Every owner will have a different idea. There are many heating options you can choose from. Some are very good and others not so good. But be forewarned, when you pick an option expect other owners to criticize your choice as they do not agree with that option’s effectiveness.
One way to help keep your RV’s underbelly warm is to add skirting and a little heater. The skirting blocks the cold wind and the heater makes sure that the space is nice and warm for your pipes and flooring. Insulation is a good option as well.
To learn more about this issue, just continue to read our article. It should be full of ideas and suggestions as well as advice to help you keep your RV’s underbelly nice and warm. Take a few minutes to see how this information helps you solve this problem.
First off, watch out for those owners who claim they have done nothing except insulate pipes and have camped at 8000+ feet above sea level in the harshest weather conditions. Then they claim they have had no trouble for 20 years.
While it may be true, stories like this remind us of when parents tell their children they walked to school and back barefoot in the winter and both ways were uphill.
With that said, one of the best ways is to insulate anything and everything. Good insulation will protect your pipes and there are some good products out there to help you. Also, insulate between the joists of your trailer or enclose the underbelly completely with good insulating materials.
That will help keep your pipes and floor nice and warm. Then add some skirting. Insulation is not always enough and good skirting keeps the cold air out and away from those vulnerable areas of your RV or trailer.
Or you can use a heater but that would be a waste of energy and time if you do not keep the cold winds and air away from the underneath area of your RV, etc. The cold breeze will blow the heat away so make sure to find a way to block that air from ruining your efforts.
Some people suggested using straw hay bales instead of actual skirting. It is an option you can try if your situation permits it. Then look for cracks in the original underbelly material that seals the area.
If there are cracks or holes, take the time to close those off using the right material. In all cases, you have to judge your situation to see which heating option is right for you. Keep in mind that heaters will use a lot of electricity and be a fire hazard if you are not careful.
Avoid any propane heating elements as the exhaust fumes can create a deadly health factor as well as be a fire hazard.
This is an option when your RV or trailer does not come with a built-in heating system designed to heat that area of your RV. The trick is to find the right heater model that will do the job safely and not give off any dangerous fumes.
While many RV makers and dealers emphasize the fact that they make RVs with heated underbellies, the reality is often different from what they claim. Putting a heater under your RV is in some cases very necessary.
When you do this, there are some safety rules you should follow. Here are a few of those rules:
- Purchase a heater with the seal of a qualified testing laboratory
- Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including people
- Choose a heater with a thermostat and overheat protection
- Place the heater on a solid, flat surface
- Make sure your heater has an auto shut-off to turn the heater off if it tips over
- Keep children away from the space heater
You want to exercise extreme caution when placing a heater under your RV as anything can happen when you are not around. Then, watch your budget as some of these space heaters can cost over $500.
Some people have suggested going to Goodwill or some other thrift store and picking up one cheap.
You may find it difficult to get a heater that is made specifically for the under portion of your RV or trailer. Most heaters for RVs are sold as space heaters and not specifically for your RV’s underbelly.
This means that you would need to use an extension cord to power these heater models. But any heater you place underneath your RV will need some sort of support system to keep cold air away or the heater works too hard and wears out faster.
There are many heater options to choose from. One is the Lasko Ceramic Adjustable Thermostat Space Heater. It costs approx. $60 and has different heat settings.
Plus it has an adjustable thermostat with 11 different heat settings. Its exterior is made from cool to the touch materials and it has an automatic shut-off if it tips over.
Another is the Camco Olympian RV Wave-8 LP Gas Catalytic Safety Heater, Adjustable 4200 to 8000 BTU. This is the most expensive model we could find so far.
It costs over $590 but under $600 but it comes with up to 8000 BTUs which should be hot enough for your underbelly. However, despite its expense, it only heats up 290 square feet. The longer RVs and trailers would be too big for it.
A third option will be the Caframo Limited True North Space Heater. It is small and only weighs 5 pounds. It does cost under $100 and it is best for smaller RVs and trailers that do not have a lot of square footage underneath their floors.
If Mr. Heater makes an electronic heater under its Buddy model name, then that would be a good heater to go with. The company has a good reputation and makes some top-quality heaters.
If you do keep some openings in your skirting etc., then a good propane heater will suffice as well. There are a lot of top brands that make propane heaters that will keep your underbelly nice and warm.
The airflow will help get rid of the fumes before they become a health problem.
This is a safe way to heat up that vulnerable area under your RV or trailer. Just set the lamp up in a position where it will do the most good and plug it in. The bright light will produce enough heat to keep that area nice and warm.
The VIVOSUN Clamp Lamp Light with Detachable 8.5 Inch Aluminum Reflector is one option you can go with. It produces up to 150 watts of light and heat and simply needs a standard plug to work.
For $25 you get the clamp as well as a second lamp to make sure your underbelly is fully covered. These lamps are UL certified and are supposed to be energy efficient.
Then there is the Simple Deluxe 150W 2-Pack Ceramic Heat Emitter Reptile Heat Lamp Bulb which does not give off any light. That is good if you do not want to disturb your neighbors or let anyone know you have a heat lamp under your RV.
This light can last up to 10,000 hours and gives off 150 watts as well. Also, there is the Flexible Clamp Lamp Fixture which can rotate up to 360 degrees after it is clamped into place.
You can place 300-watt light bulbs in this lamp option and really heat up that space. Or you can go decorative with the MINGER RGB LED Strip Lights. That is 32 feet of LED lights which holds 300 LED light bulbs on 2 strips.
Make your RV look good while adding some heat to the underbelly. This option operates by remote control and gives you lots of lighting options. If these options do not suit your taste, then talk to those outlets where heat lamps and heaters are sold.
There are plenty more of these heaters and heat lamps sold today than can be listed in these small sections. Pick the ones that will safely do the job for you without raising your energy bill too much.
By under the skirting, it is meant behind it as skirting is placed vertically from the bottom of the RV or trailer to the ground. The purpose of the skirting is to block the cold air from getting underneath your RV or trailer.
When the cold air does get underneath your RV, etc., it can cool your floor and freeze your pipes and tanks. When those freezes, you may have expensive repair bills to pay. It makes sense when you are camping in cold weather or storing your RV for the winter to heat the underbelly area.
The best way to do that is to place heaters or heat lamps in key positions so you get the maximum benefit of their work. The skirting will keep the cold air out so your heating option does not work that hard.
If your heater is not protected from the cold air, it will keep on working driving up your energy bill. If you want to know more about how to keep your RV underbelly warm, read our article about it.
That article will help you find better underbelly insulation, how to install the insulation, and so on.
1. The underbelly material provided and installed by your RV brand may not be effective- Due to bad workmanship, weak material, and sloppy installation, your underbelly may be exposed to the cold.
Find some good underbelly insulation to compensate for those faults. Then either remove the factory material or insulate over or under it.
2. The RV underbelly material may have holes in it- This means you need to go underneath your RV or trailer and seal those holes. If you don’t, small wildlife creatures may enter and make their home somewhere in your RV or trailer.
3. Insulate your pipes- The underbelly material or heater may not be enough to keep your pipes from freezing. To prevent freezing, insulate those exposed pipes individually.
You can use fiberglass, heat strips, or other types of insulation to prevent those pipes from freezing.
4. Consider skirting options- Some materials may be too heavy or bulky to use if you are a temporary camper. A tarp is a good skirting option that helps block the wind and cold air from getting underneath your RV.
These tarps do not cost a lot nor are they heavy but they are a good tool to help keep your underbelly nice and warm.
5. Choose a heating method- Whether you go with lights or a space heater, pick the best models. The cheaper ones may work for a short time and save you some money initially but may end up not working that well and you will have other expenses to consider.
6. Consider your camping situation- Most RV and trailer owners do not camp in the winter or in cold areas. You may not need a heater, skirting, or a heat lamp.
The underbelly material installed by your RV brand maker should suffice. That means you can save some money by not heating your underbelly.
When you are in a situation where the weather can turn cold quickly, it does pay to heat your RV’s underbelly. You need to protect those pipes, etc., as well as keep your RV’s floor warm.
Finding the right heater or heat lamp is vital as not all of them will do a great job. These devices will need help in their work so finding the right skirting material will make sure your underbelly remains nice and warm all night long.