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Old 04-23-2018, 04:46 PM   #1
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On demand Gas water heaters

has anyone replaced their 6 gal water heater tanks with a LP on demand water heater? If so, has it worked well for you?

Thanks,
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Old 04-23-2018, 05:12 PM   #2
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Yes, absolutely worked out. Wife enjoys long, hot showers, and our PrecisionTemp 500 series unit supports that habit quite well, assuming your propane tanks have propane in them, and you have sufficient shore water pressure to get decent flow. On pump, we have NO issues with water flow rate.

There are models that will fit in roughly the same size hole as a 6 gallon Atwood. The venting varies. Ours breathes combustion air and exhausts through the vents in the external door.

It only makes a little fan noise when it is supplying hot water or doing freeze protection--total silence otherwise. Ours is in the bottom of a closet near the head of our bed, and it is very hard to hear it run. No middle of the night boiling water noises or burner rumble.

Electrically, it uses the exact same 12 volt wiring, switch and LED indicator an electronic ignition Atwood uses, and works the same...Turn it on, and when water flows, the red LED goes on briefly, then goes out to indicate it is firing up properly. It is not capable of using 110 volt shore power to help heat water, but that has not been an issue.

A couple points:

1) They are not cheap if you buy a good one. DO NOT use a household unit--they are not rated for RV use.

2) I had to raise the height of the original opening in the side of my AS about 3/8 of an inch to slide it in.

3) Propane supply line had to be re-routed and shaped differently, but I was able to re-use the original.

4) There are other brands, including Truma and Atwood that make similar heaters, but compare specifications very carefully. The PrecisionTemp has automatic freeze protection built in. Others may not.

5) PrecisionTemp will provide an UNPAINTED aluminum door to match the AS exterior. I need to get off my tail and clear coat it someday. You have to specify an unpainted door with the order, or you get the standard white painted one.

6) The external door is about 1/2 inch wider than the Atwood. I had to rework my lower rub rail by shortening it a bit on both sides to look nice. That was touchy because one slip of the hacksaw would have damaged the shiny skin...

7) The PrecisionTemp housing needs some aluminum METAL foil duct tape applied on the outside corners BEFORE you install it to cover all the slots and seams in the housing to be darn sure carbon monoxide and combustion products stay out of your living space. I found it is a PITA to install the tape after you install the unit--don't ask.

8) None of these like low propane pressure. Neither do wives when the propane fads out while she is taking a shower. Don't ask how I figured that one out.

9) It does not hold an air bubble like the 6-gallon does to provide expansion room and reduce pump noise. I added a small expansion tank to reduce pump noise and smooth out flow with my OEM water pump. Highly recommended.

There are a bunch of other threads on the subject on Air Forums. Search "Tankless Water heater" for more opinions and install stories...
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Old 04-23-2018, 05:18 PM   #3
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I replaced the old tank heater with a Precisiontemp rv550. My only gripes are that it can be a little fiddly to get the heater to kick on at the right time when talking a navy shower, and the dishwasher doesn't pull water fast enough on its own to start the water heater.

If you spend most of your time at a park and enjoy long hot showers, tankless is definitely the way to go. If you boondock a lot and conserve water, a tank style heater might be easier for navy showers.

The freeze protection feature is nice. It's nice not to have to plan ahead for your hot water usage. And we don't use very much propane.
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Old 04-23-2018, 05:24 PM   #4
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Unfortunately, I'm the ONLY one in the family that knows what a Navy Shower is. The rest of the gang takes 'Hotel Showers' all the time...the cutoff button never gets used.

Dishwasher? That would be me, else paper plates...the 22' is a little too small for one, unless I took out the stove...
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Old 04-23-2018, 05:31 PM   #5
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I looked into that kind of water heater, but they need constant flow to operate properly (says the internet). We do a lot of boondocking, so that option is off the table for us.
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Old 04-23-2018, 05:36 PM   #6
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Ours works fine on the fresh water pump and the tank water. Just have to take a Navy shower...

PrecisionTemp claims it uses less water than a standard 6-gallon...if managed properly.
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Old 04-23-2018, 10:59 PM   #7
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Many Thanks

Thanks for all the great feedback and suggestions. It seems, we do a lot of remote "streaming" so it sounds like the old 6gal tank is going to have to suffice.

Great to be part of the forum.
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Old 04-24-2018, 02:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by FletchLives View Post
Thanks for all the great feedback and suggestions. It seems, we do a lot of remote "streaming" so it sounds like the old 6gal tank is going to have to suffice.

Great to be part of the forum.
I got an Atwood.and lived with it for slightly over a year before ot malfunctioned. Figured out which part needed to be replaced, but Atwood had apparently had so many problems that they dropped the model I had and didn't even carry replacement parts! And I also foind that without optimum water pressure finding a comfortably hot temperature that would stay stable was a problem. Running off the white water tank amd pump worked well. I am now back to a.six gallon tank, that I fortunately got at.a discount. Expensive lesson. But the word on brand mentioned above is much better than the Atwood.
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Old 04-24-2018, 09:36 AM   #9
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On Demand water heater

I have had limited experience with ODWH , but in a Lance trailer I had ,was a Girard ODWH, it was a total piece of junk. VERY unreliable. Sold the trailer and never looked back for numerous reasons. Yes I have an Airstream now.
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:28 AM   #10
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I'm not all that familiar with the system, but, just to be clear, it isn't exactly on demand i.e., instant hot water right? What I mean is, when you turn on the faucet that is farthest from the system, you still have to wait for the cold water to clear the line that is bringing the hot water to that faucet right?

One of the challenges we have is the amount of cold water we have to use before the water turns hot, especially when we are boon docking. We've often thought about ways to collect that water so we don't fill up the gray tank so fast.

The faucet in our bathroom comes out hot almost immediately since it's so close to the hot water tank as opposed to the hot water in the kitchen sink which is the farthest from the hot water heater. I can't imagine that would change with an on-demand system unless it's close to the source of where you need the hot water.

Am I missing something?
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Old 04-24-2018, 12:04 PM   #11
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"On Demand" simply means that water is not heated until you open a faucet.

There are two delays inherent in the tankless systems. T

The first delay is time to ignition of the burner, which is related to how fast the blower in the PrecisionTemp (my system) starts, then the burner ignites. Then a smaller delay while the water gets hot running through the heat exchanger assembly...

The final delay is related to the length of pipe between the heater and the point of use.

Even though its supposedly instant, it's not...
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Old 04-24-2018, 12:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by gesam View Post
I'm not all that familiar with the system, but, just to be clear, it isn't exactly on demand i.e., instant hot water right? What I mean is, when you turn on the faucet that is farthest from the system, you still have to wait for the cold water to clear the line that is bringing the hot water to that faucet right?

One of the challenges we have is the amount of cold water we have to use before the water turns hot, especially when we are boon docking. We've often thought about ways to collect that water so we don't fill up the gray tank so fast.

The faucet in our bathroom comes out hot almost immediately since it's so close to the hot water tank as opposed to the hot water in the kitchen sink which is the farthest from the hot water heater. I can't imagine that would change with an on-demand system unless it's close to the source of where you need the hot water.

Am I missing something?
Slightly off-topic but at least for the shower, when boondocking I use a bucket in the shower to catch the cold water before the hot arrives, and to catch some of the water splashing off me. I use that water later to flush the toilet, so it both keeps it out of the gray and conserves the fresh.
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Old 04-24-2018, 02:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gesam View Post
I'm not all that familiar with the system, but, just to be clear, it isn't exactly on demand i.e., instant hot water right? What I mean is, when you turn on the faucet that is farthest from the system, you still have to wait for the cold water to clear the line that is bringing the hot water to that faucet right?

One of the challenges we have is the amount of cold water we have to use before the water turns hot, especially when we are boon docking. We've often thought about ways to collect that water so we don't fill up the gray tank so fast.

The faucet in our bathroom comes out hot almost immediately since it's so close to the hot water tank as opposed to the hot water in the kitchen sink which is the farthest from the hot water heater. I can't imagine that would change with an on-demand system unless it's close to the source of where you need the hot water.

Am I missing something?
That's correct, unless you use one of those instant water heaters that has a recirculation line built in. But then, you're heating a bunch of water in pipes that you're not using, and your propane consumption goes way down.

FWIW, when I was doing my renovation, I plumbed a return line into my fresh water tank. My thinking at the time was that this would allow me to use my water heater and a cheap thermostat to heat my fresh water tank with propane to prevent freezing while off-grid in the Winter. As I was building the system, I realized that I could add a momentary switch, which would allow me to prime my hot water lines without wasting any water. As it turns out, I have yet to use the system for heating the tank, but I use it all the time to prime the hot water.
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:47 AM   #14
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has anyone replaced their 6 gal water heater tanks with a LP on demand water heater? If so, has it worked well for you?

Thanks,
Has anyone taken a look at this tankless and YES ventless water heater:

https://www.campingworld.com/excel-v...-startup-16gpm

Before I get attacked from all sides this water heater uses technology for its ventless operation that has been in use in Europe for over 50 years. I've stayed in AirBnB's that were smaller than my 30' AS with a similar unit in Europe and we and many other Europeans managed to survived. It is also sold at Camping World for RV's and installation is ~$200.

Worth a look
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