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Tankless propane hot water heaters

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Richand Cindy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Richand Cindy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Tankless propane hot water heaters
    Posted: 24 Jan 2019 at 5:09pm
One other thing I forgot to mention with a tankless.  The hot water is not instant so you will run cold water for a short time until the hot kicks in.  This is not an issue if you have a sewer connection but there is definitely more water filling your grey tank with a tankless. Something to consider for a boondocker.  I do not know what the weight is of the Truma so do not know if it lighter than a 6 gal heater with a filled tank
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mcarter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2019 at 5:12pm
Richard Cindy,

Excellent point. I have a tankless in my house, you indeed have to run water to get hot water. Not a good idea for boondockers.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2019 at 6:02pm
The only benefit in an RV from going tankless is to not run out of hot water. Unless you are a full timer, you're never going to recoup your investment by saving propane, if you save any at all. 

Mixing 130 degree water from your water heater with say 60 degree water from your fresh water tank you'll be at about a 60/40 mixture to obtain normal shower temperatures. So, to run out of hot water you would be using about 10 gallons of fresh water taking a shower. That's 1/3 of your fresh and gray water tank capacity before you'd need to think about having a tankless system. No one is going to do that boondocking or even in cases when you have partial hookups. For myself, if I use more than gallon of water taking a shower while camping I'd be surprised. 

If you have full hookups you could do it, but I would think you could also just as easily go use a campground shower in that case. If you only camp with full hookups and you really wanted an infinite supply of hot water you could consider removing your gas water heater and installing an electric tankless one. They're really small, only weigh a few pounds, give you very precise temp control, are faster to turn on than the gas ones, and have minimal clearance requirements and no flue and ventilation requirements. You would need a 50A service to run one. I use an electric tankless at home and I can control the water temp to 1 degree of accuracy, which is why I love it so much. 

 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2019 at 5:53am
I took a look at the Truma product line. The Truma Aquaglo is a 60k btu/hr unit so it would provide hot water indefinitely until you run out of propane. It is not strictly tankless but close (it has a tiny 0.35 gal buffer tank). Weight is 34 lbs plus water at 3 lbs = 37 lbs.

The Truma Combi Eco plus is only 7500 btu/hr on propane and has a 2.6 gal tank. Weight is 37 lbs plus water at 21 lbs = 58 lbs. 

The Suburban water heater in the rPods is 12000 btu/hr and has a 6 gal tank. Weight is 33 lbs plus water at 50 lbs = 85 lbs. 

So, I would definitely not recommend changing from the Suburban to the Truma Combi Eco plus if your objective was longer showers. You wouldn't be happy. 

For a boondocker the Combi Eco Plus is interesting, a couple gallons of hot water would be fine for me. But it's big claim to fame is that it also heats the RV, for which it uses the same propane heat source of 7500 BTU/hr. Compare that to the Rpod heater at 20kbtu/hr. I don't think that would be anywhere near adequate for 3 seasons camping use in an rPod.

There is one more Truma unit, the Combi Comfort plus, which uses the same 2.6 gal tank but has a 20.4kbtu/hr heat rating. That one looks like it might be a good choice for a boondocker. Weight is the same as the Eco plus. You'd save the weight of both the existing water heater and furnace. Total weight saving would be about 50 lbs. That's significant. But is it worth the $1000+ price tag? Not to me...

It would still not be a good choice for someone looking for a "tankless" unit for long showers. You're going to need more than 20kbtu/hr for that. A low flow 1 gpm shower starting with 50 degree water would need about 30kbth/hr.

I do think one of the little electric tankless units could work great for the long shower enthusiast who has access to full hookups with a 50A service. In thinking about it more, you wouldn't need to remove your existing water heater. The electric tankless units are tiny and light so the added weight isn't worth worrying about.  Just plumb the electric tankless in series after the suburban one and use the existing wall switch to turn on the suburban when you wanted it. If you have 50A hooked up and the suburban off the tankless electric would do the work, and you would be using the campground electricity, not your propane. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Motor7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2019 at 9:26am
My main point in these is size and weight. Long hot showers for the lightweight camper crowd is few and I agree that a $1K price tag for a combi unit is too much(now). As price comes down I predict that tanked water heaters in rv's and trailers will go extinct. It's kind of exciting with tankless and battery/solar technology advancing along with cost effective prices....the future looks promising.  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2019 at 10:11am
Here's a tankless propane unit for $460. Not too bad.  I like the combi comfort idea the best but not for that much $$$. If that one was $400 I'd consider it, it would get rid of the noise from the existing furnace too. 


Or get this electric one for $200. Only weighs 5 lbs and is 12x10x4 inches, so just add it to your system. Then you can shower all day on the campground's dime Tongue. i have a larger Ecosmart at home, works great. 


https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-appliances/rv-water-heaters/rv-water-heaters/rv-tankless-water-heater-girard-gswh2_42.3250?gclid=Cj0KCQiAhKviBRCNARIsAAGZ7CfE7FsRwydU7RBhv9mCPpJ33IUJHsou1FYevucYQGmdMXhkd9Q7UUwaAraKEALw_wcB

https://www.amazon.com/EcoSmart-Electric-Tankless-Modulating-Technology/dp/B00529DDUI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1548432011&sr=8-3&keywords=tankless+water+heater+electric+8kw

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Richand Cindy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2019 at 10:12pm
It has been two years since we researched tankless water heaters but at the time the Girard's had very poor reviews.  Unless they improved them it is not worth looking into. Truma is the best but more than double the price.  But as others have stated I think current water heaters are more than sufficient for an RPOD and tankless is not ready for prime time yet
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mcarter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jan 2019 at 8:53am
I looked at the for about 10 mins one day, then moved on. Lot of difference between tankless in house and tankless in a camper, especially when boondocking. The OP was about propane powered.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tars Tarkas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jan 2019 at 9:17am
I'm pretty sure in roughly 6 years if camping with the Pod I've only had hookups that included sewer twice.  (That's my style and I understand others' experience may be a lot different.)  Anyway, the point is, why have unlimited hot water if you only have a 30 gallon gray tank to put it in?

We leave the water heater on when we camp for a week.  I hear it come on very occasionally -- unless we're taking showers (actually using the hot water) -- I don't think there can be much savings of propane with a tankless heater, especially as others have mentioned, since a lot of people only use it at all a few weeks out of the year.  The WH in the Pod just doesn't use all that much propane in the first place.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jan 2019 at 9:37am
Originally posted by Tars Tarkas

I don't think there can be much savings of propane with a tankless heater, especially as others have mentioned, since a lot of people only use it at all a few weeks out of the year.  The WH in the Pod just doesn't use all that much propane in the first place.
That's where I'm at. We use a tiny amount of hot water a couple times a day. The savings just aren't there, and may be debatable in the first place.
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