Installation of an electric hot water heater - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-17-2006, 09:09 AM   #1
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We received our "new to us" trailer last week and now it's time to add a few mods. I'm going to start with a "Hot Shot" electric heating coil for the hot water heater. When we camp at a campground that has electricity available I do not want to have to light the propane at the hot water heater. With this mod, all I need to do is flip a switch and the water will heat with electricity. Quiet and inexpensive.

As I do this install I will post pics and an explanation of the steps involved. The first thing I'll need to find is the electricity controll box in the trailer and the AC and DC panels....still looking!

Paul in Portland
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Old 09-17-2006, 04:40 PM   #2
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The idea of propane-free hot water when camping at serviced sites is appealing, and if I were buying a new water heater I would get the electric option. Having said that, retrofitting such a heater has some possible consequences, and I suggest researching them carefully. We had at least one thread discussing this issue, but I can't find it at the moment - perhaps it was almost a year ago, and lost in last year's hacker attack on the forum? I think both Atwood and Suburban have warnings posted on their websites.
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Old 09-18-2006, 05:44 PM   #3
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The installation is done....took a little less than 1/2 hour to complete...now we will have hot water at a campground without needing to use propane.

Here is a pic of the package I purchased @ Camping World for $92.00
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Old 09-18-2006, 05:52 PM   #4
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The first thing I did was to turn off the water to the trailer and I closed the lines going in and out of the Atwood 6gal. hot water heater. Then I released the pressure.

I unscrewed the nylon plug and drained the water out. I replaced the nylon plug with the appropriate adaptor and screwed in the heater coil. The next step was to attached the thermostate to the pressure releif valve with some zip ties. After that I simply had to connect 3 wires together and plug in the heater element to a 110v plug inside the trailer.

Job done. The package contained easy to follow instructions
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Old 09-18-2006, 05:55 PM   #5
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The thermostat attached to the pressure releif valve
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Old 09-18-2006, 06:02 PM   #6
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The way it looks inside the water heater area now. One is a close up of the heater coil and one is an overview of the completed area. Notice the gray plug cord going into the trailer. Soon I will hard wire this plug to it's own 15amp circuit breaker.

This mod was easy to do.
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Old 09-18-2006, 06:06 PM   #7
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Now the instructions say that this installation does not interfear with the use of propane when it is needed for hot water. Apparently these wires are out of the way of the heat generated by the flame.
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Old 09-20-2006, 09:17 AM   #8
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Personally, I'd think I would zip tie the wires away from the gas flame as far as I could.

Does the instructions tell you to mount the thermostat to the side of the overflow? Often wondered if I got one of these, where the t'stat went.
I think the other thing I would do is put the water back in and feel the water temperature as the t'stat opened a few times to feel comfortable that it didn't get too hot.

Let us know how it works. One thing I've heard bad is that it gets rid of the sacrificial rod but I know you don't even have one on your heater. Other than that, if the thermostat works well, it looks decent to me.
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