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Old 01-29-2007, 09:23 AM   #1
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How Hot Should My Shower Be ?

All-righty........ Since you kind folks were so good to get me through my heating woes, tell me :

How much should I be enjoying my shower time ?

How soon before your shower do you turn on the HW heater ?

Is there an adjustment to the HW temp ?

How hot should the water get ? and how long should it last ?

I've been turning on the heater about a 1/2 hour before and find I must turn the valve allll the way to HOT to get some lukewarm water. Combined with my 67 degree cabin........ I ain't happy !

Why doesn't the heater run off 110 too and leave my propane alone ?

Am I being to wimpy about this comfort thing ?

I Thank You and my wife Thanks you !

P.U. Stinky in FLA


T & K

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Old 01-29-2007, 09:44 AM   #2
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Once we park, we turn on our W/H and leave it on for the duration of our stay. There is a tempurature adjustment, at least on ours...I assume on yours too. However, the water heaters are small - ours is only ten gallons and I know some are only six. Ours allows the two of us to both have stop/start "navy" showers but not long luxurious ones like at home, we are after all camping! For a longer shower, we leave time for the W/H to reheat between the two of us...but it only takes 20-30 minutes to reheat.

If the hot water is "hotter" than comfortable (set towards high), then you mix cold in with it at the faucet, then you will be able to get a slightly longer shower than if you keep your W/H temp lower...make sense?

You shouldn't be miserable...but your trailer can't quite compare to staying in a Ritz Carlton ~ except, you know who has been sleeping in your bed in your trailer!

As far as the heater being propane, I'd much rather that be the case than 110...leaves you more options as to where you can go. With 110, you are tethered to an outlet or a very long extension cord.


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Old 01-29-2007, 09:53 AM   #3
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Hello B4WEDI,

Maybe I can offer a little insight. We turn our HWH on about a half hour before using the shower. The water heater has a thermostat that will turn the burner off, and it will go on again if more HW is needed. If you turn a faucet on after the HWH has heated up the water, you will find that the water is VERY hot. Try waiting for the HWH to cycle off before testing the water. Ours makes a distinctive sound when it is on, as I'm sure yours does to.

I'm not sure aboutthe 110v. thing. I've never missed that, and propane seems to go pretty far, even with the furnace, HWH, and fridge(on gas).

The tank is only six gallons. A typical household HWH is 30-75 gallons or more. This will give you an idea of how you should use your HW.

You want to take showers that use as little water as possible for a couple of reason:

1) You don't want to run out of HW. And unless you are at a site with full hook-ups, you want to make sure your freshwater tank is topped off.

and more importantly

2) All that water that is going down the drain is filling up your gray tank. This may not matter if you don't mind running to the dump station frequently, or if you can release some of that gray water descreetly in the campsite.

So wet body rather quickly, shut water off, soap, rinse quickly, water off.

If we are careful, we can get a total of 3 showers and do dishes twice without filling the gray tank. We plan on doing dishes at the same time as shower as long as there is HW left in the tank.

Best wishes.

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Old 01-29-2007, 09:55 AM   #4
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Hi there Stinky!

Your HW hetaer is 6 gallons and takes about 15 to 20 minutes to heat-up depending on a long list of things. As Shari mentions it should be set high. I believe it came from JC set at 115F. At first I was alarmed at the high sdetting but in the camping world it makes lots of sense, you need only a small flow of hot to make the water comfortable. The less hot water you use the longer it lasts [sorry for the dumb comment]. We leave our on all the time once we set-up. Takes so little gas to kep it hot better to have hot water than wait. You will see that others tell you to turn it off at night. Either way is fine. I actually enjoy a hot shower while the coffee is brewing and that happens pretty early so I leave it on.
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Old 01-29-2007, 09:55 AM   #5
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Hi P.U. and Ima

You want to enjoy a shower? Whatever floats your rubber ducky...

You'll have a manual for Atwood 4-6-10 gallon LP Gas Water Heater. Operation and controls are similar for whichever capacity. In my manual the "How to operate your water heater" section begins in the lower right corner of page 3. That includes instructions on how to change the temperature setting.

Check the time that you turn on the water heater. Stay close by and listen while it's still firing up; try to avoid using any hot water in the interim so you can get a baseline number. Check the time that the noise stops. Even without an exact number you can tell when it's at full heat because the thermostat shuts down the firing cycle and it gets quiet. Simple. I could imagine you wouldn't be "happy" if you're taking a shower like at home with the water running constantly. You've got to use the switch on the shower head to turn the water on and off while you're soaping, etc -- the ol' navy shower y'know.

Electric HW heaters? Possible I guess, but what's the point? I see 110V fridge replacements put in older trailers and it virtually anchors the owner to plug in sites.

The shower & grey tank capacity doesn't offer like-home showering. It gets closer if you have both a water and sewer hookup at a campsite. Many folks find that showering at a campground shower works well and saves tank capacity.

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Old 01-29-2007, 09:58 AM   #6
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When we started out we would turn the water heater on and off as needed and found that not only do you have to remember to do it, but it seems to use more propane to heat the water each time you need it. There are two of us and we enjoy hot showers if we wait a few minutes between showers. Ours is a six gallon propane electric combo. Have not tried it electric yet.
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:31 AM   #7
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If its not as simple as just turning up the thermostat, it might be that there is a faulty or mis-configured valve in the plumbing system somewhere.

Another forum member had the problem you're describing, and it turned out to be a faulty mixing valve in his single-lever kitchen faucet; It was allowing cold water into the hot line, even when the faucet was off.

I also wonder...if there is a water heater bypass kit installed: (do they come from the factory equipped w/ those now, or no?)...if one of those 2 valves were in the wrong position, would that cause the "luke-warm" effect?

fwiw, my 6 gallon takes 10-15 minutes to heat up. We don't often take back-to-back showers, so I'm not sure if showerer #2 would run out, or not, but one thing I have noted is that when I shower, the heater shuts off about the same time I finished getting dressed. so...recovery time isn't long. shave, dry hair (and my hair dries really fast), get dressed...right about the time that sequence finishes, I hear the heater shut down.
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:45 AM   #8
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This will sound like a stupid question, but make sure it is firing propane, and not running on just the electric element, if you have a two-way heater.

If you have the propane/electric water heater it will have a faster recovery rate when running both.

I also noted that the Suburban water heaters have the same recovery rate for both the 6 gal and the 10 gal. That means you get a few extra gallons at the start, but the 10 gallon won't heat back up any faster.
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:47 AM   #9
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May be a plumbing problem

The water at the start of the shower should be possible to get really hot. IF not, there may be an issue with mixing valve, or clog in hot water line, or something physical blocking flow of hot water. Worth having dealer or plumber or someone check out, as 25 mintues should be enough to fully heat water in little tank... If you can remove the cartridge and check it, you may find small clog or something stuck...

You can ADD an electric heating rod to the tank, as an option for some of the Atwood heaters, though re-sealing is important. This will save propane when you are hooked up and plugged in, though it won't really allow longer showers.

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:48 AM   #10
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My 10 gallon Atwood has a 10,000 BTU burner. That means it will run on a gallon of propane for about 9 hours. A 30 pound cylinder will be "around" 7 gallons so that gives you about 63 hours of burner time. Usually after the burner cycles off, the pilot will keep the water hot for about 6-8 hours.

I found that I can take a nice "normal" shower by mixing hot with cold water. But typically, Florida water is 72 out of the ground where northern well water is closer to 50.
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Old 01-29-2007, 01:26 PM   #11
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I have the gas/electric model on my Classic. Typically we turn on the electric only. At shower time we flip the gas switch by the bathroom sink and we now have 2 heat sources. There is no adjustment on mine for water temp. It's hot!

Now since you have a new trailer, my guess is that you may have one of the winter bypass valves open. This is allowing the cold water to partially infliltrate the hot water exiting the water heater thus lowering the temp on the hot water side.

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Old 01-29-2007, 03:45 PM   #12
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You should definitely check your bypass valves first. Next the thermostat setting. The higher the stored temp. the less volume of hot water you will use and the longer and or hotter the shower can be. Next what type shower mixing valve do you have? The new Moen positemp and all the others that meet national housing standards have high temperature limit settings. You may have to remove the handle and reposition the handle stop. I would remove it myself because with the small tank you will need to increase the handle position to maintain the same temp through your shower. As for electric verse gas the gas has approx 10 times the recovery rate that the electric will have. You will find that most 110 electric elements are only 1000 watts. That is allot for a gen set or load on your panel but it is not much for heating water. Residential heaters are often 4500 watts.
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Old 01-29-2007, 04:19 PM   #13
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Ours is 10 gal. , propane only . Once it has heated up initially and shut off , we have taken up to 4 back to back showers and not run out .
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Old 01-30-2007, 01:11 PM   #14
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!!! Ding Ding Ding !!!

The winners of this weeks Rubber Ducky award got to Chuck, Jack & Phil the plumber !
Thank You Gents !

The correct answer to the incorrect setup was: Open Bypass Valve

A Hot Shower ! Weee - oooo ! I am One Happy Camper !
[well, make that 2 happy campers, Mrs. Stinky is thrilled with the results too ! ]

And finally, a Big Hearty Thanx to all who sent in an entry and just to be fair, I would like to give you all another chance at the Grand Prize. Here is a second, but related question......

I did sit and quietly listen, while timing the HWH cycle. Over 1/2 hour went by and the little sucker was still going ! I decded to go outside and have a looksee.

Well, even I couldn't miss the puddle of water on the ground under the tank !
I opened the door and found the Watts Regulator blowoff valve pissin' a pretty good stream. What else to do, but reach in and jiggle it and open it up, spashing various parts of my anatomy with scalding hot water ! Hey ! Hot ! But it worked..... valve stopped dripping so bad and the HWH turned off.

So now, what sayeth you ?

[ My guess is that as it was leaking, fresh cold water was coming into the tank and the HWH had to keep cooking to heat the inflow. But what's up with the valve ?]

Sign me ......
Nut-so Stinky in FLA


T & K

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