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Old 12-23-2014, 09:54 AM   #1
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Wind River - Tankless Water Heater

I just purchased a 2013 Wind River 280RLS. I didin't realize until after the purchase that it has a tankless water heater. Now I'm not against tankless water heaters, but after reading the manual for this one it seems very odd. We have friends who have tankless water heaters in their homes and love them. They use them in exactly the same manner as any system. If you want warm water you turn on both the hot and cold taps and control the mix until you get the temperature you want. However, the manual for the system in my Wind River says "DO NOT" (yes, they actually use capital letters) turn on the cold water tap. You are supposed to turn the hot water tap on full force and leave the cold water tap off. It goes on to say that if you want hotter water you turn down to flow of the hot water tap (which seems counterintuitive).

What this would seem to be telling me is that the tankless water heater in the Wind River is not capable of making the water "fully hot" under full flow. It can only provide full hot if you reduce the flow (thus giving the heater more time to heat the flow of water).

While I'm sure you can get used to anything, this seems like a very odd way to manage the flow of warm and hot water. I would be very interested to hear from any of you who are using this system and how it is actually working for you in the real world.
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Old 12-23-2014, 11:09 AM   #2
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We have used tankless water heaters for years and intend to upgrade our current RV someday.


What you describe is exactly how the smaller "point of use" units that are common in Europe and the Caribbean operate.


Yes, the heater will only heat the hot side of the water system to a normal "hot" temp for use...because heating the water - only to cool it at the faucet is wasteful.


The second part about making the water hotter by slowing the flow means that the heater unit has a limited heat output and flow could surpass heating capability (not usually an issue in RV systems). Higher end units have 3-4 heating levels to prevent this, but they are more expensive and use more propane due to the larger burners.


Reality check - these tankless RV water heaters are rather new, so getting service can be a problem if anything malfunctions.


Best luck
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Old 12-23-2014, 12:00 PM   #3
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There are a lot of reasons why I am not a fan of tankless heaters. Some of what the OP said is part of why.

The reason not to run any cold and to slow down the hot flow for warmer water is that the burner is small for "better efficiency". Reducing the flow results in more dwell time in the hot zone so more heat is transferred to the water thus warmer water. It is a design that puts efficiency over comfort of the end user.

FWIW The other side of that balance has also turned up. At least one poster had a problem with low flow sensors shutting off the burner when he did not pull enough flow out of his tankless system. They might work in a house but they do not work well in a MH environment. I suspect they never really work well at making hot water but they do a good job of training their owners. ;-)
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Old 12-23-2014, 12:07 PM   #4
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I don't know much about about different brands but on my 2014 I-go it has a Atwood on demand. And I am going to say this. If you feel it's not working properly either e-mail or call the manufacturer. After four trips to the dealer and no complete trips camping with it working properly. I broke down and emailed Atwood and they told me exactly what was needed to fix it.. It does seem RV dealers have no clue on these water heaters..
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Old 12-23-2014, 01:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fisher99 View Post
I just purchased a 2013 Wind River 280RLS. I didin't realize until after the purchase that it has a tankless water heater. Now I'm not against tankless water heaters, but after reading the manual for this one it seems very odd. We have friends who have tankless water heaters in their homes and love them. They use them in exactly the same manner as any system. If you want warm water you turn on both the hot and cold taps and control the mix until you get the temperature you want. However, the manual for the system in my Wind River says "DO NOT" (yes, they actually use capital letters) turn on the cold water tap. You are supposed to turn the hot water tap on full force and leave the cold water tap off. It goes on to say that if you want hotter water you turn down to flow of the hot water tap (which seems counterintuitive).

What this would seem to be telling me is that the tankless water heater in the Wind River is not capable of making the water "fully hot" under full flow. It can only provide full hot if you reduce the flow (thus giving the heater more time to heat the flow of water).

While I'm sure you can get used to anything, this seems like a very odd way to manage the flow of warm and hot water. I would be very interested to hear from any of you who are using this system and how it is actually working for you in the real world.

It sounds like you have a Tankless system made by Gerard. We bought a brand new 2013 Wind River 250 RDSW. It was the last year ORV used tankless system. It came with the Gerard tankless system. We had many many problems with it. Flow rate, scalding hot water, noisy.excessive propane use. We started with the version one and had the version 2 installed. It had a variable heater. I contacted ORV and they replaced it last year at no charge to me with a suburban tank 6 gallon. Works great. IMHO I cannot recommend the Gerard tankless system. I like the tank system with the electric or propane heater as well as having 6 extra gallonsof water when I boon dock.
I save propane when I switch to electric hot water.
For the record ORV and Arctic Fox do not install or use the Gerard tankless hot water system any more...as they are very problematic.
Good luck with yours...pm me if you wish more infor.

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Old 12-23-2014, 02:03 PM   #6
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Coops: Yes, it is the Gerard system. I'm guessing that since I bought the Wind River used (2nd owner) and it is no longer on warranty, that ORV may not be as willing to swap the system out as if I had bought new. At least not for zero cost. It is interesting that a standard 6 gallon tank system would fit. I figured they were using tankless to save space and thus you wouldn't be able to go back to a tank. How do you tell whether you have a version 1 or version 2 system?

I guess I'll try living with it for a while and if I find it problematic or too fussy to live with I'll see what ORV would charge to swap it for a tank type system. It's nice to know that that's an option. I wouldn't have guessed that wouldn't be possible.
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Old 12-23-2014, 04:59 PM   #7
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Our version 2 has a knob which was located in the space in front of our sink. You turned the knob to control the temperature of the hot water. You can go to the Gerard web site for more infor. Gerard wanted $350.00 to swap out to the Version 2. That's not installed. Give Gail or Dave a call at ORV since it's off warranty hopefully they will cut you some sort of deal.
Our replacement was done last year at the factory in La Grande.
Good luck.
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