A lot of people enjoy the freedom and convenience that comes with owning an RV. However, there are some drawbacks to living in a vehicle for long periods of time. For example, you have to be very careful about conserving energy because the fuel is limited. One way to conserve energy is by using a propane furnace rather than relying on electricity or gas furnaces all the time. In this blog post, we will discuss how much propane an RV furnace uses and other considerations!
How to calculate the rate of propane used
There are a few ways to estimate how much propane an RV furnace uses.
The first is to contact your local gas company and ask them what the average output of a home’s propane usage rate is. This will give you an approximate idea of how much propane one should use in their furnace every hour, which can help determine if they are using too much or not enough.
There are also various charts and calculators that can help determine how many hours a propane tank will last in an RV furnace, though the results from these tools should be taken with a grain of salt as they tend to have inconsistencies when it comes to real-world usage.
You can also do it by yourself using the following calculation:
To calculate the amount of propane used by your RV furnace, simply multiply each hour times how many inches you have set on the regulator.
For example, if you have a 40,000 BTU furnace and the regulator is set on 12 inches of pressure then that’s equal to 480 cubic feet per hour.
Therefore your propane usage rate would be 480 x 24 hours = 11,520 cubic feet in one day.
In this example, you can see how it only takes around two hours for any given tank of propane to run out so it’s important to keep an eye on when tanks need replacing or refilling.
The RV’s Furnace size
It is also important to know that propane furnaces come in different sizes, depending on the size of your RV. Smaller RVs will use small-sized furnaces to heat up their interiors. Conversely, larger sized RVs need bigger furnace units as they have greater interior space and more people who will be staying inside at once.
The most common sizes are:
- 30,000 BTU/h furnace unit
These small-sized furnaces are suitable for RVs that have an interior size of under 450 square feet. It can heat up this much space because it has the capacity to produce 30,000 BTUs worth of heating power. This type is commonly used by smaller RV models such as Class Cs and travel trailers with a length between 19 and 21 feet long. Also known as “toad” or towable units, they are easy to install in most types of vehicles due to their lightweight construction materials. They do not take too much time before being able to provide sufficient warmth inside your vehicle either since they reach operating temperature quickly. Their compact size allows them to fit well inside the limited space of smaller RVs.
No need to be concerned about pilot lights or safety because these furnaces do not have them at all! This type is ideal for those who aren’t mechanically inclined but still wish to enjoy comfortable winters inside their vehicle. Just like normal household appliances, you only need to flip a switch and wait for it to heat up before enjoying its warmth anyway.
- 20,000 BTU/h furnace unit
They come equipped with fan blowers that help circulate air so that people inside your RV will feel even warmer than before. With this type, it may be difficult for you to pinpoint any one area where the warmth seems particularly concentrated because its heating capabilities work well over large spaces at once.
The main downside associated with this type of furnace is its low energy efficiency which isn’t as good compared to other types. However, it compensates for this by working well even with a limited amount of propane inside your tank.
- 40,000 BTU/h furnace unit
These furnaces can heat up RVs with an interior that is about 525 square feet in size. They are the most common type of propane furnace used by households and recreational vehicles alike due to their large heating power! At 40,000 BTU/h you know your RV will be nice and warm even if it has a larger than average capacity for people inside. This makes them ideal for short-term overnight stays at rest stops instead of spending money on more expensive accommodations while driving between destinations. You’ll also have no problems using these units during winter camping trips or motorhome vacations longer than just one night either because they have enough heating energy to keep everyone inside nice and cosy all day long!
All three furnace types vary in price but all of them are relatively affordable compared to other options found online. You can also contact a service technician if you have trouble with your furnace sooner rather than later too.
What if you have more than one furnace unit?
In a situation when you have two furnace units or more, the consumption is lower per unit.
- For example, one furnace unit uses 0.010 gallons per hour at low speed and 0.014 gallons per hour at high speed.
- Two furnace units used 0.005 gallons per hour on a “low” setting or 0.008 gallons/hour on the “high” setting mode.
On the other hand, when you have two or more furnaces running simultaneously, the overall cost is higher because of increased electricity usage from multiple heating elements being on all of the time rather than just one element going while others are off. It gives better fuel economy by utilizing only one furnace unit that would be using less propane for space heating.
If you have more than two furnace units that are being run simultaneously, the propane usage over time would be even greater with each passing hour of use as if they were all set to low mode still heating their own respective areas respectively but also doing so by utilizing multiple sources of heat from those additional furnaces.
Two furnaces are better than one, but if they’re both set to be on “low” mode that would use less propane overall compared to turning them both on simultaneously then off again repeatedly throughout a twelve-hour period say from dusk till dawn or whatever twelve-hour period you are looking at for example of use.
Tips for increasing RV furnace efficiency
- Ensure that the furnace is clean and well maintained. A dirty or clogged burner can draw excess propane, causing it to burn inefficiently. Dirty filters also contribute to this problem by increasing airflow through the unit. The more efficient an RV furnace works, the less fuel you need and the lower your operating costs will be.
- Only run appliances when necessary as running them continuously will drain vehicle battery power very quickly. Be particularly careful with water heaters and air conditioning units as these often use a lot of electricity even if they are not in use.
- Consider replacing older models with newer ones that meet current EPA guidelines such as those using catalytic converters for maximum efficiency. For example, look into buying Energy Star certified furnaces which have been shown to be up to 27% more efficient than standard models.
- Install a programmable thermostat for optimal energy efficiency and convenience when travelling and camping in the RV. These devices allow you to automatically turn heaters on and off depending on your personal schedule, which eliminates wasted propane due to overuse while you sleep or are away from the vehicle during the day.
- Use ceiling fans in conjunction with heating elements as these will help circulate warm air throughout your camper allowing it to reach every corner of the space quickly without having too high an output setting on individual units. This can save time (and therefore fuel) by not allowing cold spots that take longer than they should for heated areas inside the unit to catch up. The greater the surface area of the space being heated, the faster it will warm up.
- Ensure that your furnace vents are not blocked by furniture or anything else as this can reduce airflow and cause combustion problems resulting in an inefficient burn. It can also lead to carbon monoxide issues if any fumes escape into the interior cabin before they have been properly vented out through a vent opening on top of the unit.
- Make sure that the furnace has been installed properly to ensure maximum efficiency and safety.
Does an RV furnace use a lot of propane?
This really depends on the type of furnace that you have. Standard RV furnaces tend to use a lot more propane than catalytic heaters do, but this is going to depend on your specific situation and how long you’re gone. A catalytic heater can last up to 36 hours while running at medium, so if you go out for a few days most of the time, this is definitely going to be your best bet.
How long will my RV furnace run on propane?
This is going to depend on a lot of factors. Generally speaking, you can expect your furnace run time to be about eight hours for every pound of propane in the tank. If you have a larger RV with more space and therefore more stuff that will need heating, this could potentially be even less than that since heat rises naturally.
How long does a 30 lb propane tank last in an RV?
The amount of time that your propane tank will last really depends on what you’re using the furnace for. If it’s just to heat up a small area in an extended power outage, then you can expect this to be about five hours or so – but if you’re constantly running the heater throughout the day and night as most people do during the winter, you’re looking at about one or two days.
Useful Video: How Much PROPANE Does Your RV Furnace BURN ? VS A BUDDY HEATER .. ??
Now we have discussed all necessary things to determine how much propane an RV furnace uses.
Now you can feel comfortable going on a trip knowing how much propane an RV furnace uses.
I hope this information is helpful for your future travels! If there are any questions, concerns or thoughts please let me know in the comments below! Thanks again and happy travels 🙂