As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More.

    Can You Put a Tankless Water Heater in an RV?

    RV driving down a mountain road

    The many benefits of installing a tankless water heater in your home are well-known, but what about installing one in your RV? Could your RV reap the same benefits from these energy-efficient heating appliances?

    Many modern RVs either already have a tankless water heater or are equipped for tankless water heater installations. And even older models can be modified to accept these appliances in place of a traditional tank heater. However, there are a few things you should consider as you set out to select the best RV tankless water heater for your needs.


     

    Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater

    Tankless water heaters' advantages are well-known; these appliances tend to be far more energy-efficient than traditional tank-style water heaters, they're better for the environment, and they're typically quieter.

    But, by far, the primary benefit is their ability to provide an endless stream of hot water. This is particularly helpful when you consider the majority of RVs have small water heater tanks that only have a 6 to 10 gallon capacity.

    Since tank water heaters have a limited supply of hot water,  there's always the chance of running out. Once the tank fills again, the water needs to be heated, where it'll be kept warm until you need hot water again. When hot water is being held within the tank the heater will cycle on-and-off to keep the water hot, and thus, be using energy.

    Tankless water heaters work entirely differently. They use a high-power burner to warm the water at the exact time you need it. This allows you to turn on your faucet or shower and enjoy hot water just like you would at home without worrying about running out.

    Even better, a tankless unit only operates when you need hot water.  Therefore, you'll save energy and reduce your fuel or electricity costs.

    All in all, installing a tankless water heater in your RV is a great idea, both in terms of cost and convenience. No one wants to turn on their RV shower and have to suffer through an ice-cold downpour just to get clean!

    RV Kitchen

    Selecting a Tankless Water Heater for Your RV

    As you begin your search for an RV tankless water heater, you should think about the common types on the market and consider which will work best for your vehicle.

    Electric tankless water heaters are environmentally friendly and are very cost-effective. They're especially a great choice if your RV is already equipped with solar panels, as the heater can be powered directly from the sun in this manner.

    Gas-powered water heaters, in most cases, run on either propane or kerosene. They do require vents in order to work properly, so you may need a professional to install the water heater in your RV.

     
    PrecisionTemp RV-550 Tankless Water Heater - Wall Vented

    The Precision Temp RV-550 Tankless Water Heater is one of the best on the market. It's smaller and lighter than a 10-gallon tank and it's extremely energy efficient.  Learn More


    Installation Location

    Before you start shopping for a tankless water heater for your RV, you'll need to gather some information. Unfortunately, not all water heater systems are the same size, so it's important to know what will work for your rig.

    Grab your tape measure and make a note of all the measurements. Specifically, measure the size of the opening on the exterior of your RV. If the tankless you have your eye on is too large for your sidewall, it's usually possible to increase the opening, but you may want to have a professional do the work for you.

    Plumber answering his cell phone

    Should You Hire a Specialist?

    Whether you decide to do the installation yourself or hire a professional to do it for you really depends on your expertise with tankless water heaters and RV maintenance.

    Some models are pretty straight forward and you can for the most part, just connect the water heater to the electrical and water lines relatively easily. Others, that run on gas, will need to be connected to gas lines and have their vents properly installed.

    In short, hire a professional or certified installation specialist if you aren't sure you can do the work properly. It's better to get it right the first time rather than install things poorly and have to deal with side effects on your camping trip.