March '17

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70 • RV PRO • March 2017 rv-pro.com A F T E R M A R K E T C ould the RV water heater be taking a turn toward more efficiency – and more available hot water? If so, it would be a boon for many RV owners who struggle to fit in family showers after a busy day of fun. Unlike the family home, where a tank water heater typically holds 40 to 50 gallons of water heated and ready to go, many RV water heaters hold only six to 10 gallons, or 12 at most. And, there are good reasons for that, with weight being the most obvious. However, just as so-called tankless or on-demand water heaters are making more of a dent in the home market, they're also starting to make an appearance in more RVs of all sizes, with many of them aimed at the aftermarket. One industry expert estimates that at present only one in 10 RVs utilizes some method other than the conventional tank for heating water. The higher cost of on-demand systems also may mean they're not for everyone – at least just yet. Still, it's hard to resist the appeal of a long, hot shower. Two-for-One Special It's not as if the conventional hot water tank, with its pro- pane-fueled burner, has been the only kid on the block before on-demand came on the scene. It's just that size and cost may not have put them on the average RV buyer's radar. While hydronic systems are most associated with providing an alternate heating source to forced air for RVs, the reality is they also give people access to continuous hot water without a tank. Vic Johnson, vice president of OEM relations and business development for Richmond, B.C., Canada-based International Thermal Research, notes that his company has been offering "enough hot water for a decent shower," for years. However, it's done with diesel. The company is well-known for its low-pressure system, which features a combination of a compressor, a fuel regulator, and a fuel pump to atomize diesel and optimize its burn. "Diesel has a lot more energy in it than propane does," Johnson says. "But, it's more difficult to get it to burn, which is why diesel heaters are so much more expensive than pro- pane heaters." He's quick to note that a single diesel-powered system can provide both heat and hot water, though, because while the diesel is heating the coolant or transfer fluid that ultimately heats a unit's air, it's also heating water by running it past the heat-exchanger in the system. "Any hydronic system – in fact any on-demand hot water system – is designed so you have a given temperature of water coming in and the heater will raise the temperature of that water ON TAP: Hot Water Suppliers make strides in efforts to provide RVers with continuous hot water in their coaches. By K. Schipper PHOTOS COURTESY OF GIRARD, INTERNATIONAL THERMAL RESEARCH AND TRUMA. SUBURBAN PHOTOS BY RV PRO MAGAZINE. Truma workers assemble the company's AquaGo tankless water heating system at the company's state-of-the-art manufacturing facility near Munich, Germany.

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