Best tankless rv camper water heaters: electric, on demand

It’s always a good time to take the family in a travel trailer.

RV camping is one way to reconnect with nature while still enjoying the comforts of home away from home. And one such ease includes the long hot showers. Installing the best tankless RV camper water heater accomplishes the said thing. It is a great way to go because it delivers a steady supply of on-demand supplies without recovery time. You won’t have to cut your time in the shower or preserve these valuable drops for other users in the morning.

A full-time family camper may require many of the luxuries that they can get at home, like long hot showers. While traveling or Boondocking, it may appear challenging to do so without the help of specific equipment. The best tankless RV water heaters can provide endless on-demand hot water. The tankless options will allow you to take a long hot shower as you would at home. This is what you need on a chilly day, a hot shower.

It is quick and easy to set up and fit into the existing heater. Its user-friendly design is an exact replacement for the previous one. Unlike tanked models, it uses less propane because it only heats when needed.

All you need to know

Nobody likes taking a cold shower. But in RVs with standard options and smaller holding tanks. It’s much more galling if you have several people attempting to take a shower in your camper. Then so, the need for instant access becomes more demanding.

Like the one in your home or RV, the standard option is unreliable since its holding tank is limited. It also uses a lot of energy because the tank has to be heated all the time. And one more thing, storing hot water that may or may not be utilized is uneconomical.

Modern ones are outfitted with tankless models. Their use is a new trend that fights the cold water. While on a trip, it becomes the solution to an infinite stream of hot water.

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How does it work?

person adjusting a water heater

An RV camper heater will fit (retrofit) perfectly on every camper heater. It is also portable and easy to set up. When you turn on the faucet, it quickly warms the water that flows through the pipes. In other words, it only warms when there is a demand. Its counterpart must heat the entire tank to generate hot water. It provides you with unlimited on-demand supply as long as you have a source going into your RV. With its variable control panel, you can modify its temperature to your preferred level of hotness.

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Benefits

Today, a tankless unit designed primarily for RVs has gained popularity in the outdoor world. Since its conception, manufacturers have taken the opportunity to install them into modern campers. The remarkable benefits they offer are truly exceptional. Besides, new customers are increasingly expecting their high-end units with tankless heaters. The device is upgraded to replace the old-style water heaters. More practical owners switch to it. Here are the pros of using them instead of their more-traditional counterparts:

  • The continuous supply of on-demand hot water. The primary function of this is to generate limitless supplies whenever there is an urgent demand. It operates in complete contrast to the standard version. They store it in a tank and consume more energy to keep it warm until someone uses it.
  • The word “tankless” implies that you are not limited to a source through a tank. It does not need a tank container. These provide hot water as long as the supply is running. In contrast, the tanked version can only store water and is determined by the capacity. With the tankless RV heaters, you may have a hot shower and other usage for as long as you want.
  • You may utilize it with no resting time. When you turn the knob on your faucet, it immediately starts going to work. It means you don’t have to wait a specific amount of time for a tank and its contents to heat up. Wait for hours between each person in the shower for the water to once again reach the desired temperature.
  • Another advantage they have is that they are small in size. It is lighter and may take up less space, especially if you have a small RV or travel trailer. A standard propane or gas water heater has a 6-10 gallon tank that can take up a lot of space. The instant model is just half the size of the standard ones.
  • It conserves both propane and electricity. This type of unit is powered by either propane, electricity, or both. And because it only warms the water when needed, it uses less gas or energy. It saves you a lot of money.
  • This model makes your journey more convenient. The temperature control panel allows you to pre-set the temperature to your preferred degree of comfort. It is essential if the members on board have different choices for the temperature of the water.

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Different models

When traveling during the winter, having an RV water heater is essential. It all starts with knowing what type you want. Various kinds are available, including gas and electric models. You can also get combination heaters that operate on the same fundamental concept but differ in startup and capabilities.

Types
Heat exchangerPropaneElectric
Hybrid gas-electricTankless 

Keep in mind that the model you choose should depend on your own needs. An electric model is the best option if you stay at a full-service campground. However, the hybrid gas type may be a good alternative in such a case. Propane gas is the most cost-effective option in areas where power is unavailable. A tankless water heater is the best unit for delivering an abundant on-demand source for family campers and full-time campers.

1) Electric model

All-electric models require power to function. If there is no shoreside electrical power accessible in the area, you can use a generator as a power source. An electric model employs heating elements to produce hot water. When utilized, the unit uses energy. More power is consumed when using the appliances simultaneously. It includes a direct-spark ignition system that allows you to turn it on instantly using a switch. It is the ideal model when staying at a full-service campground.

2) Propane Gas model

A propane type also features a pilot ignition that requires manual lighting of the pilot light starter. It’s an entry-level model that can run in any circumstance as long as propane gas and 12V power are available. After igniting, a spark creates a tiny flame in the heating tube. It heats in the tank. The tank usually has a capacity of 6-10 gallons. The 12v power allows you to switch to cut off the flame after the heating is complete. A propane gas model performs well in providing hot water, especially in campsites where electricity is inaccessible.

3) Hybrid gas-electric model

A gas-electric model may provide you with the best of both components. They are frequently utilized in sync to provide you with the most remarkable outcomes. The combination of electric and gas power provides the necessary heat you may need. This hybrid option is ideal if you frequently stay at campgrounds that provide electricity.

4) Heat exchanger model (MotorAid heater)

The MotorAid system transfers heat energy from the engine cooling system. This means that the average heating temperature of the engine serves as the heating component for the tank. It continues as long as the engine is running. As soon as you get to your location, you will most likely need gas or electricity to keep it heated at all times.

5) Tankless model

The items mentioned above are good, but tankless options outperform them all for some users. They are a novice innovation that solves insufficient supplies on every journey. When turning on the switch, the water going down the pipes warms up quickly. It results in an infinite supply as the source is kept on. It may be more expensive than the tanked version, but it gives optimal convenience. It truly makes you feel at home.

Things to look for

water heater being installed

Sift through its specs to fully understand how the units perform. By doing so, you will be able to define everything quickly. You will find the ideal model that works for your traveling needs.

Here are some things to consider:

Brand

As long as you feel it will serve you well, go for it. Remember to go with the brand you have confidence in.

Size

Remember to measure the size of your previous unit. All models can accommodate a particular camper model.

Safety standards

  • Look for devices that have been certified to meet CSA safety requirements. The Canadian Standards Association certifies mechanical and electrical items that provide a high risk to end-users.
  • To guarantee your family’s safety, look for flame failure protection and anti-freezing protection. Anti-oxygen depletion and overheating protection are great protective measures as well.

Flow rate per GPM

GPM or gallons per minute determines the average flow rate. 6-7 GPM is recommended in RVs with a standard single bathroom.

Capacity

The British Thermal Unit (BTU) is a heat capacity. In general, an RV used just slightly less heat than a home with big bathrooms. Typically, just 30,000 to 50,000 BTU are available. The higher the rate, the faster it will heat water. Similarly, you can also find air conditioners with 20,000 BTU units that use the same unit of measure for their capacity.

Water pressure

Before it gets heated, the pressure pulls the water through the pipes. It operates conditionally on your RV’s plumbing system conditions. Modern RVs can handle up to 100 PSI, which is incredible pressure. However, it is recommended not to go over 60 PSI to protect the system.

Easy install/replace

female adjusting water heater

One of the crucial things is to replace the standard heater with a tankless one before leaving for your next RV trip. A tankless one is just easy to install.

Easy step-by-step instructions and procedures:

  1. Make sure to turn off the connections and remove the supply before switching the unit.
  2. Disconnect the gas and water after turning it off and remove the old unit. Do the same for the electricity.
  3. To remove the heater housing, unscrew the door and pull it out.
  4. To get an even surface, gently cut around the seals using a cutter.
  5. After that, you may remove the existing unit from the hole.
  6. Scrape away all of the old sealants. You may clean the residue with a solution.
  7. Measure the hole to determine the correct size for the new unit.
  8. Slide the replacement unit into position.
  9. If there are any gaps left after installing the new unit, fill them with flushing or sealants.
  10. Place the door in place, line up the holes on the door that correspond to the holes in the heater, and screw them in place.
  11. After that, you need to thread the screws around the outside of the vehicle to fasten it.
  12. Apply a bead of silicone all the way around to seal it against moisture from the outside.
  13. Then begin connecting the 12v electrical components. Black is for ground and red for positive.
  14. Then, connect the hot and cold pipes to the unit.
  15. Install the control panel in an accessible location and switch it on. Set the temperature to your preferred level of comfort.
  16. And now everything is in place, and your new unit is on and working.

More information

Most campers with tankless models choose to have a lower temperature on the settings panel. Taking a shower does not add much cold water to the system. If there is insufficient flow through the unit, it will not turn on. You will not have any hot water. Rather than turning it up too high, it is best to set it closer to the desired temperature.

These models are becoming increasingly popular among campers and travel trailer owners. The vast majority of them claim to have reaped the numerous benefits of utilizing such a device. It includes an intelligent control panel that lets you change the temperature to your liking. Parents might appreciate the opportunity to pre-set the temperature to a lower, child-safe degree. In addition, the control panel has a visible diagnostic monitor for easier troubleshooting.

RVers and outdoor enthusiasts traveled a lot and loved spending the entire day outside for active sports. They would surely appreciate a hot shower after a long day of biking and trekking. It’s great after fishing or other outdoor activities or cold-weather hobbies. A typical model will work. However, it depletes fast with a 6-liter capacity. And before you know it, you’ve run out.

A winter road journey is also exciting and enjoyable. But after a few hours of being outside in the cold, your body becomes chilled. Your muscles feel tense. That is why hot baths help to alleviate muscular tightness and frostbite. When hot water reaches your skin, it increases blood circulation. It subsequently relaxes and rests your muscles.

Going tankless is all you need to experience the comfort of a lengthy hot shower on your RV journey.

Finally, say goodbye to cold water when you’re on the road. There is no need to worry about running out ever again. There will be no more chilly trucker showers from the sink when doing the dishes. The best model is all you need for an infinite supply that everyone will enjoy, even when you’re on the road. When you travel, your RV becomes your home. It feels lovely to be able to enjoy all of the comforts of home while on the road, including a long hot shower. Hit the road and enjoy the great outdoors!

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FAQ

Can I replace my RV water heater with a tankless one?

The tankless water heater is mapped out to perfectly replace your existing RV heater. Often, it comes in the cut-out to fit into the water heater cabinet without difficulty.

How many amps does an RV tankless water heater use?

An RV tankless water heater may use anywhere from 10A to 15A, depending on whether it’s gas or electric-powered.

What is the best tankless water heater for an RV?

There are multiple models available in the market catering to the customer’s needs perfectly, but amongst the best are:
– Furrion 2.4GPM Tankless RV gas water heater
– RecPro RV Tankless water heater
– Girard Tankless RV water heater
– Suburban On-Demand RV water heater

How to winterize an RV tankless water heater

To prepare for the harsh winters, you need to disconnect the power supply to your tankless water heater. Then, you need to shut off the water supply to the inlet and disconnect the outlet. Once the water has drained into a container, use compressed air to clean the internal pipes completely.

Here is the guide to follow before installing a tankless water heater in your RV:

How do you install a tankless water heater in an RV?

  1. Select between an electric and gas-powered tankless water heater.

    Depending on the configuration of your RV, select the type of water heater that works best for you. If your RV is powered using solar panels, an electric water heater is cost-effective. Otherwise, you may opt for a gas-powered water heater.

  2. Turn off the electric/gas supply.

    Before you set up the heater, it’s important to disconnect the power supply. Switch off the electrical grid to eliminate any chances of electric shock. In the case of a gas heater, disconnect the propane supply.

  3. Switch off the water pump inside the RV.

    There is a higher risk of increased pressure with the water pump turned on. Therefore, turning the water pump off is advised to avoid any mess.

  4. Clean the water heater cabinet.

    Carefully remove any water heater already in place and remove any tape or adhesive used to set it in place. Expose and mark the necessary wires and connections for easy installation.

  5. Connect the heater.

    Setup the new heater with the marked connections and wires.

  6. Reconnect the gas/electric and water connection.

    Once you’ve thoroughly made sure the connections are securely placed and the wires well insulated, switch the gas and water supply back on.

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