The Future of Hot Water: Tankless RV Water Heaters

rv tankless water heater

Hot water is a must-have luxury for any RVer. Whether it’s for a refreshing shower or cleaning dishes, hot water is essential for maintaining proper hygiene on the road. If you’re considering upgrading to a tankless RV water heater, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of this type of water heater.

What is a Tankless Water Heater (and How Does it Work?)

Traditional water heaters have a storage tank that fills with water from your fresh water tank or when you’re connected to city water. The water is then heated using a propane burner or an electric heating element, which can take up to 30 minutes before you can enjoy a hot shower. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, work differently.

Tankless RV water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, heat water instantaneously without the need for a storage tank. When you open a hot water fixture in your RV, cold water runs through a heat exchanger powered by propane gas. This design allows for constant hot water without the need to wait for water to be heated in a tank.


Benefits of Tankless RV Water Heaters

Tankless RV water heaters offer several advantages, including:

  • Increased energy efficiency due to no heat loss from standing water.
  • Reduced risk of spillage and decreased potential for RV water damage.
  • No waiting for the water heater’s tank to heat up.
  • Longer life expectancy compared to standard water heaters.
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Disadvantages of Tankless RV Water Heaters

While tankless RV water heaters are a great option for many RVers, there are some potential drawbacks to consider:

  • They may waste a lot of water before hot water is dispensed.
  • They only operate on propane gas.
  • Retrofitting may be complex if you choose an incompatible model.

Newer models have addressed these issues, but it’s important to be aware of them when deciding if a tankless water heater is right for you.

How to Choose a Tankless RV Water Heater

Before getting too excited about the idea of hot water on demand, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind.

Water Usage

Estimating your water usage is crucial when shopping for a tankless water heater. Consider the average water consumption of RV appliances:

  • Toilet: ~0.8 gallons per flush
  • Bathtub: ~2-4 gallons per minute
  • Shower: ~1.5-3 gallons per minute
  • Kitchen Sink: ~0.5 gallons per minute
  • Dishwasher: ~4-6 gallons per cycle
  • Washer: ~8-20 gallons per load

With a tankless water heater, the important question is how often you think you might use multiple appliances simultaneously. Tankless RV water heaters can provide an on-demand water heating capacity ranging from 1.5 to 6 gallons per minute, depending on the model. Compare and contrast models to meet your water usage demands.


While tankless water heaters require less storage space, ensure compatibility with your RV. Some models are designed to be retrofitted in the same space as your old water heater. Retrofit kits are available to help with a safe and aesthetically-pleasing installation. It’s recommended to schedule a service appointment for this RV upgrade, as technicians will ensure proper installation.

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Winterizing your RV will change if you upgrade from a standard water heater to a tankless model. A basic winterizing process involves blowing out water lines, but a small amount of water is often left behind. This remaining water can damage a tankless water heater if temperatures drop below freezing. Consider the Deluxe Winterize package, which involves pumping RV antifreeze through your freshwater system to protect your unit from freeze damage.

Electric or Gas?

Standard water heaters can use LP gas or an electric heating element. However, tankless water heaters are primarily powered by propane gas. Gas-powered tankless water heaters with a small battery bank are highly recommended, as they provide reliable ignition when not connected to power.


Tankless water heaters are generally easier to maintain than those with a pilot light or direct spark ignition. When purchasing a tankless water heater, choose one with an easy-to-use display. There are various compact designs available for RV showers, as well as portable tankless water heaters for outdoor use.


Consider your financial situation when choosing a tankless water heater. While some portable models are less expensive, you may spend more replacing an old water heater than repairing it. Tankless water heaters offer long-term energy savings compared to standard DSI water heaters.

Tankless Water Heaters from Camping World

For those ready to go tankless, Camping World offers several options:

Excel Vent-Free Tankless Propane Water Heater

Designed for indoor or outdoor use, this unit operates vent-free, reducing propane consumption. With a copper heat exchanger and an electronic spark module, this tankless water heater provides fast and efficient heat transfer.

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Eccotemp L5 Portable Tankless Water Heater

Ideal for class B RVs or pop-up campers, this tankless water heater is designed for outdoor use. It allows temperature adjustment and connects easily to a garden hose or standard RV water hose.

Marey Tankless LP Gas Water Heater

This tankless water heater produces up to 2.6 gallons of hot water per minute. It’s suitable for indoor use and offers winter-to-summer versatility with adjustable temperature control.

So whether you want to avoid family fights over shower time or be more energy-efficient in your RV travels, a tankless water heater is the future of instant hot water for RVers.

For direct assistance with RV upgrades or remodels, speak to a design specialist at a Camping World Design Center near you.

Do you have a tankless water heater for your RV? Share your experience in the comments below!


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Investing in a tankless RV water heater offers numerous benefits, including increased energy efficiency, reduced risk of spillage, and no waiting for hot water. When choosing a tankless water heater, consider your water usage, installation requirements, winterizing process, power source, design, and cost. Camping World offers a range of tankless water heaters suitable for RVs. Upgrade to a tankless water heater and enjoy the luxury of hot water on demand during your RV travels.