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Choosing the Right Water Heater for Your RV.

Last updated: 16 August 2023

Technological advancements change the way we camp and travel in RVs almost every single year. From wireless portable internet, to fuel efficient engines, to awnings, the RV industry is always trying to improve our home-on-the-road experience. Your water heater is an important component of your RV and in recent years the technology has advanced to improve power consumption, size, and efficiency.

But which water heater is right for your RV? The experts at the Rosman RV Service department are here to help!


There are three main different kinds of water heater for your RV so you’ll want to pick the one that will work best for you and your vehicle. Each heater comes with advantages and disadvantages:


Propane fueled heaters are the most common type with most RVs utilizing it to heat water. Propane heaters use a flame to heat the water as it passes through a flue tube that runs inside the water tank. Some models use a pilot flame as the source of ignition while others utilize a controlled spark to ignite the main burner which means you no longer need a pilot light. The problem with propane is that you need a venting system for the fumes and some people are nervous when propane is being used as the main heating source, though new advances reduce many of the common associated risks.

2) 120 VAC

Many RV models also use 120 VAC electric heating element located inside the water tank. This isn’t often standalone and is usually used to supplement a propane or motor-aid heating source. Many people prefer this type of heater as it does not require any outside venting and it can be easily installed. The only real disadvantage is that it requires a 120 VAC power source in order to operate and this may not be accessible, especially if you’re camping in the wild.


Motor-aid is another type of heating source commonly used in modern RVs. In this case the water passes through a heated coil instantaneously heating the water and means you don’t need an actual water tank. Again, this is commonly used more as a supplemental device along with a water tank using a propane or electric heating source. Because there is no need to reheat a tank of water, motor-aid heaters are considered to be highly efficient with seemingly endless hot water on demand thanks to the heating method. As a result, the water heater doesn’t cycle on and off during the night, which in turn saves gas. 

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