Exploring the great outdoors in the comfort of my own RV is the best, to have all the beautiful nature and I can still feel like home is what I love most about RVing. It gives me access to running water whenever I need it, alongside other amenities I have at my disposal.
At the end of a long day or many times after a tiring hike, there is nothing like having a good shower right as I step into my RV. Literary I took showers at the trailhead after coming home from a long hike. When it is really hot out, I don’t even mind the cold water but during the cooler months, there is nothing better than having hot water on demand. This is where tankless water heaters for RVs come in.
Most RVs come with a hot water tank which needs either propane or electricity to warm the water up. One of the wishes that most RV owners have is having a tankless water heater. This affords us not only warm showers but cook and wash dishes with hot water when we need it.
If you are thinking of updating your RV amenities or simply upgrading your water heater, you should get to know more about what tankless water heaters have to offer.
What is an RV Tankless Water Heater?
As its name implies, an RV tankless water heater is a type of water-heating tool that does not have a tank. It heats water on-demand for your RV when you need to use it via an exchanger. The main idea behind this is that it can provide hot water as needed or even instantly.
Since it does not use a tank that only stores a particular amount of water, you would be happy to know that it does not limit how much water you use. Only your tank size does. Unless you are attached to a water source.
The heating element that RV tankless water heaters rely on includes propane, or electricity, although the latter is less common depending on the RV style and built.
How an RV Tankless Water Heater Works
A tankless water heater for your RV works by having water heated upon turning on the switch or tap. Once the button or tap is turned on, the demand for hot water will immediately flow out. This is because the cold water that’s been heated almost right away will be sent to the tap that you have opened.
The water in question flows through the heat exchanger that you have in your RV. This heat source can be from propane or electricity. This lets the unit provide a constant hot water supply as long as your water source permits it.
Tankless water heaters have the capacity to provide hot water at a working rate of 2 to 5 gallons per minute depending on your chosen or installed exchanger. Gas or propane-powered tankless water heaters can produce more flow rates compared to electric exchangers on the market.
Learning the Difference Between Traditional Hot Water Heaters and an RV Tankless Water Heater
To further illustrate how a tankless water heater works, giving a comparison with traditional hot water heaters is a must. On the one hand, a traditional RV water heater has a tank. These tanks function as a reservoir and water storage in one and can normally be found in 6 to 10-gallon sizes, although there are still larger units available.
Traditional water heaters in RVs work by heating the water in the reservoir once users switch on the heating element. The overall heating time can take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes depending on the amount. These are heated through the use of electricity or propane gas.
On the other hand, tankless water heaters for your RV does away with the water tanks. This means that water is no longer stored at all times and there is no reservoir. Instead, the tankless water heater gets its water source from wherever you may be, such as a fresh water tank, and it instantly heats water that passes through it. In fact, it takes around 10 seconds to heat up the water that passes through it.
Although there are no limits when it comes to the hot water supply you may have on hand, as this is mainly determined by how much water you can access at the moment, the water’s flow rate may be affected. If two or more taps or areas are being used throughout the RV, this could decrease the hot water rate or flow output.
Pros and Cons of a Tankless Water Heater for Your RV
If you are thinking of what tankless water heaters can do for your RV, below are some advantages and disadvantages you may want to weigh.
- Water on Demand
The beauty of having an RV tankless water heater is that you will always have the water you need as long as you have a reliable water connection. You no longer have to worry about waiting for a long time before having hot water when you need it since this almost instantly heats the water.
- Energy Efficient
Tankless water heaters are some of the most energy-efficient water heating elements you can add to your RV. As a matter of fact, you’ll be happy to know that these on-demand water heaters give you anywhere from 24% to 34% energy efficiency savings.
This level of energy efficiency comes from the very design of these water heaters – precisely because they heat on demand. This allows you to bid goodbye to energy wastage and instead, say hello to more savings in your pocket, a win-win for you and the environment at that.
- Lightweight and Compact Build
Traditional water heaters make use of tanks that can store larger amounts of water. This can be quite bulky and much more difficult to store as this requires additional floor space.
In contrast, tankless water heaters for your RV are much more lightweight and compact. These are slim and can easily be mounted and installed, whether it be on your walls or cubbies, saving you much-needed floor space in your RV.
- High Life Expectancy
Tankless water heaters have a good life expectancy. One heater can already be good for your RV in the years to come and when we say years, we mean it can last anywhere from 18 to 20 years, with some kinds and brands even exceeding the 20-year mark, much more compared to traditional water heaters. Traditional ones can only be used for 10 to 12 years.
The long life expectancy and usage are also coupled with replaceable parts that can readily be changed when needed. This lets you enjoy your RV tankless water heater for years to come since these can easily be repaired.
- Higher Price Tag
One of the downsides of an RV tankless water heater is that the initial cost of getting one is significantly higher compared to a traditional water heater. Their costs err 40% to 80% more than what you would normally pay for water heaters with tanks.
Although this may be the case, the benefits that you can get when purchasing a tankless water heater greatly offset these costs – from the longevity of the appliance to the energy costs you’ll save over time.
- Inconsistent Flow Rates
Using hot water in your RV may stem the flow rates given by your tankless water heater. The water flow may seem slower and or lower compared to the usual flow you know when it is used in other parts of the RV.
When water is being used in different parts of the RV, this type of water heater may not feel the water pressure going through them from the water source or you may not have enough water from the source, the flow rate may be affected, and may not function optimally.
What to Consider When Choosing an RV Tankless Water Heater
- Costs of an RV Tankless Water Heater
As mentioned, the cost of buying tankless water heaters is generally higher than traditional water heaters. If you are ready to commit, there are already decent ones out there that start from $400.
However, bear in mind that depending on the functionalities and features that come with it, these can go over $1,200 and even up to $3,000.
Apart from the costs, you should also factor in the size you want to get for your RV. When it comes to choosing the size, you should also take into account the heating source or exchanger you have or are planning to use.
Usually, tankless water heaters that run on gas are larger compared to electric ones. If you have a compact space and want to keep it that way, you may opt for a smaller electric tankless water heater instead.
- Flow Rate
The flow rate of a tankless water heater is yet another aspect you should focus on, especially if you’re planning to or expect to use the water in your RV simultaneously. As previously mentioned, the water heater flow rate of this heater type is measured by gallons per minute.
The average tankless water heater can provide about 6 gallons per minute. It’s best to find something that can accommodate anywhere from 4 to 6 gallons per minute so that you can get a good flow rate.
Check Out These Tankless Water Heaters
The Fogatti RV tankless water heater is one of the best choices for RVs because of its cut-out design. This means that it is placed inside the wall and now on top of it, which makes for a cleaner and more protected layout.
The best part about this tankless water heater is that it comes with seven safety features that ensure your best experience, including keeping the air fresh, low-pressure startup, and anti-freeze measures. It also has dry combustion, flame failure, overpressure, and overheat protection.
This is suitable for RVs equipped with a gas line because its only power source is propane. Nevertheless, it provides hot water on-demand with a maximum gas flow of 2.9 gallons per minute. Plus, it operates quietly, which means you can shower in peace without making a racket.
If you are looking for something that is pretty straightforward, easy to use, and secured then the REcPro RV Tankless Water Heater is a good choice. It comes with a remote control that lets you turn it on and off, and change the temperature.
With this water heater, you do not have to go without hot water when camping. What makes this unique is it is equipped with advanced technology that informs you of any errors through fault codes. This helps in easy diagnosis and issues-addressing, so you always have hot water wherever you are.
Aside from this, you will be glad to know that it comes with other safety protections such as forced exhaust. This comes with wind resistance to ensure that its fans work all the time even with strong winds. It is also equipped with a dust net to prevent debris from entering the unit.
This water heater is a great option not only for recreational vehicles, but also for apartments, cabins, and condo units. It provides easy installation through a wall mount, so you can place it anywhere, as long as it can have access to a power source and water.
Because it is tankless, you do not need a water container to accumulate hot water. Instead, you can get instant hot water as soon as you turn on the water.
This heater is fuel-powered, which means that it heats the water using has. However, you need to plan its placement near an electrical outlet as it uses electricity for its exhaust fans.
Those who are looking for a water heater that is truly made for the outdoors will be glad to find the Gasland tankless water heater. It is an instant propane appliance that provides all the protections of a typical heater.
In fact, it works just like any other appliance intended for the same purpose, but with an important difference: it is battery-powered. That’s right, you can bring it anywhere you want, as long as you can feed it with water.
If you prefer a really compact water heater for your RV, then this is your best bet. You can get hot water on demand with this tiny appliance. Despite its size, it offers 2.68 gallons per minute, providing a consistent and continuous flow.
Aside from this, this compact water heater can help you save money, energy, and water precisely because of its tankless feature. You also do not have to worry about operating this decision because It comes with accessible digital temperature control.
What you need to know is that it does not come with remote control, so you will need to operate it by using the device itself, which can be inconvenient if it is located far from where you are showering. So, keep in mind that placement is everything if you choose this appliance.
The Bottom Line
Your recreational vehicle is never complete without a heated shower and TV tankless water heaters are your best bet to gain access to a nice hot shower after a long day of adventuring.
With these options, you can get a reliable and useful appliance that gives you everything you need right within your home away from home.