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Getting hot water in your RVLast week we talked about using space heaters or furnaces in regards to RV travel during the winter. There is one more aspect of heating we need to consider. If you plan on doing any traveling in the colder weather, having a hot water supply is crucial. There are several different types of RV water heaters available, including gas, electric, and combination units. They work on the same basic principle, but have different modes of starting and keeping the water heater operating.
All-electric models require a power source to run, so a generator would be necessary if there is no available shore power. Also keep in mind the amount of power an all-electric model will consume, particularly when other electric devices are also being used. Electric water heaters utilize a heating element to produce hot water. These are not to be confused with gas models that feature an electric, or direct spark, ignition. Direct spark ignition allows you to turn it on with a switch automatically. All-propane models can also have pilot ignition, like the Suburban 5059A, which requires manual lighting of the pilot light. Pilot light starters are typically less expensive than direct spark starters. Propane gas water heaters work quickly in producing hot water, and are perfect for boondocking excursions, as they won't need a power source. Gas/Electric RV water heaters can give you the best elements of both types, and often both types can be used at the same time for even faster operation.
Certain water heaters also have features such as the heat exchanger on the Atwood 96163. A heat exchanger simply means that the heat energy is transferred from the RV's engine cooling system to the water heater. Water heaters come in several different sizes, although most feature 6 or 10 gallon capacities. Keep in mind this is less than the capacity of your water heater at home, so some water conservation may be necessary no matter what size you have. They also produce varying levels of heat, which are measured in BTUs. Most of our available RV water heaters are from Suburban or Atwood. We also carry a number of replacement parts, including access doors, valves, heating elements, and anode rods. Anode rods are especially important, as they attract the corrosive elements in the water, preventing corrosion damage to the water heater itself.