Where Is the Hot Water Heater Located in a Camper?


installation

Knowing exactly where your hot water heater is located in your camper can be a little difficult, especially if it’s your first time camping out and you plan to winterize your camper’s water lines ahead of the winter.

camping

Where is the hot water heater located in your camper? Keep reading to find out.

Accessing your camper’s water heater can be a headache if you’ve no idea where in your camper it is located.

The access panel to your camper’s hot water heater is located outside of your camper. Your camper’s water heater is usually in a square or rectangle compartment. This compartment has a pull down for easy access. From the outside of your camper, you’ll be able to access the front of your hot water heater. However, the backside is not always visible. This is because it’s usually found under your kitchen stove or other appliances. Either way, you’ll likely find your camper’s water heater.

Does a Camper Really Have a Hot Water Heater?

If this question just popped up in your head, then you’re probably thinking of getting a camper and hitting the road soon.

Actually, most campers or travel trailers have a hot water unit that you can use to cook and have hot showers. There is a downside though. Most campers have small hot water heaters compared to big ones you can find in homes. As a result, you will likely get fewer showers out of them.

expedition camping van

Before hitting the road in your camper for that adventurous trip, here are a few things you need to know about your camper’s plumbing system.

How Many Gallons of Water Can a Camper’s Hot Water Heater Hold?

It varies. But it usually depends on the type and style of the camper. Still, if you want to enjoy all the luxuries that come with a magnificent camper, you must have the money for it — and they don’t come cheap.

Suppose you go for a large camper, one of the things you will enjoy is a larger water heater. If you’re trying to shape up an older model, it comes with additional costs. Aside from this, most travel trailers have some basic amenities such as a bed and windows.

The hot water heater in some campers can hold as small as 4 gallons of water. Bigger campers can hold as much as 16 gallons, which isn’t as much as the 50 gallons you find in hot water heaters in homes.

Another to note is that campers have fresh water tanks and grey water tanks. The latter is used to hold wastewater. These different storage units are don’t determine the amount of water that goes into your water heater.

How Do I Get the Most Out of My Trailer’s Hot Water Heater?

Getting your camper in shape is a good thing. But then, how do you get the most out of it, especially when it comes to hot water? How do you avoid running out of hot water?

Your camper’s hot water heater can hold so much clean water before it runs out. On the average, humans use approximately 17 gallons of hot water per shower. That’s almost 2 gallons a minute for an 8-minute shower.

Shower time in campers is very short. Unlike the hot water heaters in your home, the hot water in campers can run out while you’re showering.
If you’ve a large family, before camping out with them, make sure to do the math around the size of hot water heater you want to wheel around so that you have enough hot water for your trip.

showers

Another thing that determines how fast you’ll run out of hot water is the type of heating system your camper’s hot water heater uses. Whether it’s natural gas, heat from the camper’s engines or electricity, these things may affect the water’s temperature, the environment and your camper’s economy.

If your camper or travel trailer has an electrical heating system, you won’t run out of water. Electrical heating systems are very convenient. On the other hand, if the water heating unit runs on natural gas such as propane gas, you’re likely going to spend more refilling when the gas runs out.

While electrical heating may be convenient, using heat from your camper’s engine is the most energy efficient. But this method can be tricky, because you’d have to hope the heat from the engine doesn’t cool down before you or your family finish showering. You can use natural gas such as propane gas as a backup to prevent this.

You can also use tankless water heaters. If your camper doesn’t come with one, you can it installed. Tankless water heaters keep the water in your recreational vehicle warm. Just like the ones found in homes, they supply a limitless amount of hot water. They’re lightweight and use less energy than the conventional hot water heaters. In addition, you can save up to 30 to 50 percent energy costs compared to the standard hot water heaters in campers.
Some tankless water heaters do not run on electricity though. As a result, they are pricier than hot water heaters that run on natural gas.

You can buy a tankless travel trailer hot water heaters for a low as $150. But some are as high as $1500. Nonetheless, the good thing about having one this beaut is that you’ll save more money and energy than a traditional water heater — though the latter is less expensive between 40 to 100 US dollars.

Don’t be scared exploring all the options we mentioned. Any of them can help you get the most out of your trailer’s hot water heater.

Common Mistakes with Using Trailer Water Heaters

People make many avoidable mistakes all the time. And it’s okay if you do. The best part is that you get to learn from these mistakes and next time avoid them. That said, there are some common mistakes you need to avoid with your travel trailer’s water heaters. Usually, these mistakes are experienced by people who are camping out for the first. And if this sounds like you, then read on to find out what these mistakes are and how to avoid or solve them so they don’t ruin your wonderful camping experience.

Thermostat

First, the most common mistakes that most new campers have with their trailer’s water heater is figuring out how the temperature works. For instance, you may want to shower because it’s cold outside but when you turn on the shower you get lukewarm or colder water. You may think your hot water heater is damage and feel the urgent need to dial the nearest repairman. We are not saying it’s not the right thing to do, but before you do that, you need to also understand that it could be nothing serious and you can easily fix it without splashing cash.
You may be getting lukewarm water from your camper’s shower if the cold water and hot water knobs of the heater are turned on. Suppose this is the case, turn off the cold water knob. To maintain the temperature of your hot water heater, especially after using the outside shower, ensure only one nub is turned on.

Another first time common mistake is failing to note the amount of water you will likely use at your camping location. As said earlier, on average, a person uses 17 gallons of hot water – that’s around 2.1 gallons per minute (mind you, this is for hot water heaters in homes)

Given that hot water heaters in campers are small, you will likely end up using less water than required every time you shower. Plus, there is no chance you’ll get to shower twice in a day. Things like this are what you should consider if you’re a first timer. In addition, if you’re going out with your family, take into account how many people are coming with you. Lots of people mean many showers and that also means more water will be used. So, if this is the case, make sure you come prepared. Getting a tankless water heater will do you much good, although they are pricier than the standard ones.

If you’re a frequent camper, carrying a tankless water heater is better. Even though t’s expensive, it will save you lots of costs in the future. And on the side, you’ll never run out of hot water for your showers.

References:

Where Is the Water Heater Bypass Valve On An RV? (Hint: It’s Easy to Find) 

RV Water Heaters: A Complete Guide!

Do Travel Trailers Have Hot Water Heaters?

Joe Taylor

Over 2 decades of remodeling experience, Joe is an expert in home improvement. He is now the Managing Editor of PlumbJoe where he writes guides for homeowners. His hobbies include climbing, running and playing the piano.

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