Saturday, December 2, 2023


Is CheapHeat a good option during RV’s winter storage?

Dear Dave,
I would appreciate your opinion on the CheapHeat system. Is it a good investment? It seems that it would work great to keep my RV heated during cold months while in storage. Thanks. —Ray, 2016 Keystone HC 305RL

Dear Ray,
Thanks for the question, as I was not familiar with the product and did some research, which was very interesting.

CheapHeat™ is an add-on electric heating system offered by RV Comfort Systems. More information and videos can be found here.

It is mounted directly off the blower assembly or downstream of the existing propane heater, and utilizes the existing ductwork of the RV. According to the website, it utilizes tungsten heating coils that run on 120-volt or 240-volt power. Therefore, the unit would need to be plugged into 30- or 50-amp power during storage to operate.

There are three models: 1800 watts, 3750 watts, and 5,000 watts. So you would need to make sure you had proper power at the shoreline outlet. The add-on system utilizes the 12-volt blower motor of your existing furnace and is compatible with most Atwood and Suburban heaters. It has a mixed bag of reviews. (All photos courtesy of Amazon.)

You can purchase the product on Amazon here, where it received 2.7 stars out of 5—mostly due to installation difficulties. One review stated that if you are not familiar with how your propane furnace operates or the thermostat, and are not an expert at AC and DC power, hire a professional. Another stated that they needed an additional $200 worth of wiring and components.

According to the testimonials on the RV Comfort Systems site, owners are very pleased with the performance. One customer even stated that the system keeps their large motorhome at 72 degrees even in 10-degree outside temperatures.

Installation of the CheapHeat system

RV Comfort Systems recommends having a certified RV facility install the unit. It will provide recommendations for installation. One of the main issues is clearance in the furnace cavity to install the main unit between your existing furnace and the ductwork. I would believe it could be a challenge if your rig has metal ductwork coming off the main furnace, as this would require cutting it to customize the install.

According to the website, the coil assembly is completely safe and safeguarded by a bi-metal high limit switch and a fusible link which acts as an in-line circuit breaker. The only connection is the wiretap to the existing blower motor of the onboard propane furnace.

Here is a photo from one of the reviewers on Amazon.

Is it a good investment?

This is a very interesting heating option. However, I would not invest the money just to heat my rig during storage. I believe it would create quite an expensive electric bill to heat what is perfectly fine being cold, when properly winterized, for 6 months. I’ve always blown out all the water and let the unit sit in some very cold temperatures up here in the frozen tundra of Northern Iowa. I do not see the advantage of heating the unit during those times.

However, I do think it is a good option if you are RVing in cold weather and have free or inexpensive shoreline power. It would be a much better option than having to fill the propane tank every few days.

 You might also enjoy this from Dave 

Storing my RV for a month. Drain the water and leave RV cold, or heat it?

Dear Dave,
I live in Utah, and we will be going on a few more trips this year, including Arizona for Thanksgiving. I won’t use my motorhome again after that until Christmas, when we’ll use it as a guest house. Should I blow out the lines and drain the tanks and leave it cold for the month of December, then warm it up again for the guests? Or try to keep it warm? When I do keep it warm, is it better to use the propane heater or an electric heater and shore power? —Clayton, 1993 National RV Sea Breeze 31

Read Dave’s answer.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”

Read more from Dave here


Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. He has been in the RV Industry since 1983 and conducts over 15 seminars at RV shows throughout the country.



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Jimbo (@guest_258999)
1 month ago

Joy… Make the furnace even more of a pain in the butt to service or repair. Good luck finding someone above board to install this ‘cheapheat’ the entire thing screams of liability for the installer.

On metered electric? Get ready for that power bill!

Besides most RV’s don’t have an additional circuit breaker the lowest wattage is for a 15a circuit so that’s running new romex and circuit breaker.

My recommendation… NO WAY! PASS!

Neal Davis (@guest_257913)
1 month ago

Thank you, Dave!

DW/ND (@guest_257870)
1 month ago

Dave: Several years ago Gary Bunzer, the Rv Dr., did a clip on this system with the owner or developer. Very interesting and I did get some literature on it. As I recall it was specific to your make and model and furnace design. I wasn’t aware it was available on Amazon. I didn’t install it as our motor home is stored outside in eastern ND.

Diane McGovern
1 month ago
Reply to  DW/ND

Thanks, D & J. Here’s a link to Gary’s video from 12 years ago(!): Have a great day. 😀 –Diane at

Neal Davis (@guest_257912)
1 month ago
Reply to  Diane McGovern

Thank you for the link, Diane!

Diane McGovern
1 month ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

You’re very welcome, Neal.👍 I sure do miss Gary. He and I were going to go to my mountain property one summer to shoot at targets. COVID got him a couple of months earlier (April 17, 2020). So I went up to my property (with my sons), and wrote COVID on my target, and blasted the heck out of it with my .357 Magnum S&W, for Gary.😭 Have a good afternoon/evening. 😀 –Diane

Thomas D (@guest_257864)
1 month ago

Cheapheat isn’t unless the electric is free to you, but someone has to pay. Couple years ago I did calculations on electric vs propane. Propane is WAY cheaper even with the efficiency of electricity. Propane has gone up but you could expect a 3 to one ratio. I wouldn’t. Like anything else, systems fail and if you were counting on heat and it failed you might have one heck of a repair bill

Brad Teubner (@guest_257863)
1 month ago

We get acceptable electric heat with two of the small portable electric space heaters. I have installed baseboard heater thermostats that they connect to in order to have a more accurate thermostat.

Jim Johnson (@guest_257837)
1 month ago

Agree with winterizing; willing to bet a climate controlled storage facility wouldn’t cost much more than heating an RV stored outdoors. Perhaps other than the water system, Ray might want to leave other cold-sensitive items inside the RV?

Shifting slightly, I like the concept of the CheapHeat system, but think this would be a better factory installed option. Our RV has an electric fireplace (love the space heater, not sold on the need for LED flames). We do use it a lot, but it lacks a thermostat unless you count the human kind. And our RV uses parasitic heat from the furnace ductwork to keep waterlines from freezing. It would usually be cheaper to pay for the electric.

Seann Fox (@guest_257826)
1 month ago

Wouldn’t heating the RV while in storage attract rodents?

Mikal H (@guest_257871)
1 month ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

My thoughts exactly! In winter storage I don’t want any part of my RV warmer than ambient temperature. Not to mention the potential for condensation to form and stain or mold things.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mikal H
volnavy007 (@guest_257824)
1 month ago

To keep the black, gray and freshwater tanks protected from the freezing in the cold, would fastening a heat tape (using duct tape) to the material that closes in the tanks be beneficial? Would it be enough to keep the tanks from freezing in weather that doesn’t get below 0 F?

Seann Fox (@guest_257827)
1 month ago
Reply to  volnavy007

You can buy (from Amazon) thermostatically controlled tank heater strips. No need to reinvent the wheel

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