Campervan Heating

Campervan Heater

If you’re planning on living, holidaying or travelling in your campervan in the UK you’re going to want to consider making sure you have heating. Whether you intend on living in it year round or even just holidaying during the summer months; temperatures can drop in the night and so campervan heating is a must.

When it comes to methods of installing a heater into your van it comes down to 3 methods: diesel, gas and woodburning. Each of which has it’s own advantages and disadvantages and which you decide to install will depend on the size of your van, the size of your budget and the type of heat you are hoping to have in your van.

Diesel Heater

As the name suggests, a diesel heater uses diesel to generate it’s heat. This can either come from your van’s main diesel tank or from an ancillary tank installed somewhere else. The diesel is ignited and warms a heat exchange and then uses an electric fan to blow this hot air out into the van.

Installing a diesel heater in your conversion is relatively simple. It requires a few holes drilled into the floor of the van for an air intake and an exhaust outlet, a leisure battery to power the fan and a fuel inlet from either your tank or a separate ancillary tank. It’s a simple process of connecting all of these together and securing everything to the van and you have near instant heat in your van.

There are a number of brands of diesel heaters used in campervans such as Eberspacher and Webasto which retail for £600 – £800. We however use and recommend some of the chinese diesel heaters out there such as this kit which we installed in our van. It came with everything we needed for a quick and easy install and for a fraction of the price of the branded heaters which are essentially the same.

Pros of a Diesel Heater

  • Reliable
  • Instant heating
  • Cheap to run
  • Can use a thermostat to regulate the temperature

Cons of a Diesel Heater

  • Branded heaters are expensive
  • Noisy to run
  • Use electricity to run

Recommended Heater – 2KW Diesel Heater Kit

Gas Heater

Propex Heater
@lukejasso

A gas heater runs in a similar way to a diesel heater. A heat exchange is warmed from the burning of gas and this is then blown around the van by an electric fan. Unlike the diesel heater a gas heater uses LPG/Butane to burn to create the heat.

The gas for your heater can come from either the replaceable large canisters or from a refillable tank which has a fill point for you to restock the gas from most service stations. Which method you choose for your van will depend on your budget as well as how much space you have in your van. Having a refillable tank is a more expensive method as the installation costs are far higher than that of a replaceable canister however you are able to install these tans externally saving you space inside your van. In addition to this you gain the flexibility to refill you tank in any country in the world without any additional equipment as LPG is widely available and you can simply pump it into your tank. Replaceable canisters are far cheaper to use when installing but come at a higher cost to refill plus different countries will have different canisters which may require adaptors to be able to use.

The costs for the heaters themselves will vary however the most popular of these type of heaters is the Propex brand. These can cost anywhere from £500 – £1000 depending on size. Installation is similar to that of a diesel heater however car should be taken as gas is far more volatile than diesel.

Pros of a Gas Heater

  • Reliable
  • Instant Heat
  • Cheap to run
  • Can use a thermostat to regulate the temperature

Cons of a Gas Heater

  • Expensive to install
  • Requires proper venting
  • Can be noisy

Recommended Heater – Propex HS2000

Wood burning stove

@jamesbarkman

There’s a certain romance to firing up your wood burning stove and enjoying a cosy night in watching the flames heat you up. Therefore I can see why being able to do this in your own campervan is so appealing to people. Being able to collect your own wood while you’re out and about and using it for heat is more than super affordable, it’s free.

Wood burning stoves produce a tonne of heat and so it’s really careful that you avoid getting one which is too big for your van. Once they’re up to temperature there’s no quick way to turn them down so installing one which is far too big for your van (a common mistake we see being made) can lead to you being far too hot.

It’s not only the lack of a ‘turn down’ option but the lack of an off switch which makes using a wood burning stove as your primary heat source that bit more challenging when in a van. Lighting a fire in the morning only to have to drive away an hour later means you may end up driving away with a lit stove. Compare that to a diesel or gas heater which you can safely switch off as you set off.

Install of a wood burning stove also requires more consideration than it may originally look. There are legal requirements for distances away from flammable materials and considerations about where you need to put the stove and the flue you use based on your build.

Pros of a Wood Burning Stove

  • Cheap to buy
  • Cheap to run
  • Quiet
  • Dry heat

Cons of a Wood Burning Stove

  • Take up more space for stove plus wood storage
  • Harder to insure
  • Safety regulations

Which heater is right for your camper conversion?

All of the heating options we have listed have their benefits and which is right for you will depend on your budget, van design and circumstances. What we do know is that it’s easier than ever to ensure your van is heated for the harsh UK winter. Which ever option you decide on just ensure you are safe and sit back an enjoy your cosy van, it’s after all what van living is about!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *