good solution and you can turn them on or off as needed. There are many different types of space heaters, but we’ll cover 3 of the best ones for RVs below.
Electric space heater
These space heaters are a good solution to the “How to heat an RV without propane” problem. All you need for these is an electrical outlet and maybe some batteries. These are usually quite small and portable, so you can easily move them to the areas where they are most needed.
The warmth from these heaters is usually fairly direct, so you need to be careful to avoid placing them near paper or fabric that could catch on fire. They are quite affordable, with most units costing less than $50. Some good options for RV owners include the andily Space Heater Electric Heater and the GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater.
Oil heaters are a bit less common, but they are great options if you want a steady source of heat. These heaters resemble traditional radiators, but they work by heating up the oil inside and distributing the heat in a steady, even way. They tend to be larger and more expensive than electric space heaters, but they also work better for larger RVs.
Because of their indirect heating design, oil heaters also aren’t as much of a fire hazard. The heat is more ambient, so you don’t have to be as careful around them. Touching them while they’re on still isn’t a great idea, but you won’t need to worry as much about flammable materials. If you’re interested in buying an oil heater for your RV, a good product is the PELONIS Oil Filled Radiator Heater.
Radiant heaters are similar to electric space heaters, but they tend to warm up more quickly. These operate by heating themselves up with infrared light. They are quite efficient and can quickly raise the temperature of a small room. Once again, they aren’t well-suited to heating large spaces, but they would be great for bedrooms.
Radiant heaters tend to get quite hot once they’re turned on, so there is a fire hazard. Keep flammable materials at least 3 feet away and never leave the heater unattended. The Homeleader ETL Portable Radiant Heater is a good product for RV owners.
All of the heaters discussed above will help you in your quest to find out how to heat an RV without propane.
Another good way to keep warm in your RV is by focusing on the flooring. There are a couple of ways to do this. First of all, you can insulate the floors by adding carpet, rugs, and foam tiles. These materials are better at conserving heat and will feel warm against bare feet.
If you need to generate a bit of heat, you can also install heated panels in your flooring. This will keep your feet warm, conserve heat for the whole RV, and keep the underside of the RV a bit warmer as well! It’s more expensive to choose this option, but it can be well worth it if you hate stepping onto ice-cold floors each morning.
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.