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Can I Run RV Furnace While Driving?

    Updated December 12, 2022

    Cold conditions while travelling in an RV can be energizing, it can also be difficult to stay warm as you move from one place to another. It’s typically OK when you’re in the cabin, but what if your passengers are experiencing uncomfortable cold in the coach? Is it feasible to run your RV furnace while you’re moving to keep their space warm?

    Can You Run Your RV Furnace While Driving?

    Most people concur that it is fine and doable to operate your RV furnace while operating a vehicle. Nevertheless, there are a few things you need to be aware of when adjusting your thermostat for a drive day.

    The most likely fuel sources for your RV furnace are propane and 12-volt DC power. Your furnace is powered by 12-Volt DC from your RV house batteries, which also power the electronics, fans, and ignition. Whether in a motorhome or tow vehicle, the engine’s alternator supplies power to keep your batteries charged while you’re travelling. This ought to be adequate to meet your furnace’s power needs.

    You must keep your propane on in order to run the furnace. Whether this is safe in and of itself is up for debate, and we’ll talk more about the circumstances where it isn’t below. If your RV has slides that cover heat outlets when they come in, that should be taken into account as well. You can be directing a lot of heat in a place where it won’t effectively dissipate. Check your RV’s interior to check if opening your slides will obstruct any heat ducts. It may not be a good idea to drive when your furnace is on in certain situations.

    Is It Safe to Run Your RV Furnace While Driving?

    This is a common query among more recent RV owners and those taking their dogs along. You might be asking if RV furnaces are safe because safety should always come first in life. Yes, it is the answer. Furnaces for RVs are just as safe as ones for homes, but as with anything, you must be sure to take the right safety precautions.

    For years, RVers have driven while operating their furnaces, often with no negative consequences. Just be mindful that you’ll need to turn them off when stopped for refilling, traveling through tunnels, or even over some bridges because they typically run on propane. Driving while using propane carries several inherent risks. Many people use it to maintain the functionality of their propane RV refrigerators and other appliances. However, there is a danger of igniting and a raging fuel supply for fire if a propane line is ruptured due to shifting or being in an accident.

    Keep a tight check on the pilot flame of the furnace, if you have one, to make sure the wind doesn’t blow it out while you’re travelling. You might be letting propane seep into your appliance if the pilot flame on your furnace doesn’t stay lit. You ensure that you are informed of any exhaust leaks, make sure to check the batteries and expiration date of your RV’s carbon monoxide detector. Due to differential pressures while driving, running a furnace while driving increases the risk of exhaust entering the bus.

    How to Safely Run Your RV Furnace While Driving

    If you decide to use your RV furnace while you’re traveling, we advise setting it to the lowest level possible to shorten the overall run time. Additionally, to concentrate the heat, seal off any portions of the RV that you don’t need to be heated while you’re traveling.

    Next, review your route to see if there are any prohibited locations you must turn off while driving through. Remember to turn off the furnace and the propane when refueling. Include periodic pauses to ensure the furnace is still running correctly and to check the pilot light. This is particularly important in a towable RV because you can keep an eye on it while traveling because you aren’t inside the heated area.