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How Much Propane Does an RV Furnace Use?

Writen by Tom Hank

Fact checked by Joseph Varney

how much propane does an rv furnace use

Nobody wants to go camping in an RV with inadequate heating, which is why knowing how much propane does an RV furnace use is essential. If you are new to the RV world, calculating how much propane is needed for its furnace may sound overwhelming. But, worry not because we have listed down below pieces of information on how to estimate propane for RV furnaces.

Table of Contents

Calculating Rate of Propane in RVs


The standard unit used in calculating the energy heating efficiency of a furnace is the British Thermal Units or BTU ratings. BTU ratings are important when calculating how much propane your furnace needs. Typically, the information of the BTU rating of your furnace can be found in its box, or you can look it up online. Furnaces with higher BTU ratings require more propane as well.

The calculation is generally 1,000 BTU per linear foot of your RV. For example, you have an 18 ft RV; you would also need 18,000 BTU to heat it up adequately.

The Amount of Propane Needed for RV Furnaces


Now that you know how the calculation works, let us discuss how much propane is needed for furnaces that have different BTU ratings:

  • 20,000 BTU

As mentioned above, a smaller furnace requires lesser propane. Usually, small RVs only have a 20,000 BTU furnace. If that is the case, by following the calculation mentioned above, it will only generally need to use around ¼ gallon of propane per hour. So, if you are using the heating system for 4 hours straight, you would need a whole gallon of propane to keep it running.

  • 30,000 BTU

The same idea applies to the 30,000 BTU furnaces. If you are using it for 3 hours straight, then you will go through a whole gallon of propane.

  • 40,000 BTU

If you are using a 40,000 BTU furnace, a gallon of propane will only last up to 2 and a half hours.

For RVs that have more than one furnace, the same calculation still applies per unit. However, it is highly unlikely that both units are used simultaneously so that you may save a little on propane.

Heating system is important when traveling in cold places. Conversely, if you intend to camp in a hot climate, check out the top-rated RV air conditioner. Besides, just your HVAC and furnace alone are not enough to keep your RV at a comfortable temperature. You will need the most trusted RV thermostat to achieve that.

Tricks on Improving RV Furnace Efficiency


Although propane furnaces are cost-efficient, there are several ways for you to get the most out of your RVs heating system. Here are some of them:

  • Improve Your RV’s Insulation

If you notice that your RV has a low-value thermal resistance rating, then you might consider improving your insulation to increase your furnace efficiency. The best type of insulation for RVers who regularly travel in cold climates might be the rigid foam. They last long and are moisture resistant.

However, rigid foam insulation is not ideal for DIY installation because it is difficult to put it. You may need to pay a little more for professionals to do it, but you will eventually gain it back along the way with how much propane you will be saving in the future.

  • Do Furnace Maintenance Regularly

The furnace needs some tender love and care to work properly. This is why it is essential to check up on it and clean it regularly. Remove the accumulated dust that it has and make sure all its wiring and pieces are in mint condition.

  • Use Window Shades and Covers

Another way to make the best out of your heating system is by having window shades and covers. Somehow, this helps insulate the heat in and keep the cold outside.

You might want to consider buying some insulated RV curtains. They are stylish yet functional. They are also easy to clean and generally affordable and accessible.


Having enough propane for the heating system is very important, especially if you are traveling to snowy areas. It will help make your journey comfortable and convenient. The amount of propane you will be needing is generally dependent on the BTU rating of your RVs propane. Hopefully, the information mentioned above was helpful, and you get the heating comfort that you need.

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