The Water Heater Saga

When we parked in Wisconsin over the winter holidays, Steve winterized the trailer for six weeks. The old beauty was soon frozen under snow and ice in an early, cold, snowy midwest winter. When January rolled around, we packed her up and headed south out of Packerland.

It took several days, but when we hit Alabama, the ol’ girl had thawed enough that we realized there was a major problem and that there had been a teeny tiny winterizing detail we left out. The first clue was the pool of water spreading across the trailer floor.

It was the water heater.


It looked like this:


You might have guessed that the crack running down the left side between the wires is not part of the watertight design of a water heater tank.

Here’s another angle up behind where the wires poke out.


It’s like the Grand Canyon of water heater cracks. We don’t do anything halfway.

Time for a plan!

Steve bypassed the water heater so we could still have cold water, which in and of itself was a luxury. When the temps outside are freezing, we don’t always get water.

After extensive research, Steve found a tankless water heater manufactured by Girard.  We were excited to test out this technology, and to have hot showers again! Not knowing exactly how long it would take for it to arrive, we ordered it for a few churches down the road. That meant we had to scrub our stinkies off in the totally unheated cold-water open air showers of the state parks where we stayed.


Had we known, we would have taken a cold shower in the trailer! At least our screaming wouldn’t have been as audible!


Finally this beauty arrived, and Steve wasted no time installing it.


Nothing to it! Steve is a man of many, many, many talents.


So, apparently, is his daughter.


This is a tankless on-demand water heater which heats the water instantly. On demand, people! We’ve never gotten anything on demand, and now…all the hot water we want! And because it’s tankless, a person doesn’t run through the entire nine-gallon hot water supply before completely rinsing out her lovely locks.

Do you know what that means? That means no more 45-second navy showers, people! That means no more twenty-minute wait between showers. That means no more of Steve’s gloating about how he doesn’t have to rinse shampoo out of his hair with cold water. That means hot showers, people! (Technically, we still have to take navy showers if we’re not hooked up to a sewer, so we don’t fill our tanks, but that’s got nothing to do with this beautiful shiny box.)


I know some of you are doing the math right now and realizing that we have nine people in this trailer and we previously had a six-gallon water heater, and most people (not us, of course) use 25 gallons of water when taking a shower. Yeah. Math. Do it.

Yup, we’re just a leeeeeetle bit excited about our hot water. We love this shiny little box. We love you Girard!


A few things we love about our new friend, Girard.

  1. First of all, it came with a name, so we didn’t have to undergo the name battle. Girard it is!
  2. Second, Girard has no tank, so we don’t have to winterize it by draining the tank if we ever park it somewhere cold in winter again.
  3. Third, Girard is small and lightweight, which is a big deal when you live in a weight-restricted RV seven growing kids and a 125-pound dog.
  4. Fourth, Steve says it was a piece of pie to install. (That’s like a piece of cake, only tastier.) It fits any standard RV water heater opening.
  5. Fifth, the water supply is endless. If this post ends right now, it’s because I passed out from sheer ecstasy.
  6. Sixth, the price was right.
  7. Seventh, on-demand hot water, people! On demand!

I need to sit down.

Steve finished installing the silver beauty and we all jumped in for a first touch of on-demand hot water.


Hot water makes us happy!


So happy!


Isn’t Girard a handsome fella!


To learn more about the Girard on demand tankless water heating system, visit their website. There is a slight learning curve with this water heater, but it’s really slight. Plus, if you’re an RVer, you’re used to learning curves. You’d take a learning curve over a speed bump any day. You rock those learning curves!

Check Girard out, and tell them The Travel Bags sent you. They have no idea who The Travel Bags are, but we are their new number one fans! Smooooch!

Girard has been part of our family for five weeks so far. We will be doing a specific RVer’s review in the future. Subscribe to our weekly updates to stay informed!


  1. Tammy

    I will never take my showers or long hot baths for granted any more! 🙂 You guys are awesome, and so is Girard, I’ve heard 🙂
    Hope it’s nice and warm for you now… we are still freezing up here in WI.
    Hugs to you all~

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