Water Heater - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-16-2016, 08:10 PM   #1
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Name: Susan
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Water Heater

When our Atwood water heater died many years ago, we never replaced it, boiling water as needed on the stove. Now that we are in our 70's, we'd like to have a water heater again. Like the idea of "on-demand" and also like option of electric/propane. Would like to hear opinions/reviews of brands that are out there. Thanks. Susan
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Old 10-16-2016, 08:27 PM   #2
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If you try the search function you will find many looooong threads discussing on demand water heaters . Reopening this subject is like opening Pandora's box in my estimation.
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:14 PM   #3
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I converted our propane water heater to electric with a kit I bought on Amazon. Recovery time is probably slower
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Old 10-17-2016, 07:37 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
I converted our propane water heater to electric with a kit I bought on Amazon. Recovery time is probably slower
I believe you are talking about something like the the Hot Rod electric element kit, or the Camco equivalent.

These use lower power than the elements that come with a gas/electric model so you are right about recovery time being slower.

However it is not really a conversion from gas to electric. It adds the electric option to a gas heater and both gas and electric heating is possible after the modification.

So it is possible and reasonable to use propane when you want hot water in a hurry, and use the Hot Rod the rest of the time to keep the water hot 24/7 (when on shore power) for instant use.

Still if buying new, I would get the OEM gas/electric option if I wanted hot water more or less "on demand." The Hot Rod is an option for someone who already owns a gas-only water heater. The Amazon links above have lots of info in the questions and reviews.

My Scamp is the first and only camper I have used with a water heater. I have had this camper a little over a year and the only time the water heater was fired up was to test it. If I were to buy another camper it would not have hot water at all. YMMV.
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Old 10-17-2016, 09:12 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Susan O View Post
When our Atwood water heater died many years ago, we never replaced it, boiling water as needed on the stove. Now that we are in our 70's, we'd like to have a water heater again. Like the idea of "on-demand" and also like option of electric/propane. Would like to hear opinions/reviews of brands that are out there. Thanks. Susan
I didn't want to pay the high price for an RV water heater so we opted for a Fastar tankless propane water heater I bought off ebay for around $80. It delivers up to 2 gallons per minute, if we have water hook up we set it to minimum heat and max water flow, if we are using tank water and our Seaflo pump we set it to minimum water flow and minimum heat. Either way it works great. If we want hotter water just turn up the heat setting and or adjust the water flow. I mounted ours to the tongue so I didn't have to have a vent hole in the top of the Boler and ran the lines to and from the bath to the unit. Best $80 I ever spent and best add on to our Boler period. Our is digital (some are not) so we can set it to the temp we want but it does read in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit so Google for a chart to convert temps and print it out and stick it in your camper. We like ours set around 38 C or 100 F for a nice warm shower but not too hot for our little one. Use caution though as if you turn it up it will get very hot! It is the only propane unit for our Boler and a 20lb tank lasts forever. Here is a link to the one we have on eBay 8L 2GPM Tankless Hot Water Heater Instant Propane LPG Gas Boiler CE | eBay
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Old 10-17-2016, 10:13 AM   #6
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One thing that has puzzled me is that if the hot rod is installed in the anode opening of the tank, where do you put the anode ?.
Water heaters have anodes for a reason
Is the hot rod installed only in place of the drain plug in tanks without anodes ?
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Old 10-17-2016, 10:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
One thing that has puzzled me is that if the hot rod is installed in the anode opening of the tank, where do you put the anode ?.
Water heaters have anodes for a reason
Is the hot rod installed only in place of the drain plug in tanks without anodes ?
Another advantage to the tankless water heater is not having the holding tank for mineral deposits to collect in.
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Old 10-17-2016, 11:52 AM   #8
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Not all water heaters have/need anodes.

Atwood hot water heaters for example have an aluminum tank and a plastic plug. Aluminum in theory doesn't corrode. So no anode rob needed.

Suburban on the other hand does use steel tanks and they do need an anode rob & one is normally attached to the metal plug.

So in theory what happens regarding corrosion issues, when you introduce a metal plug with a heater rod on to a tank such as the Atwood?
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Old 10-17-2016, 01:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Not all water heaters have/need anodes.

Atwood hot water heaters for example have an aluminum tank and a plastic plug. Aluminum in theory doesn't corrode. So no anode rob needed.

Suburban on the other hand does use steel tanks and they do need an anode rob & one is normally attached to the metal plug.

So in theory what happens regarding corrosion issues, when you introduce a metal plug with a heater rod on to a tank such as the Atwood?
The HotRod description says:
Suburban reducer includes a built-in Anode


It appears that the Atwood install does NOT include an anode and is intended for short term use so that the tank is "empty" most of the time, or you can just accept shorter heater life. At least thats what I understand.. I have no personal experience with it.
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Old 10-17-2016, 03:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
The HotRod description says:
Suburban reducer includes a built-in Anode


It appears that the Atwood install does NOT include an anode and is intended for short term use so that the tank is "empty" most of the time, or you can just accept shorter heater life. At least thats what I understand.. I have no personal experience with it.
Thanks Gordon I was searching around & could not find details on the version they sell for use on the Atwoods.

One of the nice things about the Atwood water heaters is that they are aluminum and do not require the owner to remember to replace the anodes regularly in order to keep them from corroding and extend there self life.

Sounds like the use of the Hott Rod on an Atwood due to the introduction of metal to the tank may not be such a good thing.
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Old 10-18-2016, 11:29 AM   #11
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An anode in the aluminum tank would promote corrosion so one is not installed.
I second the Fastar tankless unit.

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Fiberglass RV mobile app
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Old 10-18-2016, 11:43 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Thanks Gordon I was searching around & could not find details on the version they sell for use on the Atwoods.

One of the nice things about the Atwood water heaters is that they are aluminum and do not require the owner to remember to replace the anodes regularly in order to keep them from corroding and extend there self life.

Sounds like the use of the Hott Rod on an Atwood due to the introduction of metal to the tank may not be such a good thing.
Some steel water heater tanks are porcelain coated on the inside to prevent corrosion. I know this because I use old porcelain coated water heater tanks to build reverse flow bbq smokers with.
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Old 10-18-2016, 01:13 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Johnny M View Post
Some steel water heater tanks are porcelain coated on the inside to prevent corrosion. I know this because I use old porcelain coated water heater tanks to build reverse flow bbq smokers with.
Yes they are and that is the case with the Suburban hot water tanks so the use of the Hott Rod is fine.

But not true of the Atwood hot water tank found in most Scamps and other FG trailers.

Thus my question as to what ill effects the use of the Hott Rod even without the anode attached may have on the life of the Atwood tank due to incompatibility of aluminium tanks with what ever metals the Hott Rod and its metal plug may be made of?
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