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Old 04-30-2021, 07:56 PM   #1
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If you had a choice between a tank water heater and tankless . . .

I'm not about to change heater systems since our tankless Girard seems to work fine for us, but I'm curious about the utility of tank storage vs. tankless.

As I see it, you can use a water tank to lather up, then shut it off to scrub, and then rinse. With the tankless you can't do that because if you shut it off you then get a bolus of cold water while you wait for the heater to sense the flow, ignite the burner, then deliver water at the set temperature. So with tankless you need to keep the hot water flowing, which wastes an "unknown" amount of propane and an "unknown" amount of water while you are lathering. On the other hand, you are using energy of some sort to keep the heated tank at a constant level even when it's not in use.

So I'm sure that there are pros and cons for each choice, and I suspect that ultimately it may amount to tiny factors such as volume of water in the hot water line vs. volume of propane or electricity to maintain the tank temperature, etc., etc. . . .

Thoughts? Or does it all boil down to how much boondocking you do vs. hook-ups?
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Old 04-30-2021, 08:14 PM   #2
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We don't have a tankless WH, but after reading numerous threads on them, I get the idea that they're better suited for FHU campsites, and there are members that have adjusted to their use while boondocking also.

We almost always choose hookups, with electric at the very least, so our WH runs on electric 99.9% of the time.
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Old 04-30-2021, 08:16 PM   #3
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I'm not about to change heater systems since our tankless Girard seems to work fine for us, but I'm curious about the utility of tank storage vs. tankless.

As I see it, you can use a water tank to lather up, then shut it off to scrub, and then rinse. With the tankless you can't do that because if you shut it off you then get a bolus of cold water while you wait for the heater to sense the flow, ignite the burner, then deliver water at the set temperature. So with tankless you need to keep the hot water flowing, which wastes an "unknown" amount of propane and an "unknown" amount of water while you are lathering. On the other hand, you are using energy of some sort to keep the heated tank at a constant level even when it's not in use.

So I'm sure that there are pros and cons for each choice, and I suspect that ultimately it may amount to tiny factors such as volume of water in the hot water line vs. volume of propane or electricity to maintain the tank temperature, etc., etc. . . .

Thoughts? Or does it all boil down to how much boondocking you do vs. hook-ups?

All I can tell you is that I have the standard 6 GA water heater, a wife and a teenage daughter, and it seems to be enough for us so far going on 3 years. Now, we don't boondock, so not sure how that fits into the equation.
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Old 04-30-2021, 10:14 PM   #4
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We have the Truma Comfort model instant water heater but it does have a small tank called a temperature stabilizer. There are several settings on a control knob, one is Eco which keeps the water in the stabilizer at 41 degrees which is good for colder climates and then there is the Comfort mode which keeps the stabilizer water at 102 degrees. We usually use Comfort mode and you never get any temp fluctuation when turning the shower off and on. They use very little propane compared to a tank WH when dry camping. Our shower is right by the WH on our Seneca but when dry camping it does take a while for the hot water to get to the kitchen sink so I installed a setup with an air switch in the countertop and when pressed, a timer relay opens a solenoid on the hot line for 30 seconds and the water flow goes back into the fresh tank and then stops.....open the kitchen faucet and yiu have hot water....saves a lot of water and doesnít dump it in the grey tank.
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Old 04-30-2021, 10:58 PM   #5
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I have a tankless at home. We like it, our gas consumption dropped dramatically. We do not have a dishwasher in the house. When we wash dishes, we just leave the hot water faucet cracked open to flow a small amount of water, so we can continuely rinse with hot water. At home we have lots of water, and no sewer issues.

Camping on the other hand we have a 6 gal tank. We solely boondock. No way could we have a tankless. I really don't care for our tanked WH, but it has to do more with the poor mounting location, than the waterheater itself. When boondocking, it is usually turned off. For dishes, we boil water on the stove. For hygiene, it varies, often we teacup bath, outside shower, or use the facilities at the campground of they have them. I'm just to tall to use the small shower, my son is just as tall, but more flexible. We are all old backpackers, so we don't think much about it.
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Old 05-01-2021, 07:30 AM   #6
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We have had both and special ordered our last unit with the tankless and it lasted 2 years before failing so went back and put in a 12 gallon tanked heater. 12 gallon gives me a 15 minute shower without having to turn off the water while soaping up.
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Old 05-01-2021, 01:56 PM   #7
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tankless
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Old 05-02-2021, 07:27 AM   #8
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For us tank all the way. Less problems and like having the extra water in tank weather it is used hot or cold. Just very comfortable with how the tankless works and waist very little when dry camping. JMO. Safe travels

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Old 05-02-2021, 07:32 AM   #9
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water heater tank. i had a tankless wh in 25 ft thor motorhome. worked well, but water is cold for 15 seconds and then gets hot. wouldn't work well dry camping, uses too much water to get it where you want. i have a water tank heater now, turn on gas or electric or both if in a hurry, takes ten minutes to heat up. when finished, turn off both heaters. doesn't use that much propane. usually camp in warmer temps, water not that cold to begin with.
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Old 05-03-2021, 07:44 AM   #10
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we have a tankless and it works well, we don't boondock a lot, this summer might be different. That is all we have known for camping anyway.
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Old 05-03-2021, 08:18 PM   #11
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You know what tankless systems need? A feedback loop. Run a loop back into the feed line. When it's time to cook or shower, hit the feedback pump and cycle hot water back through the tankless heater.

Big question: Does the tankless heater only heat the water to the correct exit temperature? ie if the exit target is 115F, and the input temp is 100, will that confuse the heater circuit?
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Old 05-03-2021, 08:51 PM   #12
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We have the Girard, and use the heck out of it!

We did put the return line from the system in a long time ago: https://www.jaycoowners.com/forums/f...hot-36132.html

and since doing that... we love our tankless (like we do at home)
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:03 PM   #13
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We have the Truma and I also put in a circulation system and the return line that dumps the water back into the fresh tank, just push an air switch in the countertop and it runs for 20 seconds. Even with a tanked WH, you have water waste, the water in the line between the tank and faucet cools off between uses. The Truma does have a temperature stabilizer tank that stays 102 degrees so you do get hot water as fast as a tanked unit.....not all tankless are the same.
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Old 05-03-2021, 10:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revy View Post
Big question: Does the tankless heater only heat the water to the correct exit temperature? ie if the exit target is 115F, and the input temp is 100, will that confuse the heater circuit?



Depends on the model. The newest Girard, yes. I believe the Truma does too. Don't know about the Suburban tankless, it's not seen much in the wild.


The older Girards, no. You have essentially a big rheostat on the wall. Controls how much heat is applied. In the summer, with a tank full of 80*F water, I turn it down - way down. In the winter, with a tank full of 45*F water, I turn the dial up - way up.
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Old 05-12-2021, 12:26 PM   #15
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I'm not about to change heater systems since our tankless Girard seems to work fine for us, but I'm curious about the utility of tank storage vs. tankless.

As I see it, you can use a water tank to lather up, then shut it off to scrub, and then rinse. With the tankless you can't do that because if you shut it off you then get a bolus of cold water while you wait for the heater to sense the flow, ignite the burner, then deliver water at the set temperature. So with tankless you need to keep the hot water flowing, which wastes an "unknown" amount of propane and an "unknown" amount of water while you are lathering. On the other hand, you are using energy of some sort to keep the heated tank at a constant level even when it's not in use.

So I'm sure that there are pros and cons for each choice, and I suspect that ultimately it may amount to tiny factors such as volume of water in the hot water line vs. volume of propane or electricity to maintain the tank temperature, etc., etc. . . .

Thoughts? Or does it all boil down to how much boondocking you do vs. hook-ups?
We've been camping off and on for the last 4 years in our 5th wheel and the only time we boondock is at Walmart on the way to/from our destination. Our tankless water heater works great but only ideal for full hookup situations. If you take a navy shower (turn off water, lather, turn on), you lose your heat for 20 seconds - but shower heads tend to be low-flow anyhow, so I don't think you're really wasting too much water. We've learned we can each take a shower in under 5 minutes if needed. We will find a dump site if we need to on the way or we'll be fine until we arrive somewhere.

When it comes to tank systems, you're limited to the volume of water, time available (GPM) and turnaround time before the next person can shower. After that, maintenance comes to mind - seasonal draining, hot water element, etc. Tankless doesn't have the same issues.
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Old 05-12-2021, 01:35 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by dbahn View Post
I'm not about to change heater systems since our tankless Girard seems to work fine for us, but I'm curious about the utility of tank storage vs. tankless.

As I see it, you can use a water tank to lather up, then shut it off to scrub, and then rinse. With the tankless you can't do that because if you shut it off you then get a bolus of cold water while you wait for the heater to sense the flow, ignite the burner, then deliver water at the set temperature. So with tankless you need to keep the hot water flowing, which wastes an "unknown" amount of propane and an "unknown" amount of water while you are lathering. On the other hand, you are using energy of some sort to keep the heated tank at a constant level even when it's not in use.

So I'm sure that there are pros and cons for each choice, and I suspect that ultimately it may amount to tiny factors such as volume of water in the hot water line vs. volume of propane or electricity to maintain the tank temperature, etc., etc. . . .

Thoughts? Or does it all boil down to how much boondocking you do vs. hook-ups?
I have a tankless water heater and have had ZERO problems with it. My wife can take a hot shower as long as she wants which makes life great. No more cold showers after ten minutes.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:02 PM   #17
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We like the idea of the tankless, but the location of the unit in out Precept 31UL is poorly engineered: the tankless wh is at the extreme back of our unit. So hot water must travel a long way to get to the faucet. In our prior rv's the wh was very close to the center of the unit, last one being right under the sink and adjacent to the shower. Almost immediate hot water, no matter if tank or tankless. We are considering trading in an otherwise excellent unit because of this.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:44 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by dbahn View Post
I'm not about to change heater systems since our tankless Girard seems to work fine for us, but I'm curious about the utility of tank storage vs. tankless.

As I see it, you can use a water tank to lather up, then shut it off to scrub, and then rinse. With the tankless you can't do that because if you shut it off you then get a bolus of cold water while you wait for the heater to sense the flow, ignite the burner, then deliver water at the set temperature. So with tankless you need to keep the hot water flowing, which wastes an "unknown" amount of propane and an "unknown" amount of water while you are lathering. On the other hand, you are using energy of some sort to keep the heated tank at a constant level even when it's not in use.

So I'm sure that there are pros and cons for each choice, and I suspect that ultimately it may amount to tiny factors such as volume of water in the hot water line vs. volume of propane or electricity to maintain the tank temperature, etc., etc. . . .

Thoughts? Or does it all boil down to how much boondocking you do vs. hook-ups?
Once everything is set up right tankless is by far better.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:55 PM   #19
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When it works

We have a 2016 Greyhawk with a tankless water heater and have only done full hook up trips. When the tankless heater works, itís absolutely great, especially if we have showers happening back to back. However it doesnít always work. One time it became faulty at the start of our trip and we had to trek to the bath house for showers every day since our RV shower was like icicles. It had to go be serviced so we were really stuck on that trip. Iím not sure what ii would choose in the future but would recommend reading lots of reviews on the model youíre considering.
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Old 05-12-2021, 03:07 PM   #20
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We have a 2016 with the tankless Girard. Have you been shown/told about the Secret Reset button? Every now and then ours needs to be reset to start producing hot water.
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