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Old 03-20-2003, 03:50 AM   #1
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need to install a water heater...choices?

I just got an airstream ('72 Sovereign Land Yacht 32'). I am in need of a water heater but have no idea what my choices are. I would like to have a tankless one. Is this feasible? I'd also like one that is environmentally conservative. I am also trying to get my a/s set up on solar.
I'm new to all of this, so any suggestions and obvious info would be wholely appreciated.
Thanks for having a forum
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Old 03-20-2003, 07:35 AM   #2
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I considered a tankless heater also, but they are expensive. Plus you are going to have to patch the existing opening and make a vent for the new one; every hole in the skin is a potential leak. The tankless heaters are not small and you will need to find space for it.
There are choices in the rv models. The base standing pilot model, electronic ignition, and ones with supplemental AC heat rods.
Conservation will become a way of life unless you are on a full hookup site. Water is very limited. I have a standing pilot model and it is not lit until I need hot water. Once the water is heated the pilot will keep it warm for quite awhile without the main burner coming on again. Showers, dishes, etc. are done while the water is hot and then it is shut off. Propane use is not insignificant, but can be kept minimal if it is only run when needed.

John
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Old 03-20-2003, 09:07 AM   #3
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I just replaced my old water heater with a AC/LP pilot ignition model. I chose this for my Motorhome so I can heat water while on Generator or shore power and not use LP. I also am a fan of the LP model because once you get the water to temp the burner only lights under high demand. Yes the pilot uses LP but at a minimal rate. The DSI ignition heaters allow the water to cool down to a point and the kick in to heat. This seems to happen in the middle of the night for most people that leave them on.

I agree with John on the tankless models having their own installation issues and I would also be concerned regarding long term repair parts and availability. I have tried to replace items on my unit with "industry standard" parts when I can. This way if I am stranded in the boonies and need a part I have a better chance of finding it in a local RV shop. Just my $.02 worth.
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Old 03-20-2003, 09:28 AM   #4
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Replaced mine last spring....

With a 10 gallon Atwood. I bought a standing pilot model, with electric element. Mine has no circuit boards or electronics, it is a "Plain Jane" model. I have not hooked the electric up yet, and may never. I light it right after camp is set up and turn it off right before we leave. Pilot stays lit for the duration. The 10 gallon capacity allows both of us to take showers, one right after the other. It does not seem to use a lot of propane in my opinion. Pilots usually burn around 6-700 btu per hour of propane, which equates to about 1 gallon of propane per week continuous.
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Old 03-20-2003, 06:55 PM   #5
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Hot water heater tank overhaul ?

What do you guys mean by "standing pilot"?

Has anyone ever heard of the tank being replaceable in a Bowen or Atwood? Part problbly not sold.
How much pressure does the tank build up?

What do you all think of torching an opening into tank for cleaning access and then welding it back up? Obviously if there was a leak, that is the part that would be cut out. If tank is glass lined could it be rewelded?

For the life of me I don't figure why the things cost 400-500 dollars.Pure supply & demand I suppose.
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Old 03-20-2003, 07:10 PM   #6
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Unless I get water hookups (not ususally avail in the middle of the woods), I just jump in the lake!

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Old 03-20-2003, 07:24 PM   #7
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6 gallon Atwood replacement tank here, $115.

The T&P valve should keep the tank from getting too much pressure.

A standing pilot is one which is always on, as opposed to the electronic ignition models.

John
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