Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-13-2011, 07:42 PM   #1
3 Rivet Member
DJW's Avatar
2004 25' Safari
Lafayette , California
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 137
How often to turn on water heater?

Hello, I might be posting this in the wrong spot- my water heater works great- no repair needed. 2004 25' Safari-

We just spent our first weekend in it. I wonder if folks just leave their water heaters on all the time, or turn on as needed? I turned ours off at night, and there was still enough hot water in the morning for a quick shower. And, when it ran out, it seemed to get back to "hot" within 10 minutes of turning it on.

Is it safe/prudent to leave it on all the time, or just turn on when needed?



DJW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2011, 07:52 PM   #2
Rivet Master
2005 25' Safari
Trabuco Canyon , California
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 866
Images: 2
I think you're going to find people who leave them on and others who don't. I turn mine on only as needed. It saves a little propane and I feel a little safer because my bed is directly over it.

However if it was very cold, and trailer occupied, I would run it to keep the compartment warmer for freeze protection.

tpi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2011, 08:02 PM   #3
3 Rivet Member
2006 25' Safari FB SE
Santa Fe , New Mexico
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 114
I'd guess you'll get various opinions on this. We turn it on when needed. If you're camping, you usually get up in the morning and go somewhere or do something. It seems wasteful to me to keep it on when you not even there. Propane, of course, is made from crude oil. With the price of oil always high and now sorta sky high, why keep water hot when you're not there? We typically fire it up after dinner to wash dishes. If we take showers, we leave it on long enough after that to cover the showers, then shut it off prior to the conclusion of the second shower. We don't see a need to keep heating water when we can see the need for it ending that day. It really comes down to how much you want to pay for convenience. If you place a very high value on the trailer being just like a house, maybe you keep it on 24/7. If you don't feel like wasting, then you'll be more inclined to match the time that it is on with actual, planned need.

Strictly from a safety point of view, I think you can run them 24/7. They're supposed to be safe. On the other hand, I personally would not want to lay in bed and hear the unit firing up periodically during the night in an effort to keep the water temp at the set temperature when there is likely no need.

Finally, I would only add that if you camp in places that demand use of the furnace and maybe you use propane (and not hook-up electricity) for the refrigerator, you'd want to ask yourself if you like going to propane stores to get tanks refilled more frequently than would otherwise be necessary.
mistermcfrug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2011, 08:17 PM   #4
Rivet Master
TBRich's Avatar

2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,507
Images: 64
There are two ways to look at it...does it take more propane to heat cold water to a hot temp...or is it more economical to keep the water at a constant hot temperature rather than starting from scratch every time you need it? Personally I think it's 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

Personally, speaking, when we are camping we usually turn the water heater off when we don't need it. As mentioned above if it's near freezing we leave it on just for the added warmth it offers (and run hot water through the pipes before we hit the hay).

However you look at it, it is safe to leave it on all the time, however...especially in newer rigs.
TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
AirForums #21900 . Prez & Membership Chair, 4CU/WBCCI
Travel Log: AZBambi...On the Road Again
TBRich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2011, 09:02 PM   #5
Commercial Member
Airslide's Avatar

2014 23' FB International
Currently Looking...
Wilton , California
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,708
Images: 50
Send a message via Yahoo to Airslide
Our classic has the electric anode and I just keep it on the whole time we are camping. Its nice to have the hot water on demand. If we are using only the gas I fire it up about 20 minutes before needed.

"Old fashioned service on your late model Airstream"
Airslide is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2011, 09:58 PM   #6
Site Team
azflycaster's Avatar
2002 25' Safari
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 12,407
Images: 62
Blog Entries: 1
You have to go outside with a lighter to start my water heater. We turn it on when we setup the trailer and turn it off when we are packing for the trip home. It only cycles on when you use some of the hot water in the tank. The rest of the time it keeps the water hot with just the pilot light burning.

It's nice to have hot water in the morning without heading out the door with a flashlight and a lighter.


Wally Byam Airstream Club 7513
azflycaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2011, 10:03 AM   #7
pmclemore's Avatar

2012 30' International
Walkerton , Virginia
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 2,554
The new rig has an electric option so I turn it on when we are camping with hookups. However when we are dry camping, I tend to light it only during times when we will use it...for example, if I leave it on at night, it will wake me when it fires up in the night.

If I didn't have an inside switch to light it, I would do like Richard and burn it all the time.

Somebody, please, point me to the road.

AIR 3987
WBCCI 4596
pmclemore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2011, 10:14 AM   #8
Wise Elder
Jammer's Avatar
2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,129
Do what works for you.

The main problem with leaving it on overnight is the burner noise which might wake some people up. I usually shut mine off at night when I'm on propane for this reason, unless it's cold enough for me to worry about lines freezing. When I have shore power, I run the electric element all night, because it takes longer to heat the water than the propane burner does, and because it doesn't make any noise.

For overnight the propane or electric use to keep the water hot is minimal.

I do shut everything off if I'm going to be away from the trailer for a few days, mainly out of concern that the tank could run dry if someone walks up and opens the outside faucet or something.
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2011, 10:30 AM   #9
4 Rivet Member
au_ee's Avatar
2007 31' Classic
Pulaski , Tennessee
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 261
Images: 3
It depends on whether we have power connections or not. Our water heater has both 110V and propane. If we have power we leave it on. If not, we turn it on as needed to save on the propane. Plus during the nite we don't want to hear it cycle on and off. It is insulated well enough that in the morning I have enough hot water for a shave.
Steve & Beth
AIR 22763
07' Classic 31, 11' Dodge 3500 Cummins
au_ee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2011, 02:22 PM   #10
Commercial Member
eubank's Avatar
1967 30' Sovereign
1999 31' Land Yacht
Bosque Farms , New Mexico
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,517
You can tell when I'm in need of a bath: The water heater is turned on.

WBCCI 21043
eubank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2011, 03:51 PM   #11
Rivet Master
1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,338
Blog Entries: 1
I also just turn mine on once in the am and maybe once in the pm. the PO left it on all the time. I had one of the add on electric units but I took it out. thermostat did not work. the hwh is insulated well enough to stay warm all day and recovers very quickly, so that is the way I run it. might depend upon how well your thermostat works. mine tends to be too hot if I leave it on all the time
Bill M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2011, 04:04 PM   #12
blmitch5's Avatar

2006 19' International CCD
Olathe , Kansas
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,222
Images: 1
I've done both, leave it on all day and night and in the summer I turn it on only when I need it. I like the sound so it doesn't bother me and if I'm going to die from an explosion, well I can't think of a better place to do it! I think their safe and don't worry about it.
Get involved and sign up for a Rally!
WBCCI 4973
blmitch5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2011, 04:45 PM   #13
4 Rivet Member
2011 30' Flying Cloud
Arvada , Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 397
We're fortunate to have both gas and electric capability. Assuming we are hooked up to shore power, we'll use both gas and electric to heat the tank quickly and then go to electric only for standby.
Jack46 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2011, 04:47 PM   #14
4 Rivet Member
2011 30' Flying Cloud
Arvada , Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 397
When we had gas only, we'd turn it off and on as needed - I hate burning our propane.

Jack46 is offline   Reply With Quote

water heater

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Water Heater suggestions for '64 Overlander robwok 1960 - 1964 Overlander 4 03-02-2011 07:27 PM
Water Heater Removal Ag'71 Water Heaters, Filters & Pumps 3 02-21-2011 04:53 PM
Electrical? Water heater? Water pump? robwok 1960 - 1964 Overlander 6 02-09-2011 11:53 AM
Panel indicator light for water pump and Water heater DJW Water Heaters, Filters & Pumps 3 01-05-2011 07:01 PM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:57 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.