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Old 04-07-2010, 12:47 PM   #1
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1969 31' Sovereign
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Water heating question

Several years ago, I was looking for an instantaneous, gas-fired water heater. Paloma made one for marine applications which was, although not advertised as such, appropriate for RV use. I'd like to do this with the AS while I'm fixing it up. Has anyone heard of a tankless water heater for RV use? Anyone installed one?
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Old 04-07-2010, 01:31 PM   #2
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Tim from the Vap used a Twintemp Junior.

PrecisionTemp.com: For Recreational Vehicles and Boats
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:18 PM   #3
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No experience with the TwinTemp Junior, but have a PrecisionTemp RV 500 in our Caravel. Works great.
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:31 PM   #4
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Given the small size of the standard water heater - 6 gals or so, and the short runs of pipe, it seems to me that an instant water heater is almost redundant - is it worth the cost?

I have a new Rennai at home so I understand the savings compared to "normal" (in my case - it replaced two 50-gal water heaters) but not so sure on savings on such a small scale. Unless, of course, the instant heater is comparatively priced.

Pat
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:31 PM   #5
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precision temp rv500 is now in our 61 bambi. i had to make the cut out a bit bigger but it is well worth the effort. they are pricey but spread that over the years of use, the easy winterizing, and the best is hot water as long as you have 12volts and propane.

don
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:50 PM   #6
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And a water supply, and a septic system. I'm not convinced these are better than a standard WH unless you are a park sitter with full hook-ups. The 9 gallons in my WH mix with about equal cold to give me enough water to fill my black/grey tank full. My thought is to minimize water use, rather than make it possible to over use it, but I'm thinking of boondocking longevity, not a twenty minute shower.
Is there a benefit to on-demand hot water systems if you are only taking military showers?

Rich the Viking


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Originally Posted by alclad View Post
precision temp rv500 is now in our 61 bambi. i had to make the cut out a bit bigger but it is well worth the effort. they are pricey but spread that over the years of use, the easy winterizing, and the best is hot water as long as you have 12volts and propane.

don
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:02 AM   #7
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Ah! But is using propane to keep your 9 gallons hot when you're not taking showers worth it.... especially when boondocking? It's the equivalent of leaving your car running in the garage in case you have to drive it. Having an unlimited quantity of hot water is a nice side benefit, but is not my primary reason for wanting a tankless system.
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:51 AM   #8
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Thing is, there is no savings to be had that compare to the additional cost. Consider that we Airstreamers have water heaters that we can turn on or off from a switch in side the trailer (if we had to go outside and light the pilot each time, then my laziness would take over). Our practice is to turn it on before we need it, say before dinner diswashing time, then off after dinner. On again before morning showers, then off for the day.

The tank is so small that water heats very quickly; and the insulation is sufficient to permit the rapid heating of the water that has sat in the heater.

In this scenario, you just don't use that much gas. The payback time would be tremendous. I love my home Rinnai, but it has to give me some payback.

Pat
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:43 AM   #9
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Our practice is to turn it on before we need it, say before dinner diswashing time, then off after dinner. On again before morning showers, then off for the day. ... The tank is so small that water heats very quickly; and the insulation is sufficient to permit the rapid heating of the water that has sat in the heater.
Pat
Indeed. I'm so lazy / forgetful in fact, that if I turn the WH on while eating supper, wash dishes and turn off somewhere before bedtime ... there's usually plenty of hot water for a morning "submarine shower" even if I forget to turn the WH back on in the morning - which I often forget to do. So, for me it might run ten to fifteen minutes a day.

I've used instant-on tankless heaters in several homes, on houseboats, in Alaska remote cabins, etc. and they work just fine. I just can't justify the expense and hassle of replacing what "ain't broke." If I spent most of my time with hookups, I'd probably feel differently about the issue.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:16 AM   #10
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I have to add my vote for a regular Suburban type rv water heater. I take about ten minutes to heat up the tank and then just turn it off after a shower and dishes.

They are well insulated and hot water lasts the whole day. So if you remember to turn it off the heater runs about 15 minutes a day.

Get the DSI type for easy lighting inside. Half the cost and less retro fitting.
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:46 PM   #11
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Even in a household water heater I question weather the savings is as much as I hear touted by those who sell these. My water heater at home runs when hot water is being used, and for about 30 to 45 minutes after, depending on how much hot water was used, but I don't think the heat output is the same as an on-demand type. I would bet they are higher output to heat up the water almost instantly. If I don't use the hot water it runs about twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, depending on the ambient temps. This is a 50 gallon propane fired unit.
I do appreciate the people who are willing to try these things out. It helps the rest of us to make our decisions about what will or won't work for us. I haven't ruled out the possibility of these being beneficial in RV use, I just haven't heard that they are "mo betta enuf" to justify the cost and work to retrofit one in.
Thanks to Ellie & Carl for the thread!

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Old 04-08-2010, 01:19 PM   #12
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Well I will say that the Rinnai for the home has produced substantial savings. I had two 50-gal water heaters (which was overkill enough for Page and me). It takes a lot over the course of a month or a year to keep that water hot constantly.

It has only been about 5 months, so not enough to get some real history - but I think $25 per month savings is going to be a conservative number. An optimistic (but not out of the question) estimate would be $40.

For us the Rinnai cost about $2,000 installed. Obama sent me a check for $600 in energy savings credit (thanks, everyone). It will still take awhile to recoup the expense, but as I am now retired, anything that reduces my monthly nut is a good thing.

Pat
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
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No experience with the TwinTemp Junior, but have a PrecisionTemp RV 500 in our Caravel. Works great.
It uses about a pint of water to get started. Not great for boondocking.

Our Excella has a "standard" water heater with the on/off switch in the bathroom. We turn it on first thing in the morning, off after breakfast dishes. Back on when we start dinner, off after showers. Never comes on in the middle of the night, or in the middle of the day. Probably doesn't use much more propane than the RV500 in the Caravel.

The RV500 was installed in the Caravel by the PO. Don't know that I would spring for one, probably wouldn't. Two circuit boards, three temp sensors, lots of wiring, just to heat water. Seems silly unless you need lots of constant hot water for some reason.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:54 PM   #14
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What about using a 110V on demand water heater such as the ones sold at Lowe's etc., when at a campground or in storage? Save propane! Any thoughts?
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