This article will provide the instructions for installing your RV Propane Heater. These instructions are intended to be followed by an individual with a moderate level of experience, and should not be attempted without supervision.
Installation Instructions RV Propane Heater
1) Install a heavy-duty 30-amp 120/240 volt thermostat switch. Only use one type of thermostat per circuit (i.e., programmable, non-programmable, etc…). Do not bypass any fuses or line breakers or install more than one fuse in series on any circuit supplying power to an RV Trailer space heater.
2) Install a 40-amp propane shutoff solenoid where the propane supply line enters the trailer to ensure that your heaters can rapidly shut off should there be a leak in the plumbing system.
3) Always use dedicated 20 or 30-Amp circuits to power your RV Trailer space heaters, using an in-line fuse between each circuit and battery along with a 30 amp circuit breaker at the service panel which provides protection against overheating of wiring and melted terminals.
Never wire more than one furnace on a single 15-amp 120/240 volt branch circuit because this will overload the wires and breakers, potentially starting a fire. Also, do not wire your furnace directly into household AC lines.
4) Choose a propane supply regulator that will safely and accurately deliver the amount of propane needed for your RV Trailer space heater(s), no more, no less.
Always use a high quality low pressure (LP) regulator rated for at least 30-Amp operation. This step is crucial to prevent overloaded wiring on your furnace circuit and possible overheating of the switch or fixture, causing it to melt and catch fire. Make sure to install an LP pressure regulator on every branch line/propane delivery hose leading from the main tank into your trailer.
Do not connect multiple LP regulators directly together as this may cause an overpressure condition which can lead to leaks or safety risk! If you are using a manifold system in conjunction separate regulators ensure they have check valves to prevent the separation of LP gas at manifold nipples.
A separate regulator and line on each furnace/heater can greatly simplify your troubleshooting efforts should there be a problem with one system.
5) Use galvanized steel, copper or braided stainless steel propane supply lines rated for 20-Amp operation (i.e., 3/8″ OD). Never use Teflon® coated tape wrapped around the propane pipe for insulation. It will give off toxic fumes when it burns!
Also avoid using plastic rope to seal propane hoses as this will melt under hot conditions, creating shrapnel that could endanger people or pets nearby.
6) Always use 1/2″ flexible metal or PEX copper tubing to supply propane from your regulator (or manifold system if used) up to the furnace.
Adjustable metal or PVC expansion joints at all hose connections will help prevent kinking and damage to the lines, especially when traveling over rough terrain.
7) Never use rope for securing propane hoses around objects because they can quickly catch fire during normal operation of the heater(s).
When sitting next to a warm vessel like an RV water heater we recommend using an arm restraint in conjunction with a flexible braided stainless steel pipe sleeve. For larger installations where space may be limited we recommend using a full-body propane hose wrap for additional support and protection against heat/flame contact.
8) Beware that when connecting near Teflon® propane hoses they will break down and leak if they are not hot (above approximately 165°F). If the length of the hose is more than 6 feet (2m) it may need to be drained of propane gas pressure before installing.
9) When transporting your motorhome, check all connections for tightness at least once a day to prevent leaks that could create an explosion or fire. Be sure to drain any LP gas in the lines while traveling so as to avoid a dangerous rupture.
10) The amount of heat required by today’s high-powered, energy efficient RVs must be carefully matched with the size of your furnace and heating system.
It is very important that you have properly sized furnace installed because it will save you money on fuel and extend the life of your system.
11) Watch out for overheating! Because RVs are relatively enclosed vehicles, heaters installed within them can run at higher temperatures than traditional furnaces.
If it is hot outside, refrain from running your furnace until the motorhome has cooled off; or if you leave it running while not in use, make sure to monitor its operation periodically to avoid overloading the circuit which could cause a fire or explosion.
12) Never store flammable liquids like gasoline inside your RV Trailer while using propane heaters inside or near it. Gasoline fumes can travel back down lines and into the heater tank where they may explode when ignited by pilot lights/ign on some models.
If you must install your tank outside, locate it as far away from the trailer (especially its passenger compartment) as possible to minimize fumes in that area.
13) Oil-filled heaters require regular monitoring of oil levels, which should be checked and topped off at least once a month during use. Without proper maintenance these units can develop leaks or even burst into flames under hot conditions!
14) Never remove the low water cut-off device on an LP gas furnace or heater unless a leak is suspected because this will allow dangerous amounts of propane gas to flow up the line directly to your regulator for distribution throughout the entire RV Trailer system!
Propane is heavier than air so if you smell it nearby but not inside the vehicle you should investigate the source immediately!
15) Make sure your RV Trailer is level when operating an LP gas furnace inside it to avoid potentially hazardous situations. For example, a furnace installed in a tilted RV could cause propane fumes to collect under it instead of escaping up through its vent pipe until enough pressure builds up to force open some shut-off valve (like on a water heater), causing an explosion or fire!
16) To quickly tell if one of your propane appliances has been left unattended and still has fuel running through it, place a small piece of tissue paper nearby like next to the pilot light. It will change color quickly if exposed to leaking propane gas.
17) When using larger units that generate significant amounts of heat make sure that they are installed in an area with adequate ventilation to prevent moisture condensation on windows and inside walls from rotting the wood or causing mold/mildew accumulation.
It is also a good idea to keep them away from source of air vents as well as corners where excessive heat can cause drier sheeting, carpets and other nearby objects to dry out, become brittle and burn at lower temperatures than required.
18) Finally it is important for RV Trailer owners who use propane gas furnaces, either alone or in combination with another fuel source, to install carbon monoxide monitors near their furnace(s).
This deadly gas often builds up undetectable without such detectors and can cause serious illness or even death! If you have any questions related to propane gas appliances in your RV Trailer.
19) Electric space heaters are also useful for heating RVs that don’t have an onboard furnace or central system. Like oil-filled ones there is a risk of electric shock if you get too close to one while it’s ON, which means they should never be installed very near the bed area (or anywhere children could play with them).
Besides this potential danger these units run much cooler than conventional furnaces and will not dry out the air inside as severely and quickly as propane models can!
Keep in mind however that if you use one of these on a rainy day or during cool evenings when humidity levels are low you will need to turn up the furnace thermostat as high as it can go to compensate for any heat loss that would otherwise occur from an electric heater being used alone.
20) Propane-powered fans and heaters are excellent ways to quickly move warm air into a cold RV while you take your time in getting ready for the trip!
Some models, like Wavecrest , also have built-in timer capabilities for automatically turning themselves on and off at set times each day. These may not be quite as good at heating a vehicle during winter months since they generate mostly ‘cool’ air but they are much safer than portable ones when venting indoors (not near furnishings/carpets etc.) .
21) As mentioned above it is safer and healthier to allow propane-fired furnaces convert all of the water tanks contents into warm, dry atmosphere while you are preparing for your trip than it is to turn on the fridge and force this moisture out as cold air through an outside condensation drain hose!
22) Some RVs come with batteries that are placed inside spaces under the RV Trailer floor. Unfortunately this can be a dangerous arrangement because any spilled battery fluid could quickly run down into a hole in the floor and start migrating out towards other components like your furnace before you notice what’s happening!
23) If you have gas appliances installed in your RV make sure they still operate correctly after being moved from one location to another.
Propane leaks via cracked or loose fittings can lead to dangerous levels of this gas accumulating inside the RV and not being detected for several days! Many leaks however are much more readily apparent. If you have a propane furnace make sure that the flames coming out of it’s front burn cleanly without leaving excessive black smoke trails behind them.
Are propane heaters safe in an RV?
The answer is no. On a basic level, an RV along with its fuel tanks has a much smaller surface area than the typical home, which means that heat and fire will spread farther and faster in an RV.
This makes propane heaters inherently unsafe for use in RVs. In addition to this, according to the U.S Department of Energy (DOE), certain types of ventilation systems can actually intensify flames or blow them out so they spread quicker.
Do you need ventilation when using a propane heater?
The propane heater may require ventilation and the best option is to use the AC in your RV, if possible.
If using the AC isn’t an option, you can try opening a window nearby or another room in your home. This will help with any smell that is emitted from the heater as well as any excess smoke. Be sure to keep these windows open during operation and close them again when you’re finished.
Does a propane heater put off carbon monoxide?
No ,Propane is a gas, which means you’re not breathing in any exhaust. Don’t operate the heater in a closed area.
Follow directions carefully and keep it at least 3 feet away from walls and other combustible building materials if you are using the heater for heat or to dry anything flammable.