When the weather cools down it’s time to warm up the caravan. So what is the best solution for you?
Non Powered and Budget Friendly Options
Unless you are chasing the sun, before reaching for a powered heating solution you can keep yourself warm with a good wool doona, blankets and thermal underwear. You can add a mattress topper or underlay to your mattress to help keep you warm in bed and cook using the oven to add heat to the caravan at the same time. Make sure you have good seals around your windows and doors and adding heavy curtains over the caravan windows make a big difference.
Gas, Diesel and Electric Caravan Heaters
If it’s time to get serious about a powered heating option for your caravan your choices involve using either gas, diesel or electricity.
Gas Heaters: These allow you to efficiently heat your van when camped both at caravan parks and when free camping. They are compact units that typically fit under the bed or under a seat and they are a ducted unit. They run on 12V power and require a gas supply to heat the caravan. The unit needs to be fitted by a licenced gas fitter and can be fitted as an aftermarket item.
Gas heaters use the same gas bottles that may be supplying your cooking appliances, gas hot water and fridge. You need to have adequate ventilation when using a gas heater and many have an auto shutdown function to stop the unit from overheating. The most popular gas heaters we install are the Truma gas heaters.
Diesel Heaters: Another compact option for heating your caravan, Diesel heaters run on 12V power and diesel fuel. It is easy to carry diesel fuel with you in a jerry can to top up the heater as required but remember that Diesel is a dirty fuel with a strong smell. Diesel heaters can be a little noisy and they do require routine maintenance and cleaning.
Diesel heaters allow you to heat the van “off the grid” and many have an auto shutdown function to stop the unit from overheating. The most common brand of diesel heater we install is the Webasto heater.
Electric Heaters: Whilst cheap and portable, you need to find bench or floor space to place the heater. The 240w heater also requires you to be able to plug into mains power at a caravan park. You also need to remember that the power supply at a caravan park may not be able to sustain you running a portable heater on high heat as well as other high electricity draw items such as kettles and hair dryers.
Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners: These are often factory fitted to the roof as a large cavity is required to house the heater. Efficient all year round, it is not always possible to retrofit a reverse cycle air conditioner to an older caravan as the roof requires reinforcement to carry the weight of the unit.
Benefits of reverse cycle air conditioners include being able to set the temperature you want, the dehumidifying effect on the air and the ability to safely run these units all night.
You need to be careful if installing a reverse cycle air conditioner onto the roof of a pop top caravan as the roof struts of the pop top and the thinner roof construction often can’t support the weight of the air conditioning unit.
A licensed electrician is legally required to install the wiring for a reverse cycle air conditioner and you need to allow time for the unit to heat up. These units can be a little noisy and generally require 240v power supply but if you frequent caravan parks and book powered sites it is a great option.
When it comes to heating for your caravan unfortunately it’s not as simple as saying ‘I WANT THAT ONE’, Make sure you do your research and ask yourself these questions:
Where am I going to fit it?
Is it a sustainable option?
Is it financially the right option?
Bold Trailer And Caravan Repair Centre supplies and installs caravan gas and diesel heaters. If you would like to have a heating solution for your caravan please email or call us on 8544-8114 to select the best solution for your needs.