How to convert RV water heater to tankless in 2022 – Complete Guide

Converting an RV water heater to a tankless water heater in 2022 is simple. The whole process is easy, but it also contains its fair share of complexities. That is why it all boils down to your level of familiarity with your tools. If you feel uncomfortable and have not used any tools for a long time, you may run into some problems. That is why if this is the case with you, then you may hire a professional to do it for you.

The most likely reason you are converting to a tankless water heater is for convenience. It does not matter much when all you take is a trip once a month. However, when you are practically living in it with your family, hot water is a luxury that one must have.

Let’s discuss some feature of How to convert RV water heater to tankless

1.      Choosing the suitable tankless water heater:

The first thing that you need to do is to find a suitable tankless water heater unit. The reason why it is the first step is that there can be many problems which can cost you both your time and money. Therefore, in search of a suitable tankless unit, you need to look for it based on the following criteria:

The tankless water heater capacity is required to meet your water demand.

Will the tankless unit use propane or electricity

Where will you install the unit, outside or indoors, or where is the previous water heater?

The outdoor unit will be susceptible to rain; the indoor unit will occupy your precious space. Installing it in the previous water heater location will make it so that you don’t have to install new channels.

What are the dimensions of the tankless unit and the door that comes with it? Can it fit in the water heater location or not.

These things can give you a general sense of what you need to look for in your tankless water heater unit.

2.      Preparation

I hope you have bought and matched the dimensions and capacity of tankless to your needs at this step. The subsequent step is to prepare your tools. You will need a cordless drill machine, screwdriver, crescent wrench, paper tape medical, hammer, chisel, scraper, and pliers. When all the tools are available, you can turn off all the water, electricity, or propane supply connections before starting with the actual work.

LP gas should be switch off, make sure the water pump is also off, or the water will come splashing when you are changing the water heater. If you have a battery or solar-powered system in your RV, check your DC power supply and disconnect it from the fuse box. After this, wait it out for some time if the water heater was working just before you started, As the water can still be hot. Go ahead and release the pressure valve carefully. When doing so, water will come splashing out, and it can be dangerous if the water is hot.

Additionally, drain the water heater. You can access it by using a wrench. Once drained, you are done with the preparations. Now comes the technical part.

3.      Unwinding the old unit connections

How familiar you are with the electrical circuits. Depending on this, you may do this yourself, but if you feel uncomfortable doing so. Be sure to consult a technician.

Moving on, the first thing you need to do is to locate where the wires, water, and gas supplies are attached to the water heater.

Before you unwind the water heater connections, use the medical paper tape over the connection attached to the RV system. You can write on the paper tape whether the supply or hose was for hot water, cold water, gas, and electrical wires.

You can also take some pictures of the connections before you unwind them. You can later match it when re-attaching them to the new tankless water heater unit.

4.      Removing the water heater

Unmount the flanges and bolts using a drill machine to remove the door and access the water heater for removal. After removing the door, remove the door support using a hammer and chisel so that you can pull out the old water heater.

 It will take time; thus, exercise patience. After removing the support, remove the sealing between the support and the RV wall for weatherproofing. Remove it carefully using a scrapper but be careful of the RV paint.

Once done, pull out the water heater by sliding out.

5.      Cleaning the external compartment

Once the water heater is out, you should clean the unit of sediment and debris using a cleaning solution and scrapper. Like the previous water heater unit, the new tankless unit will stay there for a long time, and this sediment and debris can get into the new unit if left alone.

6. Inserting and joining the connections to the new tankless unit

Once clean, slide in the tankless water heater, do not keep on sliding it in. Once you feel it is entirely in the compartment, bring it close to the RV wall level. Now, that tankless unit is in place. You can start with reconnecting the wires and supply pipes of the RV with the tankless water heater. You need to remember that you can always refer to your owner’s manual in case of any confusion while wiring.

Moving on, you can use the paper tape markings and the picture you took to connect the wires and supply them appropriately. You can use Teflon tape on the tankless outlets before you attach the supply pipe. They are extremely handy and can give a better grip resulting in no leaks. Also, make sure that the supply valves are not over-torqued to the tankless outlet valves, damaging the unit.

However, one other thing comes with a tankless water heater, which is its remote display panel. You may need to consult a technician or refer to your owner guide on installing it. Once making sure of everything, start the unit to make sure it is working well.

7.      Wrapping up

If everything is well, then you can proceed with the wrapping up. As tankless are smaller, you have to add some wooden supports to make sure tankless units remain fixed amidst turbulence while driving.

After adding wooden support, mount the door support and the new door. First, use any weatherproofing material on the RV wall before you mount the door support. Once done, proceed with mounting the door support. You can use the holes made for the previous door support or make some new bolts to mount the door support.

Mount the door using hinges on the support. You have converted your RV’s water heater successfully to tankless.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I replace my RV water heater with a tankless?

Yes, you may replace the water heater in your RV with a tankless water heater, as many RV owners do. Unlike home water heaters that come with a supply of 40-50 gallons, RV water heaters are much smaller. An RV water heater can typically hold around 6-12 gallons of water that are not enough for a family living in an RV permanently. While a tankless unit provides an infinite supply of hot water.

Are RV tankless water heaters worth it?

Tankless water heaters are an excellent solution for saving your money, especially for RV owners. However, they are a little expensive than traditional water heaters. A regular RV water heater costs around $400, while a tankless can cost you around $600. This extra $200 gives you the luxury of an endless supply of water and savings in the form of less operating cost and lesser water loss.

 How much does it cost to convert to a tankless water heater?

An RV tankless water heater comes at $600, which is $200, more than a regular RV tank water heater. If you do the conversion yourself then it can cost of additional $50-$70. While hiring a technician to do it, it can cost you more. You prefer that you get it done by a technician if you are not familiar with tools and electrical stuff.

Conclusion

Converting the RV water heater to tankless in 2022 is easy. All you need are two things, the first thing being basic knowledge of the process and the second one being technical skills.  However, by no means its a DIY for everyone. If you’re uncertain, it’s best to employ a technician to complete the task for you.


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