Run More Devices While Keeping Warm In Your RV This Winter

Last Updated on December 8, 2023 by Jess

Update (2023): SoftStartRV is now offering a summer special! Click on the banner below for more details. Don’t miss it!

Manufacturer's drawing showing how the heat pump works to keep the motorhome warm in winter

How a palm-sized device releases more amps to keep you warm in your motorhome

With the hot temperatures of summer dropping like fall leaves, RVers who want to continue traveling in their RVs in colder temperatures know they need to make sure they stay warm in their RVs when the temperatures drop.

The different types of RV heating systems – stoves, electric heaters, electric baseboard heaters or heat pumps – work differently depending on how cold the RV traveler’s primary environment is expected to be and how long the cold temperatures are expected to last. When making any decision, it is important to weigh up how much energy is available and how much the chosen type of heating can consume.

When the air is cool but not yet freezing, it is probably most efficient to use the heat pump function of an RV air conditioner-heat pump combo, which most RVers already have on their roof. Another way to increase efficiency is to use a SoftStartRV™ soft starter.

The influence of SoftStartRV™ on a rooftop air conditioning system with heat pumpIn recent years, the installation of soft starters in RV rooftop air conditioners has proven to be the most popular way to maximize overall climate comfort, performance and energy efficiency. By reducing the required starting power by up to 70%, soft starters such as SoftStartRV have resulted in much quieter A/C startup (no rattling or shaking), less heat load on the compressor windings (which can significantly extend compressor life), and more opportunities to leave the A/C on in low power situations while other appliances remain running (e.g. off-grid low amperage generator power or household power).

So it makes sense that when the weather turns cold, the SoftStartRV heat pump provides the same benefits as a running rooftop air conditioner while keeping you warm in your RV. Many RV rooftop units with heat pump capabilities use the same compressor that runs the air conditioner. A heat pump is actually an air conditioner that works in reverse: Instead of extracting heat from the inside air and releasing it outside during air conditioning, the heat pump extracts heat from the outside air and transports it inside the motorhome. Depending on the specifications of the heat pump, it can cool a motorhome comfortably and efficiently when outside temperatures only reach around 4.4ºC.

Shows the soft start RV device with crimper and wire ends.
Every SoftStartRV purchase includes these installation tools.

Holiday Moochdocking – Keeping your motorhome warm at grandma’s house

“Moochdocking” is a term used in the RV community to describe the practice of parking an RV on a friend or family member’s property for a short period of time, usually without paying for the stay. Moochdocking often reaches its peak during the vacation season. It is considered a form of boondocking, but often offers the advantage of having access to amenities such as electricity or water from the host’s home. In most cases, however, the electricity is not a 30- or 50-amp column, but a standard 20-amp AC source – probably at the end of a long extension cord.

While that’s usually enough for lights, TV and running a gas water heater or furnace, it’s not enough to start the nice heat pump on the roof of your RV. However, if you can get it going, it will often still run. That’s where the SoftStartRV device comes in, allowing you to start these appliances with 70% less electricity to get the heat pump going so you can stay warm in your motorhome. Without a SoftStartRV device, it is very unlikely that you will be able to start a heat pump with a 20 amp power source.

AI representation of rver docking at a house during the Christmas season and emptying the black tank into the sewer.
Moochdockers shouldn’t do that….but they do should buy a SoftStartRV device!

Advantages beyond keeping warm in your motorhome

Measuring approximately 3″ x 6″ x 2″, a SoftStartRV soft starter is the smallest on the market and fits all RV rooftop air conditioner heat pump units. Benefits include the ability to run lights, TV, CPAP, refrigerator, microwave, toaster, coffee maker or other appliances while the heat pump is running.

More importantly, the same benefits that a SoftStartRV soft starter provides for AC operation are also realized when operating the rooftop unit’s heat pump. Due to the huge reduction in starting current, many other appliances can remain in operation while the heat pump is in use. This means you don’t have to sacrifice important functions to keep your motorhome warm.

Because peak power demand is kept low, the circuit will not shut down when the heat pump is turned on – especially circuits that may be running on less power than normal. And because the soft start provides a quiet start, you may not even notice when the heat pump is running (unless you are near the fan)

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