Propane Usage in RV Water Heaters: What You Need to Know

RVs offer a sense of adventure and freedom that can be difficult to find with other modes of transportation. One of the most important aspects of RV travel is ensuring that you have all the necessary amenities, including hot water. However, using hot water in an RV can be a bit more complicated than in a traditional home. Specifically, it’s important to understand how much propane an RV water heater uses, as this can have a significant impact on your overall fuel consumption. Read on as we explore this topic in more detail.

The Types of RV Water Heaters Today

Before we dive into how much propane an RV water heater uses, it’s important to understand the different types of water heaters that are available for RVs. There are two main types of RV water heaters: tankless and tank-style.

Tankless RV water heaters are becoming increasingly popular in recent years due to their energy efficiency. These systems use propane (or another fuel source) to heat the water as it flows through the system. This means that you only heat the water that you need, rather than constantly keeping a large tank of water hot.

Tank-style RV water heaters, on the other hand, work more like traditional water heaters. They keep a tank of water hot at all times, ready for use whenever you need it. These systems tend to use more propane than tankless systems, as they must constantly heat the water to maintain the desired temperature.

Understanding Propane Usage in RV Water Heaters

Now that we understand the different types of RV water heaters, let’s explore how much propane they use. The amount of propane that an RV water heater uses will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of system, the size of the system, and how much hot water you use.

According to the RV Industry Association, the average RV water heater uses approximately 7.5 gallons of propane per month. However, this figure can vary significantly depending on the factors mentioned above.

For example, if you have a tank-style RV water heater, you can expect to use more propane than if you have a tankless system. Additionally, if you have a larger RV with more people using hot water, you’ll likely use more propane than if you have a smaller RV with fewer people.

5 Tips to Reduce Your RV Propane Usage

While it’s important to have hot water in your RV, it’s also important to conserve propane whenever possible. Here are a few tips to help reduce your propane usage:

1. Use a tankless water heater: As we mentioned earlier, tankless water heaters are more energy efficient than tank-style heaters. By using a tankless system, you can reduce your propane usage significantly.

2. Take shorter showers: One of the biggest propane hogs in an RV is taking long showers. By reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower, you can save a significant amount of propane over time.

3. Use a low-flow showerhead: Another way to reduce your propane usage when showering is to use a low-flow showerhead. These showerheads reduce the amount of water that comes out of the shower, which means less water that needs to be heated.

4. Wash dishes with cold water: While hot water is great for washing dishes, it’s not always necessary. Consider washing your dishes with cold water whenever possible to save propane.

5. Insulate your RV: Finally, consider insulating your RV to help retain heat. This will reduce the amount of propane you need to use to keep your RV at a comfortable temperature.


RV water heaters are an essential part of any RV, but they can also be a significant source of propane usage. By understanding how much propane your water heater uses and implementing some of the tips we’ve outlined above, you can reduce your propane usage and save money on fuel costs. Whether you have a tankless or tank-style water heater, there are always steps you can take to conserve propane and enjoy hot water on your next RV adventure.

Are you in need of an RV water heater repair technician? Landon’s Mobile RV Repair is an RVTAA Certified team that offers professional services to keep your mobile home in top shape. Call us today!

You might also enjoy

Need an Evaluation?
Get in touch

Get in touch today for an evaluation and let’s discuss your RV repair needs.