How much does it cost to install a diesel heater in a caravan?

In today’s blog post, we will answer the following question: How much does it cost to install a diesel heater in a caravan? We will review the best diesel heaters for a caravan and help you choose the best one for you. 

How much does it cost to install a diesel heater in a caravan?

Installing a diesel heater in a caravan can cost you between $700 to $1500 depending on the type of diesel heater.  How much the heater itself will cost you, will depend on the model, brand, country and seller! But here are three of the most popular diesel heaters for the caravan to give you price ideas:

Diesel heater modelPrice
Planar 2D (Autoterm)499 $
Eberspacher Airtronic S2829 $
Webasto Air Top 2000 STC1059 $

Speaking of a budget, plan for daily diesel consumption too, an aspect that can change the choice from one heater to another. Consumption varies depending on the model, the heaters announce 0.02 GPM at the lowest, up to 0.15 GPM.

Hence the advantage of taking a “sufficient” model and not oversizing the power. A heater of 2 KW is sufficient for a caravan. Diesel heaters of 5 or 6 KW can be adapted to very large vehicles!

The diesel heater is essential equipment to gain comfort inside the caravan.  Ideal for ski trips & use in cold weather, forced air diesel heating helps lower the humidity inside the caravan which is perhaps its greatest benefit. So it is important to choose a good one!

What is the best brand of diesel heater for a caravan?

Webasto and Eberspacher are the two most famous German brands, which follow each other in terms of quality. They are equipped with excellent components, innovate regularly to improve consumption, noise, performance and undergo all possible tests.

Planar (now Autoterm) is a Russian diesel heater brand that has proven itself for 15 years. Although it is famous, the tests are less extensive than the previous ones. The price is less, the quality cannot be equal.

Brands like Webasto, Eberspacher or Planar sell their products at prices that seem high. They are positioned as the “top of the range” in stationary heating and have an impact on the price … We know that everything related to the motorhome world is expensive, diesel heating can be the most expensive point of the development.

So, what are the reasons for investing in these brands rather than in a cheaper version of a diesel heater?

  • Heating and water heater: Even if it means putting a bill on a heater, you might as well take a model that also heats the water. A pure pleasure to get through the winter to be able to shower in hot water when the tubs are at 10 ° … Some Webasto models, for example, offer both: heating and a water heater, which therefore save space, simplify installations and have the comfort you dream of in winter.
  • Product warranty: The models sold by these brands are under warranty. A problem arises and “hop”, we can count on the manufacturer’s warranty to correct it. We think (wrongly) that problems always come after the warranty … But having 2 or 3 years of proven heating tests allows you to be serene over the following years when there is a defect in the product.
  • Diesel heater repairs and spare parts: On this side, these brands have a huge list of repairers and spare parts distributors. So you can easily service or have your diesel heater serviced with them! In all countries, heavy-duty or authorized dealers can repair a Webasto because it is a very popular brand. Also, these are brands that will still exist in 10 years, so their parts too!

Also, the models are standardized: all Webasto Dual Top Evo 6 (for example), will be identical. You will therefore be able to ask for help on the internet, find information and even repair yourself (if you feel it and/or the warranty has expired).

  • Fuel and electricity consumption and pollution: These models are “framed”! Webasto and Eberspacher meet strict tests and limit their impact. This is not the case with their copies on the other side of the world! Caution…
  • Insurance and heating: Some insurers with obscure clauses and immense exclusions may, in the event of a dispute such as a fire, appoint an expert who will look for the “little beast”. A heater sold by Webasto, Planar or Eberspacher has a huge list of standards, tests, certifications that will protect you if it is correctly installed.

Insurance is an important point to validate when installing diesel heating in your vehicle: call your beloved insurer and ask if it is covered …

How to choose your diesel heater?

  • Find those with as many positive reviews as possible: although they can be manipulated, this is potentially the one that has satisfied the most buyers.
  • Oldest Reviews: Often, reviews are recent or very few, because sellers are quick to delete and then create a new product to hide negative reviews.
  • Seller answers your questions: very important to test customer service because, in case of dispute, the platform (Amazon, eBay, Aliexpress, Banggood) may ask you to see with the seller.
  • Ask if the package will be complete as in the photo (ex: pipes, exhaust, display,…) because each part can cost you half of the products if you order it later. 
  • Do not always look for the lowest price … Wanting to cost the century, we sometimes end up with a keychain.

Installing your diesel heater by yourself

It’s within the reach of DIY enthusiasts, you don’t have to be a professional. However, there are many points to be vigilant on, we list them below. Also, it will be necessary to study the locations: Where to position the heating, the entrances, exits,… Especially on a vehicle already fitted out.

Webasto offers an installation guide which is 52 pages long, with which it is not easy … So with two images in Chinese, I’ll let you imagine. So I’m putting the Webasto doc above that can help you. Below, all of Webasto’s recommendations, applicable to all diesel heaters:

  1. Fix the heater and its inputs/outputs: As we have said, a diesel heater can be installed outdoors as well as indoors while being compliant and safe (see the beginning of the article). However, be sure to buy the right kit for the installation you want: fasteners, insulating sheath or not, etc.

Many install it indoors because it is simpler, it prevents damage or theft, and the air and/or water heat up more easily.

Location of entrances and exits:

  • The heating air inlet is recommended indoors because the air there will be warmer in winter and therefore will heat up faster (and therefore less consumption). It should never be close to the ground: both heating and cooling air intake will suck up all dust and dirt and send them into the heater.
  • The cooling air inlet must be outside. Your hose will need to use a hole or an air inlet to the outside. This allows for clean, cool air to cool down. If the heater is outside, use a protective grid so that nothing gets inside.
  • The exhaust outlet and drain valve hose, for water heater models, must be under the vehicle.

The exhaust must always be directed downwards: no upward movement on the exhaust circuit to prevent the gases from stagnating and there from condensation. Also, avoid that the exhaust can be splashed with water and mud in its location.

It must be far from the van’s vents and extend beyond the sides of the van: otherwise gas may enter the van or motorhome and this is very dangerous (in addition to being very unpleasant).

  1. The installation of a silencer is necessary to reduce noise pollution from the diesel heater. It should be installed ideally 0.2m from the heater, after which an exhaust line of at least 1m (ideally) should be installed.

The combustion air intake for the heater must also be under the vehicle, where the air is as fresh as possible and away from splashing water and mud. The heater is supplied with a silencer to be attached to the end of the combustion air intake pipe to reduce noise.

It should not be directed towards the front of the vehicle so that the air does not enter forcibly while driving. Also, avoid the formation of condensation by not making a “low point”. Otherwise, make a 4mm diameter hole at the low point of the pipe to evacuate the condensation.

  1. The hot air outlets: On models where there are two hot air outlets: they must both be connected to nozzles. The pipe should be at least 80cm from the heater to the nozzle, do not reduce the diameter at risk. Buy a hose suitable for high temperatures!

Also, if the nozzles can close, please open them when the heating is on (Webasto recommends having 1 of 3 outlets that close, at most). Avoid pinching the air hoses with angles or weight on them if they are going through cupboards.

Position the hot air outlets near the ground to heat the vehicle better.

The bottom line

If you’re still doubting whether to instal a diesel heater in your caravan or not, think that it is more economical than gas heating. You will no longer need to think about filling your gas cylinders, you will just have to keep an eye on your gauge, be careful not to run out of fuel!

Do you have any questions or comments on the content? Let us know!

References