RV Hot Water Heater
Maintenance & the Most Efficient Portable RV Tankless Water Heaters

An RV hot water heater would likely not exist if it weren't for the American pioneers, who could be attributed to building the forerunner of the modern RV.

rv-hot-water-heaterTheir 18th-century covered wagons were used as transportation, living quarters and storage facility for their provisions. The lowly covered wagon is a far cry from today's RVs that are big enough to include many more amenities, including bathrooms fitted with RV water heaters.

There is now a large and growing percentage of people who permanently live in an RV. Some love to experience camping out, while others travel for a break. Many travelers want their RVs fitted with appliances, but space is always an obstacle. Fortunately, RV water heaters have evolved to help make life for the motorhome enthusiast a breeze.

RV Hot Water Heater Maintenance

There are various models, tankless and those with tanks. RV tankless water heaters are perfect for motorhomes since you save not only energy but space and money as well. You will never run out of hot water as long as there is a supply with an RV on demand water heater.


RV Water Heater Replacement Video Demonstration Tips

Most heaters installed on recreational vehicles use propane gas for heating the water. A heater with a tank usually has 6 to 10 gallons capacity. It is also possible for the heater to run on gas and/or 120 volt AC. An RV hot water heater usually has a gas pilot light that needs to be lit every time you set up camp. It is possible to have an RV electric water heater that is set on with automatic direct spark ignition system controlled by an electric switch accessible from inside the recreational vehicle.

For heaters with a tank, an RV water heater bypass valve kit may be installed. This option allows for winterization of the unit which saves on the use of anti-freeze solution. It also facilitates easy drainage and cleaning of the hot water tank. Note that the by-pass kit works best if installed in proximity to the cold water inlet where it blocks a possible back flow from the heater.

RV hot water heaters have pressure relief valves designed to open and release pressure when the water temperature hits 210 degree Fahrenheit. A relief valve will open for water to drip from when the supply is more than 50 psi (pounds per square inch). Once the pressure falls below 50 psi, the valve closes automatically. Do not be alarmed when the relief valve drips as this is normal and is not indicative of a faulty valve.

The Efficient RV Tankless Water Heater


Shower gas model for camping

There are numerous brands and models of RV water heaters in the market either with tank or tankless. Some models are powered by electricity while some are powered by propane and gas. RV tankless water heaters are preferred by most RV-ers as hot water is supplied on demand basis thereby saving on fuel or electric consumption. Here are some name brands and models for RV hot water heaters.

Ariston has a 2.5, 4 and 6 gallon compact electric point-of-use water heater. The unit can be fitted under a sink or close to where you want it like in the RV's toilet and bath. The long wait for heated water is eliminated as hot water is available in an instant while the hot water from the main water supply source is en route. This unit can easily supply hot water from 1 to 3 faucets. Price starts at $160.

On Demand RV 500 Tankless Water Heater

RV-tankless-water-heaterThe RV 500 is the first on demand RV tankless hot water heater. This unit was specifically designed for recreational vehicles and other motor homes. It is a propane RV water heater and has a 20-pound tank of propane can heat up to 940 gallons (3,760 liters) of hot water for the one showerhead. The flow is steady at 1.5 gallons per minute and the heater can easily provide warm shower with incoming water as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The unit is cost effective and highly efficient, but costs around $999.

The Eccotemp Portable water heater is a tankless and propane-powered heater. Once the water flows, the burner is turned on. This RV hot water heater can provide an endless supply of hot water on demand. You can hang it on the RV's shower head or on a tree and hot water shower is instantly provided. The unit includes a gas regulator and hose, shower hose with an on/off nozzle, mount for the shower head, a garden hose adapter and a vent shield, all for around $135.

In case of heater breakdown there is no need to worry as RV water heater parts like pilot assemblies, pilot lights, circuit boards, thermocouples, thermostats and more are available online.

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Updated January 2011