Will a camper furnace run without electricity?

In today’s blog post, we will answer the following question: Will a camper furnace run without electricity? We will explain how a camper furnace works and tell you whether it is possible to heat a camper without electricity!

Will a camper furnace run without electricity?

No, a camper furnace will not run without electricity. While there are various types of camper furnaces to choose from (and we will review them all below), each type needs a source of energy in order to operate. If there is no electricity, there is no heat.

How does a camper furnace work?

It may seem complicated to understand how a camper furnace works, but with the right explanations, everything becomes very simple. It is important to have at least a few notions in order to be able to anticipate needs, repairs and be able to properly maintain your camper. 

All types of camper furnaces work on the same principle. The device is powered by a source of energy that is converted into heat, and this is redistributed in your camper. It is the energy source used that really differentiates the heaters dedicated to recreational vehicles.

Whether your camper is heated with central heating, gas, propane or electricity, there will inevitably be a solution that will be adapted to your daily uses.

  1. Electric heaters – It is almost certainly the type of heating most known to all, many of us have the memory of seeing our elders glued to these heaters in houses without chimneys. Electricity is transformed into heat by means of electrical resistors that radiate heat when heated. 

These resistors can be found made of quartz or especially ceramic. These types of stoves are also known as quartz radiators, ceramic radiators, mica stoves, or infrared stoves. They work by proximity, heating everything that is next to the resistors.

  1. Oil heaters – Oil radiators have a metallic resistance that houses a thermofluid liquid inside, generally an oil that heats up and is evenly distributed throughout the radiator.

Over time, they heat up the air in the room, very progressively, gently and constantly, thus preventing the environment from becoming too dry. They are also known as thermal fluid radiators and have seen significant improvements in recent years. Many have a thermostat and programmer, which allows you to set the desired temperature and the radiator works to keep it constant.

  1. Air heaters – Air heaters are an electrical heating system that is equipped with a resistance and a fan. Heats the cold air at the bottom or rear of the appliance and expels hot air from the front or top, providing instant heat. Air heaters are suitable for heating almost any type of space, they are versatile and efficient appliances.
  1. Gas heaters – Gas heaters are the only option for those who do not hire electricity at the campsite. Also for vans without stationary heating that go on their own. There are many types of gas heaters, but their operation is always the same: heat is produced by burning gas. 

Gas heaters are an option to consider among those who do not have access to electricity. It should be used with caution, better if you already have previous experience with this type of heating. They heat up quickly, with a very pleasant heat but extreme precautions must be taken, especially in the presence of children and pets.

How to heat your camper without electricity?

In the scorching heat of summer, who has time to think about turning on the heat? If anything, you are probably abusing your air conditioner. Now, running your air conditioner or heater for hours on your trailer is expensive. These units consume energy or fuel. When you use them frequently, they deplete that energy. Then you have to refill them, shelling out money each time.

Most camper furnaces have two sources of fuel: gas or electricity. There are some units that use both. Propane is also a common thing. These fuel sources can be bottomless pits where you lose a lot of money.

If you are tired of constantly spending money in the never-ending battle to heat your vehicle, you have other options. You may want to switch from one gas or electric configuration to another. That’s possible.

You just have to be resourceful!

  • Proper camper insulation:  Now while you can save a lot of money in the long run with DIY insulation (or even a professional job), you will have to spend some cash upfront. It will also be a time-consuming job, and you will have to check it every few months.

If you decide to try to insulate or insulate your camper, there are two areas to focus most of your energy: windows and vents. These are often the places where most of the cold air leaks in. Small cracks or holes in the seal, glass, or vents will keep you shivering day and night.

Doors can also be a cold air intake point. Again, if there are small holes in the gaskets, the sealing silicone or the weatherstrip, you are sure to have a few cold days and nights on the agenda.

  • Consider solar heating: a renewable energy medium, solar panels generate photons. Photons can be used as electricity, also known as heat for your camper.

It is recommended that you use Celotex Thermax TF-160 Insulation Panel specifically for this project. This is a thinner board that can be as thin as 3/8 inches and as thick as 1 7/8 inches. It is constructed of aluminum foil and fibreglass. 

  • Use a wood stove: A wood stove is a much smaller version of a fireplace, so there should be room for one in your camper. Wood burning stoves can also remove moisture from campers. They are also supposed to be better than Propane and Diesel heaters in terms of safety.

Although it may appear that a wood stove would emit many unwanted emissions, as long as you follow the assembly and safety instructions you should be safe. You can also invest in a reliable carbon monoxide detector.

Are campers cold in winter?

Yes, campers can get quite cold in winter, but this doesn’t mean that you cannot travel during the cold time of the year. As long as you are well-prepared, you can live and travel in a camper no matter the weather. 

Follow these tips to keep warm in a camper during winter:

  1. Adequate insulation – Proper insulation is the most important factor in keeping the truck warm. Before lighting a heater be sure to insulate your truck’s walls, floors, and windows. The more insulation there is, the less energy you need to keep warm. Spray foam and silicone caulking are your friends.

If you don’t have the money or wherewithal to do complete insulation, a quick and cost-effective solution is to buy insulation panels for your windows. Insulation panels are typically made of a reflective sheet that can be glued to the glass.

A slight increase in the temperature of your van will be noticed with this simple step. Not to mention, isolation panels are great for privacy. No more peeping neighbours!

  1. Get prepared – A few must-have winter items can make a big difference to your comfort level.
  • Feet: Always keep a warm pair of socks or slippers nearby.
  • Wool: Wool is a tried and true material because it can retain heat even when wet. Wool fibres are also durable and made to last for years. The composition of the wool fabric allows for small pockets of air within the fibres, which increases the level of insulation significantly compared to cotton.
  • Head: Keep your head and feet covered against cold drafts. Your head loses more heat than the rest of the body when exposed, so don’t neglect this crucial part of the body!
  • Blankets: Store plenty of blankets and duvet covers inside the van. Many people choose to sleep in a high-quality sleeping bag that is rated for zero degrees.

Keep in mind that even the highest quality sleeping bags on the market are rated for survival. They are not classified based on comfort level. What this means is that if the sack is rated for 30-degree weather, it will not freeze at 30 degrees. However, this does not mean that you will be comfortable all night.

  • Layers: When planning your sleeping setup, wear layers. You can have a blanket that works well in summer, a sleeping bag for fall, and an extra duvet that you can pair with all three for colder nights.

Add this to a good hat and socks and you will be able to adapt to most situations.

FAQ on Will a camper furnace run without electricity?

What is the best heater for a static caravan?

Some of the best heaters for a static caravan are also economical, efficient and easy to install/use. There are three main types of caravan heaters, and the best heater, in the end, is a matter of personal choice.

How do I prepare my caravan for wintering?

Here are a few tips to prepare your caravan for wintering:

  1. Empty the water heater. 
  2. Empty and clean the toilet tanks. 
  3. Remove the gas cylinder (s). 
  4. Put the windows in the ventilation position. 
  5. Open the bathroom door. 
  6. Do not unscrew the feet. 
  7. Do not put plastic sheeting on the caravan. 
  8. Put the clean trailer in the garage.

Can you heat a pop-up camper?

Yes, it is possible to heat a pop-up camper either by using an electric heater, a furnace or an external propane heater. 

How do I keep my truck camper warm?

The best way to keep a truck camper warm is to use one of the following heating sources:

  • Gas heating
  • Auxiliary gas heater
  • Integrated electric heating
  • Auxiliary electric heaters
  • Diesel heating.


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