What Is an RV Heat Pump? What To Know

What Is an RV Heat Pump?

What Is an RV Heat Pump?

RV (Recreational Vehicle) heat pumps are heating and cooling systems used in RVs Or Trailers, which need to be able to withstand the harsh environment of the outdoors.

RV heat pumps can be very useful for providing heating and cooling for RVs And Trailers.

How Does A RV Heat Pump Work?

A RV heat pump is made up of three main parts: an outdoor unit, a condenser, and an indoor unit.

The outside unit has a compressor that compresses refrigerant gas, which lowers its temperature. This heated gas moves through coils buried in insulation on the ground.

The typical heat pump works by using refrigerant to move heat from one place (the cool side) to another (the hot side), as opposed to a furnace or air conditioner that directly heats or cools the air.

It picks up heat from the earth or ambient air. When the gas reaches the condenser – also buried in insulation – it cools down and changes back to a liquid form.

The liquid goes into a coil inside the indoor unit where it evaporates to become gas again. This process works in reverse to provide cooling when the indoor coils are exposed to air.

Heat pumps require electricity, so it is important to have a backup generator if you live in an area where power outages are commonplace. Heat pumps work well at night since the temperature drops and during the day when sunlight can be harnessed for free solar energy.

Do RV Heat Pumps Use A lot Of Electricity?

They use little electricity because both the compressor and fan of an RV heat pump operate on DC current, which uses less energy than AC current.

Gas prices are expensive when using propane for heat, so using an RV heat pump is more affordable with lower operating costs.

Using an RV heat pump requires no venting like conventional furnaces do, making installation much easier and reducing installation time by 50 percent. Also, require less maintenance than furnaces.

Is A RV Heat Pump Better Then A Propane Heater and Furnaces?

While conventional Furnaces and propane heaters are better for providing immediate heat, a RV heat pump’s ability to be used continuously and provide safe cooling makes it a good choice for people who want both heating and air conditioning in an RV.

Using an RV heat pump reduces the amount of electricity needed to keep these systems operational during extended power outages.

A typical single-wide mobile home uses as much energy – 17,280 kWh annually – as two refrigerators and one central air conditioner combined, according to the U.S Department of Energy (DOE). In addition, using an electric space heater instead of a furnace can cut fuel use by 20 percent or more on cold days.

However, an RV heat pump uses electricity to provide heating and cooling, which makes it a more costly option than using other energy sources.

RV Solar Heater VS RV Heat Pump

Consequently, on days when the sun warms up an RV, a solar water heater can supplement the heat pump’s capabilities so that the unit does not need to be turned on at all.

This is especially useful in areas where temperatures fluctuate greatly between day and night. An additional benefit of such systems is that they help prevent pipes from freezing during cold nights.

Since most RVs also have regular water-heating tanks [a source of supplemental hot water], they can be used for both heating and cooling purposes at different times of the year or in different regions where temperature changes are expected.

What Is an RV Heat Pump

How Efficient is a RV Heat Pump?

The RV Heat Pump offers a very different method of providing hot water for your needs than the tank style electric or gas units which are standard on most RVs.  

The heat pump is more like those found at home in that it uses an electrically powered compressor to move refrigerant through coils, much like a home refrigerator works.  

This unit takes only about 15 seconds to bring cold water up to 120 degrees and has the ability to reach temperatures of 175 degrees or more depending on how powerful the unit is.  

RV heat pump water heaters are designed so that they can also work as part of your air conditioning system in warmer climates but when used this way have an efficiency rating of only 4 stars (about 25% less efficient than their standard use of heating water).

7 Advantages of RV Heat Pumps

1. Extended Lifespan – A high-efficiency heat pump can circulate the coolant through the heat exchanger many more times than an electric furnace can. This means that the heat exchanger will last longer, which results in a lower life cycle cost and extended lifespan.

2. Lower Maintenance – Since electric furnaces involve a lot of moving parts, they require regular maintenance to keep everything clean and running smoothly. It’s not uncommon to have to replace parts once or twice a year. With a heat pump, there are few moving parts so there is little maintenance required.

3. Higher Efficiency – With gas furnaces, air leaks need to be sealed when they occur because air leaking from the ducts will result in significant energy losses. These air leaks are one of the major causes of that “musty” smell in your home. Since a heat pump uses a closed loop (a refrigerant), air leaks will not impact efficiency in the same way.

4. Comfort – The fact that ducts can be sealed using mastic means that you can insulate the house to prevent cool drafts from entering and hot air from escaping. This prevents the temperature inside from fluctuating as much, resulting in maximum comfort for residents.

5. Lower Emissions – Heat pumps offer higher efficiencies so they produce lower emissions than gas furnaces or electric furnaces. Of course, it’s important to make sure you have a green energy provider who has invested in renewable energy resources, like wind turbines or solar panels, to ensure the power used by the heat pump comes from a clean source.

6. Lower Insulation – With electric furnaces, your home needs 72-inches of insulation in order to reach R20 for walls and R40 for ceilings. This is because gas furnaces need more air circulation than heat pumps do, meaning that it’s more difficult to keep heat in or out of the house with them. However, if you’re comfortable with radiant floor heating or an air-source heat pump then there is no need for major insulation upgrades.

7. No Storage Tanks – If you have propane gas (another type of fossil fuel) installed on premise at your home then you will require a large storage tank that will take up space inside


RV heat pumps are not as expensive to operate as gas or electric furnaces. This is because the energy source for an RV air conditioning unit is 12-volt DC power from a vehicle’s battery and solar panel. This also makes it more convenient to use than conventional units, which can require natural gas hookups or long electrical cords.

RV heat pumps provide homeowners with a wide range of temperature control options that include fan-only speeds in the summer and heat-only modes during cooler parts of the year. In fact, some RV air conditioners have built-in fans that cool at night while the vehicle is parked at campgrounds.

[catlist id=13]


We own and operate multiple camping and RV Trailer site. Its our passion to see the world thru camping and traveling. There is no bigger pleasure for us then to share with you our readers our experience in RV Travels and Camping.

Recent Content