Question: Dear Luise: We are wondering if you have had any experience with the Suburban Furnace for RVs. We’ve been looking at RVTrader used motorhomes. They usually need some work. For instance, the one we’re the most interested in, (one of the line of Fleetwood Motorhomes), is missing a furnace. There’s just a hole where it was. We’re seeing a lot of Suburban Furnaces in used units. If we decide to buy the rig we like, and have to buy a furnace, is that a wise choice? Tom
Answer: Dear Tom: There’s a good reason that you see a lot of Suburban furnaces in RVs to my way of thinking. We have found them to be very reliable. Also, every repairperson we’ve ever worked with is familiar with them. It’s easy to get parts, and I have heard that they honor their guarantees, which is a huge plus.
That said, we have had very good results with Duotherm and Coleman, too. Although we’ve never had one, Atwood has been highly recommended by friends.
Most RV furnaces are pretty noisy. In a home, you often don’t even know when the furnace is running. Not so in most RVs! And they do need to be cleaned and kept in good repair. Still most people opt to have one.
When furnaces die, (and they do, as you have found out), some people just go to portable electric heaters. Especially the type that have an oil chamber built into them to sustain the heat. The problem with that is that you usually have limited, electric power and can easily blow your circuits if you run the heater and the microwave or hair dryer. That can be a drag. It can get pricey, too, if you don’t use portable heaters conservatively and have to pay for power.
Where you will be RVing is another factor. How cold is it going to get? Do you stay in warm climates or move around? Some people rarely use their RV furnace and choose to remove it to use the much-needed space for something else.
Ask the sellers of the specific motorhome you’re interested in to tell you what the story is about the hole-in-the-wall. Get their feed-back about furnace makes and models, if they have any. What do they think of Suburban furnaces? The more questions you ask and the more data you gather, the better your choice. Blessings, Luise