Upgrading to A High-Efficiency RV Furnace

Traveling in an RV offers the freedom to explore the great outdoors in comfort. However, when temperatures drop, having an efficient and reliable furnace is crucial. Most RVs come equipped with a basic RV furnace, but upgrading to a high-efficiency model can save propane, improve performance, and provide a more comfortable ride. This comprehensive guide will explore when and why upgrading your RV furnace is advised.

Upgrading to A High-Efficiency RV Furnace

When to Consider Upgrading Your RV Furnace

RVs can last a long time if properly maintained, but the furnace inside has moving parts that degrade over time. As with all appliances, they eventually require service or replacement. Here are common signs that indicate your RV is due for a furnace upgrade:

Decreased Heat Output and Cold Spots

If certain areas of the RV fail to get warm even when the furnace runs continuously, this likely indicates diminished BTU output from an aging unit. Cold spots, drafty areas, or inconsistent temperatures are red flags.

Noisy Operation

Clunking, rattling, or loud blower noises signal wear and tear internally. The older the furnace gets, the noisier it becomes during operation.

Frequent Ignition Failure

Repeated cycles of the furnace failing to ignite and light is a reliability issue. It wastes propane during failed starts and prevents heat generation.

High Fuel Consumption

An inefficient burner design or a lack of insulation in an older furnace leads to excess propane usage. Filling tanks more frequently than expected points to poor efficiency.

If your RV exhibits one or more of these furnace problems, an upgrade should provide quieter, more dependable operation and fuel savings.

What to Look After While Upgrading to a High-Efficiency RV Furnace?

Not all replacement RV furnaces are equal – there are considerable performance and design differences between basic entry-level models and advanced high-efficiency units. Here is what to prioritize in your upgrade selection:

Enhanced Insulation

Maximum heat retention with less propane burn relies on insulation like aerogel-enhanced cabinets and tightly sealed blower assemblies. If your RV spends lots of time in frigid conditions, top-grade insulation is key.

Variable Speed Blower

Rather than basic single-speed blowers that blast at 100% intensity, advanced units have a variable-speed motor that ramps up and down. This allows for precise temperature control and quieter performance.

Two-Stage or Modulating Propane Burner

The burner that generates the heat has a major impact on efficiency. While a single stage offers one heat setting, two stages allow switching between half or full intensity. Best-in-class modulating burners continuously vary the flame height like a household furnace for the highest precision temperature control with minimal fuel use.

Digital Control Board

Upgrade to an electronic control board capable of managing multi-stage burners, variable speed blowers, and overall automation. Digital controls provide much greater fine-tuning compared to old analog electromechanical circuit boards.

Prioritize these technical aspects when shopping for a furnace replacement to maximize efficiency gains.

RV Size and Layout

Make sure to select a furnace with adequate BTU heating capacity for the total interior volume of your RV. Undersizing leads to insufficient heat while oversizing wastes propane. Also, ensure the physical dimensions fit the tight confines of most RV furnace compartments. Take measurements to confirm.

Power Source Compatibility

If switching to an electric-only heating system, verify your RV has a robust enough electrical system and is wired correctly to add a large new electric load. If changing to propane from electric, ensure adequate ventilation per codes and reasonable access to refill propane.

Compatibility with Existing Systems

Will ductwork need modification for proper CFM airflow? Is the existing thermostat compatible or will a new digital programmable model be better? Sort out duct connections, wiring, ventilation, and other integration concerns beforehand.

Consultation with an RV Specialist or Technician

Discuss your particular RV model’s furnace constraints and capabilities with a dealer specialist before purchase. Additionally consider pro pre-installation inspection to catch any installation issues early. Some upgrades are beginner DIY friendly, while others are best left to the professionals when RV systems intricacies or safety come into play.

Doing the homework beforehand on these furnace upgrade considerations helps ensure smooth integration with existing RV equipment and getting the optimal new unit matched to a specific RV’s heating needs. Forethought avoids headaches down the road! Let me know if any other specifics need clarification.

Upgrade to Electrical Furnace for Getting Uttermost Efficient in Your RV

For the ultimate upgrade in RV heating technology, switching to an electrically powered furnace system brings huge efficiency improvements. Removing propane burners entirely in favor of ceramic core or other electric heating elements offers:

Triple Fuel Efficiency

Propane furnaces average at best 75-80% efficiency whereas electric models exceed 95%. Some even leverage heat pump technology for 300% efficiency – generating up to 3X heating compared to energy input.

Low-Cost Operation

Using grid power instead of propane saves tremendously on refueling costs. Electricity prices are more stable compared to fluctuating propane rates.

Quicker Heat-Up Times

Lightweight ceramic core designs in particular offer rapid heat output potential surpassing most propane furnaces.

Low Emissions

The electrical operation generates no on-site emissions from propane combustion. This allows for heating anytime indoors worry-free regarding ventilation needs.

For RVers spending most nights with hookup access, swapping the propane furnace for an advanced electric model turbocharges efficiency. It also eliminates worrying about carrying and refilling propane tanks.

Upgrade to Hybrid Furnace for Getting More Efficiency

The latest trend in RV heating is hybrid dual-fuel furnaces supporting both propane and electric operation. This offers owners the best aspects of each:

  • Electric heating when plugged into shoreline power.
  • Propane heating when boondocking without hookups.

Advanced electronics seamlessly switch between the two integrated fuel sources – prioritizing electricity to minimize propane use. Other features like multi-stage burners, variable speed fans, and top-grade insulation combine into one package.

Upgrading to a hybrid furnace maximizes heating performance & efficiency for both on and off-grid RVing. One unit covers all scenarios.

Benefits of Upgrading to High Efficiency RV Furnace

Beyond resolving common problems with aging RV furnaces, installing an upgraded replacement model provides many perks:

Enhanced Temperature Control

State-of-the-art multi-stage burners with variable speed blowers keep interior temperatures steady with minimal fluctuation. No more hot or cold spots!

Propane Savings

High-efficiency, well-insulated designs consume far less propane, which substantially saves refueling costs. Electrical models provide even better efficiency.

Low Noise

Variable blower motors circulate heat gently instead of blasting at full speed. Multi-stage flames modulate as well for peaceful, quiet operation.

Improved Air Circulation

In addition to heating, upgraded furnace fans better circulate interior air. Stale, humid conditions get flushed out while fresh ventilation gets distributed.

Reliable Cold Weather Performance

New components like electronic control boards and durable propane burners bring dependable ignition and ample heating capacity – even down to subzero temps.

Increased Resale Value

Upgrading to a modern, efficient furnace model raises your RV’s value versus keeping a dated unit. It shows a commitment to maintenance.

Peace of Mind

Perhaps most importantly, owners gain confidence in their RV’s ability to keep everyone warm and comfortable in cold conditions. This leads to more enjoyable vacations!

With better technology now available compared to what came stock in many older RVs, upgrading the original inefficient furnace to an advanced high-efficiency replacement provides owners with superior performance in all regards. The improvements justify the upgrade cost over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How difficult is it to install a new RV furnace?

Most upgrades are straightforward bolt-in replacements using your existing ductwork and electrical. But major modifications like swapping from propane to electric call for pro installation.

How much propane does an efficient RV furnace use?

High-efficiency propane furnaces average around 1/2 gallon of fuel per hour when running full tilt. Variable output modulation burns less as temperatures rise closer to the setpoint.

What furnace brand is best?

Atwood, Suburban, and Dometic lead the way in RV heating technology thanks to advanced burner designs and top insulation.

Is it worth upgrading my old functioning RV furnace?

If reliability issues pop up, temperature regulation suffers, noise increases or propane usage seems excessive, upgrading improves performance in all aspects.

Should I choose electric or propane RV heat?

Electric units offer the best efficiency for RVers plugged in frequently. Propane enables heating anywhere off-grid but at lowered efficiency. Hybrid furnaces support both fuels.

Wrapping Up

I hope this guide covered the major points regarding upgrading RV furnaces! Heating technology continues advancing each year, so even older functioning furnaces can often benefit from replacement. Please drop a comment below with any other furnace questions. Thank you for reading – stay warm out there on your adventures!

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