If you’ve followed WinnebagoLife for a while, you know the bloggers here get excited about innovations and new technologies in the RV world. Many of the latest innovations come from Europe. Recently, our own GoLife editor even traveled to the Caravan Salon Show in Europe show to check things out first-hand.
Winnebago has been in the lead in incorporating these new technologies and designs into their RVs. Our own Travato shows its European roots, from the name, to the cabinetry, right down to the plumbing fixtures. And the plumbing leads us to today’s topic, “Truma.” Chances are you’ve heard the term, and wondered what all the hype is about.
Truma is a German manufacturer of comfort heating and water heating appliances. They’ve been a staple in European RVs for years, and the company itself dates back to the 1940s. They’ve recently started producing appliances for the North American RV market: both on-demand water heaters, and furnace/water heater combination units.
In general, their products are highly efficient (over 90%), compact, and equipped with numerous safety features. They even have a design aesthetic to them. I don’t know if it’s appropriate to say that a water heater is “attractive”, but I’ll admit to thinking so.
But besides the company, the word “Truma” is also used to refer to the appliances themselves, particularly amongst those who have them. As in, “Honey I’m cold, can we please turn on the Truma?” The Truma appliances currently available in North America come in two flavors.
The Truma Combi
This is the unit we have in our Travato. It’s a combination water heater and furnace. Take a moment and soak that in. You’ve probably seen your RV water heater. And it probably looks about like this:
And you’ve probably seen your RV’s furnace at some point, and it looks about like this:
The Truma Combi performs both of these functions, while taking up about the space of only one of the two appliances it replaces.
But besides looking good and being compact, there are other things that make the Truma Combi unique in the RV appliance world. Allow me to list just a few of the reasons why you want one.
- Depending on the model, the Truma Combi has either a 2 or 3 stage burner. In other words, the Truma can adjust the size of its flame. This is important because the unit is only going to use as much fuel as the situation calls for. This makes the Combi more efficient, provides more even temperatures, saves you money, and most importantly – keeps you from having to fill your propane tank as often. As an example, we’ve only filled our propane tank twice since June!
- The Truma Combi is designed so that the heating elements are not in the water tank. If you’ve ever pulled a corroded anode out of a traditional water heater, you’ll appreciate this. There are no elements of any kind in the water tank, so draining the unit is a simple flip of a switch.
- The Truma Combi is nearly silent. We’ve all been awakened at some point by the “click-ROARRRRR” of a traditional RV furnace. You’ll get none of that with the Truma Combi. In fact, the only way we even know ours is on is if we stick a hand in front of one of the vents.
- The Truma Combi can run on Propane, electric, or both. This includes heating the air with just electric. No more noisy heat pump, and no heat strip on an air conditioner. You can keep comfortable on the campground’s dime, and it’ll be nearly silent. We’ve heated our coach using only electric down to 20 degrees! And the Truma Combi doesn’t need to have water in the tank to heat the air, either.
- Those of us who like to save money have probably investigated a programmable thermostat for our homes. The Truma Combi has one! In addition, it will soon be available with internet controllable capabilities. Imagine turning on the heat or hot water from your phone while you’re out, and you’ll understand why we’re excited.
Winnebago was the first to include the Truma Combi in a North American RV, and they continue to lead the way with this new technology. Today, the Truma Combi is standard on the Travato and Era 70x and 70a.
The Truma AquaGo
The AquaGo is Truma’s tankless water heater. It’s an instant, on-demand system. Many manufacturers offer tankless water heaters these days, but the Truma is different. It’s what they call a “hybrid” tankless water heater – which means, it has a small tank.
At first, a tank in a tankless water heater might seem like a contradiction. But it actually makes perfect sense, and addresses the biggest complaint I’ve heard about tankless water heaters in an RV – uneven water temperature. Here’s how it does that:
Tankless water heaters turn themselves on once they detect a faucet’s been turned on. But until the water heater is up to speed and running at full clip, the water coming out is less than fully hot (dare we say, even cold).
Now think about how you shower in your RV. Most of us will turn on the water, get wet, turn off the water, soap up, turn on the water, and rinse. Now imagine standing in your shower covered with soap, and turning on the water. In this situation, a regular tankless water heater will deliver a blast of cold water until it gets up to speed. Yikes!
The small tank in the Truma AquaGo addresses this problem by holding the heated water in a tank before sending it on its way. The tank mixes the water to even out the temperature. So that cold blast of water never makes it to the tap – it gets mixed in with hot water and you get a nice even temperature in your shower (instead of momentarily going “polar bear”). Brilliant.
Here’s another one. How many times have you wanted to wash your hands with warm water, but you didn’t because you knew it would take 30 seconds for the warm water to get to the tap and you didn’t want to waste that much water. For me, the answer to that question is “pretty much every time”.
Truma, with their AquaGo “Comfort Plus” has an answer to this problem as well. The Comfort Plus can circulate hot water through your RV’s plumbing system so that the water at your tap is always hot. I don’t know about you, but this is better than what I currently have in my “regular” home!
The AquaGo Comfort Plus has to be designed into your coach when it’s built (due to the extra water lines required). But again, Winnebago has options for you. The Aqua Go with the recirculation feature is currently available as an option on the 2016 Winnebago View and Navion J and V floor plans, and will be expanded to all View/Navion floor plans and some other models in 2017.
But even if you didn’t get an AquaGo with your RV, you’re still not out of the Truma game. The Aqua Go can be retrofitted into the opening left by a standard 6 or 10 gallon water heater. Just talk to your dealer to ask about that.
So there you go. Now you know that “Truma” can refer to either the company, or the products themselves. You know a little bit about why they’re such a big deal. And if you’re in the market for a new coach, you know which Winnebago products will help you get one.