Do Motorhomes, RVs, and Caravans Have Hot Water?

Many people ask me if I have warm water in my motorhome as they are curious about how motorhomes, RVs, and caravans work. Are you also wondering if they have warm water?

Motorhomes Rvs and caravans have warm water; the warm water heaters are small and run on propane or electricity. Although they are all big enough to take quick showers and do the dishes, in smaller RVs, they are around 10L (2,6 gallons) and take 20-30 minutes to reach 60 C (140F) from when you turn it on.

So if you are more than two who want to shower, you need to wait for a little in between the showers, and you are good to go; since the water heaters are so efficient and heat the water so quickly, it works well even with the small size.

Here is a video I made on this topic that I think you would enjoy!

How long does it take to heat water in a motorhome?

The famous brand truma and their new water heaters now take 20-23 minutes to heat 10L (2,6 gallons) of water to 60 degrees Celcius (140 F). I have an older model of the truma Combi heater, the 3402, and it has a 12 Liter (3.2 Gallons) capacity and takes about 30 minutes to heat the water to 60C (140F).

As they get more efficient, they get smaller since the water tank doesn’t need to be so big if you can refill and heat the new water quickly enough. I also know that it is more common in the USA with much bigger water heaters that take between 30 minutes and one hour to heat up; they usually are 6 gallons or 10 gallons (22 or 37 Liters).

Bigger RVs usually have larger warm water heaters, but it’s not only an upside. The large water heaters take longer to warm up, as there is more water to heat up and keep warm; they also use much more energy, and to what end? On the other hand, the smaller ones heat up so fast you don’t need the bigger ones. So you can wait a couple of minutes between the showers.

There are also options to have a tankless water heater that heats water on demand instead. This way, you would almost have unlimited amounts of warm water. This option seems to become increasingly popular in the USA, where the bigger motorhomes are more common in class A, compared to Europe, where we usually use smaller motorhomes, class b or c.

Do Motorhomes, RVs, and Caravans Always Have the Warm Water Heater ON?

If you have the warm water heater on all the time or only when you need it varies depending on the owner and the type of water heater; most commonly, propane water heaters are turned on only when required to save propane. Electric ones are usually turned on when connected to “shore power.”

If you have a dedicated water heater that you run on propane, you will drain your propane bottles quickly if you use it to have warm water all the time. In this case, it is more common to have it turned off at night or only turn it on for 20-30 minutes before you intend to use the warm water and turn it off when you are done.

If you have an electric hookup and an electric water heater, you can turn it on and off if you want to save electricity. Still, in general, it won’t cost you that much to keep it on, so in this case, many people keep the water heater turned on at all times just for the convenience of always being able to do the dishes with warm water or wash your hands and not need to plan when to take a shower for example.

If you have a combined heater and water heater, the warm water will automatically work when your air heater is on. So, for example, in the winter, with an integrated heater/water heater, you will typically have warm water on all the time. Remember you will need to change propane bottles often unless you can run them on electricity.

Or the last option, if you have a tankless water heater that heats warm water on demand, you will also always have warm water in the taps.

How Long Does Warm Water Last in a Motorhome, RV, or Caravan?

When my wife and I shower in our motorhome with a 12 L (3,2 Gallons) warm water heater set to 60 C (140 F), we can shower directly after each other and always have warm water left in the end. We take quicker showers and turn off the water when using soap. This way, it is always enough for both.

The quick showers are not only because of the warm water capacity but mainly to make our total water capacity last longer.

Our total water capacity, a freshwater tank of 100L (26 gallons) and two jugs of 10L (2,6 gallons), don’t last long since we are free camping, boondocking, wild camping, or as you want to call it, most of the time. Therefore, our water capacity limits us from staying away for more extended periods without refilling the water tank. For this reason, we are trying not to waste too much water while showering.

We could use our warm water to take longer showers if we wait a bit in between the showers so the warm water heater can heat a new full tank of warm water, but with the hassle of refilling it too often, it is just not worth it.

We usually count on a total of four showers and the everyday water usage until we need to refill our water tank, so between 2-3 days, we can manage on a 100L (26 gallons) water tank and our water jugs, so imagine if you would do two long showers each time emptying the warm water tank you need to refill water after every shower or have a constant water connection.

I suggest you read my other article, where I go more in-depth about how long the warm water lasts in a motorhome, RV, or caravan and, more specifically, how long the warm water lasts while showering.

Rikard Adamsson

Hello! My name is Rikard Adamsson; I am the creator of I live full-time in my motorhome, and right now, I am traveling through Europe the right way, without campsites; yes, wild camping and being off the grid works excellent even in a real beauty from 1996. I have done a lot of rebuilding and upgrades. I am happy to share my experiences with everything regarding motorhomes, RVs, or caravans with you here at

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