Gas, Electric or Gas/Electric Caravan Hot Water Heater?

Gas, Electric or Gas/Electric Caravan Hot Water Heater?

caravan heating options

Whether you’re planning an epic trip around Australia or you just need a portable holiday home, comfort is always important. Whether it’s a caravan, a camper trailer or a big old RV, you want a good bed, you want a fridge ready-stocked and you want to be able to take a hot shower. Basically, you want a little home that you can move around. That’s the point, right?

caravan heater

Definitely one of the best and most essential home comforts is hot water. If your home boiler’s ever packed in, you know what it’s like to live without it. That’s why they invented showers for caravans because they know how important it is! For the shower to work though, you’re going to need a caravan hot water system too. Especially in mornings and the cooler times of the year, being able to jump in a hot shower will be sure to make you feel more at home. Wherever you are.

There are many caravan heating options available. Water heaters for caravans either run on gas, electric, or both. But which of these caravan hot water systems is right for you? Depending on your budget and of course your plans the answer may be different. The information below will help you work out what’s best for you. So no need to read endless caravan hot water system reviews!

Gas Hot Water Heaters

If you’re interested in getting off the beaten track in your campervan, into the outback with your 5th wheeler, or if you’re planning a long journey across Australia in your caravan you may be away from a source of electricity for extended periods. How to heat a caravan without power? Gas.

Caravan gas heaters use cylinders and burn gas to heat your water, meaning so long as you have gas you have hot water, so if you’re going to be away a while or on a real adventure you may find that this is the caravan heater for you. Gas heaters tend to have the lowest prices too, so if you’re on a budget also a great option.

Gas Hot Water Heater Pros:

  • No need for electricity, meaning you can park anywhere.
  • Great for off roading and camping.
  • The fact that you don’t need to invest in extra items like batteries or solar panels keeps costs low.
  • Heats water very rapidly so you don’t have to wait long.

Gas Hot Water Heater Cons:

  • Can cause issues with condensation which is not ideal when caravanning.
  • WIll require a steady flow of clean water to keep operating.
  • Will need servicing by a certified gas engineer.

caravan gas heaters

Electric Hot Water Heaters

If you’re looking for instant hot water systems for caravans, then electric is a good option. The water heats as it passes through the tap and so as long as you are plugged in, your hot water will operate just like it does at home. This means that you will always have warm water for washing hands, washing the dishes, or showering.

Remember though that if you’re not plugged in at a caravan park, you will need to rely on solar panels and charged batteries. However, if you’re looking for a suburban caravan hot water system, you’re likely to be static and plugged in 24/7 in your motorhome, or you’re “new age” in your thinking and want an eco caravan with solar panels, this could be ideal.

Electric Hot Water Heater Pros:

  • A more convenient option which heats water from the tap and immediately as long as you’re plugged in.
  • Heats water only when it is needed, which promotes water efficiency and minimizes water wastage.
  • Run on solar panels, an environmentally friendly option.
  • As long as you have electric power, you will always have hot water.

Electric Hot Water Heater Cons:

  • You will need to either be plugged into a source of electricity or have charged batteries at the ready to enjoy the hot water.
  • This could mean additional costs if you choose to invest in caravan solar panels and/or a battery setup.
  • The need for electricity means that on longer trips and outback travels you might need to live without hot water.
  • Although once running the heating is instant, you may need to wait a little while from powering up until you have hot water.


Gas and Electric Hot Water Heaters

Pretty much as you’d imagine, these offer the best of both worlds! When you have a source of electricity available then instant hot water is yours, but if you’re out on the road or an adventure you just switch to gas and voilà! hot water is yours again.

Not only does this system provide the most flexibility, but it is also the most upgradable and adaptable. It does cost a little more, but if that means you don’t have the additional funds to spend on batteries and a solar panel set up right now, you can still get off the road and simply use the gas supply when needed. When you’ve got the cash, you can buy all the rest and then you’ll have instant hot water as an option on the road too!

Gas & Electric Hot Water Heater Pros:

  • Provides instant hot water when you have a source of electricity, but also means you can use your gas on the road for hot water if needed.
  • This means that you don’t need to invest in additional equipment like batteries and solar panels just yet if you can’t afford to.
  • Easily upgradable – will be 100% compatible if / when you decide that you want to invest more.

Gas & Electric Hot Water Heater Cons:

  • When compared to gas or electric only systems, this option does have the highest upfront costs.


Which Should You Pick?

caravan hot water systems

Dependent on your budget, your preference and importantly what kind of holidays and journeys you are most likely to take, a different heater system may suit your needs best. If you’re the type who wants to the freedom of the open road and want to go on long travels or you’re on a budget, or maybe both, then the gas water heating system provides you with both flexibility and affordability. However, if you prefer the little luxuries in life or you just see yourself parked in a caravan park taking it easy, then you’re probably going to feel the electric system is better suited to your needs.

If you’re any of the above, however, and you have the money in the bank, then you may well be tempted to go with the Gas and Electric option. With a little additional outlay up front, you’ll be able to enjoy hot water from the tap when you have electricity and you’ll have the flexibility to take longer trips without needing to give up on your home comforts on the road. You’ll still enjoy great water efficiency when plugged in. Not only that, if you can’t find a powered caravan park or if there’s an outage in the area, your back is always covered. You’ll also need regular plumbing maintenance, so check out our Caravan Plumbing System Maintenance Guide.

The great thing about this system is it also gives you the option to upgrade easily and cheaply if you feel you need more. All you have to add are batteries and or solar panels and you will be prepared for any eventuality, meaning your little home on the road will always function as just that, no matter what. Visit BCA Australia for your caravan supplies today.

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