How To Maintain Your RV Furnace

Derrek Sigler
by Derrek Sigler
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(Photo by duallogic/

Before you need to use it, there are a few things you should check to make sure your RV furnace is working properly and safely. The last thing you want is for something bad to happen while you’re out camping.

As the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder, there is still plenty of time to get out and enjoy your RV. After all, that’s why they sell them with furnaces, right?

Make Sure It’s Clean

Just like your furnace in your home, you need to make sure your RV furnace is clean. Start with the unit itself and make sure that the filters are clean and in good condition. As we all know, small critters like mice and squirrels seem to love anything with a filter in it as a location for a nest. Since most of us keep our RVs outside during the summer months, and we’re not using our furnaces, they make convenient spots for nests. And by convenient, I mean for the squirrel, not for you.

You want to keep critters like this outside of your RV. (Photo by Ellis/

Next, clear out your duct work. If you can, run a duct snake through all the ducts just to make sure that there isn’t dust, debris, or, yes, squirrel nests hidden in the ducts of your RV. When I was growing up, our motorhome was always fun, but every time we used it, the dog would growl all the time. It took two months before we finally found the population of red squirrels living in our ducts. Clean everything out and reduce the risks of fire and damage.


You probably won’t have an issue with this, but make sure your electrical system is in good order and that your batteries are charged up. The motor on your RV furnace unit will draw a lot of amps, so if you’re battery system is run down, or weak, you might end up with no heat, lights or anything that needs power. And, of course it would happen at the most inopportune moment.

(Photo by Anetlanda/

My wife’s uncle had his heater draw down his battery system in the middle of the night on a fall salmon-fishing trip. Normally it wouldn’t have been a big deal except he slept with a C-PAP machine. As soon as the machine stopped, the snoring started and then everyone was awake. By the time they got everything working again, it was time to go fishing.


The last thing you should check is to make sure that your RV is properly ventilated and that the return ducts are free and clear as well. You want clean air moving through, too.

(Photo by Quality Stock Arts/

It doesn’t take much to make sure everything is working as it should, and the little bit of time is worth it. The last thing you need to worry about as you drift off to sleep on a cool Autumn evening is whether or not your heating system in your RV is going to function properly.