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Cheap Heat System: Keep Your RV Warm This Winter without Propane

This post was updated on December 7th, 2022

Cheap Heat System Gives You the Best of Both Worlds

Fall and winter are the time of year full-time RVers need to be getting ready for winter. Most RVs have a wonderful propane furnace that helps them to stay toasty and warm inside. There is no doubt that propane heat is invaluable when you are off the grid and it’s cold outside. However, if you hook up to the electrical system of an RV park, wouldn’t it be great to be able to run your furnace on electricity and save your propane for other purposes? RV Comfort Systems’ Cheap Heat System is a hybrid heating system that attaches to your existing heating system. It allows you to flip a switch to choose between running your furnace on propane or electricity, depending on where you happen to be.

diagram of cheap heat system added to existing gas furnace
Diagram from RV Comfort Systems

Advantages Of The Cheap Heat System

Aside from having the ability to choose between heating fuels, the Cheap Heat System offers some benefits that make adding it to an RV heating system well worth considering :

  • Being able to switch to electricity means you can still heat your RV if you run out of propane.
  • The price of propane is higher than the price of electricity in many areas.
  • Eliminating burner noise makes Cheap Heat quieter than propane heat.
  • Cheap Heat has redundant safety features that make it safer than propane-fuelled heat.
  • Easy for an RV tech to install in most RVs.
  • It’s much safer than using space heaters, which are a leading cause of RV fires in the winter.

How Does The Cheap Heat System Work?

The Cheap Heat system is an add-on component designed to work with your RV’s existing furnace system. The unit works with both 120 or 240-volt AC systems and mounts directly downstream of the existing propane furnace. It uses tungsten heating coils and your furnace’s existing 12-volt DC fan to push heated air throughout the distribution ducting in the RV. You can configure a Cheap Heat system for 1,800 Watts, 3,750 Watts, or 5,000 Watts.

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RV Comfort Systems says the unit will heat your RV to a toasty 70º Fahrenheit even when the outside temperature drops to 10º F.

Cheap Heat’s Safety Features

RV Comfort Systems president and developer Larry Mcgaugh points out that the Cheap Heat has redundant features, including a bi-metal high-limit safety switch wired into the coil assembly and a fusible link within the heater coils that burns itself out if the unit overheats. When the fusible link burns out, the heater shuts down completely, preventing potentially disastrous fire ignition. You can easily replace the fusible link for about $15 after the problem that caused it to burn out is fixed. They also designed the controller to handle power irregularities seamlessly.

What You Need to Know:

Cheap Heat will work in most RVs with ducted or direct-flow heating systems. To find out which unit you need, you’ll need to know the year, make, and model of your RV and the model of heater it has and refer to the company’s compatibility chart.

You should also know that installing a Cheap Heat System is not recommended as a DIY project and should be done by a certified RV technician. With this in mind, RV Comfort Systems recommends having the installation done through an RV dealer who sells Cheap Heat Systems.

All that being said, the system doesn’t come, well, cheap to install. Depending on the type of furnace you have, the total cost of a unit can run up to $1500 for the unit and labor together. Like most luxury RV add-ons, the nicety of not having to use space heaters and the fact that most ducted systems also keep the bays and plumbing above freezing comes down to paying for convenience. If you are RVing in a very cold climate that stays below freezing for prolonged periods, it just might be a convenience worth springing for.

Other Non-Propane Heating Options

While Cheap Heat is an excellent add-on and alternative heat source to propane, it isn’t the only option. RVers have been pretty creative in finding ways to keep warm without propane.

  • Warm Clothes
  • Electric Blankets
  • Space Heaters
  • Skirting

If your RV air conditioner has a heat pump setting, you already have a good electric heat source. Unfortunately, heat pumps stop working well when outside temperatures fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Cheap Heat system looks like a viable option if you are looking for a solution that turns your existing propane fuelled RV furnace into a hybrid electric/propane heating system.

More Winter RVing Tips

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25 thoughts on “Cheap Heat System: Keep Your RV Warm This Winter without Propane”

    • Exactly. And it’s not the burner that is noisy. It’s the blower fan that will keep you awake. Sort of like checking into a motel room and every 30 minutes the maid comes in the vacuum the carpet.😆

  1. What’s the general cost of one of these units it’s a Suburban I have no books on it it’s a brand new camper I’m going to get space book it’s a bar Suburban heater think an 18 has tubes

  2. I have personally installed cheap heat in my 2007 holiday rambler toy hauler and my 2016 forest river Cardinal. Wow! No more cold air being blown at start and stop of propane cycle. Instant heat by electric coils.

  3. Here we go again!!!! Using the park’s electricity is not legit. If you are paying extra for that electricity on a meter is different.

    Then comes the problems of overloading the park electrical pedestal. That is how fires occur. Sometimes that circuit breaker does not trip in time to prevent overheating the wiring and the circuits. Even the circuit breakers in your RV may not trip in time to prevent overheating the wiring, and there the RV fire is again.

    You the RV owner are responsible fir heating your RV…..NOT the park!!!!

  4. I wish I had known about this cheap heat system back in fall 2020 because I was in mine till 12/15/2020 in Pa and water was frozen some a couple of times. Not a hard freeze but more like a slushy but with this heater I would of been able to stay in it all winter. Always my luck I didn’t know about it.

  5. Will this adapt to the furnace in a 2023 Forest River FKS 270 travel trailer? I am full time, and have about two months of cold weather, at times in the past below freezing for a week at a time. It’s mostly tens at night and 30’s to 40’s during the day. Looking for alternative to 100 gallon propane tank and skirting.

  6. I didn’t learn anything from this post…all it said, I’m going to save money!!
    Never said anything about, what, how,where,why!!!
    I’m smelling a scam here!!

    • Hello,
      Thanks for reading. We aren’t affiliated with the product in this post. However, the money-saving part is that electricity is cheaper in many places than propane. For weekenders, the electricity is included in the cost of the site. Therefore, it is cheaper to use this system depending on how long a person camps in cold weather. As the article states, the device is installed on your existing furnace with a switch that allows you to run your RV furnace on either propane or electricity. In other words, it turns your propane furnace into an electric heater that blows through the floor ducts of the rig.

      The article focuses on a way to heat an RV without using propane. The “Cheap Heat System” referred to in the article’s title is the product’s name, not a promise to the reader. Of course, like all products, it’s up to each individual to decide if a particular product will benefit them and their unique RVing and financial situation.

      We apologize if there was any confusion about the intent of the information in the article due to the product’s name.

      Thank you again for being a Camper Smarts reader. Safe travels, and happy camping.

  7. Be very careful. The wattages mentioned in this article can overload the electrical capacities of most RV’s. Also electrical rates are going up in leaps and bounds. Most RV parks are metering electrical usage at an additional charge for your camping spot.


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