Choosing Between a Point-of-Use and Tankless Water Heater

You don’t always realize how important hot water is in your daily life until you run out. You shouldn’t have to suffer through cold showers when you’re just trying to enjoy your vacation. If it’s time to choose a new hot water heater for your RV, we can help you wade through all your options and find the system that works best for you and your lifestyle.

Point-of-Use Water Heater vs. Tankless Water Heater

When choosing a water heater for your RV, you have plenty of options. Tank vs. tankless. Central vs. point-of-use. Propane vs. electricity vs. heat from the engine.

Today, though, we’re discussing the differences between two particular types of water heaters: small-tank point-of-use systems, like these from GE Appliances (GEA), and electric tankless systems, like this one from GEA as well. There are pros and cons to each unit, and which one you choose for your RV depends on a number of factors.

What is a point-of-use water heater?

A point-of-use water heater is one that is installed at the location it’s needed — under your sink or beside your shower. Generally speaking, these systems are small tanks that give you hot water right where you need it when you need it. Like with any other tanked system, point-of-use water heaters use electricity to keep several gallons of water hot at all times.

Unlike central water heaters, which take longer to heat up because they have farther to go, point-of-use water heaters are typically multiple, smaller units that help eliminate warm-up time by providing a shorter distance for the water to travel. These systems require a unit installed at each fixture, which can mean losing space in under-sink cabinets.

What is a tankless water heater?

A tankless water heater heats the water as it passes through, rather than storing hot water, resulting in continuous hot water throughout your RV. This is great for larger families or people who just don’t like being rushed through a shower. No matter how long you need hot water for, you can count on high performance.

These systems are also installed at the point-of-use, but without a tank, they have a very low profile and take up less space under your sink.

How to Decide What Kind of RV Water Heater Is Right for You

There are a lot of benefits to a tankless system – and not just the constant hot water – but that doesn’t mean this system is right for everyone. Here are some factors you can keep in mind.

Ask yourself the following before choosing between a tankless and point-of-use water heater:

If you answered “no” to most of these questions, it sounds like a point-of-use water heater fits all of your needs. Your camping lifestyle is simple, and you’re just happy when you can get out of the house for a few days. Vacation just wouldn’t be the same without the thrill of a quick shower.

All this to say, if you only use your RV a few times a year or don’t need hours of shower-time when you travel or prefer camping far off the grid, then a tankless system is not a worthwhile investment for you and point-of-use units will easily get the job done.

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then it may be time to upgrade to a tankless system. Let us explain.

Is a tankless water heater worth the investment?

There are some downsides to a tankless system, just like any other hot water heater. The upfront costs of tankless systems are quite a bit higher than a more traditional system, they have a lower flow rate, and they are more difficult to install. 

However, when used often enough, a tankless unit is well worth the cost and the hassle when you consider the energy savings. Water in a tank uses constant energy to keep hot, but with a tankless system, not only will you have the benefit of continuous hot water and more control over temperature, but you could save enough money on electricity to pay for the system in a matter of years.

If you live full-time in an RV, find yourself seeking the great outdoors for weeks at a time, or need to escape your everyday life more weekends than not, then a tankless system is an investment that you can get a lot out of.

No matter what kind of water heater you decide is best for your RV and lifestyle, our team at MWSS can help you find the parts you need and give you the best advice for maintaining them. We want you to have the best camping experience possible!

Shop all GEA water heaters here.

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