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Do Travel Trailers Have Hot Water Heaters?

Published on May 8th, 2019 by Camper Report
This post was updated on July 18th, 2019

Adventure is out there, but doesn’t have to be a chilly experience. This article will give you helpful insights and tips for knowing more about your travel trailer’s heating systems for the perfect excursion.

Most travel trailers have hot water heaters which you can use for cooking or hot showers; however, most RV water heaters are small and will not provide as much hot water as would be available in a home.

Even though travel trailers are built for comfort and fun, here are a few notes about what you should be aware of before you hit the road!

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How Many Gallons of Water Can a Hot Water Heater Hold in a Travel Trailer?

As stated before, the types and styles of travel trailers vary. Most often the luxury of your trailer will be determined by how much you spend on the model.

With the additional costs put into your trailer, one benefit is the size of your water heater. Basic travel trailers have amenities like a bed and windows, however, they can be categorized as a “tent on wheels.”

Some of these travel trailer heaters tanks contain as low as 4 gallons. Whereas larger trailers can hold as much as 16 gallons. To give a perspective about how much water that is, in an average home, water heaters can hold an average of 50 gallons.

One thing to note is that travel trailers contain fresh water and grey water stage amounts. These water units are different than the amount of water that your travel trailer’s water heater can contain. They are often separate systems for washing dishes, toilets, and other wash waste.

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

You may hopefully have purchased your perfect trailer before kicking off for your next adventure, but how do you utilize and most importantly, don’t run out of the hot water in your fancy new ride?

What some people may not know is that water heaters can only hold so many gallons of water before the fresh water has turned grey or run out. The typical human uses approximately 17 gallons of water per shower. That is about 2 gallons a minute if you take an 8-minute shower.

You may, too late, be covered in soap before you realize that ice cubes are now falling from above, cutting into your beauty routine.

If you are camping with a large family or will be gone for long periods of time, take a moment to do a little math to make sure that you will have enough clean, hot water for your trip.

Unfortunately, unlike at home, you might also have to get used to taking shorter showers! Since this is a vacation, several options exist to help you get cleaned up how you are used to at home.

Another good note to be aware of is what type of heating system is being used. Depending on the method of heating, it may affect temperature, economical features or even environmental impact.

RVs or Travel Trailers have three types of heating: propane gas, electric or heat from the engine. Most travel trailers have electric heating which is most convenient and won’t run out of juice. Having propane in your trailer may affect the costs of refilling and ensuring you have energy supplies you need.

The most energy efficient option would be using the heat from the engine, although you would have to hope it doesn’t cool down before you get out of the shower. However, you simultaneously will be using precious gas that you could use for more adventuring.

Some trailer owners use tankless water heaters. They keep the water in your trailer warm and is essentially limitless water access. They use a significant amount of less energy instead of a water heater, most can save you about 30-50% energy output as compared to a standard hot water heater.

Some do not operate on electricity like built-in travel trailer hot water heater, making them potentially more expensive in the upfront cost of machine and fuel, like propane.

Typically these tankless water heaters can range in price from $150- $1,500 US dollars, but over time will save you more money and energy than a traditional hot water heater from $40 US dollars to a little over $100 US dollars per year that you use it.

It’s always to have a little extra cash for souvenirs, board games, and snacks! So, whether you are the penny-pinching type or the save-the-earth type looking more into this option benefits a variety of different types of adventurers.

Common Mistakes with Travel Trailer Water Heaters

Not everyone is a long time camping professional! For some, this might be the first time you have purchased a travel trailer. We all have been new at something and adventuring isn’t an exception. Luckily, there are those who are old-time pros who have imparted their knowledge to us.

A common mistake that happens with water heaters is figuring out how the temperature controls work. If the water in your travel trailer is coming out lukewarm or even just cold, a good place to start isn’t the repairman right away.

Sometimes the outside shower or water line can affect the temperature of the inside water temperature. If both the “cold” and “hot” nobs are turned on at the same time, the mixing may cause the water to come out not as warm as you’d hope.

Often times there is nothing wrong with your hot or cold settings, except for them both functioning too well at the same time. To maintain warm or general water temperature control in your trailer- especially after using the outside shower or waterline- ensure that only one of the nobs is on.

Another mistake first-time campers or others may make is not taking into account the amount of water you will use on your vacation. The typical person in the U.S uses approximately 17 gallons of water or 2.1 gallons of water a minute

Information found here.

You don’t need to be a math wiz to know that after one use, you may end up with no rinse and no more chance of a repeat. Take into account how many people you are taking with you as well when you go camping.

You may have your shower down to a science, but having several people shower during your vacation often may leave you in a tough water spot.

If you are a frequent camper, a tankless water heater might be in your best interest. Though it will cost more upfront, it will not only save you money in the long run but eliminate the frustration of having to take a cold shower.

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