Is Hot Water On The Left Or Right In The RV ? [Expert Guide]

Having a hot water line in your RV is super important, especially for winter. Who doesn’t like a warm, comfortable shower? Even washing hands or something else with cold water in winter can be extremely bothersome.

So you might be wondering about how to get hot water in your RV. You might also be wondering, is hot water on the left or right of the faucet.

Is Hot Water on the Left or Right in an RV?

If there is hot water and a cold water knob in your RV faucet, then you might be wondering, why. The answer is easy, the hot water is on the left, and the cold water is on the right. This is true for almost all of the world and is considered a standard.

So now you might be wondering, why is hot water on the left? This is because, in the old days, most sinks had a single pump for cold water. It was placed to accommodate the right-handed majority of the population.

When the dual temperature system finally started to appear, the cold water pump stayed on the right while the hot water was added to the left. Now, it is a clause in the Uniform Plumbing Code. 

How to Get Hot Water in an RV?

If you want to have a supply of hot water in your RV, you have two options. The first option is to get an RV water heater with a tank. The other is to go tankless, in which case you will have to use an on-demand RV water heater. Here is a detailed discussion about both-

Tank-Based RV Water Heating System

The most famous manufacturers of tank-based RV water heaters are Atwood and Suburban. The tanks can come in various sizes. Usually, the tanks of an RV will always be much smaller than the typical tank that you would use in your home’s water heating system.

While the latter can be up to 50 to 60 gallons, the maximum size of an RV heater tank would be only 16 gallons. The most common size is the 6-gallon one, but the 10-gallon size is often considered to be ideal.

There are mainly three ways you may choose to heat the water in the tank. These are:

Propane Heaters

As the name suggests, the fuel to run this type of water heater is propane. These heaters are quite convenient to use, and the water will heat up twice as fast as an electric heater.

So you can get more hot water from a smaller tank, which will reduce the amount of energy needed to both heat up and store your hot water. There are fewer emissions with propane heaters, so if you are an environmentally conscious person, this could be your choice.

Electric Heaters

The most common type of water heater is the electric heater. It is also quite convenient since you do not have to worry about the pilot light going out.

All you have to do is turn on the heater from inside your RV and wait for the heater to heat the water up. However, it takes more time compared to a propane water heater. So if you need a lot of hot water in a short time for whatever purpose, this can get you stuck.

Heating by the Heat of the Engine

Are you looking for a more economical option compared to propane heaters and electric heaters for your RV’s water heating system? For those on a strict and narrow budget, the engine of the RV can become a great tool to heat your water. When you run your RV, the engine is bound to get hot. You will not have to spend anything additional to make it so. 

This lets you put the energy that is generated to good use since the engine will get hot anyway when you are driving. However, you can easily guess the downside of this system. You can’t get hot water any time you need it. If you haven’t driven your RV for a while, the engine will not be turned on, so it will not be hot, and you won’t be able to get hot water. 

A great choice is to take advantage of both propane or electricity and the engine when it comes to heating your water. That way, you can avoid having to use the propane/electric heater when the engine is hot.

As mentioned previously, the tanks of RV water heating systems are usually quite small, so they will not be able to hold a lot of water.

So, naturally, you will have to train yourself in the art of conserving water. It really isn’t that difficult. You just have to make sure not to leave the faucets or the showers open while you’re not directly using them. Turn off the shower when you’re applying soap or shampoo.

On-Demand RV Water Heating System (Tankless)

The tanks of the RV water heating systems being small might not be that big of an issue if you are the only one using and driving the RV around.

But when there are multiple people in the vehicle, even a 10-gallon water tank can fall flat at times. The water will run out faster than you think. And because of the hassle of refilling and reheating, you will most likely not be able to use it for any purpose other than showering at all. 

To avoid this, you can choose to invest in a tankless RV water heating system. A tankless one means that the system will run on-demand. Which is to say, you will get the hot water that you want, and it will be heated only when you need it.

These heaters come in both propane units and electric units. You have to decide for yourself which one is better for you. There are actually several benefits of this type of heating system, for example-

You Can Save Fuel

Due to the heavy impact of climate change that is starting to become more and more visible, it is very important to learn how to save energy. By installing an on-demand water heating system in your RV, you can do exactly that. A tank-based heating system has to heat the water of an entire tank, so a lot of energy is expended. 

But an on-demand heater only heats the amount of water that you need. So, it saves fuel by not heating additional water. The heater will also not have to keep the water unused at a certain temperature until you come around to use it, so a lot less propane will be used overall.

You Don’t Need a Storage Tank

A storage tank takes up a lot of space in the RV, so not having one means having more space, which you can use for something else. Even if you don’t need the extra space, it’s always nice to keep some open areas in the RV. Otherwise, things can get quite congested.

Doesn’t Make Much Noise

Propane or electric water heaters will make some irritating noise when you keep them on. But that kind of noise is much less in an on-demand RV water heating system. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Avoid Corrosion in hot water Tank?

Installing an anode rod can help you avoid hard-water corrosion in the tank. The corrosion will eat away at the anode rod instead of the tank, and you can remove it once it is fully worn out.

Why Is the Water Not Heating Up Much Through My RV Water Heater?

If the hot water line is properly hooked up, but you’re only getting a lukewarm kind of water through the faucet, then the problem might be with the outside shower or water line. Turn that off because otherwise, the hot and cold water may mingle and reduce the temperature.

Can I Leave My RV Water Heater On?

You can keep it on if you forget to turn it off, but turning it off when you’re not using it will help you save energy.


So now you have got the answer to your question: is hot water on the left or right, and also know all about the RV water heating system. Don’t wait around; install one quickly in your vehicle!

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