Understanding how the heat works (it may be different from your house) may take a little bit of trial and error, but once you’ve got it down, you’ll find yourself warm and comfortable on those chilly nights, especially if you are planning on some winter camping.
First, you need to figure out if you have a propane furnace or an A/C unit with built in heat pump. Your RV might have both. See what you can find out about your specific set up before you start messing with knobs and settings.
A propane furnace works great if you are going to encounter freezing temperatures. You can keep the furnace set to a lower temperature, around 55 degrees, to keep the RV from freezing. If you have another heating option, you’ll probably want to use that for the main source of heat as running the furnace burns a decent amount of fuel. This is also a great idea when you have pets who are staying back from your day trip.
This is where a heat pump that’s part of your AC unit comes in handy. While it won’t work in those lower temperatures, for anything above about 50 degrees, it gets the job done. Make sure you’re plugged into a 30a or 50a outlet before turning the heat pump on.
Your RV should also have thermostats to control the temperatures. Let’s say the RV is currently at 60 degrees. Don’t set the thermostat to 70 right away or your furnace may come on as well, running both heating units at the same time. This burns both propane and uses electricity. To heat your RV up using just the heat pump, increase the temperature in small increments until it’s where you want it.
Every RV is set up a bit differently and figuring out exactly what you have is the key to keeping your RV warm. These suggestions are to give you a starting point before you tweak your system to work for you.