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Tankless water heater

hayesjenn71
Explorer
Explorer
Has anyone changed out a LP/electric water heater for a tankless water heater? I really want to but I want a second opinion.
27 REPLIES 27

Denrclif
Explorer II
Explorer II

Got a Camplux Propane RV water heater last year and it's been solid.Been taking showers with it now for a few weeks at our off-grid cabin while we build our forever home nearby. I bought a small 12v battery that has it's own on/off switch, a 5-gallon bucket, and a small length of clear tubing for the over-pressure drain valve on the bottom of the water heater that feeds into the same bucket. So the only thing I will say is that temperature control is really based on the temperature of the water you freed it. 

time2roll
Explorer II
Explorer II
hayesjenn71 wrote:
I currently have a 6 gl water heater. It doesn't make enough hot water to do dishes and for 2 people to shower. I live in my trailer year round and am hooked to city water. I would like to install a bigger water heater, but I don't want to have to cut anmy holes into the side of my trailer.
Pace yourself with hot water activity. Do the dishes later. Give the WH a few minutes to recover between showers. A long hot shower may need to be in the camp shower house. Yes use both electric an propane for faster recovery.

The three of us have almost always managed to stay in hot water. Much easier to adjust lifestyle habits than expand utilities in an RV.

msmith1_wa
Explorer
Explorer
Look into the Atwood XT water heater. It heats the water to a higher temp than others and has a mixing valve on the back to reduce the temp to the faucets. Atwood says a 6 gallon gas electric XT water heater will provide the equivalent of 19 gallons when using both gas a and electric heating modes.
2003 Silverado 2500HD 4x4 8.1l
2016 Evergreen Amped 28FS

LMHS
Explorer II
Explorer II
I replaced the old 6 gallon LP water heater in my daughter's old Lance truck camper with an old Eccotemp L5. They are made to hang on the wall, usually "outside" in an "outside" shower. I hung it on the back wall over the toilet. The camper has a wet bath (you can sit on the toilet and wash your... feet). We leave the rooftop vent in the shower open and run the water heater. Bonus is it heats up the tiny bathroom too. It provides ALL the hot water in the truck camper.

Prior to sticking it in the truck camper, the heater spent 4 years on a food cart where we had to have hot water every time there was a surprise inspection. So far, the highest it has been is 6000ft. Since it's been in the truck camper, the highest it has been is just over 5000ft. When it was on the food cart, It was vented thru the wall to the outside using a 90 degree duct fitting that sat on top of the exhaust at the top of the heater.

It's a bit of a "redneck" idea but it has worked well for us for a couple of years now and looks like it will go for a few more years. Although you most likely want a more expensive solution. I'm odd enough that I have secured small box fans to the ceiling to make a "ceiling" fan with protected blades.

pianotuna
Nomad II
Nomad II
Instead of Cheap (NOT) Heat, consider a 1500 watt heater from Walmart for $20.

There are electric water heater rods that fit the drain on an RV water heater.
Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

TurnThePage
Explorer
Explorer
hayesjenn71 wrote:
I currently have a 6 gl water heater. It doesn't make enough hot water to do dishes and for 2 people to shower. I live in my trailer year round and am hooked to city water. I would like to install a bigger water heater, but I don't want to have to cut anmy holes into the side of my trailer.
I use my trailer for travel, often off grid. Tankless wouldn't work for me at all. Your situation sounds like the tankless might work better, assuming full hookups. The research I've done shows tankless heaters and 6 gallon heaters are often almost identical in size. It doesn't look like it would be difficult to do the swap. Good luck!
2015 Ram 1500
2022 Grand Design Imagine XLS 22RBE

BackOfThePack
Explorer
Explorer
Lantley wrote:
Thermoguy wrote:
jpmyers wrote:
My question at this point would be; what is the largest Propane/Electric water heater can I replace this new tankless water heater with? The original was a6 gallon unit and I do not believe there is any space available, after modifications to squeeze in a larger water heater.


It seems like your real questions is if a 6 gal water heater is enough hot water for your needs. With a family of 3 that often takes showers back to back, we have not found any issues with enough hot water. When camping without hookups we always take navy showers so we don't use much hot water.

My thought is a 6 gallon water heater may not be enough. My prior rig had a 6 gallon water heater and occasionally it would not keep up if 2 adults and 2 kids took back to back showers.
My current rig has a 10 gallon lp/electric heater and we never run out of hot water and we do not take navy showers.
For me a 10 gallon RV water heater is the ultimate. I see no need for tankless heater in an RV.
What is the point of having unlimited hot water if you don't have unlimited grey water capacity and unlimited fresh water capacity.


Yes. It’s for the rig with dishwasher, clothes washer and three teenage girls parked with full hookups.

VERSATILITY is the word for appliances. Can it run on more than one source of power? Three-way fridge is best example and propane/electric water heater is second. A propane furnace can be retrofitted with a CHEAP HEAT electric panel for when plugged in. Xtra battery capacity (maybe) for some owners to extend the evening hours.

Minor appliances need their older derivations: stove top coffee pot, not just the electric kettle.

A/C is the biggest hurdle.

Navy shower and dividing shower time for some the night before, and others in the morning (is another way of not running out).

Have the campers learn to adapt.

.
2004 555 CTD QC LB NV-5600
1990 35’ Silver Streak

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
hayesjenn71 wrote:
I currently have a 6 gl water heater. It doesn't make enough hot water to do dishes and for 2 people to shower. I live in my trailer year round and am hooked to city water. I would like to install a bigger water heater, but I don't want to have to cut anmy holes into the side of my trailer.


If you’re living in a camper, especially in a locale that is not conducive to year round living in a camper, save your money for necessities and don’t spend it on minor inconveniences…
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Bobbo
Explorer II
Explorer II
We have a 6 gallon water heater, and as long as we have both the propane AND the electric turned on and heating, we don't run out of water. Yes, you CAN have both turned on at the same time. We do, however, take navy showers.
Bobbo and Lin
2017 F-150 XLT 4x4 SuperCab w/Max Tow Package 3.5l EcoBoost V6
2017 Airstream Flying Cloud 23FB

hayesjenn71
Explorer
Explorer
I currently have a 6 gl water heater. It doesn't make enough hot water to do dishes and for 2 people to shower. I live in my trailer year round and am hooked to city water. I would like to install a bigger water heater, but I don't want to have to cut anmy holes into the side of my trailer.

Lantley
Nomad
Nomad
Thermoguy wrote:
jpmyers wrote:
My question at this point would be; what is the largest Propane/Electric water heater can I replace this new tankless water heater with? The original was a6 gallon unit and I do not believe there is any space available, after modifications to squeeze in a larger water heater.


It seems like your real questions is if a 6 gal water heater is enough hot water for your needs. With a family of 3 that often takes showers back to back, we have not found any issues with enough hot water. When camping without hookups we always take navy showers so we don't use much hot water.

My thought is a 6 gallon water heater may not be enough. My prior rig had a 6 gallon water heater and occasionally it would not keep up if 2 adults and 2 kids took back to back showers.
My current rig has a 10 gallon lp/electric heater and we never run out of hot water and we do not take navy showers.
For me a 10 gallon RV water heater is the ultimate. I see no need for tankless heater in an RV.
What is the point of having unlimited hot water if you don't have unlimited grey water capacity and unlimited fresh water capacity.
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deltabravo
Nomad
Nomad
valhalla360 wrote:
Most RV tankless are electric.

Who makes an electric tankless RV water heater. I can't find one.

The Girard tankless is propane.

Furrion tankless is propane

Rec Pro / Fogatti is propane

Camplux is propane

Lippert is propane

I've yet to find an RV tankless water that runs on anything other than propane.
2009 Silverado 3500HD Dually, D/A, CCLB 4x4 (bought new 8/30/09)
2018 Arctic Fox 992 with an Onan 2500i "quiet" model generator

valhalla360
Nomad III
Nomad III
We had a propane model on our boat. It was always a pain. You had to fiddle with the hot/cold for a good 30 seconds to get a temp you liked...all while wasting water.

If you made any adjustment to the flow rate, you would get ice cold or scalding hot and you had to readjust again. So no shutting it off while lathering.

Most RV tankless are electric. Now you run into the problem of providing enough wattage to heat water.
- If you camp where the 24hr average temp is 80F and you are happy with 100F water, it's marginal but might work.
- If you camp spring/fall where the onboard tank might have water at 50F and you want 110F water at the shower head, not nearly enough wattage.

A 30amp@120v trailer has a max continuous supply of 2.8kw (it's not recommended to operate higher than 80% of the ratings for long term loads). A 50amp@240v, is good for about 9.4kw.

This is different from a house where you can run a dedicated 240v circuit.

Example (not recommendation) from a household tankless heater website:

Performance Tankless Electric 18kW; RTEX-18
Push-button ON/OFF control with LED temperature display
18kW Model Flow Rate up to 2.86GPM
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
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deltabravo
Nomad
Nomad
Good info in these three videos:

RV Tankless Water Heater. Should I Get One? (Pros vs Cons)

The Problem With RV Tankless Water Heaters.

Best RV Tankless Water Heater!
2009 Silverado 3500HD Dually, D/A, CCLB 4x4 (bought new 8/30/09)
2018 Arctic Fox 992 with an Onan 2500i "quiet" model generator