Comfort is a hot commodity at campgrounds, and providing guests with something as simple as a hot shower can make or break their experience. Some campgrounds still have coin-operated showers, but after a long day of adventures, the last thing a guest wants to do is dig for quarters and shower worried that the water will suddenly be shut off. On-demand tankless water heaters, powered by propane, are the answer to water heating needs in recreational facilities nationwide, particularly those in very remote areas. On-demand water heaters allow for longer, relaxing showers with continuous hot water, granting the wish of these weary travelers.

Campgrounds and other recreational facilities should consider adding propane tankless water heaters to their cabins, laundry rooms, restrooms, kitchens, and other facilities that might benefit from on-demand hot water. Tankless water heaters are especially beneficial for campgrounds with a large footprint where it may be difficult and cost-prohibitive to run natural gas lines throughout the property, a common hurdle in remote areas where campgrounds are often located. However, propane is supplied by an on-site propane storage system, which can be scaled up or down depending on the size of the facility and the hot water needs.

Additional Benefits:

• Propane tankless water heaters take up significantly less space than traditional tank heaters due to their compact design and allow for flexible installations.

• Each unit can be installed on the exterior of a building and winterized.

• Installation is simple, so cabins don’t have to be taken out of service for a longer install.

• Energy efficient units use up to 40% less energy than electric tank units, saving energy and utility costs. This is because hot water is not held in a tank waiting to be used; hot water is provided on demand when faucets or showers are turned on.

• Aging electric tank water heaters are at risk of failure, typically without warning, and can cause significant water damage. This is not an issue with tankless water heaters, as no stored water exists.

• Campgrounds will notice reduced labor and maintenance costs, as each part of a tankless unit is replaceable, and the average life expectancy is 20 years versus 8 to 10 of an electric tank water heater.

Lake Placid Camp and Conference Center in Lake Placid, Florida has been slowly replacing traditional tank water heaters with tankless as they stop working. Executive Director Anthony Haney notes, “Tankless water heaters have been much cheaper to operate than traditional electric water heaters. Based on my studies we are seeing enough savings to make up any difference in price within the first year.”

In 2021, the KOA Campground in Middleboro, Massachusetts added on-demand propane tankless water heating to their 18 deluxe cabins, which are a step up from traditional cabins, offering linens, TVs, a full kitchen, and turndown service. The addition of the propane-powered tankless system offered elevated amenities for those looking for more of a “glamping” experience.

Before the renovation, water at the cabins was heated via 19-gallon electric storage tank water heaters, which allowed for about three showers before the water ran cold, leaving that fourth family member literally shaking in their hiking boots. The campground replaced these electric water heaters with propane tankless water heaters that heat water on demand, so they never run out. The tankless units not only improve the guest experience, but they provide significant energy savings. General Manager Ryan Newbrough notes that using propane reduces the campground’s electrical load, a huge win because electricity is one of their biggest expenses.

Importantly, the compact units can be installed on the exterior and winterized, which is key in cold climates but also saves precious space in these small cabins where electric tanks were previously housed under the sink. The propane conversion project expanded, adding propane-fueled commercial dryers in the laundry building and a propane pump station that fills portable cylinders and RVs. JaySan Gas, the propane supplier, also installed a permanent propane storage system with larger propane storage tanks so campground staff do not have to move and refuel cylinders. Rather, remote tank monitoring alerts the company when supply is running low, and they can schedule delivery when needed and when it is most convenient for the KOA.

Evan Pittsley, operations manager at JaySan Gas, developed this solution and secured incentives from the Propane Gas Association of New England as well as rebates from the tankless manufacturer. This boost of capital helped to move the project along and maximize the campground’s budget. Newbrough notes, “The positive experience has the campground thinking about opportunities to use propane for heating, especially if the season expands further into the winter and for outdoor living. But for hospitality businesses in remote locations, upgrading to propane tankless water heaters should be at the top of the priority list.”

Hot Shower, Camper Comfort Delivered
Propane-powered tankless water heating is the ideal solution for campgrounds and recreational facilities nationwide, whether they are located closer to other amenities or off the grid. Campers will appreciate showering under on-demand hot water and facility managers will appreciate the low maintenance, space saving, cost conscious, and energy efficient water heating system.

Learn more about propane-powered water heating.