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Nana Banana

Anyone tried portable tankless hot water heater?

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What are your thoughts on portable tankless hot water heaters? It wouldn’t be permanent, but I’m looking at one as an option for my trip out West. The coach hot water heater is not operational now.  Can you recommend the best brand? 

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You have to show us what you mean. There are very expensive ones that cost more than a conventional one. Also the wall mount ones that are meant to be installed on an exterior wall. I don't know of any that would be considered portable. They sit on the ground?

Linda S

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Thanks. I’m continuing to research. They do look like they’re meant to be used outside although I read a post that said they can be vented. Lots of info and I’m very much a novice. 

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8 hours ago, Nana Banana said:

... I read a post that said they can be vented.

"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet."  -  Abraham Lincoln

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12 hours ago, Nana Banana said:

portable tankless hot water heaters

In a home they can be great, in a camper I don't think they are a good fit.  The primary reason is that they require very consistent and very high water flow in order to function.  The pulsating pumps in our RVs and the limited volume of the fresh water tank makes it impractical to use one without being at a campground with a water hook-up. 

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I looked into the idea of using a small portable tankless water heater in the camper as well, but I decided it would be impractical and cumbersome in a small RV.   If I have to do a DIY or modification of a different product in order to use it in the camper then that should throw up a red flag.   

What I ended up doing is getting a different temperature switch for my existing gas hot water heater so that it doesn't heat up so hot.  When I got the camper the hot water would be scalding hot and would take a long time to heat and use a lot of propane to do it.  Now I have it set to be 'shower hot' directly from the hot water tank and this is working out as a reasonable compromise for me.

There are options out there to make a solar water heater.  It is a DIY thing as well but maybe something to consider.  

Edited by AtlantaCamper

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I'm interested in this topic as well.

Ideally, I'd like to replace the current old hot water heater (that doesn't work and is infested with old wasp nests) with an electric tankless hot water heater. I'm planning on getting rid of the propane system altogether on my rig as well as installing a pretty substantial solar setup. I'm still researching this conversion, however I have read good things about the Bosch Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater Tronic 3000 T: https://www.amazon.com/Bosch-Mini-Tank-Tronic-3000-ES8/dp/B0148O658Y/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8&th=1 ( btw this one isn't tankless though)

Am curious if anyone here has done something similar?

Edited by AmyDC

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Gahhh I know it, Derek - that's what all my research has been saying.... but I was hoping some company had finally created this unicorn... :lol:

When choosing between between electric "batch" water heaters and electric on demand "tankless" water heaters - given the limitations of the power setup - the electric "batch" water heater is a no-brainer (electric instead of gas/propane is important to me).

Furthermore, when choosing between "point-of-use" locations and "central" locations - I'm leaning towards the POUs to help reduce the warm-up times -- one POU at the kitchen sink/outdoor shower area and one POU for the bathroom shower (I'm eliminating the bathroom sink). Nothing too large - most likely 2.5 gallons.

Finally, I think I'm also going to get a foot pedal at the kitchen sink to have more control over the flow so as to conserve water. I'm looking into the two-pedal valve kind that gives you separate control of hot and cold water.

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Amy, I looked at that exact heater and am wanting to go solar/electric as well. I’ve wondered how a tankless works on a hike... lol. Unicorn indeed...

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Reality check, Unicorns like  Deluxe hotel rooms , they don't do camping in a 30 year old RV's. 

Some basic power truths. Do you know that a tank of propane has an energy density way more than a battery. A 60 lb flooded cell battery (regular deep cycle battery) weighing 60lb has about 1.5Kwh of power. A gallon of propane has 26.8 Kwh of power.  Propane weighs 4.2 pounds per gallon. So a gallon of propane has the power of 1000lb of batteries.

Li-ion batteries will have 2x the energy per lb, at 7 times the $$

To run the tankless heater you listed for 30 min a day of TOTAL use, would require 200lbs of batteries and 8 hours of sun shine with a 150 watt panel. It will draw 140+ amps from your house batteries during use. So your looking at finger sized battery cables.

You also asked about running a dorm refer from batteries. To do both you will need over 300lbs of batteries and 400 watts of solar, you will also need a 3000w inverter. Running a TV or lap, lights and the water pump will add to the size of your system. How about cooking and a heater for cool nights??

Almost anything is possible with enough $$$, but is it practical?? There is a reason RVs have propane.

All the above means zip IF you WILL ALWAYS be staying in a commercial camp ground with at least a 30 amp plug in

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1 hour ago, WME said:

Reality check, Unicorns like  Deluxe hotel rooms , they don't do camping in a 30 year old RV's. 

A girl can wish, can't she? ;)

I fully understand the benefits of propane, however I don't want it on my rig. In regards to the Bosch water heater I mentioned above, it is not tankless. Also, I plan on having way more than 150w of solar. 

BTW, I didn't ask about a dorm fridge - I have a dometic 3-way currently - may upgrade to something like this - https://www.amazon.com/Dometic-CFX50W-Electric-Powered-Freezer/dp/B072MLT6QW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1521424864&sr=1-1&keywords=dometic+cfx-50&linkCode=sl1&tag=ghfridgespreadsheet-20&linkId=69c42d0b330645bd3dc859467d7515ed.

I love discussing topics like this because there really is no one way to do things - not to mention there are new inventions and new products coming to the market all the time. We all know that there are always trade offs to decisions, however I don't see anything wrong with trying to look outside the box and trying to shake up the status quo of what's possible with our rigs.

Personalizing each rig to each individual owner is what it's all about. That's why we buy in the first place - to fulfill our individual dreams :)

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No harm in dreaming. But if you want to see what's possible with even (almost) unlimited money, check out what's being installed in $1M motorhomes. I don't think even they have electric hot water.

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I looked into tankless as I have one in my cottage and am very happy but I decided after reading lots of reviews and trying to figure out where to put it and how to vent it that I went back to replace the heater I had with the same one. I got an Atwood from a place in Texas and it popped right in the same space as the old one so that was pretty sweet deal.

It may not be as efficient at tankless but it went in nice like a component should do.

AS for my cottage use of tankless it is pretty good but water pressure can effect it. I use a Marley and it cost 250 or so. been using it 3 years without trouble , good luck, maybe I shouldha tried it but happy enough with old school atwood it was 380 us $

oh and I dont really vent it in the cottage just point the pipe into the utility room but dont tell me wife or shed kill me.

Edited by frontboat

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YAA TO MANY POSTERS. The thread was started by someone asking about a tankless heater and she asked about a dorm refer. Sorry for the confusion.

But my answer still is valid for everybody thing about electric tankless.

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I recently installed an Excel 1.6gpm tankless water heater in our Sunrader. It is a vent free model and only needs 8in clearance above and 3in clearance on the front and sides. It uses a couple D batteries for the spark and has a pressure switch that  lights the flame at 2psi. So far it has been excellent and it uses very little propane. It sits below the counter and we have it plumbed to an outdoor shower and the sink. It takes 10-15 seconds to get hot and has knobs to adjust the water/gas flow so you can dial in the temp nicely. I would highly recommend it. Cost was around $200.

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I have to ask how can you have a vent free any thing that burns things? Propane is petroleum based it produces bad stuff when it burns. They work great vented outside but not inside a closed box like a camper. Zero complaints with my stock water heater if I use it to shower say after it's cycled off the pilot light actually heats the water overnight and it does not come on. Yeah replacement camper water heaters are no real cheap and there is a reason for that.

Edited by Maineah

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Automatic shut off like a Mr Buddy heater. If it was mounted in a very closed box with no air flow at all it just wouldn't work. It would shut off in a minute and not start again. My outside water heater box though has vents. Would have to make some minor adjustments to get enough overhead clearance but probably doable. Tiny fan mounted inside would vent this one more than enough. I like it

Linda S

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 Like Linda mentioned, it does have an auto off oxygen sensor built in. We also use a mr. buddy heater inside and have never had it shut off, unless it gets bumped of course.


The water heater has been great, I don’t doubt it would be hard to make the clearances work in a limited space like swapping into a stock tank heater spot, but mounted to the wall behind my license plate on our rear door rader it fits great after our rebuild. This photo was before any pex was ran to it.

4A074A3F-9CCF-489B-A3C4-B3D518CD85A9.jpeg

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Unvented tankless waters indoors major BAD JUJU. When serving overseas. My squadron buried a couple of kids who died from CO poisoning. Cause was a unvented heater in the bathroom. In a drafty old fashion house no problem. In a smaller less draftier place NOPE.

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Ventless will certainly have the potential for CO and humidity problem. But, unlike a ventless space heater, a water heater will only be running for short periods so probably not an issue any more than slow cooking a pot of stew on your propane stove.

 

How cool do you like your showers? These only offer a certain temperature rise. The Excell mentions 45F so water in your tank @ 65F will give you a 110F shower. Not bad. But if your water tank is @ 35F? An 80F shower is getting a bit cool by my standards. A 'tanked' water heater has a thermostat and should give you a shower at your preferred temperature no mater your water tank temperature. Only it's recovery time will change.

 

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The stock water tank is vented to the outside and the make up air comes from the outside a win win situation. Retro fitting a tankless in the space maybe an option with a bit of work. My friend in England had a fairly hefty one on his canal boat it was vent outside with make up air so they are out there I would not want one in side.

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