In March 2018, we replaced our 12-gal Suburban water heater with the Truma AquaGo Hybrid On-Demand Propane water heater. As an on-demand water heater, this unit is designed to provide an inexhaustible supply of hot water – in RVer terms, that means LONG HOT SHOWERS! Let’s check out why we love this Truma Water Heater.
Table of Contents
- A New Kind of RV Water Heater
- Truma AquaGo Comfort Plus Review (Videos)
- AquaGo Pros and Considerations
- Say Goodbye to Short, Sad, RV Showers and Hot Water Anxiety!
- Truma AquaGo – Operating & Installation Instructions
- Truma AquaGo Rebate Coupon
A New Kind of RV Water Heater
We discovered Truma at the 2018 Florida RV Supershow in Tampa. We had noticed all of these new RVs with big blue “Truma” stickers everywhere and wondered what the big deal was. Then we found their booth and were immediately intrigued.
We talked with the reps, examined the displays, and learned how they worked. The products impressed us, and we kept visiting their booth over the course of the show as we thought of more questions. By the end of the week, we knew we needed to have the Truma AquaGo Water Heater in our lives.
Who is Truma?
Truma is a German company who came to the USA in 2014 but have been around as a company since 1949. In Europe, their products can be found in 90% of RVs. Fun fact: they are named after President Truman who implemented the Marshall Plan after WWII which benefited Truma’s founder and funded them enough to get off the ground.
You can learn more about their company, background, and an overview of their most popular products by watch the following video below:
Installing the Truma Aquago Water Heater (Video)
We made arrangements to have the Truma AquaGo Water Heater installed at their service center in Lakeland, Florida just before we left Florida. Unless you buy a new unit with the Truma AquaGo already installed, getting it installed is part of the ownership experience.
In the video below, we show what it was like getting it installed aftermarket (and having our old water heater removed!).
We were very pleased with the professionalism and quality of the install!
Truma AquaGo Comfort Plus Review (Videos)
After several months of using the Truma AquaGo Comfort Plus Water Heater, we shared our thoughts and experience in the videos below:
How Does the Truma AquaGo Water Heater Work?
The Truma AquaGo water heater is a hybrid on-demand RV water heater that operates on LP gas (propane) and a small source of 12V DC power to run the “brains” of the unit.
The Truma water heater only heats the water you use but has the added advantage over standard on-demand units of having a small tank to mix and pre-heat the water. This is in contrast to tank water heaters that hold 6-12 gallons of water in them all the time, so you are having to heat all that water up to get hot water plus you are constantly carrying that extra 50-100lbs of weight around with you.
We found this technology works very well to minimize temperature spikes (a common problem with other tank and on-demand water heaters) and provide consistent hot water quickly. While we never had a temperature issue with our Suburban Water Heater, we always had to wait 15-20 minutes for it to heat all the way up before we could use it. Then, we would feel the need to try and use all the water up, so we would try to both take showers and wash the dishes as to not waste the energy.
Now, we only use what we need, when we need it, which has given us back lots of flexibility – as well as not having to wait until the sink is full of dirty dishes to wash them!
AquaGo Comfort Plus “Eco” & “Comfort” Modes
With the Comfort Plus model we have a control panel to click the AquaGo into different modes. In “Eco” mode, the unit operates like a standard, tankless water heater where the heating unit starts up when water starts flowing. This takes a little bit of time to heat up – maybe about 15-20 seconds – and then you get hot water at your faucet. It saves propane but uses a bit more water.
In “Comfort” mode (2nd option), the small tank in the unit heats water to above 102F prior to the ask for water, so it’s already hot when you turn the faucet on! The heating of this tank takes very little time. This uses more propane (a little) but saves water usage, which is great if you’re out boondocking.
“Winterization” and “Clean” are also options. You’ll use the “Winterization” option for operation with the electric antifreeze kit. “Clean” starts an automatic decalcification process that is one-of-its-kind in the industry! We cover these options in a bit more detail down below.
AquaGo Pros and Considerations
The Truma AquaGo Water Heater saves us RV weight. Our 12-gallon hot water heater carried an extra 96 pounds of water around with us everywhere. This water heater also is very energy efficient while being the most powerful heater on the market at 60,000 BTU.
The on-demand function means that we have an inexhaustible hot water supply. The innovative hybrid tank design allows for instant hot water in Comfort mode. This means no waiting for the heating unit to start up.
The Truma RV water heater eliminated the scalding issue present with other on-demand water heater models. It provides a constant stream of hot water, even down to low flow rates.
Maintenance on the Truma water heater is easy, with simple modes, automatic cleaning cycles, and an easy drain lever for winterization. The innovative decalcification process cleans and increases heater longevity.
The Truma Comfort Plus model operates in temperatures down to -4F (if RV is designed for winter conditions and water pipes aren’t iced). Additionally, built-in safety features monitor flame, low-voltage, over-voltage, overcurrent, flue fan, and water temperature.
The Truma AquaGo does have a few drawbacks or considerations you’ll have to take into account. These were some of our concerns prior to making the switch, and we address each one separately in the sections below – so keep reading to learn how we mitigated these drawbacks.
First and foremost, the Truma AquaGo does not have an electric heating option – only a propane one. While it requires 12V DC electrical power to run its electronics, there is no option to switch the heater completely over to DC or AC power.
Second, the Truma AquaGo Basic model cannot operate in frost conditions (below 45 degrees Fahrenheit).
Third, this water heater is not available as DIY install, and dealerships tend to charge a lot for installation. We recommend going to a Truma Service Center if you can!
The total cost is also quite expensive. And finally, there is a slight noise it makes when it is heating and stirring the tank.
Addressing the Considerations
While the “pros” list is much longer, let’s take a closer look at these “considerations” and fully explain what they mean for your RV water heater experience:
No Electric Heat Option – Doesn’t Matter!
Although the unit does not have an electric heating option like our former Suburban tank water heater had, using it on propane has proven to be far more efficient than using our old one on electricity. You just need to make sure you always have propane if you want hot water (typically not hard to do).
Frost Temperatures – Stay Vigilant
The Basic Model does not have the internal thermostat that the Comfort and Comfort Plus models have that automatically switches on the burner and circulation pump whenever the temperature in the unit is below 41F.
If you may experience frost conditions while RVing, we would recommend bumping up to the Comfort or Comfort Plus models to reduce the risk of damage to the unit in these cold temperatures.
Read more about operating in frost condition on Page 13 of their Operating Instructions.
DIY Installation Not Available
Truma does not allow the DIY install of these units. This is to ensure that the unit is installed properly.
We’ve heard from our followers that quotes for the Truma AquaGo installation from dealers can be high. The Truma AquaGo Basic retails (at the time of this blog post) for $1099 and the Comfort model retails at $1299.
Installers may charge extra installation fees for the access door color/size desired or needed, as well as a gas connection kit. All costs are higher in Canada. The cost of labor depends on the dealer and how long it takes to install the product. Typically it takes about 3 hours to install and Truma says they have found the average hourly charge for dealers is around $120.00 per hour. (subject to change)
Cost is more – but might be worth it for you
The price point of the Truma is a bit higher that your standard tank water heater. At $1100-1300 plus installation, it isn’t the cheapest on-demand RV water heater option on the market. Standard RV tank water heaters cost less than half as much, and other on-demand heaters can be found as low as $800 or less.
However, before you buy always do your research, and consider safety and quality of life aspects as well. You’ll also save money on propane in the long run.
Truma Water Heater Noise in “Comfort” Mode
The AquaGo makes some noise when it is in operation. The most noticeable sound is when it is on the “Comfort” setting and water is not currently being used. It makes a small electronic whirring noise that can be heard when it is quiet.
This is only a concern if you’re a light sleeper, like Tom is. We make sure to turn the unit back into “Eco” mode before we go to sleep at night.
Maintenance and Cleaning
You may occasionally need to clean the water inlet filter. Luckily, this is a simple and easy process with the AquaGo by turning off the unit and water to it (water pump if not hooked up), draining the water with the drain lever, and pulling out the water inlet filter to inspect an rinse.
Why Do You Need To Clean Your Truma RV Water Heater?
Like all water heaters, over time mineral deposits called scale can build up in the unit. If you have the AquaGo Basic, you’ll have to contact a Truma certified service partner to have this done.
If you have the AquaGo Comfort model, you can easily do this yourself with the “Clean” Mode on the unit and using the Truma water heater decalcification tabs. You should run the cleaning process after hot water consumption of approx. 1585 gallons or about every year.
Decalcification frequency can be figured out with the guide on page 17 of the Operating Instructions, as well as the step-by-step cleaning instructions.
You can also check out the video below to watch on our AquaGo decalcification experience!
Winterizing the Truma AquaGo
We winterized our Truma AquaGo when we put our RV in storage during the Go North expedition.
Winterizing the Truma AquaGo is really easy. All we had to do was pull the lever and drain out the small tank. We emptied the tank into a bucket and stored the filter inside the housing. The whole process took about 5 minutes.
You can watch the process in Go North Episode 3 at the 12:40 mark:
We performed our winterization by reading the instructions on Page 14 of the Operating Instructions.
*Be sure to follow the directions closely, as any damage caused by freezing or an unsuitable winterizing fluid will not be covered by warranty.*
Say Goodbye to Short, Sad, RV Showers and Hot Water Anxiety!
The Truma water heater was a game-changer for our full-time RV living comfort. No more waiting, and all the hot water we wanted (at least when we are hooked up to water!)
We don’t even feel bad about using more hot water – this RV water heater is just that efficient.
Overall, we found using the AquaGo to be a very pleasant experience! Its operation is very similar to a conventional home water heater in the sense that you turn it on and hot water comes out – with the exception that scalding water never comes out.
We save lots of propane with this unit and absolutely love not having to wait for water to heat up.
Recently we got back to our stored RV and found it only had an inch of propane in the tank. We decided to see how long it would last heating water only. It took two people using it full-time for over a month before it ran out! We have been extremely satisfied with this unit and think it has been one of our best RV upgrades so far!
Truma AquaGo – Operating & Installation Instructions
For the full details on operation and care, consult the manufacturer’s manual:
Truma AquaGo – Operating and installation instructions (from www.truma.com)
Truma AquaGo Rebate Coupon
Don’t forget your Rebate Coupon! Get a $50 back on your Truma AquaGo purchase.
How to earn:
- Register your warranty HERE on Truma’s website.
- In the Promo Code section, use this code: DLE60C-28110003
- Receive a $50 Debit Card rebate from Truma! We will receive one, too : )
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