So you’ve decided you’d like to put a camper hot water heater in your van conversion that’s a little more sophisticated than just boiling the kettle? But you’d also like to keep the cost down and ideally do it yourself? Well friend you’re in the right place.
Welcome to our 100% honest and 100% unbiased Truma Ultrastore Water Heater review.
Disclaimer: We’re not professional plumbers. All the skills we employed in converting our van are completely self taught. So, basically, if you follow what we did and something goes wrong. That’s on you. Just saying!
Truma Ultrastore Water Heater
In this blog post we’re chatting all about our 10 litre Truma Ultrastore water heater. How easy it was to DIY install, what it’s like to use, how efficient it is, it’s value for money and it’s drawbacks. Basically the review we wish we’d have read before we bought it.
This is a completely independent review. We bought our Truma Water Heater with our own dosh, installed it with our own fair hands and have not been asked to write this review.
Having said that, there are some affiliate links. Which means that if you do buy through them we may earn a small commission from the seller. It’s at no extra cost to you. So if you find the info we’re providing here useful, it’s a lovely way to say thanks!
Truma Heater Quick Review
- Ease of Install: 4/5
- Ease of Use: 5/5
- Value for Money: 5/5
Truma Water Heater Install
Just to be absolutely clear, the specific Truma hot water system we are talking about here is the Truma Ultrastore BGE 10 Gas & Electric Caravan 10 Litre Water Heater.
And the van we refer to throughout is a LWB Mercedes Sprinter.
Although it initially looked quite complicated and there were a few trickier parts, it was on the whole relatively straightforward to install. But it is definitely a two person job, because for parts of the install you need someone outside and inside.
The Truma hot water system comes with comprehensive installation and operating manuals complete with helpful diagrams. But there is a lot of information. So you kind of need to read through a couple of times to get a good overview of the process, then take it step by step.
There is also a cut template for the exhaust outlet hole you’re going to need to cut through the side of the van. If like us, you find cutting holes through the side of your van nerve wracking, this is especially super handy to have included.
Camper Hot Water Heater Specifics
However, the most awkward bit for us was getting it lined up and level. Basically because we have a plastic trim that runs round the outside of our van, it meant raising the Truma water heater up on a platform so the outlet sat above that.
And on top of that, because the van walls are somewhat curved, it meant creating the support at a slight angle so that the water heater was level.
If you are converting a van model where you can just sit the camper water heater straight onto the floor that would be so much easier.
Because our van is insulated and ply panelled in the area where the Truma Ultrastore sits, it also meant that we also had to get a Cowl Extension Kit. This increases the allowable depth of Campervan walls by 50mm to 85mm. Without it you only have a 35mm depth to work with.
You can install this camper hot water heater vertically below a van window. But just bear in mind that the boiler must additionally be equipped with an automatic shut off device. This is to prevent it being used while the window is open and dangerous fumes coming inside.
So it’s just far easier not too if you have the option.
Truma Electric Water Heater Option
Wiring it up to your 12V leisure batteries is a doddle. Well that is if you’ve done or are planning on doing your own van electrics. As is hooking it up to the gas. It’s literally just an 8mm screw fitting with an olive. All provided with the kit.
Because we don’t have a mains power hookup installed, we only use the Truma Ultrastore Water Heater in gas mode. Hence only have the gas control switch installed. So I can’t comment on that aspect of the install. However it does specify in the instructions that the 230V electrical connection should be done by an expert.
Something important it doesn’t mention with regards to the gas part of the Truma Water Heater installation, but is a must, is installing a gas drop out vent nearby. Same for any and all gas appliance you are fitting into your van conversion.
It comes with John Guest fittings so all the pipework for the water connection is simple enough. You do need to put a hole through the floor for the drain valve. But again there’s detailed instructions on placement and hole size etc.
Watch us installing our Truma water heater here:
Truma Ultrastore Ease Of Use
Probably the most annoying part when it comes to using the Truma Ultrastore is that you have to go outside to take the cowl cover off. Especially if it’s cold out. But it’s dead easy from there on out.
Next step is to pull the water through on your hot water tap to make sure there is no air trapped i.e. that the water boiler tank is full. Then simply switch it on at the controller. You’ll hear the electronic solenoid click open.
Then it’s just a case of waiting 30 minutes until the water is heated and you’re ready to rock and roll. The actual boiler is almost silent. In fact so much so that when we first turned it on we thought it wasn’t working!
You can choose between two different temperatures on the gas mode, 50/70°C. We mainly use 70°C when showering as you need less hot water coming through the mixer tap so it lasts a little longer. Then 50°C if we’re just washing up and cleaning etc.
Efficiency wise the water stays warm for 2-3 hours and you can easily get two showers out of the 10L. It has a low gas consumption (120 g/h to be exact). And while I can’t tell you exactly what that means comparatively, I do know we don’t fill our LPG tank up very often. At. All.
Truma Gas Heater Pros
We’ve mentioned quite a few already in terms of the ease of installation and ease of use. But another plus point of this Truma water heater is that it is relatively small in size. Especially considering it has a 10L internal tank.
We have a fixed bed so our Truma Ultrastore lives inside our garage. But it would equally easily fit inside bench seating if you were opting for a convertible bed. The dimensions are 35cm x 35cm x 26cm to be exact. And the weight without water is 7.4kg.
My parents actually have the same one in their caravan which they’ve had for around 15 years without any problems. So we also know first hand that it’s a durable camper hot water heater.
Truma Hot Water System Cons
Aside from the few minor annoyances mentioned above, there really aren’t any major installation or operation drawbacks to this Truma hot water system.
We had one issue with our specific kit, in that the installation manual and template were missing when it arrived. But we contacted the supplier who in turn contacted Truma and they posted us one out right away. Very efficient customer service.
There is however quite a big con, the price point. Because £400+ is likely going to be expensive in any DIY van builders budget book. It certainly was in ours.
The Truma Ultrastore 10L is however one of the more reasonably priced camper hot water heaters on the current market. And there are certainly far more expensive options. Take the Truma Combi 4E Boiler for example, which combines a water heater with a space heater.
Although an awesome bit of kit for someone that has that kind of budget to spend on their van build. There was no way we were going to splash £1,600+ on it. Especially when the Truma Ultrastore water heater and a cheaper diesel space heater cost just over a third of the price.
I expect the product range will increase over the coming years, which will hopefully drive down the price. But right now, having installed and used the Truma Ultrastore, we certainly feel that it is the best value for money camper hot water heater around.
Truma Ultrastore Recap
As mentioned above, if you’ve found this review helpful and decided to take the plunge and nab yourself Truma Ultrastore, our diesel tank will do a happy dance if you buy it through one of our links.
Or if you have any questions about the Truma water heater that we haven’t covered here, get in touch in the comments and we’ll do our best to help.
But please, remember we are not professional plumbers. So please follow installation and operating instructions fully and contact Truma direct for any technical queries.
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