RV electric tankless water heaters are revolutionizing the way we experience hot water on the road. Unlike traditional RV water heaters, these innovative appliances provide endless hot water on demand, eliminating the need for bulky tanks and long wait times.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the benefits, types, installation considerations, operation, maintenance, troubleshooting, and safety precautions associated with RV electric tankless water heaters. By the end, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about upgrading your RV’s water heating system.

RV Electric Tankless Water Heater Overview

Rv electric tankless water heater

An RV electric tankless water heater is an innovative and efficient solution for providing hot water in your recreational vehicle. Unlike traditional RV water heaters that store a finite amount of hot water in a tank, electric tankless water heaters heat water instantaneously as it flows through the unit.

This provides a continuous supply of hot water on demand, eliminating the need for a bulky storage tank and the associated energy loss that comes with it.

Advantages of RV Electric Tankless Water Heaters

RV electric tankless water heaters offer several advantages over traditional RV water heaters:

  • Compact Size:Electric tankless water heaters are significantly smaller than traditional water heaters, saving valuable space in your RV.
  • Endless Hot Water:With a tankless water heater, you’ll never run out of hot water, as it provides an endless supply on demand.
  • Energy Efficiency:Electric tankless water heaters are highly energy-efficient, as they only heat water when needed, reducing energy consumption and lowering your utility bills.
  • Long Lifespan:Electric tankless water heaters typically have a longer lifespan than traditional water heaters, lasting up to 20 years or more.

Types of RV Electric Tankless Water Heaters

Electric tankless water heaters for RVs come in various types, each with unique features, advantages, and drawbacks. Understanding these differences will help you choose the most suitable option for your needs.

Instantaneous vs. Semi-Instantaneous, Rv electric tankless water heater

  • Instantaneous:Heat water instantly as it flows through the unit, providing hot water on demand without any waiting time.
  • Semi-Instantaneous:Store a small amount of preheated water in a reservoir, delivering hot water almost instantly but may have a slightly longer wait time compared to instantaneous models.

Element Type

  • Copper Elements:Durable and efficient, but can be more expensive and susceptible to corrosion.
  • Stainless Steel Elements:Corrosion-resistant and long-lasting, but may not be as efficient as copper elements.
  • Hybrid Elements:Combine copper and stainless steel elements, offering a balance of durability, efficiency, and affordability.

Power Consumption

  • Low Power:Typically operate on 120 volts and draw less current, suitable for smaller RVs with limited power capacity.
  • High Power:Require 240 volts and provide higher flow rates and faster heating, ideal for larger RVs with higher hot water demands.

Installation Considerations

Installing an RV electric tankless water heater requires careful planning and execution. Here are essential factors to consider for a successful installation:

To ensure a safe and efficient installation, follow these electrical requirements:

Electrical Requirements

  • Electrical Panel Upgrade:Most electric tankless water heaters require a dedicated 30-amp or 50-amp circuit. Verify if your RV’s electrical panel can handle the additional load.
  • Wiring Gauge:Use properly sized wiring (6-gauge or 8-gauge) to prevent overheating and voltage drop.
  • Circuit Breaker:Install a circuit breaker or fuse with the correct amperage rating to protect the electrical system from overloads.

Water Connections

Proper water connections are crucial for the efficient operation of the tankless water heater:

  • Water Pressure:Ensure your RV’s water system provides sufficient water pressure (minimum 20 psi) for the tankless water heater to operate effectively.
  • Water Lines:Use flexible water lines rated for hot water temperatures and pressure to connect the water heater to the plumbing system.
  • Drain Valve:Install a drain valve at the lowest point of the water heater to facilitate draining for maintenance or winterization.

Safety Measures

Safety should be the top priority when installing an electric tankless water heater:

  • Grounding:Connect the water heater to a proper grounding system to prevent electrical shocks.
  • Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve:Install a temperature and pressure relief valve to release excess pressure or temperature in case of malfunctions.
  • Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions:Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation and operation to ensure safety and optimal performance.

Operation and Maintenance

RV electric tankless water heaters operate by heating water as it passes through the unit, providing hot water on demand without the need for a storage tank. Understanding the operation and implementing proper maintenance practices are crucial for ensuring optimal performance and longevity.

To ensure efficient operation, follow these guidelines:

  • Monitor Water Pressure:Maintain adequate water pressure (typically 20-80 psi) for proper operation. Low pressure can result in insufficient hot water flow, while excessive pressure can damage the unit.
  • Control Water Temperature:Adjust the temperature setting to your desired level, typically between 90-120°F (32-49°C). Avoid setting excessively high temperatures, as it can reduce the lifespan of the heating element.
  • Prevent Freezing:If the RV is exposed to freezing temperatures, drain the water heater to prevent damage to the unit and plumbing system.


Regular descaling is essential to remove mineral buildup that can accumulate over time. Descaling involves using a vinegar solution or commercial descaling products to dissolve and flush out the deposits.

  • Frequency:Descale every 6-12 months or more frequently if the water supply has high mineral content.
  • Procedure:Fill the water heater with the descaling solution, let it sit for several hours, then drain and flush thoroughly with clean water.

Maintenance Checks

Regular maintenance checks can help identify potential issues and prevent costly repairs:

  • Inspect Heating Element:Visually inspect the heating element for any damage or corrosion. If necessary, replace the element.
  • Check Electrical Connections:Ensure all electrical connections are secure and free of corrosion. Loose connections can lead to electrical problems.
  • Test Safety Features:Regularly test the safety features, such as the high-temperature cutoff switch and pressure relief valve, to ensure they are functioning correctly.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Rv electric tankless water heater

Maintaining a functional RV electric tankless water heater is essential for comfortable RV living. Understanding common issues and their solutions empowers you to address problems effectively, ensuring a steady supply of hot water during your adventures.

Electrical issues, water flow problems, and temperature regulation concerns are among the most frequent challenges faced with RV electric tankless water heaters. By following troubleshooting tips and implementing practical solutions, you can resolve these issues efficiently and restore the optimal performance of your water heater.

Electrical Issues

  • No power to the water heater:Verify that the RV’s electrical system is functioning correctly, check for tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses, and ensure proper connections at the water heater.
  • Heating element not working:Inspect the heating element for damage or corrosion, test its continuity using a multimeter, and replace it if necessary.
  • Thermostat malfunction:Check the thermostat’s settings, test its functionality, and replace it if it’s faulty.

Water Flow Problems

  • Low water flow:Ensure adequate water pressure by checking the RV’s water pump and filter, inspect the water lines for kinks or blockages, and clean the water heater’s inlet and outlet filters.
  • Air in the water lines:Run water through the faucets to purge air from the lines, or use a vacuum pump to remove air pockets.
  • Leaking water heater:Inspect the water heater’s connections, seals, and fittings for leaks, and tighten or replace any damaged components.

Temperature Regulation Concerns

  • Water not hot enough:Adjust the thermostat to a higher temperature setting, check the heating element’s functionality, and ensure proper water flow.
  • Water too hot:Lower the thermostat setting, inspect the thermostat for proper calibration, and consider installing a mixing valve to blend hot and cold water.
  • Fluctuating water temperature:Check the water flow rate and adjust it to a steady level, inspect the heating element for damage, and ensure the thermostat is functioning correctly.

Safety Precautions

To ensure the safe and efficient operation of your RV electric tankless water heater, it’s crucial to adhere to important safety precautions.

Electrical hazards and scalding risks are potential dangers associated with these appliances. By following these guidelines, you can prevent accidents and protect yourself and your loved ones.

Electrical Hazards

  • Always connect the water heater to a properly grounded electrical outlet to prevent electrical shock.
  • Never attempt to repair or service the water heater yourself. Contact a qualified electrician for any repairs.
  • Keep all electrical components dry and protected from moisture.
  • Inspect the electrical cord and plug regularly for any damage or wear.

Scalding Risks

  • Never operate the water heater without water flowing through it, as this can cause the heating element to overheat and damage the unit.
  • Set the water temperature to a safe level to avoid scalding. Most tankless water heaters have adjustable temperature settings.
  • Be cautious when using hot water from the faucet, especially if there are young children or elderly individuals present.

Comparison to Other RV Water Heating Options

When selecting a water heater for your RV, it’s crucial to compare the electric tankless option with other available choices. Each type offers unique advantages and drawbacks, so understanding their differences will help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and usage patterns.

In this section, we will explore the efficiency, cost, and suitability of RV electric tankless water heaters in comparison to other options, such as propane and traditional tank-style water heaters.


Electric tankless water heaters are renowned for their exceptional energy efficiency. They only consume electricity when hot water is being used, eliminating the energy loss associated with maintaining a constantly heated water tank. This efficiency translates into lower operating costs and reduced environmental impact.

In contrast, propane and tank-style water heaters require continuous energy to maintain the water temperature, leading to higher energy consumption and operating costs.


The upfront cost of an electric tankless water heater is typically higher than that of a propane or tank-style water heater. However, the long-term cost savings resulting from its energy efficiency can offset this initial investment over time.

Propane water heaters have relatively low upfront costs but require ongoing expenses for propane refills, which can fluctuate depending on market conditions.

Tank-style water heaters have moderate upfront costs but may incur higher maintenance and repair expenses due to their complex design and potential for leaks.


The suitability of an RV water heater depends on the type of RV and usage patterns. Electric tankless water heaters are ideal for RVs with limited space or those that primarily operate in areas with reliable electricity access.

Propane water heaters are a good option for RVs that frequently boondock or travel in remote areas without access to electricity. They provide a reliable source of hot water without relying on an external power source.

Tank-style water heaters are suitable for RVs that require a large capacity of hot water or for those that prefer a more traditional water heating system.

Conclusion: Rv Electric Tankless Water Heater

Whether you’re a seasoned RV enthusiast or a first-time camper, an RV electric tankless water heater is an investment in comfort, convenience, and efficiency. By choosing the right model for your needs and following proper installation and maintenance procedures, you can enjoy the luxury of endless hot water wherever your adventures take you.

Essential FAQs

What are the advantages of an RV electric tankless water heater over a traditional RV water heater?

RV electric tankless water heaters offer several advantages over traditional RV water heaters, including: endless hot water on demand, space savings, reduced energy consumption, and longer lifespan.

What are the different types of RV electric tankless water heaters available?

There are two main types of RV electric tankless water heaters: point-of-use and whole-house. Point-of-use water heaters are designed to provide hot water for a single fixture, while whole-house water heaters provide hot water for multiple fixtures simultaneously.

What factors should I consider when installing an RV electric tankless water heater?

When installing an RV electric tankless water heater, it’s important to consider the following factors: electrical requirements, water connections, safety measures, and proper ventilation.

How do I troubleshoot common problems with RV electric tankless water heaters?

Some common problems with RV electric tankless water heaters include: no hot water, low water flow, and overheating. Troubleshooting these problems typically involves checking the power supply, water connections, and thermostat settings.

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