Determining which water heater you should purchase for your Tiny House RV depends on a variety of factors, including:
- Cost vs. Reliability
- Power Availability (Propane vs. Electric)
- Tank vs. Tankless
- Size vs. Capacity
- Temperature Rise (with tankless)
- GPM (Gallons Per Minute)
- Venting (with propane)
Tank Vs. Tankless – A Few Things to Consider
- Tankless water heaters tend the be more efficient as the water is heated only when needed.
- Tankless vary in their heating capability (re: temperature rise and speed)
- Excellent article detailing how to select to correct size for your tankless water heater
- Tank water heaters vary is size and capacity (6, 10, 12, 16 gallons, etc)
- Tank water heaters keep the water hot within the tank at all times, which can use substantial energy
- Make sure, no matter which model you choose, that your heater is covered under warranty for DIY installation or hire a professional to install your water heater.
Electric Water Heaters & Solar Power
If you plan on powering your Tiny House RV with solar energy and prefer electric water heaters, your solar system needs to be able to accommodate your chosen appliance. Many of our solar customers choose to go with a propane RV water heater to conserve electricity.
Brittany Yunker’s Electric Water Heater in her Tumbleweed
Brittany’s Electric Tank Water Heater
Brittany Yunker owns a Tumbleweed Cypress with a six gallon RV tank electric water heater. This model retails at $270. In an effort to conserve energy, she switches her water heater on before showering and switches it off immediately after. It takes about twenty minutes to heat the water in the six gallon tank, therefore planning your hot water needs ahead of time is necessary with this method.
Jeff & Megan’s Electric Tankless Water Heater
Jeff and Megan from Room To Spare Tiny House just produced a detailed video on their compact tankless electric water heater: the Heatworks Model 1. This product retails for $469. The price, specs and size make this model a real option for Tiny House RVs. We can’t wait to hear how it’s working out for them.
Propane Water Heaters
Propane water heaters require propane tanks to be stored on the exterior of your Tumbleweed. One model that we recommend is the Precision Temp RV-550NSP, which retails at $1,150. The major advantages of this water heater, aside from its ability to heat water in five to ten seconds, is that it provides 80 degrees of temperature rise and has an internal function that prevents freezing (more on that below).
The Precision Temp Propane Water Heater in a Tumbleweed Cypress
No matter if you choose to have one propane appliance or more, we recommend storing at least two propane tanks on the exterior of your Tiny House RV – one in use and one as a back up. Maintaining full propane tanks requires some effort, but once you have a routine in place, it’s easy.