newbie hot water question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-23-2013, 02:59 PM   #1
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newbie hot water question

Hi everyone! I have been trying out the appliances in our Bigfoot today, and have a question about the hot water. I got it fired up and there was definitely warm water quite quickly but I don't see a water tank anywhere... Is there one or is it like instant hot water? I didn't want to leave it running too long, I just ran it for a couple minutes. If there's a tank then I guess I will need to just leave it run for a while to heat it up.

Do people usually light it and leave it on the whole trip, or just light it as you need it?

Thanks!
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:21 PM   #2
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A typical RV hot water tank is probably 6 gallons (though you can buy them bigger). You don't need a huge space for a 6 gallon tank. As for running it while on the road, we risk the potential debate about whether its safe to do this or not. Kaboom? You may find that the airflow from travelling blows out the pilot making the question irrelevent anyway.
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:28 PM   #3
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We don't know what kind of tank or heater you have, but, if it is like mine, it holds six gallons of water and keeps it hot for hours without the heater turned on. I turn it on for about half an hour and that's it for the day, unless I'm gonna have a shower.
But, most important is that you never turn it on without water in the tank. You will burn it out in minutes.
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:38 PM   #4
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Would I have to fill up the hot water tank, or will it fill itself from the main holding tank?
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:46 PM   #5
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In my trailer, the fresh water tank only goes to the pump for the sink. The best way to determine what's happening in your trailer is to look at all the water lines. Who knows what a former owner may have done. But as has been mentioned before, you don't want to turn on the hotwater heater without water in it!
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Old 06-23-2013, 05:52 PM   #6
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If, since I don't have a Bigfoot, if you have a hatch on the outside of the trailer to access the anode for the water heater, you will see a pressure valve. If you open that while the trailer is hooked up to city water, you will get water gushing out. That tells you the tank is full. And, on mine, the water comes from the fresh water tank when not connected to city water.
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:08 PM   #7
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Awesome. I texted the previous owner and he confirmed that it does draw from the fresh water tank.

Thanks for the help. Next weekend is our first trip with her and I'm glad to know that there are experienced people here to ask when I have questions! Assuming I have cell coverage ;-)
Geoff
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:19 PM   #8
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I texted the previous owner and he confirmed that it does draw from the fresh water tank.
Or, more accurately, that the freshwater pump pushes water into the water heater, as well as to the cold water line to the faucets.

There is usually a set of valves around the water heater which allow it to be bypassed and isolated from the water supply, or connected so that it is filled with water and can be used. I would make sure that any such valves are in the right position, and any air in the heater has been purged out, before turning the heat on.
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:29 PM   #9
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Or, more accurately, that the freshwater pump pushes water into the water heater, as well as to the cold water line to the faucets.

There is usually a set of valves around the water heater which allow it to be bypassed and isolated from the water supply, or connected so that it is filled with water and can be used. I would make sure that any such valves are in the right position, and any air in the heater has been purged out, before turning the heat on.
I did notice a valve to the heater and checked that it is on. How would I purge any air out?
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:39 PM   #10
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Spartacus, opening the hot faucet at any sink or shower line will purge air from the hot water tank. When the faucet ceases to spit air and cold water by turn, the tank is full and the heater pilot can be lit.

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Old 06-23-2013, 07:02 PM   #11
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Spartacus, opening the hot faucet at any sink or shower line will purge air from the hot water tank. When the faucet ceases to spit air and cold water by turn, the tank is full and the heater pilot can be lit.

jack
Thank you!
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:57 PM   #12
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I did notice a valve to the heater and checked that it is on.
A bypass valve system has three on-off valves, or two directional valve, which must be used in the right combination. There might be more valves to check, and of course they might already be in the right position.

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How would I purge any air out?
As Jack says, the air is easy to purge out a faucet... although I get most of it out of the relief valve on the heater first. I suggest staying with just the faucet until you are familiar with the parts.
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:08 PM   #13
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As Jack says, the air is easy to purge out a faucet... although I get most of it out of the relief valve on the heater first. I suggest staying with just the faucet until you are familiar with the parts.
See Post #6 pic.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:22 PM   #14
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We usually light our hot water tank when we get to our campsite and leave it on as long as we're camped there. We turn it off when going down the road. The water will stay hot for quite a long time, certainly for the time it takes to travel from one place to the next. Sounds like you have the type of hot water heater that you can ignite with a switch from inside your trailer. If you didn't you'd know because you'd have to go outside and access it from a panel on the outside of the trailer to light the pilot light and turn it on. Check both sides of your trailer for the access hatch to your hot water heater. Ours is on the street side of the trailer. It's a good idea to know where it is!
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