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Old 02-20-2019, 05:26 PM   #1
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Tankless water heaters

Does anyone have experience with a tankless (on-demand) water heater in their RV? If so, what are your thoughts? Do you know if this is a substitution ETI will do?
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Old 02-20-2019, 05:34 PM   #2
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I should add: Or, has anyone done a bunch of research on tankless systems for an RV and decided against it?
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Old 02-20-2019, 05:42 PM   #3
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I had 2 Lance trailers with the tankless system. did not like them. Every time you ran the hot water, they would activate and run like 5 minutes, just for washing your hands.
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Old 02-20-2019, 05:43 PM   #4
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Tankless water heaters have been discussed. I gather they waste water, but you can read for yourself using search feature. Use the bottom box.
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Old 02-20-2019, 07:30 PM   #5
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ETI will not install tankless water heaters we asked when we had our 21 built and was told NO
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Old 02-20-2019, 07:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mconrath View Post
Does anyone have experience with a tankless (on-demand) water heater in their RV? If so, what are your thoughts? Do you know if this is a substitution ETI will do?
I've researched these and the only one that is tops based on what I have researched is the Truma Aqua Go. Not likely ETI would install any tank-less water heater, but it does not hurt to ask.

With regards to the Aqua Go, they can replace a standard 6 gallon RV water heater, but Truma requires their product be installed by authorized dealer/service center. DIY install would not come with warranty. Last time I checked it would cost around $1000 to have Aqua Go installed.

6 Gallon Surburban water heater has been around for many many years and I will stick with that.
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Old 02-20-2019, 07:42 PM   #7
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The main advantage of a tankless water heater in a residence is eliminating the standby losses from a large tank that is heated 24/7/365. The stock Suburban SW6D(E) hot water heaters are only 6 gallons and seem fairly well insulated. For the amount that one might use a hot water heater when camping what would be the advantage of a tankless?
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Old 02-20-2019, 08:01 PM   #8
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I've researched these and the only one that is tops based on what I have researched is the Truma Aqua Go. Not likely ETI would install any tank-less water heater, but it does not hurt to ask.

With regards to the Aqua Go, they can replace a standard 6 gallon RV water heater, but Truma requires their product be installed by authorized dealer/service center. DIY install would not come with warranty. Last time I checked it would cost around $1000 to have Aqua Go installed.

6 Gallon Surburban water heater has been around for many many years and I will stick with that.
Not to nitpick but the Aqua Go is actually a hybrid water heater with a small tank to help deliver constant water temperature with varying flow rates and inlet water temperatures. Also since it is near instantaneous it has a maximum input BTU of 60,000 versus the 12,000 for the stock Suburban. It has a 5/8” gas connection (vs. Suburbans 3/8”) so if this was used as a replacement on an Escape it would likely require a larger propane line.
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Old 02-20-2019, 09:23 PM   #9
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I had 2 Lance trailers with the tankless system. did not like them. Every time you ran the hot water, they would activate and run like 5 minutes, just for washing your hands.
My sister has a 3 year old Lance trailer with a tank-less hot water system and she does not like the tank-less hot water system either - convinced us not to go that route. Apparently it's difficult to maintain a steady temp during showers. Otherwise, she loves her trailer....
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Old 02-20-2019, 10:47 PM   #10
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The stock Suburban SW6D(E) hot water heaters are only 6 gallons and seem fairly well insulated. For the amount that one might use a hot water heater when camping what would be the advantage of a tankless?
Because the RV water heater's tank is only 6 US gallons, the hot water can run out. If you have a large water supply (such as in a serviced site) a tankless heater can provide as much hot water as desired.

A potential advantage is reduced weight, by not carrying around that 6 gallons of water; however, a tankless needs a larger heat exchanger and it still has some volume so there's not that much weight advantage.
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Old 02-21-2019, 05:47 AM   #11
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Because the RV water heater's tank is only 6 US gallons, the hot water can run out. If you have a large water supply (such as in a serviced site) a tankless heater can provide as much hot water as desired.

A potential advantage is reduced weight, by not carrying around that 6 gallons of water; however, a tankless needs a larger heat exchanger and it still has some volume so there's not that much weight advantage.
That extra 6 gallons is a plus when boondocking. My wife and I have taken back to back showers and never run out. The size of an escape shower and holding tank is just not conducive to long water wasting showers, IMHO.
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Old 02-21-2019, 02:39 PM   #12
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That extra 6 gallons is a plus when boondocking. My wife and I have taken back to back showers and never run out. The size of an escape shower and holding tank is just not conducive to long water wasting showers, IMHO.
Just to be clear - the 6 gallons is not "extra" capacity. The water heater isn't functional unless it's full, so that's 6 gallons that you carry around and never get to use. A tankless water heater in the same trailer wouldn't result in any less usable fresh water capacity (unless water is wasted running water while waiting for the heater).

But it seems that we all agree that if 6 gallons of hot water at a time is a decent amount, and if it isn't enough you're using too much water for extended use of the trailer away from services.
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Old 02-21-2019, 04:41 PM   #13
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Appreciate the thoughts. I agree that they make far more sense in a residential setting where water is kept hot 24/7/365 (unless you are wise enough to turn in down when on vacation). I did not know about the possible need for a larger propane feed line, but it makes sense for a larger burner.
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Old 02-21-2019, 07:21 PM   #14
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My sister has a 3 year old Lance trailer with a tank-less hot water system and she does not like the tank-less hot water system either - convinced us not to go that route. Apparently it's difficult to maintain a steady temp during showers. Otherwise, she loves her trailer....
Bea: Check out this link. Hard to say if the response is truthful, but if it is it might be a breakthrough for your sister. Something about low water pressure. I would call Lance and push them on it.
https://lance-camper.pissedconsumer....223978512.html
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:15 PM   #15
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Bea: Check out this link. Hard to say if the response is truthful, but if it is it might be a breakthrough for your sister. Something about low water pressure. I would call Lance and push them on it.
https://lance-camper.pissedconsumer....223978512.html
Hey Rubicon327, Wow, I will definitely pass this onto her. Interesting, she also has a 1575... Thank you so much!!
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:46 PM   #16
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I've always been intrigued by the idea of a tankless water heater in the trailer, mainly for the ability to take a normal shower instead of a quick "navy" shower. But there are a number of issues with that application, all of which have been discussed here from time to time. So, I'll stick with the good old 6 gallon and just consider the navy showers a part of camping.
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:58 PM   #17
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I've always been intrigued by the idea of a tankless water heater in the trailer, mainly for the ability to take a normal shower instead of a quick "navy" shower. But there are a number of issues with that application, all of which have been discussed here from time to time. So, I'll stick with the good old 6 gallon and just consider the navy showers a part of camping.
Robert I too have been intrigued by the tankless water heater but not for the issues mentioned . I am just glad to be able to take a shower before bed even if it is a "navy " shower unless we have hookups then it is shower time Yay ! Pat
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Old 02-22-2019, 06:47 AM   #18
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That Lance comment may have been written by me, I was totally disgusted with my Lance 1575 after the slide motor went out and the water heater issues.....and I'm a lifetime Lance forum member since I paid the upfront dues......
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Old 02-22-2019, 11:01 AM   #19
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I kind of like the "navy" shower. It is just part of the camping experience. We set up an outdoor shower tent and use the exterior shower on our trailer whenever it is feasible. So, add some crisp air to the experience and you remember where you are.

On a related note: our water heater is preset so hot that we use very little hot water to achieve a shower temperature that you can actually stand under without getting scalded. I can not figure out any way to adjust it. It would be nice to turn it down a bit for safety reasons, but it does allow us to shower with less worry about running out of hot water.
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Old 02-27-2019, 03:30 PM   #20
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Had a Girard tankless in motorhome. It was horrible. Every campsite I had to take apart cabinet to adjust flow rate and go outside to adjust pressure. Wouldn't work at all with MH water pump. Sold motorhome and buyer wouldn't close unless I replaced heater with 6 gallon unit.
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