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Are RV Fireplaces Safe?

Having a fireplace in an RV is a luxury feature for those chilly days and nights on the road. Curling up on the couch with a book and a blanket is certainly an excellent way to spend a winter day.

But are they really safe to have in your RV?

In this article, we look closely at RV fireplaces, their purpose, and their risks.

Let’s get started!

What Is an RV Fireplace? 

An RV fireplace is effectively an electric space heater with faux flames for the look and feel of a real fireplace. The flames are typically LED light with a rotating metal reflector to make the illusion of a fire.

The manufacturer generally installs the fireplaces. However, you can purchase after-market electric fireplaces and install them yourself or by a professional. 

There are also free-standing and wall-mounted models that you can purchase for your RV. Just be sure that your RV has a stud you can hang something from and determine if the weight of the fireplace is light enough. We also recommend getting a heavy-duty 12-gauge extension cord if you use one.

Do RV Fireplaces Put Heat Out?

RV fireplaces do put out heat. But most models cannot warm up your entire RV, especially if you have a large motorhome or fifth wheel with an open floor plan. They do serve as a good secondary heat source if you’re within a few feet of it. 

Do Electric Fireplaces Give Off Carbon Monoxide?

Electric fireplaces are quite environmentally friendly. They don’t let off carbon monoxide gases. It also means that you don’t need to vent RV electric fireplaces. The emission-free fireplaces are a great way to get a little bit of heat and create ambiance without inhaling toxic fumes.

Are RV Fireplaces Safe?

RV fireplaces can be safe as long as they’re installed and used properly. Obviously, with any appliance, there is a risk of malfunctioning. 

A fireplace can be safer as a heat source than a portable electric or propane space heater. A space heater could tip over, whereas a fireplace remains stationary and is typically set into a wall or cupboard.

We highly recommend reading your RV fireplace manually thoroughly and keeping it maintained. At the first sign of a malfunction, turn it off and troubleshoot the problem.

Most electric fireplaces are set in a wall with wires hidden behind them. Unfortunately, this means you can’t see if there is a melted wire or a connection issue. If your fireplace isn’t working properly, turn it off and have someone take a look at it immediately.

Is It Safe to Leave RV Fireplace on All Night? 

It is dangerous to leave an RV fireplace on all night. Since it’s an electric appliance that heats up, the cord and wires can get very hot and potentially cause a fire if left unsupervised or kept on for an extended period. 

Even though electric fireplaces don’t emit gases like carbon monoxide, they do get hot. Treat an RV fireplace similar to a portable electric heater. If the fireplace is plugged into an outlet or utilizes an extension cord, fire hazards need to be considered.

How Many Watts Does an RV Fireplace Use? 

RV fireplaces vary in wattage, but most run between 1,000 and 1,500 watts. A 1,500-watt electric fireplace can heat about 400 square feet, which is enough to heat most rigs. That is if you’re hooked into shore power, running a generator, or have adequate solar power. 

Remember that an RV fireplace shouldn’t be your main heat source. It’s not viable or safe to run an electric fireplace all of the time, and it’s especially unsafe to keep it on unattended. 

How Many Hours Can You Run an Electric Fireplace?

If your RV electric fireplace is hard-wired, it technically can run indefinitely or until the power source is disconnected. But, as we’ve repeated in this article, it is unsafe to leave it running for a long time. Remember, an RV isn’t a traditional house. One spark in an RV will set the entire thing ablaze in a matter of minutes. Exercising caution with appliances that put off heat can’t be overstated.

We recommend using your RV fireplace during awake hours when you’re in your rig. If you leave or go to bed, turn it off. 

Is an RV Fireplace Worth It?

An RV fireplace is worth it for an additional heat source and the ambiance it creates. Watching the flames flicker when you’re chilling inside your RV on a cold or rainy day is fun. And if you’re a full-time RVer, having a fireplace increases the cozy feeling in your home on wheels.

Many of the new RV models come with an electric fireplace in them. And if not, add one yourself. You can find them online and in stores such as hardware stores and big box stores. 

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