Just gas or gas/electric water heater? Feedback wanted. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-07-2010, 09:32 PM   #1
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Just gas or gas/electric water heater? Feedback wanted.

I need to replace the water heater in my Scamp as the original has a rusted out tank and has not been functional since we bought the trailer. Just looking at the Atwood units and wonder what people think of the gas/electric units? Is it worth the extra $70 or is gas fine? Does the heater use so much gas that might make the electric option worthwhile? Thanks.

Found a gas unit with the outside door for $269. Gas/electric is $350. That's the cheapest I can find right now.
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:29 AM   #2
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We have a 2007 Scamp 13' with the gas water heater. We also have a motorhome with a gas/electric water heater and we use the electricity whenever we're plugged in at a campground. If I had a choice at small price differential, I'd prefer the gas/electricity. However, you'd sure need to keep the trailer a long time and use the heater often to justify the $70 additional cost. Not sure you'd ever get your money back so I'd buy the gas only heater unless the trailer was used extensively and the water heater turned on most of the time.
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:48 AM   #3
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We have a gas/electric and sure like the flexibility.

When electricity is available we always use it. Same for the fridge. Gas is a must for boondocking. The gas side occasionally blows out on really windy days. It is safe - there is an auto shut off feature.
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Old 09-08-2010, 06:18 PM   #4
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I was making a similar decision and discovered another wrinkle. The "Direct Ignition" feature. I thought I would be using the AC option infrequently, but having an electronic ignition is something I could use every time I camped and would probably save my eyebrows when I light it.

The price of a 6 gallon Atwood water heater with Electronic ignition is about $100 more than the pilot model.

In the end what I thought was a leaking water heater turned out to be a leaky sink trap above it, so I have another year or two to ponder the decision!

Regards,

Matt
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Old 09-08-2010, 06:54 PM   #5
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I replaced the 'gas only - extrernally lit pilot' with a 'gas -ESI/electric' model.

IMHO spend the extra for the gas/electric, you will never be sorry.

Before when I pulled into a campsite and tried to light the pilot in the rain, wind, and dark I wouldn't even think of taking a shower.

Now, I can even drive down the road, pull-in, and shower immediately.
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:09 PM   #6
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I hadn't given any thought to the electronic ignition feature on the gas/electric model. That feature would be enough to cause me to spend the extra money for the combo unit.
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:38 AM   #7
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I have the gas only and no it does not use a great deal of gas to run but I have to say having the electonic igniiton feature the same as what my furnace has would sure be a treat! Lighting the gas on the water heater is not my fav thing to do!
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:25 PM   #8
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I'm on the other side, the hot water heater in mine is electric only which works for me because I'm always hooked up. If not, I'd just heat water on the propane stove.
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:16 PM   #9
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Thank you all for the feedback. Knowing that it's not a huge gas sucker, I went ahead with the gas-only unit. Although I did think about the electric ignition, it was too much added expense for me. For that extra money I can light it manually a few times! Kinda like my garage - I got a quote for $5000 to raise the ehader so I could get the camper in withpout taking the wheels off. For $5000, I can take off the wheels quite a few times! It's getting delivered on Saturday and I'll take some pictures as i go along and maybe post them. I know people like to see how hard some jobs are by looking at pictures.
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:13 PM   #10
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It should go pretty smoothly if you have the drop in replacement. This video may be of interest:



Regards,

Matt

I read a tip recently about heating using just the pilot light. The poster recommended trying to leave the water heater in the pilot position overnight and it's enough to keep the water acceptably warm overnight - in his experience. I have an old Suburban, and when it cycles on, it's like someone opened a blowtorch!
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:23 PM   #11
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Bryan, you may be interested in adding a Hot Shot to your propane hot water heater. You'll then have an electric/propane hot water heater. See this topic for how it's done:
Installation of an electric hot water heater
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:28 PM   #12
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I added electric element kits to 4 different trailers that I have owned. I would never buy a water heater that didn't have both the electric and gas set up.

I prefer the Lightning Rod to the Hott Rod kits.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb Sutton View Post
I prefer the Lightning Rod to the Hott Rod kits.
Herb is the setup the same for both brands? How about cost... comparable? Why do you prefer one over the other?

THANKS! Inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:16 AM   #14
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I found the Lightning Rod much easier to install. I tried unscrewing the Hott Rod element so as to drain the tank and it sheared off. I went back to Lightning Rod.

Prices are about the same. They work on the same principles.
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Old 09-15-2010, 05:33 AM   #15
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Thanks Herb. Seems this is a pretty common and desirable mod.
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:11 AM   #16
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Add-on igniter for gas heater.

Hi;
I had posted an article and pictures of an add-on Sparker igniter that uses a 9V battery and you just turn it on when starting up the gas water heater.
If the flame blows out, it automatically starts sparking to re-light the pilot, before the auto shut-off engages. Neat gadget that works well!
See:
<http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f56/neat-atwood-water-heater-re-igniter-35354.html>
In my case, I bought it from auction site for about $25 with shipping. However, I think they are more than that regularly.
I also installed a Hott-Rod later, which is also OK.
Good luck.
Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Thanks Herb. Seems this is a pretty common and desirable mod.
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