An RV Thermostat is not perfectly the same as a residential thermostat targeted for sticks and bricks houses.
The biggest differences are 1) the RV thermostat runs off of 12Volt DC power, the common power in RV’s versus 24V which is the common power for home thermostats and 2) the RV systems have a high and low fan setting – versus on/off only in the traditional home thermostats.
Other than that, the RV thermostats work pretty much just like the home thermostats!
So the first thing to think about if you want to buy a thermostat from Lowes or Home Depot is if the thermostat can run off of its own batteries that you would supply OR 24Volt. You can use the battery operated thermostat, but not the 24Volt operated thermostat.
The second thing to think about is what fan speed you hook up to the thermostat. It should be the high setting. If you want to control the high/low fan speed, then you’ll need an extra switch not normally on a regular home thermostat.
The thermostats in our Open Range were actually in our roof mounted air conditioner, which was a Carrier Air 5 System from Carrier. You can’t get those anymore and you really can’t get a decent replacement either. So we had our RV repair person replace our Air 5 air conditioner with a more normal air conditioner AND place the thermostat on the wall.
I would NOT locate a thermostat on an outside wall on an RV if I could help it due to radiated heat. But most don’t do this so you’ll probably always be OK.
If you want to buy a true RV thermostat, here are a handful from Amazon (disclosure):
- Camco 09231 RV Wall Thermostat – Heat Only
- Atwood 38453 Thermostat
- Atwood 38452 Thermostat
- Dometic 3109228.001 5 Button Comfort Control Center
- Suburban 161154 Thermostat Wall Heat