RV heating is a matter of comfort when you’re riding out in winter. Here’s how to find out if an RV has what it takes to fight the cold.
by Harold Ogden, Jr.
NOT EVERYBODY HEADS SOUTH FOR WINTER. And if you’ve spent the night in an RV when the temperature drops, you know how important RV heating is. You also probably know how hard it is to sleep when the water heater suddenly turns on, like some cruel Soviet sleep deprivation method. It may be loud, but an RV heating system is vital in the winter months. So if you’re renting an RV in the wintry realms or looking to land a new model, here’s how to ensure it has a heating system that’s simply better and more reliable.
Assess Your RV Heating Needs
Let’s start this off with a question: How important is hot water to you? Even if you’re going off the grid for some primitive camping, a hot shower in your RV might be the one luxury you don’t want to live without. When assessing your needs, let comfort be your guide. Your comfort level should be the same whether you’re boondocking or not. Once you’re clear on what you need (water heater, warm air heater—I think you’ll want both), you can work backward toward more functional questions like: Do I prefer using propane, electric, or diesel to power my heat? Your answers will give you a better idea of the kind of RV heating systems your all-weather RV should have.
Warm Up on RV Heating Tech Specs
For an RV heating system to achieve maximum efficiency, it needs to be installed specifically for an RV model. (More on this in the second.) But by familiarizing yourself with the capabilities of different heating systems—and how they answer your needs—you’ll get a better picture of an RV’s all-weather capability. Using Truma’s premium products as an example, let’s review some RV heating systems you might find on the spec sheet of a potential purchase. (In some cases, you’ll even see these complimentary systems sold together in an efficiency package.)
Get a Warm Fuzzy About Quality
If you want to make it easy on yourself (you do), ask about an RV’s weather certification. Gold and Silver certifications mean Truma has partnered with the manufacturer to test the heating system in the same RV—using thermal imaging in a climate chamber to identify cold spots and customize installs to amplify the RV’s heating circuit. This means the RV can go from freezing to room temperature in four hours or less. So if you’re looking for heating that is simply better, the Truma sticker is really the place to start. Because comfort should be constant in your RV, no matter what the weather looks like.
INSTANT WATER HEATER
HOT TAKE: Instant water heaters ensure you can take a hot shower around the clock. With the AquaGo, if you have water and propane, you have hot water that’s instant, constant, and endless. Hybrid technology keeps temps constant, and decalcification maintains performance. Easy to winterize.
Heated By: Propane
HOT TAKE: Gas furnaces heat your space, but most are loud and zap the moisture out of the air. Not so with the VarioHeat. This luxury furnace is near-silent, automatic to keep temperatures steady, has a three-stage burner system, and offers an efficiency of up to 90 percent.
Heated By: Propane
HOT TAKE: Combination heaters like the Combi are a furnace and water heater in one appliance saving you space. The Combi comfort plus provides hot water in a very short time. Warm air is optimized with four air outlets and operates almost silently with very low power consumption.
Heated By: Gas, electric, or mixed mode