Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Saturday, March 24, 2012


I decided way back that I wanted something other than a 6 gallon hot water heater.  That lasts on average about 4 minutes.   That's great if you are after a sponge bath.  Fat guys need more water.
So, I opted for the instant water heater.  They do make one for an RV, but they are pricey. I bought this one off the internet for under $200.  I had to shop around but I found some way cheaper than others.  It sounds expensive, but call on a new Atwood 6 gallon hot water tank.  This will sound pretty good.
I found an Ecotemp FV-12-LP and decided it might fit the bill.

It says  in the instructions not to install it in an RV.  I called the tech support line and the nice gentleman told me it had to do with DOT regulations.  I assume that there is probably a lot of red tape to be certified by the DOT, hence no one wants to tackle the issue of getting certified for production, for such a small market.
What?? The government has paperwork??????
 So, I am not advising you to install one of these in your RV.  You are big kids, use your own judgement.
My biggest fear was that the LP regulator in the trailer would be too small or the LP tanks wouldn't provide an ample supply etc. and I wouldn't figure this out until after I had already cut the hole for the exhaust.
So, I decided to spend a little time fabricating a test cell to ensure that I wouldn't be wasting my time.
Meet "The Contraption."
  I used the size of tank that I will have on the trailer along with an automatic switch over regulator, a 110V power source and the fittings that allow me to hook up a garden hose to a 1/2" pipe fitting.
One thing that I did find out was that I had to add a faucet valve to the end of my line to simulate back pressure, otherwise I would get an error code.
I added one similar to my outlet hose to help slow down the flow rate.

I will tell you this, I don't know how it does it, but it must be magic.  The water going in was 65 degrees and coming out the digital readout was showing 170 degrees and it was smoking hot. So hot, I couldn't put my hand under it and it was within seconds. It is quieter than a typical RV hot water heater and way more efficient.  The dry run was a success, although I think it will take some finesse in finding the sweet spot on the temperature.
I will cover the installation in another post.
I had a nice gentleman send me a comment concerned that the reason this was not designed for an RV was because that it could be hazardous to my health.  He offered to sell me one at cost, which is a very nice gesture and I do appreciate it and for that I applaud you Frank.

  Frank owns an Airstream restoration outfit and he does great work.  I respect his opinion, but that started me to thinking, why is he concerned?
  I think he must be under the impression that this one vents inside. That would be an issue. They do sell portable ones at Camping World etc. that are not vented.  Here is a picture of the ones that are a no-no.  Now, these are great outside, just not inside.

 DO NOT USE THESE in your RV. You will die. It must have the chimney stack in order to expel the spent gasses. 

 The water heater I chose, the Ecotemp FV-12-LP, has a blower fan to push the gasses outside.  This unit is designed to be used in an area where people live, i.e. a house.  I wouldn't install it just to save a buck, I have been researching this for about a year.  The instant hot water heater I chose is pilotless and only kicks on when the faucet is opened.  The fan kicks on and then the heater lights.

 To be fair, I want to post a picture of the RV500, which is an option for those that don't mind cutting into the side of your camping trailer.  I have talked with people that have this unit and they are happy with it.  It is a nice setup, but not cheap.  Retail is around $950.
Honestly, I am more concerned about by 1963 Dometic refrigerator that doesn't vent very well.  It has an open flame all the time.  I am addressing that situation as well, which will be in another post.  Thanks for the comments and I hope you enjoy my blog.


  1. When you have "the issue" due to using it where you were instructed to not, it will be a very easy thing to get past because you simply will not wake up. I strongly encourage you to rethink this. Saving $200 is not always a savings. We are all adult here, but there is a reason why it is not meant for RV's or boats, you left out not for marine use either.
    I have an RV500 looking for a home. I would be glad to sell it to you at my cost which is less than retail.

    1. Thanks Frank, I have edited my post to include your concerns. Thanks for reading the blog.

  2. My math shows $950 minus $200 is a savings of $750.

    Is this the same guy that charges $300 for flat tempered glass that anyone can get at a local glass shop for less than $100?

  3. Hey Anonymous, I am the same guy who gives stuff away all the time. I am the guy who marks nothing up passing all my savings on to my clients. I am also the guy who is out in the open not hiding behind anonymous. Sling your shit in the correct direction once you get your bearings.