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RV Gas Water Heaters: Bringing the Comforts of Home on the Road

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RV Gas Water Heaters: Bringing the Comforts of Home on the Road

Recreational vehicles (RVs) have become a popular way to explore the great outdoors while still enjoying the comforts of home. One of the most important amenities in an RV is the water heater, which provides hot water for showers, washing dishes, and other daily tasks. Gas water heaters are a popular choice for RVs due to their efficiency and ability to provide hot water even when the RV is not connected to an electrical source.

Suburban SW16DE 16-Gallon Combo Gas & Electric RV Water Heater with ...

How RV Gas Water Heaters Work

RV gas water heaters work similarly to residential gas water heaters, using natural gas or propane to heat water. The heater consists of a tank that holds the water, a burner that produces heat, and a heat exchanger that transfers the heat from the burner to the water. When the water heater is turned on, the burner ignites, heating the water in the tank. A thermostat regulates the temperature of the water, ensuring that it is heated to the desired level.

Atwood RV Water Heater - Gas and Electric - Automatic Pilot - 120 Volt ...

Advantages of RV Gas Water Heaters

There are several advantages to using a gas water heater in an RV:

  1. Efficiency: Gas water heaters are more efficient than electric water heaters, especially when the RV is not connected to an electrical source. This is because gas burners produce heat directly, while electric heaters require electricity to heat a heating element, which in turn heats the water.
  2. Convenience: Gas water heaters provide hot water even when the RV is not connected to an electrical source, making them ideal for boondocking or camping in remote locations.
  3. Longevity: Gas water heaters tend to last longer than electric water heaters, as they are less prone to corrosion and other issues that can affect electrical components.
  4. Versatility: Many RV gas water heaters are designed to be used with both natural gas and propane, providing added versatility and convenience.

Choosing the Right RV Gas Water Heater

When choosing an RV gas water heater, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Size: The size of the water heater should be based on the size of the RV and the number of people who will be using it. Larger RVs and those with more occupants may require a larger water heater to meet hot water demands.
  2. Fuel Type: Consider whether you prefer to use natural gas or propane. Many RV gas water heaters are designed to be used with both fuels, but some may only be compatible with one or the other.
  3. Recovery Rate: The recovery rate refers to how quickly the water heater can heat a certain amount of water. Higher recovery rates mean that the water heater can provide hot water more quickly, which can be important if you have a large family or need to use hot water frequently.
  4. Venting Requirements: RV gas water heaters require proper venting to ensure that harmful gases are expelled safely. Consider the venting requirements of the water heater and make sure that your RV is equipped with the necessary venting system.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Like any mechanical system,

s require regular maintenance and occasional troubleshooting to keep them operating at peak performance. Some common maintenance tasks include:

  1. Flushing the Tank: Regularly flushing the tank can help remove sediment and other impurities that can affect water quality and heater performance.
  2. Checking the Anode Rod: The anode rod helps to prevent corrosion in the water heater tank. Check the anode rod periodically and replace it if it is worn or damaged.
  3. Inspecting the Venting System: Regularly inspect the venting system to ensure that it is free of blockages and operating properly.

If you encounter any issues with your RV gas water heater, such as lack of hot water or strange noises, it’s important to troubleshoot the problem and take appropriate action. Consult the owner’s manual or contact a qualified RV technician for assistance.


RV gas water heaters are a convenient and efficient way to provide hot water in an RV. By choosing the right water heater and maintaining it properly, you can enjoy the comforts of home even when you’re on the road. Whether you’re boondocking in the  camping at a crowded RV park, a reliable RV gas water heater will help you stay comfortable and clean.

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