Do RV Heaters Run on Electricity – How RV Heaters Work

Do RV heaters run on electricity

There are a couple of different ways to heat up your RV on a cold day.

RV heaters are the most popular. Although they come in a range of different designs and sizes, they can comfortable warm a large RV in a relatively short amount of time.

Surprisingly, the most asked question relating is how they are powered, and whether RV heaters run on electricity.

RV heaters can run on electricity. By design they will either by powered by electricity, or by gas. There are some dual RV heaters that can work on both. An electric RV heater will require the RV to be hooked up to an electricity supply, or have electricity supplied using a gas generator.

If you would prefer your RV heater to run on electricity, this article will help you understand how they work and some of the better options available.

Although if you are open to the possibility of a gas-powered RV heater then you may want to read the pros and cons of both as this may help you decide.

Benefits of an Electric RV Heater

One of the biggest benefits of an electric RV heater is its portability.

You can simply move it from room to room, or area to area, where you need the heat most.

You will of course need an electrical outlet, but an extension cable would also work fine if the length of the heater’s cord is too short for the nearest outlet.

Another advantage is how quiet they are compared to a gas or installed heating system.

Nobody wants a noisy appliance in their RV just because they need some heat!

It’s also surprising just how powerful these little heaters are.

They may not be able to warm a large open space area quickly, but if you stand close to an RV heater when it’s up to the maximum, you will really notice it.

These are also ideal for the bedroom before you go to bed.

They can be working their magic whilst you’re still up, and once you’re ready for bed you’ll find the bedroom nice and warm for a cozy night sleep.

Like any portable heaters though, it is not wise to keep them running all night whilst you are asleep, for safety reasons.

Negatives of an Electric RV Heater

One of the biggest drawbacks, and negatives, of using an electric RV heater is the fact you will need access to an electricity supply to use it.

Electricity supply can come from two places:

  • Electric hookup from the campsite or RV park you stay at
  • An RV Generator

The easiest way is to simply hook your RV to an electrical outlet at the campsite you stay at. There is usually a premium cost for this, but it will provide the power needed to heat your RV.

If though you are staying off grid, or at a campsite without an electrical hookup or there are none left available, you could use a portable gas generator to provide electricity and power to your RV.

The other type of RV heater you could invest in is a gas heater.

If though you have a portable gas generator then an electric heater may be your best option. The gas you have would supply the portable generator to provide the electricity needed.

So, whether you use gas for a portable generator, or a gas heater, the result is the same.

If though you have a small RV, do not plan on investing in a portable generator and rarely stay anywhere with electrical hookups then the best option for you would be a gas RV heater.

How do electric RV heaters work?

RV heaters work by simply plugging them in to an electrical outlet, choose the desired heat setting and switch on the heater.

It really is as simple as that.

The same electric RV heater proving the heat to your RV could also be used in your home during winter and cold weather.

Gas generators are more difficult to be used at home as an additional heating outlet.

Some RV heaters have an auto switch off for safety, but others do not.

You need to make sure you do not leave an electric RV heater on all night, and you should never place anything over the top of one whilst it is on – even if it’s just to try and dry and damp t-shirt.

The science behind how an electric RV heater works is a little more complex, but I will try and explain in as easy to understand way as I can.

In its basic form, a heater converts electrical current to heat.

The electrical current will pass through an electrical resistor within the RV heater. As this pass through happens it’s the resistor that makes the conversion one energy source to another, in this case electricity in to heat.

A very clever transition and conversion is happening, but fortunately we just need to know that if we plug an electric RV heater in to the mains and switch it on, lovely heat will be produced and warm our RVs in the winter!

How to find electricity for an RV heater?

As technology advances and campers invest in the newest and latest RVs for their road trip adventures, more and more campsites and camping grounds are having to cater for their needs.

A home away from home is the lure for many RV owners.

Replicating as many of the mod-cons as we can, including fridge freezer, laundry facilities, TV, internet access as well as heat and air conditioning requires electricity.

When searching for campsites, many RV owners put electrical hookups at the top of their list.

To cater for that demand campsites are investing in more and more electric hookup outlets to make sure they can try and keep up with demand as best as they can.

More and more campsites and campgrounds are offering more electric hookups than ever before, but they can still be a hard to come by luxury item.

Of course, if you camp off-grid you won’t have this luxury and need to find a way of creating your own energy source.

The way to do this is by using a portable generator.

Suggested Reading: Ultimate Guide on How Portable Generators Work

This will provide a limited supply of electricity into your RV, depending on how much gas and fuel you have, but will be enough – with the right portable generator – to provide enough electricity for a heater and other appliances.

Many RV owners invest in a portable generator as sometimes the unexpected can happen, electrical hookups may go down or may not work, or you may change your road trip plans mid journey and need to stay off-grid.

In Conclusion – Do RV heaters run on electricity

An electric RV heater, alongside a portable generator, are a great combination to be able to heat your caravan whether you have access to an electric hookup or not.

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