Do campers have heat and AC?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Do campers have heat and AC? We will explain how both the cooling and heating systems work for campers. 

Do campers have heat and AC?

Yes, almost all campers on the market today have heat and AC, and some larger RVs can have even two or three pre-installed units. 

When choosing an RV, besides checking if it has heat and AC, consider the following three technical aspects as a priority: 

  1. Power – A small appliance that runs longer will be more efficient than an overpowered air conditioner that often stops and restarts. A longer operating cycle will result in lower humidity levels in the home, a key factor in comfort and air quality.
  1. Energy consumption – The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating measures this rate of return. The higher the rating, the lower the energy consumption. This data is very useful in deciding between two products with very similar characteristics.
  1. Operating noise – Your peace of mind (and that of your neighbours) will suffer if the device emits more than 80 decibels. 

That being said, let’s now move to how heat and AC work in a camper. We will also give you advice on how to choose the best units for your RV. 

How does the AC in a camper work?

A camper AC works by removing heat from the air inside your RV, just like the units in a conventional home. The operation of AC units is based on the same principle as a refrigerator. This is because there is a refrigerant circulating in a closed circuit inside the air conditioner. This takes the heat in the camper and then releases it outside.

 When it is cold, it is possible to reverse the operating cycle on so-called “reversible” models. The machine then absorbs the air on the outside and releases the heat back inside. This is exactly how the heat pump works as well. 

What type of AC do campers have?

Now, let’s review the types of AC units that you can have in a camper:

  1. Roof-mounted AC units: it is a type of installation that saves us a lot of space in the vehicle, in addition to promoting efficiency, since hot air is sucked in and cooled and cold descends naturally: pure physical laws.
  1.  Built-in systems: in these types of equipment, the air is distributed through three outlets that can be directed separately in the passenger compartment according to needs. Another of its advantages is that the physical properties of our motorhome are not affected.
  1. Complete air conditioning systems: these can act as air conditioning or heating, thanks to heat pump technology.

What is the best AC for a camper?

There are plenty of AC units for campers to choose from, however, one of the most appreciated brands in the RV air conditioning sector is Telecogroup, and specifically, its Silent 7400h model. This is one of the ACs that is in demand the most, due to its characteristics, its quality-price and the possibility of cooling and heating your camper.

  • It has a high efficiency heat pump supplying 2.3 KW of calorific power with only 0.92 KW of consumption. The heat pump is effective for temperatures reaching -2 ºC. Below this temperature, its efficiency is gradually reduced.
  • It has a remote control for greater comfort with an automatic timer, as well as removable, washable and interchangeable filters and antifreeze protection probes.
  • It also has an automatic control. By activating it, the air conditioner selects the most suitable ventilation speed (it has 3 different speeds apart from the automatic one), in addition to the heat or cold functions.
  • It has a consumption of 4.1 amps in cooling mode and 4.5 amps in heating mode at 220 volts.
  • It achieves a maximum flow of 420 m3 / h, with a total weight of 34kg. Its dimensions are 21’5 x 98 x 65 cm.
  • It adapts perfectly to ceilings with a thickness between 30 and 70 mm and is characterized by its DNR noise reduction system, a very successful system and praised by those who have been able to test it.
  • It requires a 2,200 W generator and is suitable for caravans between 5 and 7 meters in length. It is easy to assemble and can be used with the vehicle in motion.

Another of the brands that stands out in the air conditioning market for RVs is Truma, and it is worth highlighting its Truma Aventa 2400W.

  • It is a very versatile device with an infrared remote control and a timer and a high and fast cooling capacity.
  • Apart from its innovative design that has two color versions to adapt it to the decoration of the caravan, it has an air dehumidification function and an individual regulation of each air outlet to optimally distribute the heated air throughout the vehicle.
  • Another of its strengths is that it has a very quiet air distributor, with a “sleep” function that means that while we sleep it is not even noticeable that it is on.

And finally, another of the brands that offer great solutions in camper air conditioning is Dometic, which offers air conditioning systems and complete air conditioning systems, with a wide range of ceiling devices designed for standard 40 × 40 skylights and recessed. We recommend you take a look at their FreshJet range.

There are more brands that work with air conditioning in campers, but we wanted to describe the brands with which we usually work to guarantee the most complete and objective descriptions.

How does the heating in a camper work?

 If you are one of those who dare to go on a trip in the middle of winter to enjoy the coldest season of the year, you will have to prepare your camper to travel without difficulties and enjoy a warm temperature inside your RV.

To do this kind of trip, you have to take into account the insulation of the camper and the heating it has.

Before heating: Thermal isolation in a camper

No matter how good a heating system our camper has, it will not do much if it is poorly insulated, since we will lose all the heat that we generate.

When the temperature is low, you must put an exterior cabin protector, this will not freeze the front glass and it will be protected next to the windshields. This way we avoid the cold entering the interior. When the day is sunny, remember to remove the protector, so that the motorhome can absorb the heat.

In the same way, it is advisable to protect the windows and skylights with thermal insulation, to avoid more heat loss and making the heating system more efficient by reducing its consumption.

Another fundamental measure for the insulation of the motorhome is to cover the ground. If the vehicle does not have a double floor, it is necessary to insulate it. You can use a carpet or a mat like the one used in cars but that covers the entire floor of the motorhome. In this way, it is possible not only to walk comfortably on soft and warm ground, but also to preserve the heat inside.

The heating system in a camper: the basics

When choosing a specific type of RV, a heating system is also chosen. Currently they can be forced air or central heating and gas or fuel.

  • The forced air heating works by moving the hot air with a fan, these can work by gas or by the fuel of the motorhome. Among the best brands in the market, Webasto is noteworthy, today it is the most used for its efficiency and simplicity. 

A burner heats the air, and this is distributed by the vehicle through a turbine that sends it to the ventilation ducts. It is the most reliable system, heats up quickly and takes up almost no space inside the vehicle.

  • Central heating works in another way, the heat is transported by a fluid through the heating ducts, it can also be fired by gas or fuel. This technology distributes heat evenly and preserves it for a longer time, but it takes a long time to heat up the motorhome.

Between the two methods of providing the heating, fuel is recommended. They run on diesel and have several advantages. The first is that it is much easier to find fuel anywhere and at all times, and the fuel gauge of the vehicle also helps us to know the fuel level of the heater. 

Another advantage is that we can continue to use the heating while driving, without having to look for special connectors for gas bottles. In addition, by being installed outside the vehicle, we save space inside the motorhome. And finally, a 5 kg diesel cylinder is much lighter than a 40 kg gas cylinder.

FAQ on Do campers have heat and AC?

How does the heating work in a camper?

The heating in a camper is very simple: the air is heated by a burner and diffused homogeneously throughout the vehicle thanks to a turbine that expels it through the ventilation ducts. Heats up quickly and does not take up space inside the motorhome

How does the air conditioning work in a camper?

The air conditioning system in a camper works when the RV engine is running, using the vehicle’s own compressor and the condenser that is already installed in the engine compartment.

What air conditioning to choose for an RV?

When choosing air conditioning for an RV, take into consideration the following:

  • Telair Air Conditioner Silent 500H.
  • Aventa Comfort.
  • Airva 12V & 24V.
  • Dometic Freshlight 1600 & 2200 air conditioner.
  • Portable air conditioning SW Cube.
  • Kronings Rooftop Air Conditioner K2400.
  • Euromac AC2400 Split System.
  • Telair Silent 220V-8400H.


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