Can You Replace An RV Thermostat With A House Thermostat?



A functional heating and cooling system are crucial for comfortable living in an RV. The RV thermostat plays a key role in this system, but it may become damaged or malfunction over time. This raises the question of whether you can replace the RV thermostat with a house thermostat.

Yes, you can replace an RV thermostat with a house thermostat, but there are important things to consider. 

RV thermostats are specifically designed for RVs, while house thermostats are designed for residential homes. Before replacing the RV thermostat with a house thermostat, it is essential to ensure compatibility with the RV’s heating and cooling system. The compatibility of the house thermostat with the RV system depends on the wiring and connections, and modifications or an adapter may be required for proper function. It is always recommended to seek professional assistance when making changes to the heating and cooling system to ensure the safety and proper functioning of the RV.

This article will cover various aspects related to replacing an RV thermostat with a house thermostat, including reasons for replacement, compatibility, and the steps involved.

How To Determine If Your Thermostat Needs Replacement?

Resetting Thermostat

Consider trying to reset the thermostat of your RV before deciding to replace it entirely. This can be similar to restarting a computer or restoring a television to its factory settings. The method for resetting your thermostat may vary depending on the brand and model, so the best practice is to refer to the instruction manual. If you no longer have the manual, you can find instructions online on the manufacturer’s website or various internet forums.

You Are Still Running on Analog

Your RV thermostat needs to be something you can program as per your liking, just like any other tech you use. 

The analog thermostat is the one that comes installed with your RV. This thermostat is non-programmable and can be adjusted with minimal tweaks. One downside to them is that they are not very accurate and can be cheap most of the time.

When considering a digital thermostat upgrade, it is important to ensure that it is compatible with the model of your RV. One way to ensure compatibility is to purchase the RV from a reliable dealer who can guide you better. Another option is to reach out directly to the manufacturer for guidance on compatibility.

Methods To Check Thermostat Performance

Replacing Batteries

Sometimes, simple solutions can fix problems. If a battery operates your RV’s thermostat, it may be as easy as replacing the batteries. Dead batteries cause malfunctioning in the thermostat and can even stop the thermostat from working.

Replacing the batteries is a straightforward task. All you need is new batteries to fix this issue. Replacing the batteries of the thermostat is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is get rid of the old batteries and replace them with new ones, and you’re good to go.

Blank Display

One way to determine if your RV’s thermostat is not functioning properly is to check its screen. If you see nothing on the digital thermostat screen, the thermostat is probably broken and needs to be changed. Some RVs do not come with a display, mainly analog thermostats. You will need to check the temperature to see if the thermostat is working.

Settings Do Not Match

An indication that something is wrong with your RV’s thermostat is recognized when the temperature inside the RV does not match the thermostat setting. For example, suppose you have set the thermostat to a lower temperature but still feel uncomfortably hot. In that case, this indicates that the thermostat is not properly communicating with the HVAC system.

To check if this issue is present, compare the temperature indicated on your RV’s thermostat to the actual room temperature using a separate thermometer, such as a Habor Hygrometer Indoor Thermometer. Considering there is a difference between the two readings, you will likely have a broken thermostat. In this case, you will need to replace it. If the thermostat is reading an inaccurate temperature, it will not activate the air conditioning to cool the RV.

No Response From The Heater Or AC

If you are experiencing difficulty with your heating or cooling system turning on or off, it could be a sign of a malfunctioning thermostat. One way to test this is by adjusting the temperature above or below the current setting and listening for a distinct “click” sound. This sound indicates that the thermostat is sending signals to the heating or cooling system to turn on or off.

If you do not hear this sound, it is likely that the thermostat is broken and needs to be replaced. The ‘clicking’ noise signifies that the thermostat is working to change the room’s current temperature to the desired setting and if this doesn’t happen, then changing your thermostat is probably the best thing to do.

Are Standard Thermostats Compatible With RVs?

A household thermostat not operated by a battery will not function properly in an RV, as it cannot provide the energy the household thermostat requires. If the household thermostat is battery-operated, it utilizes the internal battery to power the relay and display instead of relying on an external power source.

One more consideration when using a house thermostat as a replacement is the type of RV that you have. Some RV models require the replacement thermostat to have the same model as the previous one because the thermostat’s wiring is done in a specific way. It would be impossible to connect it to an entirely different model overall.

If your RV has an air conditioning system, you will need a thermostat with a dual fan capacity built into it. Another solution is adding a switch to control the air conditioner’s multiple fan speeds.

Installing a house thermostat in your RV is going to depend on how your cooling and heating layout is set up in the RV. It might take a little more time than usual to figure out the wiring, but you’ll get to save money in the process.

RV thermostat good


Is It Possible To Repair A Thermostat Yourself?

Fortunately, it is possible to replace or repair your RV’s thermostat on your own. As long as you follow the safety protocols, you should be good. You will require some tools and basic knowledge, but replacing or repairing your thermostat is relatively straightforward.

All you need is a pair of gloves, a pack of screwdrivers, and a multimeter. And you don’t need to go into too many details. Just popping off the cover of the thermostat would be enough. Here is how to troubleshoot:

Checking Batteries

A power issue may be causing your thermostat to malfunction. Two possible causes of this issue are a fuse or a battery problem. If a battery and the batteries power the thermostat aren’t working, it will not function. If the thermostat is not battery-powered, the issue may be a blown a fuse.

In this case, the thermostat is attached to the RV’s electrical system; if there is a power problem, you will need to check the fuses. Refer to the owner’s manual to locate the thermostat’s fuse, often labeled as “furnace,” and check if it is broken.

If the fuse is found to be broken in any way, it will need to be replaced. It’s important to use a fuse that comes with a higher number of amps. A fuse that has a rating can also cause problems, so it’s crucial to be precise when selecting the correct one.

Once you replace the fuse, check the thermostat’s display screen to see if it’s working again. If it still doesn’t tend to work, then there could be an issue with the thermostat’s wiring.

Testing Thermostat Internal Wiring

This procedure only applies if a battery does not power the RV’s thermostat. If it is, and changing the batteries did not resolve the issue, the thermostat will likely need to be replaced. Testing the thermostat’s wiring will require assistance, as someone needs to turn on the thermostat while you are testing.

The thermostat can be easily removed from its mounted bracket, and this will allow you to test if the thermostat is receiving power. To test the power, a multimeter needs to be used. Ensure that the multimeter is adjusted correctly in order to read the DC voltage. Place the red and black probes on the positive and negative terminals to measure the power the thermostat is receiving. The correct reading is usually 12V.

Replacing The Thermostat Of Your RV

If the steps above weren’t successful in fixing your thermostat, it would need to be replaced. This process isn’t as challenging as it may seem and can save you money. Thermostats as replacements can cost anywhere between $20 and $200. The method for replacing the thermostat will vary based on the specific RV model, but this guide provides a general overview of the process.

To replace the thermostat, start by turning the power to the thermostat/HVAC system off by disconnecting the battery of the RV or by unplugging your generator.

Take note of how the wiring is laid out in your old thermostat for reference before disconnecting them. For better confirmation, you take a picture as well. Once the wires are disconnected, get rid of the mounting bracket off the wall. Take the replacement thermostat out of its packaging and quickly review the buyer guide for specific installation instructions. Install the new mounting bracket in place of the old one.

Once the wires have been connected, you can screw the mounting of the thermostat back on and secure it with the front cover. Finally, you can reconnect the entire thermostat system to the power source to check whether your installation worked. Before you turn on the power, just ensure that the thermostat’s wires are connected correctly. If the thermostat turns on, you’ve connected it the right way! Well done!

Final Thoughts

It is possible to replace your RV thermostat with a house thermostat, we are not ruling this out, but you need to make sure you are ready to put in the work to carry out the testing and installation. If you have money to spare, call someone to do it for you, and you should be good to go.


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