I'm Interested in the hot water Hott Rod - Fiberglass RV
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Old 02-25-2021, 12:54 AM   #1
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
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I'm Interested in the hot water Hott Rod

Its a bit of a nuisance to fire up the propane hot water, not to mention the propane consumption. Also, I haven't had the trailer long enough to know if the pilot light is up to providing reliable heat cycling.
Since we almost always stay in RV parks that have electricity it seems to make perfect sense to have an internal 120v electric hot water element inside the 6 gal tank. The Diamond Group Hott Rod is about $150 CDN with thermostat and wiring. This should provide hot water at any time, and simply activated by an internal wall switch.

I did a quick search, and didn't find any discussion about this mod...
Anyone?

Bob T.
'89 Bigfoot 17' DLX
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Old 02-25-2021, 02:20 AM   #2
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Why not use the 120 volt heating element already in your water heater? Or do you mean yours doesn't have one?
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Old 02-25-2021, 02:48 AM   #3
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it depends on what sort of water heater you have, but the ones I'm used to have an electric spark starter, so you just switch them on, after flushing any air out of hte hot water lines. when you switch it on, the red light lights, and a little while later you can hear a very faint fwhump of the gas lighting, and then the light goes out when it gets to temp. if you don't use hot water and its average temps outside expect it to cycle maybe once a day for a couple minutes to keep the tank hot. very little propane usage, really.

the furnace in my Escape 21, heating it to 67F for a few hours, then turning down to 63F until morning, I get about 2 weeks out of a 20 lb tank, 4 weeks out of the two of them. Fridge, stove, and water heater usage doesn't begin to dent it.
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Old 02-25-2021, 07:03 AM   #4
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Trailer: 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
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Our '96 Casita water heater was propane only. I installed the Hott Rod conversion, it replaces the anode rod. You have to cut out a section of the tank insulation to stick a sensor on the tank. The switch is sold separate. I just used a common wall switch that I mounted in a lower cabinet that is close to the water heater. We were spending winters in our camper at full hook up sites so it worked good for us.
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Old 02-25-2021, 08:03 AM   #5
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We had the propane only version in our first Casita. Considered the hot rod, but didn't want to lose the benefits of the anode as we were using all types of water. Ours was easy to light, and once it had heated the water I would turn the knob back to pilot. The pilot light alone kept the water hot for normal use. Of course it would have to be turned back to on when it was shower time.
I do know that Little House Customs, which sold everything Casita when they were in business, wouldn't sell them. Larry said a little inconvenience lighting the water heater was better than the price of installing a new one. Good luck.
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Old 02-25-2021, 08:56 AM   #6
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An 89 Bigfoot isn't going to have an electric option on the water heater, or an electric ignition.

I don't have experience with the product, but I'd check out the reviews (no reason to limit your search to fiberglass trailer forums) and see what people think. I think it's a great idea.

The water heater in your Bigfoot also quite likely doesn't have an anode.
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob T View Post
Its a bit of a nuisance to fire up the propane hot water, not to mention the propane consumption. Also, I haven't had the trailer long enough to know if the pilot light is up to providing reliable heat cycling.
Since we almost always stay in RV parks that have electricity it seems to make perfect sense to have an internal 120v electric hot water element inside the 6 gal tank. The Diamond Group Hott Rod is about $150 CDN with thermostat and wiring. This should provide hot water at any time, and simply activated by an internal wall switch.

I did a quick search, and didn't find any discussion about this mod...
Anyone?

Bob T.
'89 Bigfoot 17' DLX
Hi: Bob T... I'm always in "Hot water" so I don't need to worry about it!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 02-25-2021, 11:31 AM   #8
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My unit didn't come with an electric heating element and as an avid boondocker I would have no opportunity to use one. I did help a neighbor change this element in his trailer. Looks a lot like an automotive block heater. Great option if you have access to shore power.
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Old 02-25-2021, 12:43 PM   #9
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Trailer: 1993 Bigfoot 17 ftCB / 2011 Toyota Sienna
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Hot Rodd heater install.

I installed one in my 93 Bigfoot 17 about 10 years ago and it has worked fine. It takes about 3 hours or so and 'can' be used with the propane on for FAST hot water. I sure didn't have to pay $150 though. You'll need a 1 1/32" open ended wrench (I filed a 1" one to fit) to remove and replace it for Winters. Fiddly but do-able and install takes cutting the outer cardboard and insulation to mount the thermostat to the bare tank. The wire will fit through the propane grommet but AC plug will have to be replaced.
Good luck.
Mike .....>
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Old 02-25-2021, 12:53 PM   #10
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3 hours to heat the water? I guess 3 hours for the initial heat up from cold could be acceptable, depending on how well it does maintaining that temp once it's heated up, and you're using water. Otherwise, it seems impractical.
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Old 02-25-2021, 01:41 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=Michael Pupeza;806588] You'll need a 1 1/32" open ended wrench (I filed a 1" one to fit) to remove and replace it for Winters.

I use a 1/2" drive deep socket. 1 1/16 I think, but it's cold outside so I'm not going out to check. I just went through my socket sets until I found the right size, and carry it with me if I want to drain the tank while traveling. I have a lot of wrench sets but they all go from 1" to 1 1/16, never seen a 1 1/32 wrench, or socket.
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Old 02-25-2021, 02:46 PM   #12
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If you don't have an anode, in your water heater, you can screw in a hose bib instead of a plug, or bush down and screw in a 1/4" ball valve to get around the burner tube. Then it's simply a matter of opening the valve to drain the tank.

I don't get the "three hour" recovery time. The standard 1500 watt element takes about 20-30 minutes to get to full temp. And provides warm water much sooner than that.
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Old 02-25-2021, 07:19 PM   #13
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Mike, without the propane do you have to wait between showers?
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Old 02-25-2021, 07:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
I don't get the "three hour" recovery time. The standard 1500 watt element takes about 20-30 minutes to get to full temp. And provides warm water much sooner than that.
That has been my experience with electric elements also.
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Old 02-25-2021, 08:45 PM   #15
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
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Wow, that was a lot of feedback to digest.....thanks so much all.

Yes, no anode or any kind of element in mine (not really an issue in our extremely soft water region), and yes I would want to remove it in winter to drain the tank.

I'll also check over at IRV2.com but I'm pretty sure I'm going to order one. Install looks easy enough as my tank is very accessible. I'll post a couple pics when all is done. Not too worried about recovery time, as I'm sure back to back showers aren't going to happen anyway with a 6 gal tank anyway. I WILL keep the propane operation (has to be fired up from outside the trailer), and like mentioned above, having both going at the same time is entirely possible and would be handy in a pinch if you happened to need quick recovery.

Another mod I'm thinking about is to spray foam the exterior of the tank with a high temperature resistant product. Maybe I can use the existing cardboard cover over the pink insulation as a 'form'. Some of you may recall how much difference there was when household water heater tanks switched over from pink to foam. HUGE difference, and the outside metal shell even feels cool to the touch.

Thanks again!
Bob T.
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Old 02-26-2021, 07:55 AM   #16
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Hi: All... If ordering a trailer and a dual fuel water heater option is offered I recommend using it. I never shut off the electric switch during camping season, so plugging in the trailer also starts the water heater. Usually it's hot within 20 min. and I'm always in "Hot water"!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 02-26-2021, 08:09 AM   #17
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Bob T; if you do install the Hott Rod, be sure to get the tank really clean where the thermostat sticks on. I didn't get it clean enough and it didn't stick so I had to secure it with zip ties around the tank.
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Old 02-26-2021, 11:29 PM   #18
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Trailer: 1993 Bigfoot 17 ftCB / 2011 Toyota Sienna
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Hott Rod heater install.

The Hott Rod is a single rod about 5-6" long and probably around 3/8" dia. (Going from memory since BF is under over a foot of snow) and is rated at around 600-700 Watts. Heating 6 gal of water from mid 40s F (well water) to 140 F works out to that 3 - 3 1/2 hour timeframe by calculation
My system has the propane pipe partly blocking access so an open end wrench was needed. The electrical end plug is removeable so, if clear, a socket of the right size should work. It may be 1 1/16" size, but by filing a 1", I was able to slip over the shoulders enough to work. I stamped the 1/32 on the wrench and keep it only for that job.
I was also able, on that auction site, to buy an automatic propane re-igniter for the Attwood Water Heater that starts to spark and re-ignite the pilot if it blows out and before the valve shuts it off as it cools. It was a commercial product back in the day, but I've never seen one since - it runs on a 9V battery. Neat item!
Mike .....>
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Old 02-27-2021, 02:24 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
Bob T; if you do install the Hott Rod, be sure to get the tank really clean where the thermostat sticks on. I didn't get it clean enough and it didn't stick so I had to secure it with zip ties around the tank.
Thanks, good tip. I've also read its a little tricky to get complete contact between the straight sided thermostat and the mostly curved surfaces of the water tank...but must be doable.
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Old 02-27-2021, 01:16 PM   #20
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For twice the $$ a new dual heat 6gal waterheater. Then sell the old one and be done with it.

https://www.unitedrv.com/?utm_source...eid=bf9babcc40
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