One of the huge advantages of RV life is the ability to take the modern comforts of home onto the road with you.
One of those modern comforts is hot water– after all, what is more relaxing than a nice warm shower?
Your RV’s water heater is key to providing this modern amenity, and it’s useful to have some understanding of how yours works before heading out.
RV water heaters use three main sources for heat.
Some are propane-based. For those water heaters, the more propane used, the hotter the water.
The propane for these water heaters can become expensive, however, if you have heavy hot water needs.
Other RV water heaters are electric. Simply turn the hot water heater on, wait for it to heat your tank up, and then enjoy hot water.
The downside to these types of heaters is the time you need to wait for the water to warm up and if you are off the grid with solar, they are more power-hungry.
The third type of RV water heater uses heat from your engine to warm the tank.
This is an incredibly efficient source of energy if you’re going to be using your engine a lot. Otherwise, your water will only stay warm for so long.
Types Of Water Heaters
The traditional RV water heater is a six to ten-gallon tank.
The tank sits either in the sidewall of your RV or near the engine compartment if it’s heated by the engine.
These types of water heaters tend to be fairly economical. The biggest drawback is their size– these water heaters are quite small, so there is a limited supply of hot water available.
This can make showers a challenge unless you’ve mastered the art of the quick rinse.
Another type of RV water heater is a tankless, on-demand system.
These are also located in the RV sidewall and are usually powered by electricity.
Tankless water heaters are a great option if you have heavy hot water needs because you will never run out.
The tank simply keeps generating as much hot water as you use.
The only disadvantage of using a tankless heater is its price– these tend to be much more expensive than their traditional counterparts.
If you are debating on purchasing a new water heater for your RV, there are a few things you should consider.
First, what are your hot water needs?
Do you find yourself running out of hot water frequently with your current set up?
If so, you may want to think about going tankless.
If not, simply upgrading to a more efficient traditional model may be your best bet.
Your RV’s water heater needs regular maintenance, just like your water heater at home.
It should be cleaned once a year, at a minimum– follow the schedule suggested by the manufacturer for best results.
Hot tip: Make sure to check the anode every few years depending on water quality. This will help prolong the life of your tank.
Your water heater should be examined by a professional at least once a year, as well.
Drain your RV’s hot water tank prior to storing it for the winter.
If your tank comes with a bypass valve, this should be used during winter storage.
Keeping water in the tank could lead to extra corrosion and rust.
Prior to heading out for the season, be sure to fill the water tank and turn off the bypass valve.
Odds are, you enjoy having hot water when on an RV trip.
Keeping your RV’s water heater in good working condition will help make your next adventure full of modern comforts.