The Best Way To Have Underfloor Heating In A Caravan


Are you wondering if you can have underfloor heating in a caravan? Look no further. I’ve got you covered and will explain the best underfloor heating options to use in a caravan. 

There are two ways to have underfloor heating in a caravan. Luxurious or new caravans often have the option of a built-in underfloor heating system that heats the entire floor. Another way is to place removable electric heating mats and a walking carpet on top in all aisles of the caravan. This gives more direct heat than a built-in underfloor heating system.

We’re using the removable electric heating mats in our caravan, which we really love! Let’s dig in some more, so I can tell you why! 

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How To Have Underfloor Heating In A Caravan

Having underfloor heating in a caravan may sound like a luxury accessory. However, underfloor heating is a must-have for more convenience when you’re camping during winter months or in colder places. Let’s look at the different types of underfloor heating more in-depth. 

Built-In Underfloor Heating

Built-in underfloor heating is a great way to have underfloor heating in your caravan. However, having built-in underfloor heating is often only possible when you buy a new caravan, motorhome, or when you do heavy maintenance. This is because the fact the underfloor heating tubes are built into the floor. 

So, having built-in underfloor heating in an existing caravan is often not the most cost-effective option. If it can be done at all. If possible, I would only recommend doing this when there needs to be heavy maintenance on the caravan or maybe when there’s some floor damage that needs to be resolved. 

When you have your eyes on buying a brand new caravan or motorhome, you can probably have the option of built-in underfloor heating from the factory. Which is a great option to choose. 

The plus side of built-in underfloor heating is that you don’t have mats laying around the floor of your caravan. And you don’t need to buy a carpet to cover the electric heating mats. 

The downside of having built-in underfloor heating is that it’s not an easy fix when there’s a defect. Since the underfloor heating is built-in, this means the floor of your caravan needs to be opened, and that’s something you don’t want. 

Also, most built-in underfloor heating is also built-in at places where you don’t walk or site, for example, under the benches and beds. Built-in underfloor heating gives more indirect heating than the electric underfloor mats. The reason for this is simply because it’s built into the floor, so it takes a bit longer to feel the warmth on your feet. 

Built-in underfloor heating is easily connected to the control panel of your caravan. Most caravans and motorhomes have the option to use an application as a control panel, so you can easily access everything from your phone. When it’s connected to Wi-Fi, you can actually switch on the underfloor heating before you access the caravan. Which is great for colder days! 

Removable Underfloor Heating Mats 

Having removable underfloor heating mats in your caravan or motorhome is the easiest and most convenient way of having underfloor heating. 

The electric underfloor heating mats are low maintenance and give direct heating. You can also decide where you want to put them. As I mentioned before, we are also using these mats in our caravan. We have the underfloor heating mats in the aisles of the caravan, but not under the beds because we don’t need them there. 

The downside of underfloor heating mats is that you need to buy carpet mats as well to put on top of the electric underfloor heating mats. You can’t directly walk on the electric mats because otherwise, you’ll damage them, and it’s getting too hot anyway. 

Also, when cleaning the caravan, you need to take out the mats to clean the floor. But if you only stay in your caravan during holidays, that’s not really a problem. We live in our caravan for several months a year. So, every time we need to vacuum clean the floor, we also take out the mats. In the beginning, this was a bit of a hassle, but just like with everything, you get used to it. And I rather prefer having warm feet in the caravan.

We actually bought our caravan new in 2021 and also had the option for built-in underfloor heating. However, we chose electric heating mats from a price and maintenance perspective. It was much cheaper! And also, don’t have the hassle of bringing our caravan to the repair center if the heating mats don’t work. We can just easily buy new ones.

If you don’t need to use them, for example, during the summer period, you can just take them out and store them somewhere. We always leave the electric mats in our caravan. During the summer months we often say in The Netherlands with our caravan. Summer days can be hot, but sometimes it can get cold during the nights. So having the option of underfloor heating is convenient.

The electric underfloor heating mats are also connected to the control panel of our caravan. So we can easily access it with both the panel inside the caravan and using our smartphone application. I really like this feature because I can control the temperature inside the caravan while being outside myself. I use this almost daily when my son is asleep to ensure it doesn’t get too warm inside.  

The electric heating mats for caravans and motorhomes don’t use a lot of electricity. Having a heating option that you can also use at a campsite where you, for example, only have 6 amperages is very convenient. When it’s not too cold outside, it’s often enough to only use the underfloor heating to create a pleasant temperature inside. And because the mats don’t use a lot of electricity, we can easily use other equipment when staying at a campsite with a low amperage connection. 

Other Ways Of Heating Your Caravan

Having underfloor heating in your caravan or motorhome is one of the best ways to heat your caravan. However, it’s recommended to install other ways of heating as well. Especially when you decide to camp during the colder winter months. Let’s look at some alternative ways to install heating in your caravan. 

Gas Heating

Back in the day, caravans and motorhomes only had gas heating. If they had a heater installed at all. Today, there are many different ways to install heating for your caravan or motorhome. However, a gas heater is still a good idea to install. 

Most caravans are standard equipped with a gas heater. Some people are still cautious when using a gas heater. And while it’s recommended to use it with caution, it’s a very safe way of heating. If the heater is installed correctly. So you must make sure to let it install by a professional. 

We also have a gas heater in our caravan, but we barely use it. For us, it’s our backup heater. For example, when there’s no electricity for some reason, we always can switch on a heater in our caravan. 

We also installed a carbon monoxide alarm close to our gas heater as an extra safety measure. Probably never use it, but better safe than sorry, right 😉 

A very popular and reliable brand for caravan gas heaters is Truma. Most caravans are standard equipped with the traditional Truma S heater system. 

A newer system is the Truma Combi system, which combines heating the caravan and warm water. 

Both systems have the option of installing an electric heating element. So that you can both use gas and electricity as a heating source. 

Electric Heating

Having the option of electric heating is perfect for your caravan. It’s easy to use, safe, and also saves you a lot of money in the long run. Because you only have to pay for the electric heating element once. On most campsites, the pitch is included electricity. 

Gas is not always that cheap, and if you use your gas heater all the time, you use around a gas bottle of 9,5 kilograms a week. On average, these bottles (propane gas) costs 46 Pound Sterling (55 EURO/ 62 USD) without deposit. 

Let’s say you go camping for 15 weeks a year. Every year, it costs you 690 Pound Sterling (826 EURO/ 929 USD). 

The Truma S electric element has an average price of 250 Pound Sterling (299,60 EURO/ 340 USD). That’s with the costs of installing, of course. But in the long run, it’s always cheaper to have the electric heating element installed. 

We use the Truma S electric heating in our caravan. And like I said, the gas heater is our backup heating. Since we only camp at campsites with electricity, it’s easy to do for us. When you camp off-grid, that’s a whole different story, of course. Then gas heating is your best option. 

The Truma S Electric also has the option to switch in different wattages. This is perfect when you stay at the campsite with low amperage. 

Ring Heating 

Ever heard of central heating in a caravan? It’s called ring heating. A tube is connected under the couches and beds in your caravan or motorhome. Your gas and/or electric heater has a built-in fan, which can blow the warm air throughout the caravan. 

I think it’s a must-have when you camp for longer periods and want to have a nice warmth throughout the whole caravan. We use it all the time when at night it gets colder. 

The only downside is that you must make sure to warm up your heater first. Otherwise, you’ll blow cold air throughout your caravan, and the heating system doesn’t get a chance to warm up at all. Switch on your heater for a few minutes, and once it is warm, you can switch on the fan to blow the warm air throughout the caravan. You’ll have a warm caravan in minutes! 

Airconditioning

We have air conditioning installed in our caravan. It may sound luxurious, but we use it a lot during the summer months. When the temperatures get above 25 degrees outside, the caravan turns into a sauna. 

And because our son is only 2 years old, he (and myself as well) does like to sleep during the day. We figured it would be wise to have an aircon to keep things cool. So, we basically use it only in the summer months. 

Most air conditioners can also produce warm air. So if you don’t have the electric heating system we discussed earlier, switching on your air conditioning to warm up things can be a great idea. 

There are a few downsides to having air conditioning in your caravan, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you only want to use it for heating. But that’s quite logical, I think. 

Airconditioning systems are pretty expensive. They also use a lot of electricity, so if you’re at a campsite where you only have 6 amperages, you probably can’t use it. 

They make a lot of noise. Most air conditioning is quiet on the outside, but inside the caravan, you hear the fan loudly. But you don’t have to put it on all the time. We always switch it off when we go to sleep. Just make sure to cool things down before we get in the caravan. 

I wouldn’t recommend buying air conditioning if you have a small touring caravan. But when you have a large caravan like us, let’s say 8 meters or longer, it can be convenient to have air conditioning both for cooling and as a heating system. 

Stand Alone Electric Heater

You can also get a stand-alone electric heater. These small heaters give pleasant warmth, but only if you sit directly next to them. It’s not recommended to warm up your complete caravan. They also use a lot of wattages, so you must make sure to use them on your electricity connection. 

To sum it all up. Underfloor heating mats are my preferred way of heating the underfloor in the caravan. Combined with the Truma heating system, we always keep warm in our caravan! 

Léon Kopijn

Léon Kopijn works and lives as a Digital Nomad. He travels the world with the love of his life and writes about inspiring cultures and practical travel tips. Find out more about Léon on his about page!

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