Heating systems in caravans: heater options for a comfortable temperature in the camper

Amir Gumarov
Checked by a specialist: Amir Gumarov
Author: Sergey Shapoval
Last update: December 2019

Seriously began to think about car caravanning and want to make long trips in comfortable conditions? Then you need, first of all, to worry about the warmth and comfort of the camper. To do this correctly, you need to find out what heating systems exist in motor homes, to understand their advantages and disadvantages.

We will tell not only about heating systems, but also pay attention to the efficiency of each of them. After studying the material, it will be easy to choose the ideal option for heating the camper, taking into account the simplicity of the device, ease of use, autonomy and security of the system.

Caravan heating systems

All camper heating systems can be divided according to two main criteria - the method of heating the coolant, the fuel source. The most widely used are heaters with an air coolant.

The essence of their work is the intake of cold air, its heating, followed by supply to the residential module. High speed of heating the premises and low cost of equipment - these are the main indicators that explain the popularity of such heaters.

Air heating system
Air heating systems are distinguished by their availability, compact size and quick heating of the caravan

The disadvantages include high fuel consumption and uneven distribution of warm air. A system with a liquid coolant looks more complex, but also more advanced.

Her work is based on the heating of the water circulating in the system, which enters the radiators responsible for the distribution of heat.

Heating with liquid coolant
Heating with liquid coolant allows you to connect not only radiators, but also organize a system with a warm floor

When installing such a system, you can consider the option of a heater with a built-in heat exchanger, which, in addition to heating, will also provide residents of the caravan with hot water.

Options for heating the camper

The following sources of thermal energy can be used to heat motor homes:

  • Electricity;
  • Solid fuel (firewood, pellets, pressed sawdust, coal);
  • Liquid fuel (gasoline, diesel fuel);
  • Gas.

Let us briefly consider each of the sources of thermal energy and try to choose the most optimal option for heating the camper.

Camping Electricity

Camper electric heating is not even considered the main source of heating. Electric radiators and a system of underfloor heating require a 220 V connection to the network and a current power of at least 10 A. This is only possible in equipped parking lots.

Camper with solar panels
When installing solar panels, you don’t need to worry about finding a comfortable camping site, but rather use electric heating and any electrical appliances anywhere in the parking lot

There is no question of electric heating on the way, but on equipped campsites electric convector heaters may be useful for maintaining the supply of the main heating source.

Solid fuel for the stove

Basically, firewood is used as solid fuel. The role of the heater is not a full-fledged fuel boiler, but an ordinary potbelly stove.

Such a heating system is effective only for short trips for 2-3 days.

Wood stove stove
A wood-burning boiler copes well with heating the camper, but is suitable only for short trips due to the need for a supply of firewood, which takes up a lot of useful space and burns very quickly

A long trip will require a lot of firewood, their placement will reduce the capacious area of ​​the module. And the autonomy of such heating is out of the question, since firewood burns through very quickly and you constantly need to be distracted by the maintenance of the stove.

An alternative to wood can be pellets or pressed sawdust, dubbed the eurodrove. Although they are consumed much more slowly, they will also require a large area to accommodate their stock.

Liquid fuel heaters - gasoline, diesel fuel

As liquid fuel, gasoline or diesel fuel can be used. Their fence comes directly from the tank. The advantage of such a system is its location.

It is located under the camper floor, which makes it possible to rationally use the area of ​​the caravan. In the cold season, such a system can be used to warm the engine before starting.

Diesel heater
Diesel heaters are distinguished by their compactness, do not require additional space and do not reduce the useful volume of the module, but they create quite a lot of noise during operation

The disadvantage of liquid fuel heaters is the high level noise during their operation. Even with perfect sealing of the windows and doors of the camper, the smell of gasoline or diesel fuel in the room cannot be completely avoided.

In addition, you will constantly have to monitor the fuel level in the tank, since in the cold season its consumption increases significantly. Stopping with an empty tank a few tens of kilometers before refueling is not the best travel option.

Camper gas heaters

The main advantage of gas heaters is their higher efficiency compared to electricity, liquid and solid fuels. In addition, such heaters are characterized by their autonomy.

Modern gas equipment automation allows you to not only select the operating mode, but also fully automate the operation of the heating system.

Gas heater for cars
Gas heaters allow you to adjust the intensity of heating, and modern automation not only automates the system, but also ensures its safe operation

Compact gas cylinders of a standard size are able to provide camper residents with heat and a sufficient supply of hot water for a week, even in the cold season. If necessary, standard cylinders can be replaced with cylinders of larger capacity, while increasing the fuel supply by 8-10 times.

Thanks to the autonomy of the work, comfortable operation and high efficiency it gas heaters for garages and campers the most popular among most car caravanning fans.

Therefore, it is on the camper’s gas heating that we will dwell in more detail, we will consider the principle of equipment operation, installation features, as well as safety measures during their operation.

Gas heating caravan

The gas heating system of the caravan when using a liquid coolant is practically no different from the autonomous heating of a private house or apartment using a stationary gas boiler. In the same way, water is heated in the heat exchanger with its subsequent distribution through pipes to the heating radiators.

For heating, a heater operating on the principle of a traditional gas convector can also be used. The air necessary for burning gas does not come from the camper, but is taken from the outside.

Thus, residents of the caravan are not deficient in oxygen. An additional fan installation helps evenly distribute warm air to the most remote parts of the room.

Correct placement of cylinders

For gas cylinders in a motorhome, a compartment is usually provided on the outside of the side. If we are talking about a caravan, then the cylinders are located above the hitch in the luggage area. The cylinder is connected to the system using a flexible hose with subsequent distribution through the pipeline directly to the source of consumption.

Balloon placement
Standard gas cylinders are placed in a special compartment, if necessary, additional gas cylinders can even be placed on the car frame, if the design allows

Traditional compartments hold two gas cylinders. This is a very important point, since without special sensors it is difficult to determine the remaining fuel in the cylinder. It is advisable to always have in stock one full cylinder, so as not to be left without gas on the road.

Golden Rule refuel an empty tank as soon as possible will avoid inconvenience. A standard cylinder holds 11 kg of gas, if necessary and if space is available, you can safely set a cylinder at 100 liters and travel the longest distances without regard to the need for refueling.

The removal of combustion products

As a result of the use of gas, combustion products are formed that require removal. The exhaust system is a conventional steel or coaxial pipe. Depending on the model, the exhaust pipe is mounted in the side wall of the motorhome or in the roof.

In heaters with liquid coolant from the manufacturers Alde and Primus, the removal of combustion products is carried out through the side wall. At the same time, in traditionally used Trumo air gas heaters, combustion products are discharged through a pipe that is mounted on the roof of the camper.

The best manufacturers of gas heating systems

Our climate is very similar to the harsh Scandinavian climate, where car caravanning is very popular.

Therefore, it does not hurt to look at our Scandinavian neighbors to pay attention to manufacturers of gas heaters for camper caravans who have proven themselves when working in critically low temperatures without compromising the comfort of travelers.

Alde and Prіmus with heat transfer fluid

The basis of the operation of heating systems of Alde and Prіmus is a liquid coolant (antifreeze). The system itself is an exact copy of the traditional heating system used in autonomous heating.Heating radiators are placed around the perimeter of the motorhome and are interconnected by an aluminum pipe.

The boiler is equipped with a low speed circulation pump, which pumps the coolant along the circuit. A 12 V battery is sufficient for its operation. The gas boiler works autonomously, but has a built-in module that can be connected to a 220 V power supply at the campsite.

Heated air radiators rush along the windows to the upper part of the cabin, through the ventilation holes enters the roof, where it cools and rushes to the central part of the camper.

Air flow pattern
Warm air from radiators moves up along the walls, thereby cutting off the cold air, which tends to get inside the residential module through the windows

Often, a complete set of boilers includes a system of underfloor heating with a liquid coolant, which moves along a coil mounted in a sandwich panel. An additional circuit when installing cranes may overlap.

Truma air-cooled

The principle of operation of the Truma closed-type gas burner is to draw in cold air from the camper, heat it up and return to the living unit. An air duct system is used to evenly distribute warm air.

The uniformity of air supply is enhanced by a small fan. The distribution of warm air can be controlled by dampers installed on each duct.

A feature of the Truma gas burner is its ignition using a piezoelectric element. The launch is not carried out with the help of a battery, but finger batteries are used. The camper’s interior warms up much faster than with heating systems with a liquid coolant, but at the same time gas consumption increases, and warm air is not distributed evenly.

Gas heaters for heating the camper are distinguished by their autonomy, and when using high-quality automation and installation standards, they are characterized by safe operation.

When choosing equipment power, you need to focus on the area of ​​the motorhome and climatic conditions. For longer trips, a liquid system is ideal. coolant, and for short attacks on the nature, there will be enough air.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Installation of a gas convector in a motorhome:

Overview of the gas heater Truma 3000:

Features of refueling gas cylinders of various standards and the solution to the problem with their refueling:

Car caravanning is exciting, but at the same time very serious. When choosing a gas heater, preference should be given to brands whose product quality is time-tested.

So you not only provide a high level of comfort during the trip, but also get a guarantee for the operation of the purchased equipment.

Want to talk about your option of heating a caravan? Do you have useful information on the topic of the article that is worth sharing with readers? Please leave comments in the side form below, ask questions about interesting or controversial issues, post a photo.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Kostya

    A Webasto or Ebershpeher type hot air gun will not be enough to heat a salon? In general, for me, the discovery is that in our country there are car caravanning lovers.