Do RV Furnaces Run on Electricity

Do RV Furnaces Run on Electricity?

Spread the love

It’s one of the colder months and you are on the road with your RV. Thankfully, even though you have the RV parked, you do have a generator and a heater.

If you don’t have the engine of the RV running, the small dashboard heaters are not going to function, and even when they are on, they really don’t work all that well. 

However, you might be wondering, if RV furnaces run on electricity. The short answer is that yes, they do require electricity, but there is a bit more to it than that, so let’s explain.

RV Furnaces and Electricity

The short answer here is that yes, RV furnaces use some form of electricity to function. After all, furnaces are electric components, and they need electricity to function. They require electricity to spark, to turn on, to create heat, and to dissipate the heat. Simply put, without electricity, you won’t be running any kind of RV furnace.

This is no different from any furnace or heating unit your home. When the power goes out, the furnace does not work. No electricity means no heat.

Now, some electric heaters may be able to plug right into a socket in the RV; some may require a generator; and some may be able to use batteries to operate, but the bottom line is that there does need to be electricity.

On a side note, keep in mind that some RVs have propane furnaces and some have electric furnaces. Propane furnaces use propane to generate heat, whereas electric furnaces use electric heating elements.

However, with that said, even a propane furnace requires electricity to function. Power is need to regulate fuel consumption, heat pumping, and heat dissipation.

Do RV Furnaces Run on Electricity

Types of Electric Furnaces and Heaters for RVs 

So, it’s clear to you that electric RV furnaces are the way to go instead of propane, but now you still have some choices to make. Indeed, there are various types of electric heaters to choose from so you can keep everybody in the RV warm. Let’s take a closer look at your options.

Box Heaters

Small boxy heaters tend to be the most common models which people go with. These use ceramic heating elements and small fans to distribute the heat. These heaters are very efficient and they do not waste much power, if any at all.

You will find that these small box style electric heaters have wattages between 500 and 1,500 watts. Although these may not be the most powerful, they rarely cost over $50, making them a very cost effective option to keep in mind.

Wall Heaters

Wall heaters are sometimes known as cube heaters. These are going to be quite a bit more expensive to purchase than box-style heaters, but they come with some benefits. For one, these are installed right into the walls of your RV; therefore they are out of the way and don’t take up any space.

Sure, they do need to be installed properly, which will take time and/or money, but they work much better than small box-style heaters to heat a fairly large space quickly and efficiently. A bonus with these is that you can install ducting and venting to heat different parts of the RV, often using the existing propane hearing ducts.

Radiant Heaters

The other option is a small radiant heater, otherwise known as an infrared heater. Although they are not installed into the walls, they are quite small, so they should not take up much room, plus the units themselves don’t get very hot, not to mention that they are fairly quiet. These tend to have fairly high outputs, but they are not the best for large spaces. They are better than small box-style heaters, but won’t heat as much as in wall heaters.

A Word on Propane Heaters

If you did not know, most RVs come complete with their own propane heating systems. However, sometimes the propane doesn’t quite cut muster, or you might prefer to rely on an electric heater. There is also the fact that some states do not allow for the use of propane appliances while a motor vehicle is in operation. That said, propane heaters and furnaces can make for good options. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of these propane furnaces.


For one, propane heating systems are very user-friendly and intuitive. This kind of technology is easy to use, it’s relatively safe, and reliable too.

There is also the fact that most RVs come complete with built-in propane heating systems, complete with ducting and all. Simply put, it’s convenient to use propane heat if the system is already integrated into the RV.

The fact that propane heating systems in RVs use ducting is a bonus too, because it goes a long way in helping to properly distribute the heat throughout the RV.


One big drawback of using a propane heating system in your RV is that it’s not the most efficient form of heating. Your average propane furnace is only about 70% efficient, which means that a full 30% of the propane is going to waste. Of course, you also have to deal with refueling the propane tanks.


When it comes to the question of  whether RV furnaces run on electricity, the answer is yes, all RV furnaces require some kind of power source to operate; you cannot get heat without electricity.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: