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There’s nothing quite like cozying up to the RV fireplace heating your camper on a cold day. Sadly, having a traditional fireplace isn’t realistic in a camper. Today’s motorhomes and travel trailers now come with RV fireplaces that heat your camper and provide a great cozy ambiance. Let’s look at what RV fireplaces are, and how they work.
How do RV Fireplaces Heat Your Camper?
An RV fireplace is basically a space heater with realistic faux flames for ambiance. Electric fireplaces create this realistic flame effect using (usually) LED lights and a rotating metal reflector. The flickering lights that come off the reflector create the illusion of a crackling fire.
Usually, an RV fireplace heating your camper works by passing cool air over a heating element. This warms up the air and then it pushes the heated air out with a fan. That means there’s no fuel to burn or byproducts to vent out. All you have to do is plug it in, switch it on, and you’re good to go!
An electric, RV fireplace is safer and cleaner than a normal wood-burning fireplace. Especially in a small space like an RV. Plus, because you aren’t burning anything, it’s a greener option.
Are RV Fireplaces Gas or Electric?
You might be wondering: are RV fireplaces gas or electric? Many home fireplaces use gas so it’s a fair question to ask.
However, RV fireplaces are always electric. Electric fireplaces are cheaper, safer to operate, and easier to maintain, making them perfectly suited to RVs.
There are propane heaters for RVs however, they don’t look like fireplaces. Plus, you’ll need some kind of ventilation if you want to use one.
How to Add a Fireplace to an RV
Some campers come with a built-in RV fireplace. But can you put a fireplace in an RV that doesn’t already have one?
The answer is yes, you can add a fireplace to an RV! Because they don’t require ventilation, you just need to find a space for it and to plug it in.
If you have a fireplace that requires an enclosure, you could install it in the face of a cabinet rather than building an enclosure for it yourself.
Adding an RV fireplace for heating campers is a popular feature that’s added in the entertainment center of RVs. These sections of space usually have narrow shelves in the bottom section that can be removed. In the newly freed space, you can install your faux fireplace and create a cozy environment.
How Much Space Can an RV Fireplace Heat?
When looking at RV fireplaces, you’ll notice they often have a BTU rating – British Thermal Units. Most RV fireplaces have a rating somewhere around 5,000 BTU.
A 5,000 BTU heater is enough to heat 80 to 170 sq. ft. of space. So unless you have a small travel trailer, an RV fireplace likely won’t heat your whole RV. But they will put off enough heat to warm a section of your RV’s interior, like your bedroom or living room. A fireplace is also an excellent way to take the chill out of the air first thing in the morning.
Instead of BTUs, you may also see the power given in watts. Usually, the wattage of an RV fireplace will be between 1,000 and 1,500 watts. This is typically enough juice to heat 100 to 150 sq. ft. of space.
How Much Power Do RV Fireplaces Need?
Because the RV fireplace heating your camper’s furnace is electric, it’s important to know how much power one of these devices heating your camper will consume. That way, you can be sure you have enough energy to power your fireplace if you’re using solar.
Most RV fireplaces will provide a wattage rating as well as other electrical information. As previously mentioned, RV fireplaces consume around 1,000 to 1,500 watts of electricity.
If the fireplace you’ve installed doesn’t have the wattage listed, you can also calculate the watts with the amps and volts for the device. Amps multiplied by volts will give you the wattage of the device. So, if the fireplace draws 10 amps at 120 volts, you need 1,200 watts.
10 amps x 120 volts = 1,200 watts
If you need to know the voltage or amps, you can calculate these as well. Watts divided by volts will give you the amps. If you divide the watts by the amps, you’ll get the voltage.
volts/ watts = amps amps/ watts= volts
5 Different Features of RV Fireplaces?
An RV fireplace heating your camper is a great way to stay comfortable on a cold day. But not all RV fireplaces are created equal. Let’s look at the different features of RV fireplaces.
1. Fan Heater or Infrared Heater
Most RV fireplaces create heat by passing air over a heating element. Most space heaters work this way. This is a simple way to heat the inside of your RV. This method can dry out the air.
Some RV fireplaces use infrared radiation to heat things in the room instead of heating the air. This method prevents the air from drying out and can heat things very quickly.
2. Safety Features
Many RV fireplaces will have safety features in place to protect from fire and other hazards.
One such safety feature is overheating protection. If the unit detects it’s reaching an unsafe temperature, it will automatically shut off. That way, the fireplace and the things around it won’t get burned or damaged.
Another important safety feature is tip-over protection. The portable RV fireplace will automatically shut off when it detects it’s fallen over. This is a great feature to have in free-standing RV fireplaces.
3. Adjustable Thermostat
An adjustable thermostat lets you change the temperature of your fireplace. Some fireplaces will only have a few settings, such as low, medium, and high. More advanced RV fireplaces have multiple temperature settings to suit your comfort level.
4. Fire Only Mode
Want all the ambiance of a fire without the heat? Many RV fireplaces can give you just that. These fireplaces have “fire only” modes, which display the faux-flames without generating heat. This feature is perfect for the summer so you can cozy up by the fire without using the furnace
5. Free Standing or Insert
Some RV fireplaces that heat campers are free-standing and come with their own enclosure. You just set them down and plug them in. These RV fireplaces are easy to move around and put it where you need them. Freestanding RV fireplaces are great if you have a larger rig with low traffic spots.
The other option is RV fireplace inserts. These are designed to fit into pre-existing spaces, such as when you replace a built-in RV fireplace or when you remove a cupboard.
If you’re replacing a built-in RV fireplace, make sure to measure the space you have. RV fireplace inserts aren’t one-size-fits-all, so you’ll need to find the right one to fit your RV.
4 Best RV Fireplaces for Your Camper
Now that you know all about RV fireplaces, let’s look at the best electric fireplaces for an RV.
1. PuraFlame Klaus Electric Fireplace Insert
The PuraFlame Klaus electric fireplace insert is one of the best RV fireplace inserts available. It’s also the best-rated Amazon RV fireplace insert.
This RV fireplace features realistic logs and flames with a fire-crackling sound for extra ambiance. It also has an adjustable thermostat for maximum comfort. Plus this insert comes in two sizes for the best fit.
The PuraFlame Klaus electric fireplace insert has 3 flame effects, 6 different crackling sounds, and 2 heat settings. It also includes a remote control to change the settings from anywhere in your camper.
2. TURBRO Firelake 27-Inch Electric Fireplace
This TURBRO RV Fireplace is free-standing with a sleek, modern look. It has a special 3-sided design, so you can view the faux flames from almost any angle. Wherever you put it, it’s sure to add a great ambiance to the space.
The TURBRO Firelake is rated for 4,780 BTU and the manufacturer claims it can heat up to 400 sq. ft. This ability to heat such a large space makes it perfect for heating your living room, dining area, and kitchen all in one.
Other features include an adjustable thermostat that goes from 62°F to 82°F and a timer that can be set from 30 minutes to 6 hours. This RV fireplace also has an overheat protection, 6 flame colors, and a remote control.
3. Comfort Zone Mini Ceramic Electric Fireplace
If you’re short on space, consider this miniature Camper Comfort RV fireplace. Measuring only 8.25” by 15.25” and weighing only 4.5 pounds, no matter how small your rig, you can find a space for it. This tiny electric fireplace goes wherever you need it to keep you warm and cozy.
Despite its small size, this RV fireplace still provides 1,200 watts of heat. It’s perfect to warm a small area such as a bedroom or a bunk room.
There are high and low heat settings plus it also has a fire-only mode. Besides these features, this Comfort Zone mini electric fireplace also keeps you safe with an overheat and tip-over protection feature.
4. Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace
Unlike the other RV fireplaces on our list, this Duraflame electric fireplace is an infrared heater. That means powerful heating without drying the air out like a typical fan heater.
This freestanding RV fireplace uses Duraflame’s patented 3D flame effect with 5 different brightness levels. You can enjoy the flame effects even during the warmer months with the fire-only mode.
This fireplace also features an adjustable thermostat that goes from 62°F to 82°F. It’s rated for 5,200 BTUs and can heat up to 1,000 sq. ft.
On top of all these features, the Duraflame RV fireplace also includes overheating protection for your safety and a remote control for your convenience.
There’s Nothing Better Than an RV Fireplace Heating Your Camper
While you can’t have the pop and crackle of a real fire in your camper, you can have the next best thing. An electric RV fireplace heating your camper provides all the cozy ambiance with none of the actual fire.
Instead, an RV fireplace is like a space heater that uses light effects to create the illusion of fire. Most RV fireplaces are fan heaters, but some use infrared heating to create heat without drying the air. They also have other features, like adjustable flame colors, temperature, overheat protection, and fire-only modes.
Once you have an RV fireplace, using it is as easy as plugging it in and turning it on. Then, you’re ready to curl up by the fire and enjoy some hot cocoa or a good book, like you would by a real fireplace. You won’t even notice the difference.