Tankless water heater for rv – things you need to know

Tankless water heater for rv – things you need to know

Last Updated on :

Living in a RV and camping around can be fun. And on a chilly day a hot shower is all what you would want in your cozy RV.

For a family with  4 or more it can is extremely necessary that you have almost continuous hot water. RV tankless water heater serves exactly the same purpose.

So, what are tankless water heater in an RV and how do they differ from normal water heaters?

We will find out.

They are on demand suppliers of hot water.

While choosing a normal traditional water heater you will have to think about quite a lot of things.

Like, the water heater tank size, the space it will utilize , other operating and installation factors.

  • RV tankless water heaters are very popular as they give us water on demand and continuously.
  • They heat the water only when it is needed.

Unlike traditional rv water heaters that would store the water in a tank and use energy to keep it heated until delivered for use.

  • Having a tankless water heater means you are not limited to hot water supply by the size of RV water heater tank and as long as you have water supply you will get hot water for shower and other uses in you RV.

Check out how much water does a rv shower normally use.

The only factor to be concerned about is the flow rate. Your rv tankless water heater will have some limit on the flow rate. That is, it will be capable of delivering certain gallons of hot water over a minutes time.

Thus, if your RV tankless water heater has low flow rate then you may not have enough hot water for your needs.

Therefore its important to select a rv water heater that gives significant flow rate which is enough for all your needs. Lets find out pros and cons of RV tankless water heater.

is tankless water heater right for your rv?

Advantages of tankless water heater in RV

1. They have compact design

a compact design rv tankless water heater installed in RV
a compact design rv tankless water heater installed in RV

One of the advantages of using a tankless water heater in Rv is that they take up less space, they are designed to be compact and hence can be of perfect for your RV specially when you have a not so spacious RV, motorhome or a travel trailer.

Read : How much water do RVs hold an average

2. They are Economical

A traditional water heater with tank can waste energy but same is not the case with tankless water heaters.

They can take as less as 50% of what a water heater with tank would consume.

They would start the heating only on demand as you turn on the faucet. Because a water heater is something that you would need often in your RV they can save the extra spending on fuel.

You wouldn’t have standby losses as in case of water heaters with tank or traditional water heaters.

3. RV Tankless water heater don’t waste water

When you are in RV you may have limited water supply and during such time you don’t want water wastage. A tankless water heater is good when it comes to saving water.

It heats the water on demand and provides heated water immediately. You don’t have to wait for water to pass until hot water reaches you.

4. Tankless water heater have good life

With advances in manufacturing quality a tankless water can be expected to last quite a lot of years and much more than what a traditional water heater may last.

On an average they can be used as long as 18-20 years in comparison to 10-12 years of life for water heaters with tank.

They are also better when compared for servicing factor. They have parts that can be repaired or reintegrated thus making them easy to repair in case of failures.

Read : Average life of RV Water Heaters

5. Unlimited water or Continuous supply of Hot water

With tankless water heater in RV you can expect a continuous flow of water as long as you have the gas and water connection. The On Demand Supply of Hot water is great and you are not worried about the water heater tank size.

6. No extra storage Needed

As a tankless water heater has no storage tank you don’t really need a tank to store water that can be heated. With this kind of heaters the water is heated as it passes from the pipes and you get continuous flow of water.

There is no calculation of how much water will be stored in tank as in case of traditional water heaters. And thus you don’t really have to think twice while you are enjoying the hot shower in your RV on a cool and windy morning. Basically, there will be endless water supply as long as your source is supplying the water to your RV heater.

7. They are Convenient to use

They are better to use. You wont face issues like leakage in tankless water heaters.. They can be installed in a smaller space mounted on walls. Also the heated water is not stored anywhere and thus you get fresh water directly from the source.

Also, they don’t have storage tank that needs to be winterized like in traditional water heaters.

Read : Why do Water Heaters in RV Shut off?

Disadvantages of Tankless water heater in RV

tankless water heater in a rv
tankless water heater in a rv

1. Initial Cost is on higher side

Tankless water heater are little more costly than the traditional water heaters.

They can cost you almost 40-80%  or even more than what you would pay for normal water heater.

Even though they are on higher initial cost, they are worthy. The kind of advantages you get with them in comparison to traditional water heaters for your RV are much more.

2. Special Requirements in Installation

They have high power burner and thus a tankless water heater may need a professional installation like a sealed and dedicated venting system.

They also need bigger diameter gas pipes for fuel supply.  Also you may need special professional electrician or plumber for installation. The installation charge are high and you may have to pay extra for the plumber who would install it for you.

installing a Tankless RV Water heater

3. Restricted Simultaneous use

One downside with tankless water heater is restriction of simultaneous use. If you want hot water for shower as well as for other purpose like laundry then the flow may not be sufficient for both the uses.

4. Not so constant temperature

You may get water temperature that fluctuate at different degrees if you have low flow or a changing flow rate.

Things to look for in a tankless water heater for your RV

a tankless water heater installed in a RV
a tankless water heater installed in a RV

You will find lots of option in market or online for tankless water heaters.

Some of the specification that you should examine would be

  • Flow Rate
  • Dimensions
  • Weight
  • Voltage
  • BTU
  • Temperature rise

Its easy to chose a best tankless water heater for your RV.

However, you need to pay closer look at all the important things. Its good to first define your needs and map them with the available options in the market.

Better would be to first fix the budget and then browse through all the available options. Lets see the number of things that you should consider before buying a tankless water heater for your motorhome or rv:

1. Flow rate

Tankless water heater flow rate is measured by gallons per minute. On an average a tankless water heater can give about 6 gallons per minute.

You would find tankless water heater that can give around 4 gallons per minute to 10 gallons per minute flow. But remember with higher flow rate price will also be more. For example a Rheem RTGH-90DVLN-1 that has a capacity of 9 gallons per minute flow rate costs you around $1050.

When you install a water heater in your RV, you will have specific needs of hot water. Tankless water heater flow rate should be sufficient enough to provide expected flow rate to all the outputs.

Like for example you want hot water in shower to be around 1 gallons per minute and simultaneously in kitchen or basin at 12 gallons per minute then the total flow rate of your water heater should be at least 3 gallon per minute.

Thus depending on the parallel appliances you would the hot water from your heater decide what is the flow rate you want from water heater.

Tankless water heater will not run out of hot water but your demand may run the supply short.

2. Source of Fuel or energy

Depending on your usage and where you live you will have to choose on the fuel source for your RV heater.

You can get electric one or a one that runs on gas.

Both have their own advantages and disadvantages and the answer as to which on is better depends completely on the end user.

  • Normally a propane run tankless water heater are less expensive as compared to electrical units.
  • They may also give superior flow rates than the electric ones.
  • Installation of electric tankless water heaters can be less expensive in comparison to gas ones. 
  • Gas tankless water heaters are more complex. Installation and procedure of venting for wall mounting is difficult in gas tankless water heaters.
  • Installation feasibility is also a problem when it comes to gas tankless water heaters, you cannot just install it anywhere.
  • Size of a gas tankless water heater is also bigger in comparison to electric one. This is important factor because your RV itself may have less space.
  • Propane run tankless water heater have slightly more life as compared to electrical ones.
  • Even though electric water heaters have high energy factor they tend to be higher in operating cost due to the electricity cost.
  • Overall operating cost of propane water heater is less in comparison to electric water heaters.
using RV tankless water heater in RV – what you need to know

3. Cost of a Tankless water heater for RV

RV tankless water heaters cost more than traditional water heater as they are more compact, heat water on the go and provide on demand limitless water supply.

A tankless RV water heater can cost on an average around $550 (When prices for various models and makes are compared). Here are some example of their prices which will help in calculating the Average cost of tankless water heaters for Rv.

Lets see costs of some of the top tankless water heaters for RV.

RV ATWOOD 6 GALLON GC6AA-10E : This tankless water heater can cost you around $415. Check its price on amazon. Its really good and comes with 2 years warranty.

PrecisionTemp RV-550 Tankless Water Heater : This wall vented rv water comes at a price range of around @1150

Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG Indoor Tankless Water Heater : This one can cost your around $620

Eccotemp FVI-12-LP High Capacity : This Propane Tankless Water Heater comes at a price of around $220

Rinnai V65IN 6.6 GPM : This tankless water heater for Rv comes at a price of around $690

Girard 2GWHAM : This tankless water heater for Rv can cost you $505

Rinnai V65IP 6.6 GPM : This water heater comes at around $688. Its compact and lightweight.

4. Warranty

When you buy a electric appliance one of the important things to have is warranty. Also since a tankless water heater would cost you significant its a investment you would want to protect so that you don’t have to pay for it again in near future.

Warranty is something that would depend on manufacturer and also on model that you opt for.

Its important to compare warranty among the models or brands that you have finalized. Normally the warranty that you will get will not be for full water heater but for heat exchanger and that could be between 10-15 years on an average.

5. Size and Weight

Even though in general a tankless water heater would be compact and less in weight do compare the models for size and weight.

This is important as the heater will be a added appliance in your RV which itself will have limited space options. And with extra added weight you don’t want to put that extra pressure on your RV tires.

What size RV tankless water do you need.

Its important that you the water heater buy according to your needs. On average you can follow below.

3 People : 50 to 60 gallons capacity
4 people : 60 to 70 gallons capacity
5 people : 75 to 80 gallons capacity

It also depends on individual shower habits obviously. But on an average most people should have this much usage.


Tankless water heater are better choice for your RV. They may cost you a bit more but you should buy them and consider it as a long term investment appliance for your RV.

You need to be clear on the chunk of hot water you would need in terms of flow rate (gallons per minute) before picking a tankless water heater.

They have quite a long list of advantages. Tankless water heaters are undoubtedly winners as compared to traditional ones and they definitely best suit for RV lifestyle.

G. Yoganand

A RV enthusiast who spends countless hours researching and learning various things related to RV camping. He believes in spending time doing Outdoor activities.
Close Menu