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Old 03-11-2018, 01:59 AM   #1
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Excel tankless/ventless hot water heater reviews appreciated

Has anyone purchased and used the Excel tankless hot water heater? Looking for feedback as am very interested in replacing current Atwood. Is it truly ventless? And does it work as advertised?

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Old 03-11-2018, 06:12 AM   #2
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One problem with ventless, especially in a small space like a trailer, is that all of the humidity from the combustion will end up in the trailer. We have enough trouble controlling humidity in cool weather from just breathing, LOL : ) .
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Old 03-11-2018, 07:00 AM   #3
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I am considering that exact model. I am sure you have seen the many positive reviews. There are also quite a few youtube videos on the heater. There is a member in an Airstream FB group who recommended them lately. I messaged her about specifics and this is what she wrote:

"On the Casita forums, there have been a few people who've added switches to an active vent which are tied to the Excel's igniter. That way, when the water heater turns on, the vent would automatically start at the same time. Honestly, I'm just not that concerned about it. I've rarely had the water heater on for more than a few minutes, even when showering, so it's putting off way less CO2 than the stove would be when cooking. As a safeguard, I do open the cabinet when using the shower."

She loves hers. She has a good point in that an on demand water heater is not going to run much at all. I like the idea of an active vent, just to keep humidity down. I contacted Excel and they sent me a pdf of the installation manual. It has clearances. They actually recommend active venting.

Here is what the Excel rep wrote me about ventilation:

"Beside the vent grill , you will need an active ventilation to circulate fresh air into the encolosure and out with the hot air.

You need active ventilation system installed , like in a Boat.

http://myboatsgear.com/2016/12 /27/boat-ventilation/

You can place an active ventilation in the enclosed casework , using a small fan below sucking fresh air and another one above blowing the exhaust hot air
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.htm l?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m 570.l1313.TR12.TRC2.A0.H0.X12+ volt+fan.TRS0&_nkw=12+volt+fan &_sacat=0"

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-11-2018, 08:10 AM   #4
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Just checked the website and these water heaters have an ODS.

"A Vent-Free appliance can be installed inside and does not require cumbersome and costly installation of flues and ductwork because it is outfitted with state of the art ODS (Oxygen Depletion Safety shutoff device)."

I live at 5,400 ft above MSL and some ODS equipped gas appliances have trouble operating at higher elevations. By trouble I mean that the appliance will not turn on.
Check to see if Excel publishes a max operating altitude for their heater.

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Old 03-11-2018, 09:18 AM   #5
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Pat. I believe I saw max altitude of 9,200 ft for this model Excel. One of the benefits I like cause most other models I saw were limited for the reason you state.

Adventure.AS. Agree with your concern. Don't like humidity either. What do you think of Venturewest response. Limited use time maybe negates that concern? Thanks for that info Adventure.AS. Seems like you are a go. Where are you purchasing it? I called company rep and they are all out of stock now. New shipment next Friday though.
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Old 03-11-2018, 02:13 PM   #6
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On demand Water Heater

About a year ago I installed a Girard tankless RV water heater, and love the fact that we are not carrying 10 extra gallons of water, and that as long as you have propane and water, you're good. It takes a bit of getting used to using, and adjusting water temp with flow, rather than mixing with cold.
As far as the venting issue your post spoke about, mine mounted in the same place as the original heater, and vents outside through the cover. The blower starts as soon as water flows, and continues a short time after water glow stops, very similar to your gas furnace.
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Old 03-11-2018, 02:26 PM   #7
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Excel tankless/ventless hot water heater reviews appreciated

Have a PrecisionTemp 500 series. Mounted in essentially the same hole as my old Atwood 6 gallon. It vents OUTSIDE like it should. It provides hot water continuously, even when my family takes ‘hotel showers’ when we are hooked up.

Ventless systems could cause issues even if they supposedly shut down if oxygen gets low. They dump moisture, odors, heat and combustion products into the space they are mounted in. Not a good idea, IMHO.

Get one that’s really designed for an RV instead of jury-rigging ventilation or taking other chances with your life....doing it the right way, instead of the “cheap” way is far safer. The outfit that says it’s “just fine” has no skin or lives in the game. Adequate ventilation is hard to provide inside a well sealed Airstream. In a house, it’s still dicey.

I would not trust an ODS device (built by the lowest bidder) with the lives of my family and my pets. Vent combustion products safely outside, and make sure the propane, fire, and CO alarms inside the living space are working properly.
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Old 03-12-2018, 01:39 AM   #8
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Well said!

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Old 03-12-2018, 07:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy9107 View Post
Pat. I believe I saw max altitude of 9,200 ft for this model Excel. One of the benefits I like cause most other models I saw were limited for the reason you state.

Adventure.AS. Agree with your concern. Don't like humidity either. What do you think of Venturewest response. Limited use time maybe negates that concern? Thanks for that info Adventure.AS. Seems like you are a go. Where are you purchasing it? I called company rep and they are all out of stock now. New shipment next Friday though.
Camping World has them on sale for $194 right now. It says they are in stock. You may beat me to it if you order one soon. Let me know how it works for you. The max elevation may be a deal killer for me. I am just getting started at 9200' here in Colorado. Haha.
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Old 03-12-2018, 09:34 AM   #10
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What’s the issue with the elevation? 9200’ is the limit where the burner works?
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Old 03-12-2018, 09:52 AM   #11
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There are two issues with gas (propane) powered devices with ODS sensors. Both have to do with the percentage of oxygen in the air. The rough numbers are:

Sealevel - 20.9% O2
5,000 ft. - 17.3% O2
10,000 ft - 14.3% O2

1. The ODS sensor detects the percentage of oxygen in the air and turns the burner off if it is below a preset percentage. Lets say the ODS sensor is set at 15%, therefore some where between 5,000 ft and 10,000 ft the sensor will shut the burner down.

2. All gas appliances are less efficient at altitude. The less oxygen in the air, the less efficient they are.

Hope this helps,
Pat
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Old 03-12-2018, 10:14 AM   #12
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How about just turn the main fan on and crack a window during use if you mounted it inside? Seems more prudent.
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Old 03-12-2018, 11:30 PM   #13
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All. Well stated points.

Agree with rmkrum, keep it safe. You seem to be well informed. Are CO deaths common in RVs?

The Girard and PrecisionTemp units have good reviews from what I could tell. If goal is to reduce size of unit and eliminate vent however, these are not the right units. They conveniently fit into that space where the prior tank heater was though. Was looking for a smaller unit, and one that does not "need" to be vented.

DbinSD. Seems practical to do what you are saying. People who tent camp use propane heaters that basically vent out the top of the tent. I have had a catalytic heater in my Airstream for 5 years. Have it on all night with a roof vent cracked. Haven't had any fatalities yet with it sucking up O2 and sending off combustion products. Venturewest had a good point too. These tankless heaters are operational for only brief periods of time (ie duration of shower, washing dishes) maybe 5-10 minutes, then the combustion turns off. A stove, burning propane, is operational much longer than that and with more BTUs. Stoves do not need direct venting. They do not have low O2 sensors. Why? Wish I was an expert on this stuff. Biased right now only because I have my mind set on purchasing that Excel. Can always be talked out of it though.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:34 AM   #14
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The literature seems to indicate its plenty safe inside.
Common sense will only help the performance!
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