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We are considering replacing our current electric storage water with a propane tankless water heater. The electric water heater cannot even supply enough hot water to fill our bathtub effectively.

We have been told that the tankless technology delivers as much hot water as you need. Does anyone out there have experience with replacing an electric hot water heater with a tankless heater? What kind of cost savings have you actually seen? Also, any feedback about brands (Bosch, Rinnai, ???) and local contractors who specialize in these products would be appreciated.

 

 

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Edited by Tania
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There may be something amiss with your current heater. My 10 gallon gas/electric will provide hot water as long as I want it, except under extreme cold outdoor temperatures. While I am a single guy and don't have a bath tub, I do live full time in my home on wheels. I have a dishwasher and can turn on my water heater (when on Gas primarily) about 15 minutes before I want to take a shower. I can fill the dishwasher drawer, run the dishwasher and then take my shower. I have plenty of hot water. Again I don't have a tub. I have used a tankless system in a friends home and it was very difficult to regulate the temperature. His next home had a 50 gallon tank and all was good. 

Rod

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Tankless heaters only provide a differential temperature, each model has a different rating. For example, assume incoming water temperature is 45°F, your tankless unit's differential is also 45°F, the highest water temperature you can expect is 90°F from the hot water faucet.

They are generally quite noisy. Most tankless produce 2-5 GPM, the most expensive up to 9 GPM.

reference: https://www.usawaterquality.org/how-much-propane-does-a-tankless-water-heater-use/

There is always the option of installing a tankless heater in parallel, with valving to isolate either unit.

Edited by Ray,IN
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Our current RV came with a Girard tankless water heater which I hated.  We lived with it for seven years and this year we used some of the money we received from the government to replace it with a tank water heater.

People who have the Truma seem to like it.  I'm not familiar with any other tankless water heaters for RVs.

Edited by LindaH
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16 hours ago, Tania said:

Also, any feedback about brands (Bosch, Rinnai, ???) and local contractors who specialize in these products would be appreciated.

Here are 3 different reviews of tankless water heaters for RV's. I suggest in depth study as they do not rate them in the same order, but do give reasons for the ratings. All 3 reviews were written and published this year.

7 Best RV Tankless Water Heaters For Instant Hot Water On Demand     RV Know How

The Best RV Tankless Water Heaters for 2021    RV Hometown

The Best RV Tankless Water Heaters             RV Web

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4 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Here are 3 different reviews of tankless water heaters for RV's. I suggest in depth study as they do not rate them in the same order, but do give reasons for the ratings. All 3 reviews were written and published this year.

7 Best RV Tankless Water Heaters For Instant Hot Water On Demand     RV Know How

The Best RV Tankless Water Heaters for 2021    RV Hometown

The Best RV Tankless Water Heaters             RV Web

I'm curious if you looked at any of these links?

From the first link:

The #1 heater is a natural gas unit clearly intended for sticks and bricks type home. 

The #2 heater is an ordinary tank-type RV water heater. 

The #3 unit is intended as a stand-alone, portable water heater for camping. It uses D-cell batteries for power (3 volts) and has garden hose fittings. 

The #4 unit is likewise a stand-alone, portable water heater. 

Etc.

As far as I can tell, only their #7 unit, the Precision Temp RV-550 is actually intended as a direct replacement tankless RV unit. 

As far as I can tell, the second link is similar.  The 17 best tankless water heaters?  I think many of us know there are nowhere near 17 tankless water heaters suitable for use in RV's. A quick glance shows a number of conventional tank-type units, along with stand-alone portable units, house units etc. 

And the third link is a little better, but not much. 

Unfortunately many of these "The Best..." articles are generated for clicks only, pulling information from other websites and combining them into an "article" with a bunch of links to Amazon or other stores to generate revenue for the site.  I very much doubt that anyone at "RV Know How", "RV Hometown", or "RV Web" has actual first-hand experience with any of these units. 

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I used to take looooong showers pre-RVing full time for seven years. Our first fiver, a 1990 36' HitchHiker I bought in 1997, had a six gallon water heater. I had to learn to wet, cut off, soap, rinse and it would be getting cold just as I finished. Our second RV had a ten gallon water heater and after getting used to a six gallon it seemed to run forever. NOw that we are off the road I could never go back to draining a 50 gallon water heater between me and Lynda.

I do have a question for those who have or had Propane RV tankless water heaters and used them for at least a year or so.

Summers we used less than one cylinder of propane full time RVing using the oven, stove, water heater and fridge on propane.

During winter we used our furnace and for a few weeks a year I had to refill our two 7 Gallon 30 pound cylinders at least once a week!

Did your tankless propane water heater suck up noticeably more propane compared to the propane water heater with a tank?

When we buy our next part time unit I will likely go with a water heater with a tank, as we adapted fine. But if the propane usage is the same and reliability the same it might make more sense to go tankless.

 

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I've used a propane tankless in a boat for over 20 years.  My wife and I love it. 

The first one was cheap and I considered it a test unit.  It performed well for a number of years.  It was a replaced with a higher quality Japanese brand (Paloma) which has performed well, repaired once.

A problem with tankless water heaters for boats is finding one with a "small" enough capacity to fit your needs..... you don't need a lot of flow with water efficient shower heads.   You don't want a larger unit for a house with multiple simultaneous users.

A related problem is getting whoever is taking a shower to increase hot water flow when the water starts to get too warm.... if you turn down the hot water flow too much it will shutoff on high temperature.

Then you have to wait for the unit to have enough cold water go through it for the unit to reset.   I'm an engineer, I didn't have a problem adapting.  My wife is very smart and very capable but despite living aboard for over 10 years she never did adapt her automatic response.... and certainly didn't like running a cold water shower long enough for the unit to reset.

Regarding propane consumption...... summer time used very little, winter time significantly more.  In any case it was never an issue... we simply switched tanks when one was empty.

Hope this helps.  

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8 hours ago, RV_ said:

Our first fiver, a 1990 36' HitchHiker I bought in 1997, had a six gallon water heater. I had to learn to wet, cut off, soap, rinse and it would be getting cold just as I finished.

Wow! My van had a 2.5 gallon electric water heater. I would turn it on for ten minutes then turn it off and take a shower using only the hot water tap. Yes, the "get wet. turn it off, soap, turn it on, rinse" method but I never ran out of hot water when taking a shower. I guess it really is what you are used to doing.

Linda

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I recommend ECOTOUCH ECO55, works perfectly for our needs. It is very simple to install. I will get hot water in less than 10 to 15 seconds and the unit will shut off when the hot water in the house reaches the temperature 

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A few years ago a fellow approached me about replacing his tankless heater with a conventional LP and electric 10 gallon RV water heater. They liked the unlimited hot water, but had not been able to fully adapt to getting the flow rate right, etc. I quickly determined that a 10 gallon heater would not fit in the available depth behind the tankless heater, ruling out a direct replacement. I did find a spot just a couple of feet away where a 6 gallon heater would fit with just the loss of small inside drawer, and the owner said that would do if I could finish the old opening so it didn't looked like a patch job. I suggested making the old opening a small lockable storage bin, and he agreed to it. Then I had a brain storm... I suggested installing the 6 gallon heater, and then piping the tankless in line with the cold inlet of the 6 gallon to see if that might give them at least an extended capacity, if not a truly unlimited capacity. I said if it didn't work well enough, we could always go back to plan A and make it storage with just a couple of minor plumbing changes. He agreed, and it turned out well enough that they've been using it that way ever since. For smaller hot water needs like doing dishes, washing up, etc, they just leave the tankless turned off. He says he, his wife, and their three kids can do back to back showers with just the normal drying off, dressing, and next person prep time between uses with no one lacking for hot water.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We have a Bosch Tronic 3000 ES4 and I am very pleased with it. This little water heater is awesome! It is super well insulated, very efficient, compact, silent and powerful. Once heated, it will maintain the water hot enough for my outdoor shower for 24 hours. 

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We have had a Truma for 4 years.  It has worked perfectly per specs the entire time.   It heats water to 118 degrees (I think) every time I have checked, which is specs.  I installed it so my wife could take her daily bath with out heating water on the stove as the tank water heater would run out of hot water before adequate water was in the tub.  It all works good until the outside temp is below 70.  At that point the hot water must warm the fiberglass tub, which cools the water in tub below desired bath temperature.  Sooo, the wife still heats water on the stove.

I contacted Truma and they were only interested in covering their tail.  Scalding liability was 2 of every 3 words in their part of the conversation.

The Truma uses 20 pound of propane per month.  Wife's daily bath and sink water are the only uses.

Sure would like to find someone that could change the temperature.....birddog reward available....

 

 

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10 hours ago, bja1234 said:

We have had a Truma for 4 years.  It has worked perfectly per specs the entire time.   It heats water to 118 degrees (I think) every time I have checked, which is specs.  I installed it so my wife could take her daily bath with out heating water on the stove as the tank water heater would run out of hot water before adequate water was in the tub.  It all works good until the outside temp is below 70.  At that point the hot water must warm the fiberglass tub, which cools the water in tub below desired bath temperature.  Sooo, the wife still heats water on the stove.

I contacted Truma and they were only interested in covering their tail.  Scalding liability was 2 of every 3 words in their part of the conversation.

The Truma uses 20 pound of propane per month.  Wife's daily bath and sink water are the only uses.

Sure would like to find someone that could change the temperature.....birddog reward available....

 

 

Page 7 of the https://www.truma.com/dam/jcr:7c9603f3-b853-4755-883f-d2e179cf69ca/truma-watersystems-aquago-installation-operating-aus-en.pdf states it heats the water to 120degrees F. /49 degrees C. That setting is not adjustable as the unit constantly adjusts burner size to maintain that temperature.

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