Is there anything more adorable than a tiny kitchen? When you have an RV, the kitchen is viewable from everywhere in the rig. This means it truly is the center of your tiny home! When we started our kitchen remodel I was so excited to think about tile and counter combinations. I knew I wanted a beautiful space! However, equally as important to the look of an RV kitchen is its functionality.
After trial and error we decided to convert the propane appliances in our kitchen to electric. This means when we are hooked up to shore power we spend no extra money to cook! If you are in a stationary RV or camp with full hookups, you may want to ditch the propane tanks! Here's how we did it.
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Our RV is parked on a stationary spot. I think it's important to make note of that as the changes we made only work if you are regularly hooked up to shoreline power.
We are fortunate to have our RV parked in a beautiful community near the beach. Since we don't move the RV, we are hooked up to shoreline power. Our seasonal fee for the site includes electric and city water, but it does not include propane.
When we began renovating the RV, we originally intended to keep the kitchen in tact and just paint it. This literally became the best laid plans of mice and men....mostly mice though because we quickly discovered that mice had destroyed most of the cabinetry and the propane stove as well.
At first I was upset that we had to demo the entire kitchen, but it ended up being one of the best things that happened during our RV renovation!
I spent some time looking for a reasonably priced used propane stove. I checked Craigslist, Ebay, and several other used camper parts stores. I was not having much luck. Most propane stoves I found were either not guaranteed to work or way overpriced for our renovation budget.
One day I was in the RV trying to conceive of ways to give myself more counter space. I was measuring out how much space a propane camper oven would take up when I had an idea...what if we installed a cooktop instead? It would take up less space and it would run off of electric...meaning no additional cost of propane for us
This sparked a new mission in us, convert everything that was used propane in the RV to electric! There are several things, but I'm going to focus on the kitchen.
While I knew we would be doing a lot of grilling, I still wanted the capability to cook on a stove and bake something in an oven. You know me, I love to cook, and some things just can't be done on a grill. So I had to find a way to replace the propane stove/oven without losing functionality.
After a lot of research we decided to go with a double burner electric cooktop in the RV. You can get them in vertical and horizontal orientations. I went with vertical to gain even more counter space.
I actually made a pretty big mistake when I initially ordered. There are a ton of reasonably priced 240 volt cooktops out there. I ordered an induction burner that I loved the look of, but our electrician quickly alerted me to the fact that 240 volts is a residential range, I could have no more than 110 volts. Now that I understand how the electric works in an RV it all makes sense, but at the time I had no idea. Double check before ordering a cooktop that it is in fact 110 volts or less. They are a bit more expensive that their 240 counterparts, but again you're saving money in the long run.
So I ended up ordering this cooktop. We had the electrician wire a separate breaker for it just to be safe. I love this cooktop. It does exactly what I want it to do. It can be a bit crowded when I have two pans on it at once, but cooking in an RV means I rarely am doing that. It heats up quickly and while it draws power, I've never had to turn the A/C or other appliances off to run it, though that is something to consider in your RV.
I'm glad I went with the two burners instead of the four burners. It significantly increased my counter space, which I use far more than I use the stove.
The second problem was how to replace the oven. At first I just thought this would be something that I would have to give up. I asked a friend who also has an RV just how much she used her oven, and she said not often. While I knew it wasn't a necessity, I also knew that the ability to bake off lasagnas, gratins, cookies, and other treats was one I wanted to have.
After doing a ton of research (aka watching shows about people buying RVs) I learned that most newer RVs come with convection microwaves. I did some research and found a Cuisinart convection microwave that was within our budget.
What this means is that the microwave has the capability to be used as a microwave but there's a separate function that turns it into a convection oven. I loved that this was two appliances in one because let's face it space in the RV is at a premium. Any time you can get a two for one feature you want to take advantage of it. This one is actually three because it also has a grill feature, but I haven't tried that yet since we have a real grill. It does have a trivet that it comes with so maybe on a rainy day I'll try and grill some chicken.
The other nice thing about the convection oven/microwave combo is that it freed up the space where the oven was for storage. We actually have the water heater under there, but there's enough space for me to keep a few things that I wouldn't have been able to.
I will mention that when purchasing a convection microwave you should check where the "vent" is. They can expel quite a bit of hot air while using the convection feature. Make sure that your unit is not backed up directly against a wall. We installed ours where the original microwave was, but it sits a bit forward ensuring there is space in the back for the hot air to dispel. I always monitor it when in use.
We have never had a problem with it overheating, but I just wanted to mention this because it was something I came across in my research and wanted to pass along.
The final thing I have to mention is my Instapot. If you have an RV this is a must. It is big, but worth the space. It essentially becomes another burner and you're able to cook in it without heating up the whole RV. I definitely recommend one if you frequently cook inside. This gives me the "third burner" that I lost when we gave up the propane stove, so I now have the same number of burners, all utilizing electric.
Of course we use our grill most days to cook protein, but for breakfast, rainy day meals, and sides, this little double burner/convection microwave combo has worked out great!
You will need specially sized "sheet" pans which I had trouble finding in stores, but did find them on Amazon.
Is this a solution for everyone? Definitely not. If you travel with your RV and boondock, this won't work for you. The convection oven and cooktop can only work when hooked up to shoreline power. However if you are stationary, or only camp with full hookups, getting rid of your propane stove and switching to electric can save you lots of money! You already pay for electric...why not utilize it more!
I hope that was helpful if you have any questions about converting your RV to electric appliances. I would definitely reccomend hiring an electrician for anything you aren't sure about. We've had our RV for just over a year and we are still loving our decision!