Heating in a Popup Camper | The Whole Truth
Depending on the weather you are in, you might be wondering, "How does the heating work in a pop-up camper?" Luckily, popup campers have been designed with your comfort in mind. In this article you will find out how the heating system works and what you can do to make it more efficient regardless of whether or not you are in a warm or cold climate.
The first step is to realize there is a difference between three different types of heat inside your popup camper: The furnace, an optional heater core, and a propane furnace that serves as a backup if the other two systems fail. We will be going over each of these systems below.
But how exactly does heating work in a pop up camper?
Heating in a popup camper works by utilizing furnaces, either electrical or propane. Both systems work in the same way using air forced through aluminum coils which are then heated to produce warmth throughout the cabin of your vehicle.
Electric furnaces function by pulling air from outside via an intake vent and forcing it through heating coils inside the furnace. They also have side vents that allow room air into the system allowing for better heat circulation throughout the unit. A fan blows outside air over these coils to generate heat before sending it up through ducts which are located above you while you sleep. This allows for maximum comfort as cold molecules rise and warm ones sink down creating your perfect sleeping temperature.
Here are 5 way you can Heat up a Pop Up Camper
Below we will be going over the different ways you can heat up a pop up camper. Each way has their own advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to decide which way is the best for you.
- Space Heater
A space heater is an easy way to heat up a smaller area. A heat hose is attached to the generator on your camper which then sends hot air throughout the inside of the unit through vents.
There are two main types of space heaters, vented and unvented.
There are two main types of space heaters, vented and unvented.
Vented units require an open window or exterior venting while unvented units do not need any sort of ventilation at all. Some newer models include a thermostat for easier temperature control . However space heaters are known to get very hot so it is important that you look into safety precautions before using this method.
This type of heating is the most energy efficient as it uses less gas than a space heater. The furnace works by circulating warm air throughout the room which then goes through ducts to high and low areas of the camper. You can adjust temperature for different rooms or just have one temperature in the whole unit.
The furnace is connected directly to a tank that holds either propane, butane, gasoline or kerosene. P lacing this tank outside under a cover ensures safety from children or other possible hazards. It's also good practice to keep an eye on how much fuel you have left so you know when it needs replacing.
Advantages of a furnace
Having a furnace as your main source of heat is great. Below are 10 different advantages to owning a furnace for your pop up camper:
- If the furnace has an oxygen depletion switch it will turn off when there is too little oxygen in the camper.
- The propane or electric heater uses less power meaning your battery will work longer.
- Being inside you have complete control of the environment with thermostat and vents.
- There are no air ducts so it makes for more open floor space.
- Your clothes, bedding, towels, etc., dry faster because of the higher temperatures in here which also means that your pop up doesn't smell stale from dampness or mildew.
- Furnaces are great for emergency heat year round - even during winter months if you run out of propane you can use your furnace to keep warm.
- Furnaces are available as either gas or electric which means you have the option to run on propane, battery, or even AC if it is a burner and can be used with 110 power.
- There is no fuel preheating needed so there is less chance of carbon monoxide poisoning inside your camper.
- It's more energy efficient than other heat sources for pop up campers because the RV furnace heats the air directly instead of heating the air then heating the water that goes into your hot water tank and then finally heating your home like traditional furnaces for homes do. This saves energy and makes it more cost efficient for camping.
- The furnace does not take up much space so even if you don't have room for a separate water heater, you will still have the ability to heat your camper and keep warm and comfortable at night even in colder months.
Disadvantages of a furnace
Just like their are advantages to having a furnace in your camper, there are also some disadvantages to consider when you purchase a camper that is equipped with a furnace. Below is a list of disadvantages to using a furnace:
- It is harder to install the furnace in your camper than it is to install other types of heating.
- The furnace uses more electricity than most other heating appliances. It also produces less BTU's. So if you are looking for something that will keep your camper warm and cozy in the winter months, when temps drop below freezing, this may not be the best option for you when compared to other heat sources.
- The noise level of the furnace is considerably louder than most other heating options in pop up campers; however, since it does not take up much space, you shouldn't have to worry much about it if you install it in the back of your camper.
- The furnace does give off fumes, so when using it in your camper or RV, make sure that you open up all vents and windows, especially at night when the vehicle is parked in order to allow fresh air in. This will decrease any risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- As previously mentioned, the setup is more expensive than other heating appliances because it requires more parts (such as tubes) that are necessary for the installation process which can drive up costs until they are comparable to that of a full-sized furnace installed in a regular home.
Using insulation is a next great way to heat a popup camper. There are a couple options for this. First, you can buy insulation from an outdoor store or through your local hardware store. You might have to check to see if they have the specific kind of insulation used in recreational vehicles as it's different than other types. If not, though, they will be able to find you something suitable for your needs.
Another option is to use items that are already available in the camping unit such as old clothes and curtains etc. This method is easier but takes up more space and may not provide much warmth.
Regardless of which type of heating system you decide upon , make sure it's safe and follow all manufacturer's instructions carefully. Heaters need vents for air flow so make sure they are also vented outside the camper. By doing this, you'll be able to preserve the air quality in your unit and avoid any harmful fumes.
A propane heater is another option for heating your pop up camper. Propane heaters work by creating an outside flame towards which an interior fan blows. These heaters take up the least amount of space and are typically easy to use, but they can be dangerous. Make sure to follow all instructions carefully and vent these safely as well.
Another type of propane heater is a catalytic heater. Catalytic heaters do not create an open flame like propane heaters and instead channel the flames through ceramic pellets where it is then released as heat. These kinds of heaters do not need much elbow room nor ventilation so if you're looking for something that's compact and doesn't require major work on your part, this is a great option! However, just like with propane heaters, take care when using these as they can be harmful if used improperly.
This might not seem to be an important feature but it's actually an excellent way to keep cold air out. Underskirting will seal your camper around the edges so that there are no open spaces through which cold air can easily get in. Underskirting will also prevent rain from running underneath your camper which can lead to extensive water damage. Underskirting will be especially useful if you are placed in windy areas as it will prevent air from rushing underneath the popup creating a wind tunnel effect.
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What size heater do you really need?
The heater size you need for your pop up camper will be determined by a few factors. The size of your camper will affect the heating system you need to go with as well as what kind of energy source you have.
One thing that must be kept in mind is that a camper's heater can only heat the area it's designed for. So if you've got a smaller pop up then the heater simply won't work as well and may not provide enough coverage.
A heater that is too big for your small pop up camper will only be wasting money. The heater will be using unnecessary energy, which isn't very cost effective for you or the environment. When you're shopping around it's important to keep in mind that different heaters actually use various amounts of power in accordance with how large they are. For example, one small camper requires only a 5kW heater while another may require a 15 kW unit.
Making sure you get the right size is key when purchasing your new heating system. Be sure to read any manual information you receive with your model to see exactly what sizes are recommended by the manufacturer before making any purchase decisions.
Just as much as you need ensure that you are not purchasing a heater that is too small, you never want to purchase one that is too big for your needs.
How to control condensation in your camper?
Condensation is created in your camper when youn use certain appliances in the winter. Hot showers or boiling water will create steam. If your humidity is low, you might see some condensation on your windows occasionally. Just like people, the camper needs to breathe and not remain sealed up. It is hard to control outside factors but there are things that can be done inside the camper to minimize the chances of condensation building up. These steps can be followed below to control condensation:
- Turn off any unused appliances.
- Run the furnace to take out dampness and moisture from the air.
- Make sure you have window coverings so that cold drafts will not pull moist air into the camper.
- Open your windows if it is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside for a few hours each day.
- Vents should always be free of blockage and should be clear on the outside. Routinely, you should check for any debris that may have fallen into the vents or cracks around them. Also, make sure that the furnace has air flow by checking to see if there are any exterior vents open.
- Make sure you do not leave pots boiling on the stove unattended.
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