how to convert RV water heater to tankless

How to Convert RV Water Heater to Tankless: Easy Steps to Follow!

Peter Wade

For every RV lover, a tankless water heater opens a world of comfort and convenience. It not only consumes less energy but also takes less space than a tank water heater. How to get one? It’s easy if you already have one with a tank. You just have to learn how to convert RV water heater to tankless.

If you know the working process of the tankless water heater at your home, you will understand how tankless water heater for RV works. Both types run by following almost the same principle. When the water flows through the units, a heat exchanger heats up the water.

They run on both gas and electricity. In RVs, you will usually see a gas-based tankless water heater. The heater can derive energy from natural or propane gas.

Benefits of Converting RV Water Heater to Tankless

You must have noticed the popularity of tankless water heaters among RV owners. It is only because of the numerous advantages this water heater offers. Some top benefits are:

Get Clean Hot Water

The prime advantage of having an RV tankless water heater is getting access to clean hot water. Water stored in a tank for a long time can become dirty and stinky, which is unsafe for drinking and using for other work.

Since tankless water heater does not store water, it can provide clean hot water every time you turn on the faucet. If you use the same water for drinking and preparing food, you have to take this point into consideration.

convert rv water heater to tankless
A tankless water heater saves energy and space.

Save Energy

A tankless water heater is an energy-efficient appliance that saves a significant amount of energy. This is a practical choice if you want an appliance that helps you save money. These heaters consume a minimal amount of gas and ultimately cut the monthly cost for heater fuel.

Gas price often fluctuates and, at times, becomes pretty expensive. In such cases, a tankless water heater could become useful.

Save Space

Most RVs are not super big because larger ones are highly expensive. Also, you will always be in need of space if you travel in a group or with family members. Having an RV tankless water heater will give you some free space if you need to accommodate a lot of things.

How to Convert RV Water Heater to Tankless

For turning the water heater tankless, you need to know how to convert RV water heater to tankless. Hence, here is a complete guide to the tankless water heater installation.

1. Getting Prepared

There are a few tasks to be done before beginning the installation process. First of all, turn off the propane tank, water supply, and electricity supply.

Move to the place where you want to install the water heater. If you already have a tankless heater, it may be located outside of the RV. For the first time water heater installation on RV, choose an easily accessible area, like somewhere outside the RV.

2. Get Rid of the Old Unit

Unscrew the old water heater. Choose a screwdriver or drill that fits the old water tank screws. Then, use a seal scraper to cut the heater seal carefully. Scrape off the remaining caulking stuck on the sides, corners of the heater, and take the seal out gently.

This task will not take much time, but you have to do it systematically to take out the heater from its installation place. Be vigilant about not scraping the RV paint off with the seal scraper. Take out the old unit with caution.

3. Clean the Area

Make the installation area ready by cleaning it. Get rid of all types of dirt and debris and scrape off the old caulks. No residue should remain there.

Check if the opening you have is of the right size. For switching into a tankless heater, purchase a heater that fits the current dimensions. Preparing the opening should be your priority for a new installation. Take aid from measuring tape to calculate the heater dimensions and then cut a hole in the outside of the RV.

4. Install the Tankless Water Heater

Put the new RV tankless water heater in its designated place. Seal all the gaps you see. Now, place the door with proper alignment and tighten all the screws. Again, caulk the gap for sealing from outside.

When finished, connect the red wire to the “park” and the black one to the “ground”. Connect the hot and cold water line to the heater.

Now is the time to install the control panel following the manual that comes with it. Usually, this control panel is similar to the traditional heater’s control panel.

rv tankless water heater conversion
Installation does not require much skill.

5. Post-installation Tasks

Once the installation is over, test if the control panel is working. If yes, you can turn on the water.

Make sure to set the heater to a lower temperature. For this type of heater, there is no need to add too much cold water to the system. Guess the temperature of the running water and set a temperature closer to that one.

Demerits of a Tankless RV Water Heater

As you have learned how to convert RV water heater to tankless, you will have no trouble fixing one on your RV. However, these units have some minor drawbacks too. The water flow from such water heaters can become inconsistent from time to time, but it is not a big issue.

If you use all the fittings at the same time, there can be a disruption in water flow. The reasons being the comparatively smaller size of a tankless water heater and its ability to provide water inflow up to three gallons per minute.

Conclusion

A tankless water heater provides hot water on-demand. It is better than the traditional water heater in many aspects. This guide about how to convert RV water heater to tankless will help you to install it properly. After installation, follow the maintenance tips provided in its manual to ensure a longer lifespan.

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