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Old 12-06-2011, 09:14 AM   #1
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electric 7 gallon water heater

So we are in the planning stages as I start selling off yard ornaments to make way for the bus/get rid of old projects and spare parts(vehicles)

It will be me and my wife in the bus, for short weekends and such until we just hit the road sometime in the future.

I am looking at 7 gallon 120V water heater enough for a shower, wait 1/2 hr and another shower.

Limited use for dish washing and hand washing.

I know and have used these type of water heaters in garage apartments and bathrooms

Any thoughts on this?

We are used to using "solar" bags so 5 gallons of sun warmed water is plenty for two showers in an outdoor tent while camping

Any real world experience using these in an "RV"

We will have propane for stove,furnace and smoker availible just didn't know if the on demand heaters are worth it

Thanks for advise on the 2nd of many possible stupid questions
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:20 PM   #2
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Re: electric 7 gallon water heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
... Thanks for advise on the 2nd of many possible stupid questions
The only stupid question is the one you don't ask!

We use 6 gallon RV water heater in the Class C (AC/LP bought new in 2006 have never used the LP side). So 7 gallons should be enough. We looked at the electric ones when the ancient Bowen on the Class C sprung a leak. But none we looked at would fit under the range in the only space we had to put it in. So we drove 100 miles to get an Atwood RV water heater from the closest RV supply place (Camping World), It works great, was too expensive and I dislike being "stuck" buying a pricy thing when there are much cheaper alternatives available off the shelf at a nearby Home Depot. Many folks won't use an house style one because #1 they think only "RV approved" stuff can go in an RV and #2 they do not have the space to put a house fixture in.

It amazes me the amount of people who claim that a household refrigerator cannot be put into an RV because bouncing down the road will ruin it. We have 1 undercounter refrigerator and 1 undercounter freezer that have been bouncing down the roads since 2006. Added another undercounter refrigerator that has traveled from Central NM to the TX coast and back... power brown out in campground killed it a few months back. Whole town has crappy power. Come to think of it, it's been many years since we lived someplace that had good stable power.

When it comes to "household" stuff... If it can run off of 120VAC then go for it. Stay away from 220 stuff. If a water heater has two heater elements, you will only be able to run one. Same for an electric dryer. Run only one heater and it will work on 120. LP clothes dryers will operate in a bus on 120VAC. You do not want power hogs as in over 30 years of camping in campgrounds, I have yet to be in a campground with stable power. I take that back. We stayed in Ft Wilderness in Dizzy World. The best campground and stable power.

"Household" LP stuff... use flexible LP hoses not solid copper or articulated metal hoses. You can have custom hoses made cheaper than you can buy premade in some propane dealers. Bearman Propane in Hixson (Chattanooga TN) built a few for us years ago. We had a hose built for us in South GA as well. Exhaust ducts need to have a couple of screws popped into the joints as well as being taped with the metal sticky tape.Use your common sense and understand that you are in a moving flexing vehicle and install accordingly.

BTW, this for $226 and free shipping is what we are putting in the bus. We have their L5 on the food cart and like it.
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:53 PM   #3
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Re: electric 7 gallon water heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
...It amazes me the amount of people who claim that a household refrigerator cannot be put into an RV because bouncing down the road will ruin it. We have 1 undercounter refrigerator and 1 undercounter freezer that have been bouncing down the roads since 2006. Added another undercounter refrigerator that has traveled from Central NM to the TX coast and back... power brown out in campground killed it a few months back.
Lorna, I have a couple questions for you:
1. Do you run your fridge and freezer off pure sine wave or modified sine wave inverter?
2. Why did the fridge die during the brownout? If you have breakers or fuses, shouldn't those have protected it? Do you have a suggestion as to how you can protect your electrical system at campgrounds, other than testing the circuit before plugging in?
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:17 PM   #4
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Re: electric 7 gallon water heater

I use a 4 gallon electric water heater. I'm quite happy about it.
The above is the synopsis - feel free to skip to the picture at the bottom - otherwise get a fresh cup of coffee and read on - It got a little windy, but maybe something you could noodle over in this mess ...

When I was trying to figure out what to use I really didn't want to use propane - mostly because Ididn't want to cut any more holes in it than I had to (I like my bus )- so I didn't really consider any RV appliances at all, since they all seem to need some sort of vent.

I was planning for off grid - so my questions were -
1) How often will some external AC be available - doing the battery -> inverter -> water heater thing (which seems to be what most think of right off the bat) was definitely out - as Albert Einstein noted about nuclear energy -"It's a hell of a way to boil water".
Just a personal prediliction, I think building a DC system that will take a 125 AMP hit for 20 minutes is way outta proportion for a little hot water, or for anything else for that matter - but that's just me - to each their own, that's why we're building busses, huh?
2) how long does the water stay 'useably hot' in the tank, with normal use.
3) recovery time - obviouly, not too big a deal unless, for example the heater holds enough for 2 showers and you have 3 people show up at 'shower time'.
4) Is the tank big enough to supply the water you need at the temperature you want for as long as you want it - considering #1.

'Instant hot' heaters were out because of a) the propane thing and b) electric ones require an immediately available power source (yeah, yeah, yeah I know battery->inverter->water heater - I'm not spending a grand on a system plus the water heater so I can have hot rather than warm water to wash my hands twice a day - just me )
#2, #3 and #4 of course depend on #1. I already worked out that while I was working out the electrical system. Best bang for the buck (for me) was providing AC to charge the batteries, etc. daily for about 1 1/2 hours.

The 'power plan' was for off grid with external AC supplied by a generator, so worked out #1 by checking power useage (excluding power used to work on the bus) and worked out my particular 'cost/benefit' - it was 2 batteries and recharging every day.
You could add batteries to say, two days worth, and run the generator every other day, but you'd just run it twice as long (no benefit) and requires more batteries (additional expense). Running daily gives me a daily 'AC window', as well as saving a buck or two on extra batteries. During that window I do all the 'big' AC stuff, vacuuming, water heater etc. ANyhow - this seems to be getting off in the weeds here , but actually gives you #1.

As to #2 I had no way of knowing and no way of testing, so we'd just have to see how this worked out in the end.

As to #3 Didn't much matter to me, as it's only me or me and one other person.

As to #4 - Pretty much just a refined WAG.

After slappling that whole slumgullion together -
For size I'd never really heard many complaints about RV water heaters in this regard, so just looked at then for size. They're usally something like 6 gallons and a recovery time of something like about 30 minutes. I so I just found an electric that hit that and used 120 volts, would fit on a 15 amp circuit comfortably, wound up with the 4 gallon/1200 watt job (on sale at Lowe's - even better!) . We hit #1 pretty well, for the other three we just tried to get what was commonly available to jive with our guesses.

Put it in and of course was curious - since I had absolutely no idea about how much a shower took, etc. So I took a shower the 'normal' way - just showered until the water got cold - about a 20 minute shower with no hot water left in the tank.
Took one then with an eye towards making it last - get wet, water off, soap up, rinse off. Took showers like that about 5 minutes apart (without the water heater 'powered') until the water ran cold. Got 3 that way.

Anyhow - to the chase - I can heat the water during the my 'AC cycle', then take one shower and have enough 'useably hot' water top last 'til the next 'AC cycle'. 'Useably hot' to me is warm to the touch - not really hot. I ususally take a shower while I run the generator in the evening, so there's time AC time to heat another full tank afterward. There's enough hot, I guess I should say 'comfortably warm' water to clean up and shave with in the morning, wash dishes couple of times and wash my hands a few times.
I put my water heater in the bathroom under the sink - bottom half of the cabinet on the left -

so the plumbing's simple. A tee on the outlet, one side to the shower - about 4' of pluming and a 24" regular faucet supply to the sink. Filled the space in the cabinet around the heater with plain old fiberglass.

If you skipped to here, you probably didn't miss much , if you read your way here - congrats on you patience, but wanted to but a little background in - others make different choices, but they may be based on other considerations.
Oh, just a final note - all this applies only during the winter for me - out here in the desert in the summer, when the temp is 110 degrees, ALL your water's hot water ...

Tom
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:41 PM   #5
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Re: electric 7 gallon water heater

Scary...I read your mind as I was scribbling and down loading info and pics from Lowes, apparently almost everything you said was already in my mind



110 V 7 gallons 1500 watts
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:56 PM   #6
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Re: electric 7 gallon water heater

Bingo.

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Old 12-06-2011, 03:10 PM   #7
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Re: electric 7 gallon water heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel Dan
Lorna, I have a couple questions for you:
1. Do you run your fridge and freezer off pure sine wave or modified sine wave inverter?
While traveling it runs off the POS Onan generator. The generator puts out AC power.

Quote:
2. Why did the fridge die during the brownout? If you have breakers or fuses, shouldn't those have protected it? Do you have a suggestion as to how you can protect your electrical system at campgrounds, other than testing the circuit before plugging in?
It was plugged into the sites power pole on their breaker. The refrigerator failed in order to protect the breaker! We don't run a protection system. They are pretty pricy. I have heard of a lot of folks who use a power management system similar to this or a voltage regulator. The brown out the refrigerator died during was a long one. The whole town suffers from them. I had a freezer once die from a brownout and the repair guy told me the brown outs were what killed appliances more than the surges. I have all ideas that the refrigerator compressor switch fried. same thing that happened to the big freezer. While it was feasible to replace the switch on the big freezer, the little unit was cheap and replaced at WalMart.
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:31 PM   #8
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Re: electric 7 gallon water heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
...We don't run a protection system. They are pretty pricy. I have heard of a lot of folks who use a power management system similar to this or a voltage regulator... I had a freezer once die from a brownout and the repair guy told me the brown outs were what killed appliances more than the surges...
Okay, I get it - actually my question was not very well thought out. Of course a breaker or fuse would protect you from a power surge, but not a power drop as in a brownout. I guess that voltage regulator you linked to would be the thing for that, but yes, it is pricey. But I suppose if you are frequently staying in places with unreliable electric, then it might be worth the cost.
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:49 PM   #9
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Re: electric 7 gallon water heater

YES,it was easiest site to get ball park numbers from and I figured they are located about everywhere a wally world is,so replacement would be easier, since wally world has prime camping availible

I started a folder a few months ago and just keep putting ideas and such into it
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:33 PM   #10
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Re: electric 7 gallon water heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
... I figured they are located about everywhere a wally world is,so replacement would be easier, since wally world has prime camping available...
You can also wallydock in Lowes parking lots! Also...

Kmart Stores
Target Stores
Sam's Club Stores (we are members, you have to go in and ask the manager. We have stayed at Sam's Club when the Wal-Mart next door couldn't allow it.. something about the "members only" part of Sam's Club I think. I suspect Costco is the same)
Costco Stores
Meijer Stores
Camping Worlds
Cracker Barrels (we like to have supper at night then have breakfast the next morning before leaving.. we usually don't have lunch when we eat breakfast at CB)
Menards Stores
Flying J Truck Stops (more than once!)
Loves Travel Stops
Pacific Pride Fuel Stops
Petro Truck Stops
Pilot Travel Centers
TA Travel Centers
Rest Areas (ask as you enter each state as many won't allow because the Rest Areas are getting dangerous. Many rest areas have a dump and you can get potable water there... sanitize the hose bibb, use your own hose to fill and I strongly suggest you filter your water as you won't know if there is a problem with the water until you are far down the road )
Bass Pro Shops
Cabala's (I have heard of some that have free dump stations)
Outdoor World
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