Diesel heaters are a necessary part of campervan and motorhome life when the cold temperatures hit, and we recommend the 2V 5KW Air Diesel Heater by Triclicks, the 8KW Diesel Air Heater by VEVOR, and the 8KW 12V Car Air Diesel Parking Heater Kit by Chiwell for generating heat in the motorhome cabin.
In this article, we look at some reasons why diesel heaters are the best in providing heat to motorhomes, how they work, and the pros and cons of certain heaters.
What is a motorhome Diesel Heater?
A motorhome, campervan or caravan diesel heater adjusts the temperature of your vehicle, optimising it to create a steady room temperature level. Diesel is used to run the heater, which is useful as most motorhomes & campervans also run on diesel.
Why Do You Need to Use a Diesel Heater on a motorhome?
A diesel heater is a great way to keep your Campervan, Motorhome or Caravan warm during the day and at night. Diesel heaters are very reliable because they require less maintenance than electric heaters, but they can be more expensive to operate. They do use less consumption compared to using your propane gas heating system when off-grid, that’s why it’s one of the main ways people are heating their vans.
A diesel heater is useful for motorhomes and camper vans when doing van life full time, including the winter months as they can experience below-freezing temperatures. A diesel heater is better than other types of heaters because of the following:
- Less Fuel Consumption: diesel heaters are economical due to their design and slow fuel consumption rate.
- Easy Temperature Control: Most diesel heaters are equipped with processors, including fans, to ensure sufficient control over the temperature.
- Can use the diesel from the main van supply if plumbed in, meaning you don’t have to carry an extra fuel supply
- Use less electricity compared to big heating systems.
Are campervan diesel heaters safe?
Diesel heaters are safe to use in a campervan, motorhome or caravan as long as they are used under the right conditions. They should be placed away from any fabrics, especially curtains or carpets, and outside of the reach of children. The best location for a diesel heater is in the back of your vehicle where there is plenty of space available.
You should always have a carbon monoxide alarm installed in your campervan; you can check out the one we have here – Click Me
Downsides of using diesel heaters:
Can be a little noisier compared to heating systems but both are not silent, if you invest in a good silencer, it really does help
You can sometimes get a smell of diesel fumes and they require regular maintenance, to ensure this is kept to a minimum, Additionally, diesel fuel is often more expensive than other types of fuels so running costs can be higher.
How Does a Diesel Heater Work in a motorhome or campervan?
Cooler air inside the motorhome cabin is pulled in with an external inlet pipe. This is located on the floor. This air is key for the combustion process, as it’s transferred to the combustion chamber, mixing with the diesel and igniting which heats up the surface of the thermal exchanger. This creates the heat necessary, which is then circulated through the room.
What to Consider when buying a Diesel Heater
Depending on the space you are trying to heat, the heat output will change, for a small caravan, motorhome or campervan then we recommend a 2kw, but most people will go for a 5kw, we believe this will be efficient enough for most options.
Plumbed or not
As we mentioned above, you can either connect your diesel heater directly into your main fuel tank or you can have a separate fuel take, this all comes down to personal preference and ease of instal, connecting directly into the main take is a much more efficient way of due to space-saving and ease of filling up.
If you are planning on using your diesel heater at altitude, then you will need to bear in mind that some of the cheaper ones will struggle at around 3000 Meters, some of the top-end models are built with altitude in mind so something to think about.
Dependability & Reliability
If your diesel heater is your only source of heating then having something you can rely on is really important, while the cheaper Chinese diesel heaters are a great price and really do a fantastic job, but they can break, so a more expensive model will come with a manufacturers guarantee and could be a better choice in the long run.
Some diesel heaters are noisier than others, we have tested a few and found the more expensive ones come with a better grade silencer and some of the cheaper ones don’t come with a silencer at all.
Depending on where the heater is located can make a difference if under a bed and running at night, we have found this is more of an issue, as you notice the small clicking noise a lot more.
Most things that run on diesel require regular maintenance as it’s quite a dirty fuel, and they can suffer from a build-up of carbon.
You should always follow the regularly maintained information provided by the manufacturer, and also ensure it’s given a small run once or twice a month even during the summer just to avoid any build-up.
What Are the Top 3 motorhome Diesel Heaters?
maXpeedingrods 5KW 12V Diesel Heater
What is the 12V 5KW Air Diesel Heater by Triclicks?
The 12V 5KW Air Diesel Heater by Triclicks is ideal for heating small motorhomes and other types of diesel vehicles, removing window frost and warming up a small space. It has a remote control feature that allows for preheating, oil quantity, temperature and wind speed adjustment.
A few more features this diesel heater offers is a compact structure, allowing it to be easily moved. It also is easily disassembled. An LCD display on the machine gives a live update of the status of the heater. It comes with everything needed for easy installation.
What is the 8KW Diesel Air Heater by VEVOR?
The 8KW Diesel Air Heater by VEVOR has an aluminium housing and a ceramic spark plug that allows for fast heating and low emissions. The heater has a silent fan, greatly reducing noise as it works. It is also easy to operate and comes with a remote to control temperature and wind speed, making it ideal for motorhomes and campervans.
can you put red diesel in a campervan diesel heater
Yes, red diesel can be used in a campervan diesel heater as long as it is appropriate for the heater model that you have, as the diesel isn’t being used for the purpose of driving, it can be used for heating.
It is important to check with your manufacturer to ensure that the fuel type is compatible before making any changes. Additionally, make sure to follow all safety instructions when using red diesel in your heater to avoid any accidents or issues.
Are diesel heaters hard to fit?
There are two ways you can install a diesel heater; you can plumb it into your existing fuel tank or have a separate fuel tank.
Diesel heaters that are plumbed in are more difficult to install and may require that a technician is hired to do the job. A diesel heater’s installation process could take up to an hour or two and requires that you have at least one electrical outlet available for use with this type of device.
A non-plumbed-in heater requires extra space for a separate fuel tank, while these are more common due to them being easier to install, depending on you, we would also advise seeing a professional when dealing with fuel and carbon monoxide.
Both options will still require running fuel lines to and from the heater ensuring it’s free from any rough surfaces and anything that could harm the cable.
You will also need to drill an exhaust for the outlet and inlet, the outlet is very important as you don’t want any carbon monoxide to get the van into the campervan.
How much fuel does a diesel heater use
A campervan diesel heater uses fuel efficiently to heat your vehicle. Depending on the size of the heater, it can use up to 0.25 litres of diesel per hour when running at full capacity.
How much power does a diesel heater use
A campervan diesel heater uses a nominal input power of about 10 – 15 watts per hour, which is very energy efficient. The amount of power required varies depending on the size and output capacity of the heater.
What size fuse for chinese diesel heater
The size of the fuse you will need to install in your campervan diesel heater depends on the model and the size of the heater itself. Generally, a 3 Amp fuse should be sufficient for most campervan heaters. However, it is best to consult with the manufacturer for the exact size.
Are diesel heaters noisy?
Campervan diesel heaters are typically very quiet when they are running. However, there may be a slight humming noise coming from the fan inside the heater, which you can usually hear. a slight ticking noise too but is very quiet and this is perfectly normal and should not be cause for concern.
Can I use kerosene in a campervan diesel heater?
Generally, it is not recommended to use kerosene in a campervan diesel heater. Kerosene has a higher flash point than diesel, meaning that it can ignite more easily. This could potentially be dangerous when used in an enclosed space like a campervan. It is best to stick with the fuel that was recommended by the manufacturer of the heater for optimal safety and performance.
Can you leave a diesel heater running all night?
Generally, it is not recommended to leave a campervan diesel heater running for long periods of time. If the heater runs for too long, it could put an excessive strain on the engine and potentially cause it to overheat. It is best to keep an eye on the temperature gauge when you are running your heater and shut it off if necessary to avoid any unnecessary damage.
Do diesel heaters smell
Diesel heaters do emit an odour, but this should not be too prominent in most cases. The odour comes from fuel burning, which is necessary for the heater to generate heat. Additionally, modern diesel heaters are designed to minimize emissions and odours, so the smell should not be too strong or unpleasant.
Do diesel heaters produce carbon monoxide
Yes, diesel heaters can produce carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that really can pose serious health risks if inhaled in large amounts. Therefore, it really is important to ensure that your heater is installed correctly and that the area you are using it in is well-ventilated. You should always have a CO2 alarm in your campervan to alert you of any issues.
Motorhome and campervan heaters are a necessary part of comfortable living with the full-time van life, making cold winter months much easier to bear and creating a homey, warm atmosphere in your motorhome cabin. Being small, portable and easy to install, heaters make a great addition to any motorhome or campervan.
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I love everything about travel, from seeing new places, learning about new cultures and trying new foods! I believe that travel is one of the best forms of education you can get, I have learnt so much about myself and about the world from travelling all over. Travel is something I feel so passionately about, and I love the fact that we are now lucky enough to have this opportunity to do what we love as much as we can, it’s a dream come true.
Before we started travelling, I worked in local government in administration. I had been in this job for several years and had reached a complete brick wall where I was so fed up, but didn’t know what else to do. The only thing I knew that I wanted to do was to travel, and had wanted to do that for many years.
There were hundreds and hundreds of places on my wishlist that I wanted to go to, and I knew that going on a weeks holiday maybe twice a year if we were lucky wasn’t going to cut it.
After being in lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, and working from home staring at the same 4 walls every day, 2021 seemed like the perfect time for us to take the risk to finally do what we had dreamed of for so long.
It was a hard decision to completely change our lives, but so far it has been the best decision we have ever made!