Eccotemp L5 Tankless Water Heater – Review

Last Updated: August 5, 2021

Eccotemp L5 Tankless Water Heater – Review

Eccotemp-L5-Tankless-Hot-Shower-Review

The Eccotemp L5 Portable Tankless Water Heater is the perfect addition to our campervan Water System: crank up the heat up and enjoy! We think it often draws the line between taking a shower or not taking a shower. We’ve been using our Eccotemp L5 full-time since June 2018, so we have a few things to review about it!

 

Eccotemp L5 Overview

Eccotemp L5 Tankless Water Heater On Demand, overview

 

How it works

The Eccotemp L5 is a tankless water heater, meaning there is no hot water tank; the water is heated instantly, on-demand. You could shower all day and never run out of hot water! (well, that’s until you run out of propane or water). This type of heater is not common in north-American homes (but we are seeing them more and more), but they’re quite common in Europe as it is more efficient than a “traditional” water heater with tank. Indeed, maintaining a tank of water at high-temperature all day is not efficient; moreover, the tank is often located far away from the appliance, and there is considerable amount of energy lost through the pipes and water wasted waiting for the water to get hot.

 

Water Source

The heater is hooked to our pressurized water system (faroutride.com/water-system). Our system is similar to any RV: we have a 25 gallon fresh water tank, and the Shurflo water pump creates the pressure required to feed the appliances (sink, bike-wash & hot shower).

FarOutRide-Water-Diagram-V1-rev-A-Interactive-1024px
Our Water Diagram.

 

Energy Source

FarOutRide-Propane-Diagram-V2-rev-A-Interactive-1024px
Our Propane Diagram.

The Eccotemp L5 uses propane as fuel. Here is our propane system van setup (faroutride.com/propane-system):

 

Settings

The gas and water (flow) can be adjusted to suit your preference. The temperature of the shower depends on the combination of the gas/water setting (and varies with temperature of water in the tank too!)… For example, more water (max) results in lower shower temperature as there is more water flowing through the heat exchanger at a given time.

Eccotemp L5 Tankless Water Heater On Demand, Rotary Knobs
Gas and Water Settings.

 

Taking a shower

Here’s the easy part: just… take a shower! The Eccotemp L5 detects water flow and ignites (and shuts off) automatically, neat!

To save water, we turn the water off during soaping/shampooing (a.k.a. “Military Shower”. According to Wikipedia, it uses about 3 gallons of water -we confirm that!- as opposed to 16 gallons for a normal 10-minute shower!)

 

Disclosure

Before going any further, be aware that the manufacturer does not approve it for interior permanent installation. That’s why:

  1. We installed ours near the rear doors (so it’s fully vented and we don’t die from carbon monoxide poisoning…).
  2. We installed a valve for propane AND water (so we can shut it off after each use).
  3. We drain it after each use (per manual) OK we don’t actually do that…

 

 

What we Like

  • Inexpensive.
  • Can be integrated to our actual pressurized water system.
  • Can be adjusted from warm to HOT (it’s quite powerful at max setting).
  • Can be used without heating (cold showers)
  • Easy to operate (no need to hook the water and propane each time).

 

What we Don’t Like

  • We wish the water knob could be adjusted to a lower setting to save water (but we can “override” this by using the valve that we installed).
  • We wish the gas knob could be adjusted to a lower setting; when we “override” the water flow (with our own valve), the water gets a little too hot for our tastes (on hot summer days).
  • If it’s really windy, the flame will extinguish. It happened on 2 or 3 occasions during the summer. We just turn off/turn on the water and the flame ignites again.

 

Models & Where to Buy

 

Eccotemp L5:

We personally own this model:

Eccotemp L5
Eccotemp L5. Buy on Amazon.
Camplux 5L:

The Camplux is pretty much identical to the Eccotemp and also has excellent reviews:

Camplux 5L
Camplux 5L. Buy on Amazon.

 

Installation

What’s in the box:

Eccotemp L5 In The Box

 

There are 3 connections for the Eccotemp L5 (all of them are 1/2″ NPT male):

Eccotemp L5 Tankless Water Heater On Demand, connections
Two “D” batteries are located in the grey compartment (left). The batteries are only used to create the spark to ignite the flame, not to pump water; so they last a long time.

1. Cold Water Input

This is either connected to:

  1. the van/RV pressurized water system (faroutride.com/water-system);
  2. or the EccoFlo 12V water pump (if this is what you purchased);
  3. or the garden hose (by using the included adapter).

Note (on the picture below) that we installed a water valve (see on eBay) right before the cold water input. This allows us to shut the system off AND to control the water flow. Yes, a water valve is mandatory! Without a valve, water is free to flow; don’t just count on the ON/OFF switch of the shower head as it works but it’s not really reliable…

Note that we didn’t use sealant or Teflon tape here as there is a rubber washer in the fitting.

We used PEX tubing all over our water system and it’s all detailed here: faroutride.com/water-system

 

2. Hot Water Output

Just connect the included shower head to this!

No sealant or Teflon tape is necessary as there is a rubber washer in the fitting.

 

3. Propane Input

The Eccotemp comes with a “1/2″ NPT to 3/8″ Male Flare” adapter, but we discarded it to minimize the number of connections (less connections = less leak potential). We used this gas ball valve (Buy on Amazon) with yellow gas Teflon tape (Buy on Amazon).

Note: Do NOT use white Teflon tape! It’s meant for water connection and it will leak gas. Make sure to use the thicker yellow tape approved for gas.

 

Eccotemp-L5-Tankless-Water-Heater-On-Demand,-All-Connections

 

The Eccotemp L5 is a low pressure gas appliance (pressure: 11 W.C.), which means there must be a regulator between the propane tank and the water heater. You can either:

  1. Hook it directly to a propane tank (BBQ style) by using the included hose + regulator assembly;
  2. Hook it to your actual van/RV propane system like we did (on the low pressure side): faroutride.com/propane-system

 

Shower Head

The shower head is held by a neat little suction cup bracket (Buy on Amazon):Showerhead Bracket Holder with Suction Cup

 

When not in use, the shower head is stored using a Quick Fist Clamp mini (Buy on Amazon):

Eccotemp L5 Camper Van Conversion Hot Shower

 

Winter

Like any water appliance, don’t EVER let the Eccotemp freeze. Freezing water expands and internal components (fittings, pipes, etc.) will crack and damage the unit permanently. Prior to freezing season, drain water from the Eccotemp using the drain valve.

 

Reliability

We’ve been using the Eccotemp L5 since June 2018 without issue. We’ll let you know if something happens! Subscribe to our Mailing List to be notified.

 

Runner-Up

Before using the Eccotemp L5, we used the Mr. Heater BOSS. We had absolutely no issue with it, but it’s more bulky and we didn’t need the portability of the Mr. Heater:

 

Resources

 

 

 

You Might Be Interested In:

 

 


DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a product link and buy anything from the merchant (Amazon, eBay, etc), we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not.

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Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017, we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers, and moved into our self-built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then, and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams, and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

23 thoughts on “Eccotemp L5 Tankless Water Heater – Review”

  1. Thank you for the great articles! You did an amazing documentation of everything! 🙂
    It’s interesting how there are temperature and flow “issues” when the shower head is connected directly to the heater (either too hot, or needing high water flow/waste to have lower temperature). Do you think this would be solved with a more “traditional” set up running a cold and hot water pressurized lines which mix in a shower knob and into the shower head?

    Reply
  2. Thank you so much for this incredible site! It’s by far the best I’ve seen for van builds.

    We are now looking at LP gas tankless water heaters for our Sprinter and wondered if you had any issues with yours not being specific for RV’s.

    Has the constant movement of the vehicle affected it? We are looking at this Rinnai unit (https://www.lowes.com/pd/Rinnai-High-Efficiency-6-5-GPM-Indoor-Liquid-Propane-Tankless-Water-Heater/1000201551?cm_mmc=shp-_-c-_-prd-_-plb-_-bing-_-pla-_-209-_-1000201551-_-0&kpid&placeholder=null&ds_rl=1286981&msclkid=ef9f33239f7611ff617a53f83a7c7931&gclid=ef9f33239f7611ff617a53f83a7c7931&gclsrc=3p.ds ) as the price is great compared to a diesel Espar, but have concerns about whether this is intended to be nice and secure under a sink in someone’s home and not practical for a vehicle.

    Thanks again for a sweet site!

    Reply
  3. How how does the air exhaust get with this? I’m considering putting one in a similar area to your design but it would be under the bed slightly more and I’m worried that having the mattress ~10 inches above the top of this could melt or heat up the mattress too much during use. Can you give me an idea of how hot the unit and surrounding air gets?

    Reply
  4. Hi there!

    I am planning to install a full shower inside my van. I noticed your comment that you placed this system at the rear of the van for ventilation purposes. I am wondering if it would be possible to keep this system at the rear of the van and then run a long supply line to the shower? Or would this be too far for the water to travel and still maintain it’s temperature? OR, would it be possible to mount this unit inside the shower itself (or somewhere in the van closer to the shower?

    Thanks for all you do! Just recently purchased the builders package and I’m learning a lot!

    – Ben

    Reply
    • Wouldn’t recommend it. The temperature change with pressure, so water will cycle from warm to burning hot (or cool to warm, depending on your settings) as the foot pump doesn’t provide a constant pressure.

      Reply
  5. Did you consider a heat exchanger with your vehicle’s engine coolant system? ( i think this could be added to your superb articles, and this usually lost source of energy could be considered for other means. )

    Vechicles use a common heat exchanger which is run in-line with the engine’s coolant lines to provide air heating. Now, you can use tie into this hot coolant line with an additional heat exchanger to provide hot water, at the cost of fittings, hoses, and a cheap heat exchanger plate.
    Obviously, for morning showers this requires heating up the engine.

    This company used to sell a kit (as an example) But it’s just a small heat exchanger.
    https://www.hotcampshowers.com/vehicle_mounted_shower

    Reply

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