How much propane does an rv furnace use?

How much propane does an rv furnace use?

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RV furnaces are an essential component of any recreational vehicle, providing warmth and comfort during chilly camping trips. However, one common concern among RV owners is how much propane their furnace consumes. Understanding the propane usage of an RV furnace is crucial for budgeting and planning purposes. In this article, we will delve into the factors that influence propane consumption in RV furnaces and provide a comprehensive overview of how much propane you can expect your furnace to use.

Factors Affecting Propane Consumption

Several factors influence the amount of propane consumed by an RV furnace. These factors include:

Furnace Size and Efficiency: The size and efficiency of the furnace play a significant role in propane consumption. Larger furnaces generally consume more propane, while highly efficient models can provide more heat with less fuel.

Outside Temperature: The outside temperature directly affects the amount of propane required to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Colder temperatures will necessitate more propane usage as the furnace works harder to heat the RV.

Insulation and Sealing: The insulation and sealing of your RV impact the furnace’s efficiency. Well-insulated and properly sealed RVs retain heat better, reducing the workload on the furnace and, consequently, propane consumption.

Thermostat Settings: The temperature set on your thermostat affects the frequency and duration of furnace operation. Higher thermostat settings will result in more propane usage.

Usage Patterns: The frequency and duration of furnace usage also impact propane consumption. RVers who frequently use their furnace or camp in colder climates will consume more propane compared to those who use it sparingly or camp in milder conditions.

Estimating Propane Consumption

While it is challenging to provide an exact figure for propane consumption in RV furnaces due to the various factors mentioned above, we can offer a general estimate. On average, an RV furnace can consume around 1 to 3 pounds of propane per hour of operation. This estimate assumes moderate outside temperatures and typical usage patterns.

To calculate a more accurate estimate for your specific RV furnace, you can refer to the furnace’s specifications provided by the manufacturer. Furnace specifications often include the BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating, which indicates the amount of heat produced per hour. By dividing the BTU rating by the propane’s heat content, you can determine the propane consumption rate in gallons or pounds per hour.

Tips for Reducing Propane Consumption

If you are concerned about propane consumption in your RV furnace, there are several steps you can take to minimize usage:

Improve Insulation: Enhance the insulation of your RV by sealing any gaps, adding weatherstripping to doors and windows, and insulating exposed pipes. This will help retain heat and reduce the workload on the furnace.

Utilize Space Heaters: Consider using portable space heaters in conjunction with your furnace. Space heaters can provide localized heat, allowing you to lower the thermostat setting and reduce furnace operation.

Optimize Thermostat Settings: Set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature, but avoid excessive heat. Lowering the thermostat by a few degrees can significantly reduce propane consumption.

Use Electric Hookups: When available, utilize electric hookups at campsites to power electric heaters instead of relying solely on propane. This can help conserve propane for other appliances.


The propane consumption of an RV furnace depends on various factors such as furnace size, efficiency, outside temperature, insulation, thermostat settings, and usage patterns. While it is challenging to provide an exact figure, an average estimate suggests a consumption rate of 1 to 3 pounds of propane per hour. By understanding these factors and implementing energy-saving measures, RV owners can effectively manage their propane usage and ensure a comfortable camping experience.