You’ve just taken a nice, warm shower in your RV. The mirrors are all fogged up, the bathroom is nice and steamy, and you reach for a towel. Suddenly, cold air rushes in, and the toasty feeling is immediately gone. Wouldn’t it be nice to step out onto a heated floor? The warm feeling could last a few minutes longer instead of evaporating as soon as the shower ends.
It’s possible to experience this radiant feeling! Even if you don’t have a luxurious high-end motorhome, you can still have heated floors in your RV. Many Rvers describe heated floors as the most comfortable heat possible in an RV. Let’s look at how they function and why so many RVers love them. You may not even realize you want heated floors until you see their benefits. Let’s dive in!
Table of contents
- Do Any RVs Come with Heated Floors?
- Is It Safe to Install Heated Floors in Your RV?
- Underfloor Heating: How Does It Work?
- Types of Floor Heating
- What Are the Benefits of Installing Heated Floors in Your RV
- Is Installing a Heated Floor Expensive?
- Should You Put a Heated Floor in Your RV?
Do Any RVs Come with Heated Floors?
Yes, some luxury motorhomes have heated floors. These tend to be high-end models and won’t be your standard travel trailer. Tiffin, Newmar, and Entegra, and Monaco are well-known brands that manufacture motorhomes with heated floors as an option, usually under tile.
At the 2021 Florida SuperShow in Tampa, Tiffin unveiled a fourth model with the option of heated floors: the Allegro RED floor plans. This model now joins Phaeton, Allegro Bus, and Zephyr as Tiffin models that offer the Gold Heat Heated Tile Floor option.
The Entegra Coach Luxury Diesel comes with an Aqua-Hot 450D hydronic water and heating system with in-floor heat. It’s the only one of its kind.
There are others, so yes, some RVs come with heated floors.
Is It Safe to Install Heated Floors in Your RV?
Sometimes RVers will run a space heater or two on cold, winter nights to help heat small spaces. Although this works, it’s inefficient and potentially dangerous. An efficient and cost-effective alternative is to install heated floors. It’s perfectly safe if you are an avid at DIY. If you’re going to install an electric system, it’s an easy DIY project for an afternoon.
Underfloor Heating: How Does It Work?
With an electric heated flooring system, electric currents run through the heating elements underneath the floor.
A hydronic heated flooring system sends warm water through pipes beneath the floor. There are thermostats to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the RV.
Also called radiant heating, underfloor heating is an excellent upgrade. Imagine how toasty your feet will be when you step out of the shower onto heated tiles.
Types of Floor Heating
The two types of floor heating are electric and hydronic. Both types have their pros and cons but function similarly. Electric systems are generally cheaper than hydronic systems because you don’t have to install equipment. Hydronic systems usually cost less to operate because of the ability to use diesel fuel as the power source. But they also take much longer to heat up since these systems use a boiler.
The most common way to get heated floors in your RV is electricity. These systems use electric coils to evenly distribute heat to the floors, and you don’t need bulky equipment for installation. The mats are the thickness of a credit card and run off of 120V or 240V power. Inside the mats, the heating elements weave in a serpentine pattern. Once turned on, they usually take less than an hour to heat the floor.
Hydronic systems use a liquid based heat solution to provide heated floors in an RV. Coils wrap around a boiler to disperse hot water through various tubes or pipes under the floor. Power sources include the vehicle’s engine surplus heat, diesel fuel or propane, and AC shore power.
Because hydronic systems require a boiler and pipes, they take up more space in the RV and have a higher upfront cost than electric systems. A raised floor allows for adequate room for the pipes to run throughout the space. Unlike electric systems that heat up quickly, a hydronic system could take hours.
While popular in residential applications, the only coach that offers hydronic heated floors is Entegra in their luxury models, so this is a less common option.
Pro Tip: Upgrade your RV interior by installing these RV Flooring Options to Make Your Camper Feel Like Home.
What Are the Benefits of Installing Heated Floors in Your RV
If you want to install heated floors in your RV, there are many benefits. It’s certainly worth considering if you travel in colder climates or if you just want toasty floors in the bathroom. There will be cold spots, but overall, these systems provide uniform heating through the RV. They’re also low maintenance, rarely need repairs, easy to install, and energy-efficient.
After installation, you should be able to walk from front to back and side to side and feel an even distribution of heat. Because of the serpentine pattern, the electric or hydronic coils disperse heat all over the RV. Unlike vents that distribute air from one location, these coils run throughout the entire subfloor, so you’ll feel the same heat no matter where you step.
Once you install the flooring, you don’t need to do anything else. There’s no preventative maintenance necessary. You simply install the radiant flooring and enjoy the benefit of toasty toes. A hydronic system will require more maintenance since it uses a boiler and has more mechanical parts. If you purchase a motorhome that already has the hydronic system installed, be prepared for more preventative maintenance and possible repairs to keep it functioning properly.
Easy to Install
Electric floor heating systems are easy to install. As mentioned above, the mats are very thin and easy to lay underneath the floor. They come in rolls, so you simply roll it out and cut it to fit your space. No ductwork or professional installation is necessary for an electric floor heating system.
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Forced air heating systems will never be as energy efficient as floor heating systems. There’s no room for heat to escape underneath the floor. And since electric systems take less than an hour to heat, you aren’t wasting energy. Turn it on when you need warm floors, and turn it off when you don’t. Neither hydronic nor electric systems require a lot of power to operate either, so you aren’t burning unnecessary fuel or using excess electricity.
Cozy for Winter Camping
Finally, the most appealing reason to install a heated floor in your RV is that you want to be warm. Maybe you want to feel the warmth as you wash dishes or eat dinner. Perhaps you want your furry friends to be cozy while lounging on the floor.
Having heated floors all year is a perk, but certainly having them during the winter. You won’t regret it when it’s 20 degrees outside!
Is Installing a Heated Floor Expensive?
Installing an electric heated floor will cost anywhere from $10-15 per square foot. So the size of your space will determine the overall cost. Considering other upgrades you can make to your RV, spending a few hundred dollars on radiant flooring is relatively inexpensive for the benefits you receive.
On the other hand, installing a hydronic heated floor will be much more expensive (and much more complex). This is why most manufacturers use electric flooring.
Entegra is the only one that uses the hydronic system. RVers don’t usually install a hydronic system themselves. They either get it with the RV or install an electric system later.
Pro Tip: Don’t rely on just your floors to keep your warm this winter. Check out these Best (and Safest) Space Heaters for RVs.
Should You Put a Heated Floor in Your RV?
If you frequently camp in colder temperatures or if your RV isn’t well-insulated, you might consider installing an electric heated floor in your RV. It’s not complicated or super expensive, and it’s energy-efficient. If you regularly travel to Florida or south Texas, a heated floor might not be high on your list of upgrades.
Ultimately, wouldn’t it be glorious to step out of the shower onto heated tiles? Heated floors could transform your camping experiences for the better. If you’re constantly cold and complain about the poor insulation, don’t wait any longer. Your toes will thank you!
Do you have heated floors in your RV? Drop a comment below!
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