Propane is a great clean burning and safe fuel to use to heat your RV. But, the cost can vary from state to state and the small tanks on your RV or TT can run out fast. So what are the alternatives? Heating with wood burning stove or pellet stove are a few to consider.
But is it safe to burn wood or pellets in a small area like an RV?
Answer: Yes, if setup properly and used responsibly it’s perfectly fine to use these heat sources. Cutting corners and trying to save a few dollars when installing a unit can become unsafe if not done right.
Let’s have a chat about how to do it.
CAUTION! Use at your own risk. This is advice only, use your own decision making power to decide if you are willing to accept the risk of installing one in your own rig for yourself….
How to Install a Pellet (or wood) Stove in a RV
Tip 1: Try and place the mini pellet stove in an area that you can run the stove pipe straight up out of the top of your RV. This will minimize creosote building up in the stove pipe elbows. When it does build up, it will fall straight back down into the RV’s wood stove and burn again.
Tip 2: Also try and locate your micro pellet (or wood) stove in the middle third of your TT/RV from front to back. This helps to move the heat into the other areas without needing to use fans.
You don’t want the rear section at 99F and the front bedroom at 65F by putting it next to the rear wall or at the back.
Ok, now that we have those 2 important points covered, let’s get into the nitty gritty of it.
- Prepare surfaces – This include hearth on floor and heat shields on sides
- Mount stove – Attached to frame or sturdy subfloor.
- Run exhaust pipe – Flashing and sealant on bulkheads
- Install safety devices – CO Detectors and Fire Extinguishers
- Test at home first – “burn in” first with ventilation.
Full Video Tutorial Below too.
IMPORTANT: When you are installing a wood or pellet burning unit in your RV, you’ll need to cover anything within 3 feet of the unit with heat resistant material. A hearth underneath, and heat shielding on the walls next to the unit. This is also required in residential construction and is a good practice to carry over into the RV.
Here are couple more quick points on safety to have a think on:
- CO Detector in each room. CO = Carbon Monoxide
- Fire Extinguisher in each room
- Check your emergency exits
- Test the heat output before installing. This will save your from making an expensive change later should you want to change the unit out for a larger or smaller one.
- Double-wall insulated stove pipe – this is a good part of the expense, and will prevent you from accidentally touching the pipe and getting burnt. It’s also required to go through the roof or sidewall.
- Heat resistant surrounding within 3 ft of unit. Just like in a cabin or in a house, you’ll need to protect the nearby surfaces from melting or burning.
- Fresh air supply – you’re RV or TT is sealed up better than a house, so oxygen that is need for combustion by the fire will be pulled from your living space. Having a dedication air supply for the fire is needed.
How to Install a Wood Stove in a RV – Video Tutorial
Pellet and Wood stoves are essentially the same type of fuel burning units. There are a few benefits to each however.
So, What’s the difference between a Pellet stove and wood stove?
Pellet – Convenient & Efficient but you’ll need to purchase pellets to use in these. Pellets will add significant weight to your overhaul load while traveling. The feeders can help to let these run for longer hours with needing to maintain the fire.
Wood – Cost effective – You’ll be responsible for sourcing wood to dry before needing to use as fuel source. With a small burn chamber, you’ll need to continually feed more wood to keep a decent fire producing heat.
Combo – most modern tiny stoves are a combination of the 2. Meaning that you can use both wood and pellets in them.
Which one is the best for an RV?
This is my recommendation based off of heating with wood as a fuel source for the past 11 years now. A good thermoelectric stove fan can move the warm air throughout the space and make it feel just like home-sweet-home.
There’s nothing like a good wood heat and there’s nothing more relaxing than watching the subtle flames roll around in the stove. Rainy and colder days are now simply transformed into a cozy and very romantic setting by the fire.