Finding the right caravan heater: a comparison of heater types
On cool days you’re happy when you have one and for winter campers its an absolute must: a caravan heater. Amongst other things, the heating output depends on the size and insulation of your caravan. But you also have to consider the energy source, space in the vehicle and your personal comfort. Find out which heater is the right one for you and your caravan.
Air heaters and water heaters
Most caravans have an air heater. This heats the air inside the caravan by drawing in air and heating it in a burner. The air is then distributed evenly throughout the vehicle via warm air ducts and outlets with the aid of a fan.
Water heating systems are installed mainly in top-of-the-range caravans. Initially, caravan heaters such as this heat a closed circulating water system. This then provides heat to the room via a radiator. The principle is similar to central heating in buildings.
Depending on the model, air and water heating systems run on gas, electricity or both.
Advantages of air heaters
- Heat relatively quickly
- Easy to install and retrofit
- Relatively inexpensive
Advantages of water heaters
- Distribute heat very evenly
- Can also be installed as underfloor heating
Gas heaters and electric heaters
Gas heaters are the most common types of heater in caravans – LPG is a true all-rounder and is on board for every camping holiday. The gas flows from the cylinder through a gas pressure regulator and high-pressure hoses to the heater where it ignites. The open flame in the burner heats the outside air that is drawn into the heater. The ambient air is heated via a heat exchanger and is distributed throughout the living area of the caravan through fins on the heater or via a warm air distributor.
Electric heaters have become established mainly as a useful addition to a caravan gas heater. They are regarded as especially practical and fast, and are particularly worthwhile at campsites that offer a flat rate electricity charge. You can use the additional heater on its own during inter-seasonal periods or run it together with the heater on colder days.
The Ultraheat from Truma, for example, is an additional electric heater that is the ideal complement to Truma S heaters. The Ultraheat heats elements which in turn heat the ambient air. The air circulation fan distributes the warm air evenly throughout the room.
Truma also offers an electric heater for the VarioHeat. The E-Kit is either connected directly to the VarioHeat or is integrated into the warm air branch. The two heating coils each deliver 900 watts – in other words, a total of 1800 watts – additional power.
Advantages of gas heaters
- Large range of models
- Empty gas cylinders are easily swapped for full ones
- Relatively inexpensive compared to electric heaters
Advantages of electric heaters
- Space-saving and lightweight
- Heat very quickly
- Practical for occasional use
- Ideal as an additional heater, also to save gas
Combination appliances with space heater and water heater
Combination appliances consisting of a gas heater and water heater are becoming increasingly popular amongst campers. This is because just one appliance is needed to heat both the caravan and water. This saves weight and you have more room for luggage.
Combi heaters, for example, are installed below the bench or beneath the bed. The warm air is distributed evenly throughout the vehicle through several air outlets. In winter mode, the caravan heater also heats the water – a 10 litre water tank is integrated in the heater. In summer mode you can heat the water independently of the space heater. Combination heaters are also available with integrated electric heating elements. This reduces the time needed to heat water.
Advantages of Combi heaters
- Two appliances in one
- Even warm air distribution through several air outlets
- Flexible installation
- Pleasant room climate
Heating caravans effectively and safely: our tips
- Keep the air outlets of your caravan heater clear and don’t place damp clothes on top of radiators or the fan to dry.
- Make sure that all safety standards are fulfilled if you want to pre-heat your caravan while you’re driving.
- The Airmix from Truma reduces condensation and ensures sufficient fresh air inside the vehicle.
- Heat your caravan continuously during a winter holiday. Set the heater at the lowest level when you leave your vehicle for longer. This prevents the caravan from cooling completely.
- As a winter camper, you should use a cowl extension to ensure that the cowl is always clear even when it snows and that extraction works perfectly.
- In winter, also ensure that frozen condensation or meltwater does not block the side cowl.