Caravan Hot Water Systems for Beginners
Having reliable hot water while you travel in your caravan, motorhome, boat, bus, camper or trailer is not a luxury that you have to forgo. However, there are a few considerations you must factor in before deciding on your hot water system.
Dimensions and Installation
Before any appliance installation you need to consider the available space you have for the installation along with any rules and regulations pertaining to gas or diesel. This will be influenced by the installation application; that is whether you are wanting to go for a direct replacement of same for same, a different unit or installation from scratch if there is no existing hot water system in your setup. Therefore, the dimensions of the unit, any holding tanks, your cabinetry and accessibility for installation, wiring, plumbing and servicing need to be factored in.
The storage capacity of your hot water heater will determine just how much water you have at your disposal. The number of people you are travelling with will greatly affect your capacity requirements, as a family of 5 will use more water than a couple. A Suburban hot water system can hold as little as 15.1 litres, or as much as 22.6 litres. You then step into the realm of instantaneous hot water systems, and your capacity is determined by your onboard water tanks.
When it comes to selecting a hot water heater, there is a number of units available that will operate on different power sources. Caravan hot water heaters will generally operate as:
The type you opt for really comes down to the type of camping you plan on undertaking. For instance, campsites and caravan parks have 240V power readily available compared to free camping where you do not. Suburban and Truma hot water heaters give you the choice with its variety of models available. Typically, selecting a combination gas plus electric type water heater is a sensible choice, as you then have the option of using 240 mains power, or LPG gas if you are in a free camping application.
Heat Up Vs Instantaneous
There are two main types of caravan hot water heaters; heat up and instantaneous. For units that require a little heat up, you will be required to wait 10-20 minutes for the water to heat up before you can freely use your hot water. These units will typically have a water tank that the system will heat the water for you to then use.
In the camping world, instantaneous heaters do still have a short delay of a just few seconds before you have access to endless hot water. Instantaneous units typically rely on your vans water tanks to supply the water that it then heats as the water is used, making it a more efficient form of heating. Being that the instantaneous units are more complex, these units are generally more expensive. In addition to this, instantaneous hot water heaters are only available for LPG operation.
There are a number of hot water heater brands available on the market, however choosing a trusted brand such as Suburban, Truma or Camec can save you time, money and a big headache in the long run. The water tank in every Suburban hot water system is lined with porcelain and outfitted with a replaceable sacrificial anode rod for corrosion protection. Suburban also pressure tests its products to ensure that they can withstand fluctuations in weight, temperature, pressure and power supply. Truma have a variety of reliable combination units available. Since the introduction of the CAMEC instantaneous hot water, it is proving to be a game changer in the world of instantaneous hot water heaters. Any brand of hot water heater should be equipped with a water mark patent to meet the rules and regulations of the Australian hot water industry.
Last but not least is affordability. Purchasing a new hot water system is like buying a new car you can try and save a dollar and cut corners but in the long run you always get what you pay for and if you're like most campers a nice hot shower at the end of the day is a top priority. Though you shouldn’t compromise quality in the face of affordability, budget constraints do come in the way of choosing a caravan water heater. If you have to cut costs, go for a good quality water heater with fewer features, rather than a poorly made product that offers you a host of capabilities. Once again, even a basic Suburban water heater will outlast its feature-packed counterparts from other brands.
Shopping for a caravan hot water system doesn’t differ much from shopping for any home appliance. Keep the basics in mind, and in case of any doubt, there’s always a Suburban or Truma hot water heater to take care of the technicalities for you!