Are you planning on going on a fun road trip in your RV? While it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning a camping trip, it is undeniable that setting up a comfortable motorhome could be challenge. There are various factors you need to consider—one of which is getting a reliable RV water heater.
With the seemingly never-ending hustle and bustle that comes with living in the city, it is not unusual that increasingly more families are beginning to appreciate the peace and quiet that camping offers. After all, it is among the easiest ways one can relax and get some much-needed rest from work or school. One of the many things that could ensure a comfortable camping trip is a well-functioning RV water heater.
What is an RV Water Heater?
An RV water heater is a water-heating system that is installed in a motor home to provide hot water on-the-go. They function in the same way that the water heater in your home does; it’s just that this one is specifically designed to be in an RV. So, what makes it different from home water heaters?
- Most RV water heaters feature an interchangeable propane and gas orifices, which are the main reasons for its increased cost.
- Water heaters installed in RVs have the cold water inlet and hot water outlet connection on the side and top, respectively. Those installed in homes, on the other hand, have both connections located on the top of the tank.
- RV water heaters must have the safety approval of the Housing and Urban Development Department involving carbon monoxide(1). They should feature both a pressure-relief valve and non-adjustable temperature control.
- An RV water heater must come with a securing strap kit for the safety of everyone inside the motorhome as well as others nearby.
This type of water heater can operate either on propane or natural gas, electricity and liquid propane, or the heat from the engine. That being said, in the following section, let us find out which of these methods is the best for your specific needs!
Gas vs. Electric/Liquid Propane vs. Motor Aid—Which One is the Best?
- Gas RV Water Heaters
Entry level RV models are mostly designed to support water heaters that can only burn liquid propane. It can either have a pilot light that is manually ignited or a direct spark ignition system, which allows a signal to be sent from the heater control circuit board to the igniter.
- Electric/Liquid Propane RV Water Heaters
On the other hand, there are also RV water heater models like the suburban brand that are intelligently designed to operate on the combined power of electricity and liquid propane. In this way, the cold water can be heated to your desired temperature quickly as the water heater utilizes two fuel sources.
- Motor Aid RV Water Heaters
The last method of heating water in an RV is through the use of the heat that is produced by the engine. Evidently, when you’re driving for hours on end, the engine is going to be generating a lot of heat. So, in order to put all that heat energy to good use, motor aid RV water heaters were invented. The problem with this water heating method, though, is that when you leave your engine off for some time, you will most definitely find a tank full of tepid water once you get back on the road.
Deciding which of these methods is the best depends on your specific needs and the type of RV that you have. RV water heaters that operate on gas are most commonly used in entry-level or old model motor homes. If you are aiming for a constant supply of hot water, then go for a water heater that runs on electric/liquid propane. Alternatively, those who want to save on fuel costs will be better off with installing an RV water heater that uses engine heat as a source.
Whichever portable water heater you choose, though, it would be best if you know how to take care of your RV water heater so as to prolong its life. Check out the tried-and-tested maintenance techniques that we have compiled below just for you.
RV Water Heater Maintenance Tips
- If you don’t have any scheduled trip for a long time, it is ideal to drain the water out of the tank.
- During the winter period, it is advisable to winterize the pipes so as to prevent it from freezing and cracking.
- Make sure that the tank has water in it before you turn the water heater on.
- Install an anode rod to avoid hard-water corrosion inside your tank.
- While it is a good idea that you know the inner workings of your RV water heater, it is still highly recommended to call a professional for help when it malfunctions.
- When buying one, make sure that you have enough space inside your motorhome to store it. Take note of the depth, height, and width of the water heater to ensure that it would fit.
- If you’re using a water heater that operates on liquid propane, keep the entire system free from debris by having the burner tube cleaned every year. You can do this by using compressed air or a vacuum cleaner.
While going on a road trip and camping out means escaping from the city, that doesn’t mean that you must sacrifice your comfort. Thus, investing in a quality RV water heater should be considered a definite must-have in every motorhome. After all, who wouldn’t want a relaxing and refreshing hot shower, right?
Lucky for you, you are now equipped with the water heater information that you need to know when looking for one. All you must do now is find the perfect RV water heater model that meets your budget, personal needs, and the requirements of your motor home.. Just remember to read up on its features and water heater reviews so you can rest assured that you’ll be getting the most value for your hard-earned money! Good luck!
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