Your RV brings all the comforts of home on the road. It lets you travel thousands of miles and experience new things while making you feel like you never even left the house. To make sure your RV stays cozy, though, you need a thermostat to keep it at the right temperature. The solution may seem simple: just use your home thermostat! But will that really work in an RV? We've found the answer for you.
No, a typical home thermostat will unfortunately not work in an RV. Most residential thermostats run on a 24-volt AC power supply, while most RV thermostats run on a 12-volt DC power supply. There are very few instances where a home thermostat runs on an RV, so it's ideal to choose an RV-specific thermostat for your camper.
Now that you know a home thermostat won't work, you may have a lot more questions about the RV thermostat. How does it work? What type and brand should I get? Keep reading because we're going to dive in deeper and give you all the answers to your questions.
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What are the types of thermostats for RVs?
There are three types of thermostats for RVs:
Analog thermostats are the most basic and conventional type of thermostats. They have sliders or knobs that you can use to adjust the temperature in your RV. While they're known for being reliable, they don't have the precision that newer digital thermostats have.
Like analog thermostats, digital thermostats also give you information on the current temperature in your RV and allow you to adjust it as you please. However, digital thermostats display an accurate reading of the surrounding temperature and enable you to set the precise number you want. They also display the status of the functions it's running.
As the most advanced type of RV thermostat, programmable thermostats make your temperature settings more personalized. It performs the basic functions of a thermostat and also allows you to preset the temperature for different times throughout the day.
Some programmable RVs also come with zone control features that allow you to choose different temperature settings for different areas in your camper.
What are the best thermostats for my RV?
So if residential thermostats aren't compatible with your RV, what are your options? Well, the good news is there's a wide variety of choices out there that can keep you and your family nice and cozy when you hit the road.
First, let's take a look at what you should look for when choosing an RV thermostat. Here are the qualities an RV thermostat needs to have:
- Easy operation
- Hassle-free installation
- Guaranteed durability
- Useful features
- Cost-efficient price
To help you make the right purchase, we've done the research to give you the best RV thermostat choices with all these qualities. Here is a list of the three top-rated thermostats for your RV:
1. Dometic Analog Thermostat (Analog)
This classic product is the perfect choice for anyone who wants an affordable, high-quality analog thermostat. The Dometic Analog Thermostat is easy to install and operate with its straightforward design, works efficiently, and connects to both heating and cooling systems. It's the ideal replacement for old RV thermostats.
The downside is that it's still an analog thermostat, so its features may be dated compared to its more advanced counterparts.
Click here to see the Dometic Analog Thermostat on Amazon.
2. Heagstat Non-Programmable Thermostat (Digital)
For a more technologically sophisticated yet still affordable option, this thermostat is one of the best picks on the market. It works on single-stage heating and cooling systems (whether gas or electric), giving you total control over the temperature in your RV. You can set your desired temperature or adjust the current temperature by simply using the up and down buttons.
However, there are a few cons to using this product. It may be more difficult to install than other thermostats, but it is easy to operate once you finish the installation. In addition, it does not work with multi-stage HVAC systems or heat pump systems.
Click here to see the Heagstat Non-Programmable Thermostat on Amazon.
3. Radio Thermostat CT50 (Programmable)
With this state-of-the-art, WiFi-enabled device, you can control your RV's temperature settings wherever you are. The Radio Thermostat CT50 is customizable to your personal preferences; you can set your desired temperature levels for up to four different times during the day and for seven days of the week. It also allows you to share temperature controls with your family and guests using the app.
There are plenty of other useful features in this thermostat. It also adjusts your temperature settings when you're away from home based on your current location. Better yet, it's compatible with both single-stage and multi-stage HVAC systems.
However, because of its many features, installing it can be quite difficult and time-consuming.
Click here to see the Radio Thermostat CT50 on Amazon.
Will a Honeywell thermostat work in a camper?
Yes, a Honeywell thermostat will work in a camper. In fact, many RV enthusiasts adore Honeywell thermostats for their superior quality and reliability.
The Honeywell Non-Programmable Thermostat is one of the most popular thermostat models for RVs. It controls both the furnace and the AC and can also run on either the RV's electrical circuit or on batteries, which makes it flexible to the user's preference.
Plus, it features a backlit screen that displays accurate temperature readings and allows you to set the exact temperature you want for your RV easily.
Click here to see the Honeywell Non-Programmable Thermostat on Amazon.
The downside is that the screen may not be as large as it appears in images. Some users also say it takes a while to get used to its operating system.
How does an RV thermostat work?
An RV thermostat regulates the interior temperature of your vehicle. Using sensors, it monitors changes in the interior temperature.
When it goes above or below the normal setting, the thermostat then switches on your heating or cooling systems to bring it back to the right temperature. Once the temperature is brought back to the ideal number, the thermostat will switch the systems off again.
While digital and programmable thermostats use sensors to detect temperature changes, analog thermostats use a bimetallic strip, which has two pieces of metal that move with the rise or fall in temperature. When it moves, it will open or close the switch contact to turn your HVAC systems on or off.
Some thermostats do not have the mechanism to automatically switch on the heating or cooling systems when the temperature changes or switch them off when the temperature gets back to the preset ideal. They will simply read and show the current temperature of the room so you can switch your HVAC system on or off.
Are RV thermostats 12 volts or 24 volts?
RV thermostats run on a 12-volt DC power supply. Using a 24-volt residential thermostat in an RV will lead to operational problems and safety hazards, so make sure to get a 12-volt thermostat designed for RV use.
Will a battery-powered thermostat work in an RV?
Hunter thermostats are battery-powered thermostats, and they're suitable for RV use. Its system is comparable to that of typical residential thermostats, so it's easier to use. All you need is to get familiar with its wiring and change its batteries once a year or as needed.
There are plenty of other RV thermostats that are battery-powered. However, battery-powered residential thermostats will not work in your RV.
How do I test my RV thermostat?
Over time and with regular use, your RV thermostat will face a number of issues. There are warning signs that indicate trouble with your RV thermostat, and it's best to know these signs so you can get ahead of the problem as quickly as possible.
Here are four ways to tell if your RV thermostat is not working properly:
- Check if the temperature matches up to the setting on your thermostat.
- For digital or programmable thermostats, check if you have a blank display screen.
- Try turning the AC or heater on or off.
If you see faulty or delayed responses in any of these tests, it's likely that your RV thermostat has given out. There are ways to troubleshoot basic problems with your RV thermostat, but it's a good idea to consult with a professional first.
Residential thermostats are not compatible with RVs. But your options for keeping your RV at the ideal temperature are not limited by this. There are plenty of thermostats to choose from, including analog, digital, and programmable thermostats. As long as you find a model that fits your needs and budget, you can be sure that your RV experience is pleasant and comfortable.
If you liked this post, check out these helpful articles on the heating and cooling systems in your RV:
How To Manually Light RV Furnace And Water Heater