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Old 04-08-2014, 08:08 PM   #1
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Tankless Water Heater - Recommendation?

Does anyone have an opinion or recommendation for a tankless water heater??
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:27 PM   #2
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RV500 isn't cheap but has been very reliable. I did have one problem with the one we put in our second rebuild and service was great -- walked me through an easy board swap.

One caveat: since it heats on the fly, it is not as efficient if your cold water is really cold. It will heat a lower flow rate of hot water to temp.

If you boondock, make sure you have a push-button shutoff so you don't have to constantly re-adjust for temperature.
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:50 PM   #3
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My advise is to go with the standard 6 gal water heater. I see no advantage to the tankless in a trailer and many disadvantages. I had a tankless electric heater in my shop years ago and after it burned out twice. Why do you want a tankless?
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:18 PM   #4
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I have the Atwood tankless, which is pretty new to the market. Maybe only about 1 year old now. They licensed some of the technology from PrecisionTemp...

Precision Temp teams with Atwood to design tankless RV water heaters | RV Daily Report | Breaking RV Industry News and Campground Information

The nice thing about the Atwood is that it fits the rectangular cutout that is common on our airstreams. They are also cheaper.

I have mixed feelings about the Atwood unit. I generally like it, but performance is a bit all over the map. This may just be the nature of the instant units -- as 65CV suggests, they only boost the water temp a certain number of degrees and that number changes based on the flow of the water. The atwood has a winter and summer mode to compensate a bit but on really cold days, you'll definitely notice that the water isn't coming out as hot as other days.

The manufacturers of the instant units try to dissuade you from taking "navy" showers because there are drastic temperature fluctuations when you do... well at least on my Atwood. The heating coil gets very, very hot, so when you stop the water flow for a short period, the water that is stuck in that coil can rise to very high levels (even though the heater turns off, there is enough residual heat to really get it up there).

BUT I CAN take navy showers but just have to deal with the quirks. Mainly, I just wait for a few seconds for the water to stabilize again, as you would with a regular heater, but the difference is the way the temp fluctuates in that period.

The net effect when I restart the water is the following sequence:

(1) first, you get lukewarm water that was in the pipe between the heater and the shower, which has cooled slightly from sitting there. (You'd experience this with a regular hot water heater as well.)

(2) then you get the super hot water that was sitting in the coil, as described above.

(3) then you get gradually warming water again, similar to what you experience when first turning on the unit and waiting for it to warm for a few seconds. This restart is faster than a cold start, however.

My unit likely wastes a tiny bit more water than a regular water heater. In a regular unit, water after item #1 above will be at the correct temp. So the waste in the tankless unit is water required for #2 and #3 above.

So as you can see, it can be a bit quirky, at least with my Atwood unit -- but again, this is ONLY when you are taking "navy" showers. I would think that the PrecisionTemp might have similar quirks but someone else might have to chime in about that who knows.

Would I buy it again? I'm on the fence, but probably. For me, I just have a hard time thinking about the water heater constantly running, or needing to plan to use hot water to give the unit time to heat. Yes, people will probably respond and rationalize how overall the 'old' heaters work better for a lot of reasons, and they have valid points. I do like the "on demand" aspect quite a lot, and I really, really like that when I have hookups I can basically take as long of showers as I wish. (And note that if you have hookups, you don't really need to take "navy" showers anyway and you won't experience any of the quirks described above.)
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:19 PM   #5
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Endless showers ?

They are kind of nice...
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:27 PM   #6
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I used an LP fired domestic unit.

So far so good.
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:44 PM   #7
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I boondock a lot so based on "Tallguys" comments a tankless unit is not good for boondocking. I have a 6 gal regular wh and it works great. Remember, new solutions have new problems.

Dan
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:00 PM   #8
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We have a Precision Temp RV 500 in our Caravel. The only advantage is continuous hot water as long as you feed it water and propane. If you shut the water off, it stops immediately. When dry camping, trying to conserve fresh water and wash water storage space, it is a pain as temp adjustment is not constant. Also, each time hot water is turned on, some cold water is wasted turning the flow meter to get it started again, adding cold water to the stream.
I see no reason to have loads of electronics including three circuit boards just to heat water.
Our Excella has a standard water heater with an on/off switch inside the trailer. We turn it on in the morning, off after morning dishes, then on again in the evening, and off before bed. Water is still somewhat warm in the morning, just not hot until we turn it back on.
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Old 04-09-2014, 12:54 PM   #9
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Just want to add -- despite my lengthy post about the temp fluctuations, it all happens in a matter of a few seconds so the size of the issue does not correlate to the size of my post! :-)

It is more "different" than "problem" and I am able to use a good amount of the water during navy showers that I classified as "wasted" in my post.

I also like to boondock it hasn't been an issue for me. Especially if I'm only boondocking for a few days en route to a campground.... then it isn't a problem whatsoever. But then on arrival at a campground with hookups... that's where the unit really shines. Luxuriate in a warm shower as long as you like....
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Old 04-09-2014, 01:07 PM   #10
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I went through this a couple of years ago, thinking that tankless is the way to go. Other posters on HWH threads at the time mentioned the higher gas use for the on demand, so I went with a 6gal Atwood with automatic start. It's great, reheats quickly and we've never run out of hot water- no endless showers but not skimpy drought ones, either.
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Old 04-09-2014, 03:37 PM   #11
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We have a Precision Temp 500 in our Safari and are very happy with it. Even with navy showers, the temperature fluctuations are minimal. With full hookups, the long showers are a real luxury.
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