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Old 06-21-2016, 06:14 PM   #1
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Replacing das only WH with gas/electric

I have the usual Atwood 6 gallon gas only water heater. It is a replacement for my Bowen that sprung a leak some years ago. When this heater fails, I have thought about installing an Atwood water heater that runs on gas or electric.

I assume it would need a dedicated 15 amp breaker, and the original 120 volt panel in my trailer has no spares. Not sure if there are places on the bus bar to tie in a small sub panel.

Routing the wiring is another issue as the panel is on one side of the trailer and the water heater is on the other. In order to do it properly some belly skin and banana wrap would have to be removed to route some conduit, rigid or flexible, under the floor.

In short, man, that is a lot of work just to save a little money on propane. I was wondering if anyone else had installed one of these heaters and routed the power to it, and wanted to hear a bit of how they did the job and if in the end they felt it was worth it.
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:08 PM   #2
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I replaced a 6 gallon Atwood gas with a 6 gallon Atwood gas/electric. I looked at all the options and decided to just put a plug on the cord and plug it in separately to the 110 outlet that is on most campsite electric hookups. I did not think the 30 amp electric was robust enough to run the converter, the water heater, and a microwave or AC unit.
In 5 years we have only used it a couple of times. Several times the 110 outlet at the camp did not work. All in all I much prefer just to use the gas. We turn it on for a while in the AM and a while in the PM if we are washing dishes. Water stays warm all day. Uses about a bottle of gas a month if we are on the road full time and that includes using the stove top too. Be a very long cost recovery period for the time and money spent on wiring.
The electric takes just a little more space behind the WH. Maybe an inch. I had to make a small adjustment to get it in.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:29 AM   #3
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Bill, great idea regarding the second cord for the water heater. Such an easy, yet not obvious (to me) solution.

Also thanks regarding the depth of the heater. As-is there is not much space behind my existing heater. I have the center or side bath plan, and the water heater is next to the toilet with a plastic panel in between. Space for the water lines and a bypass behind the heater but not much more.

Next time I get a chance to look at the backside of one of those gas/electric models I will check out where that extra depth is. One area perhaps where the power connects, or the whole unit
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Old 06-22-2016, 06:36 PM   #4
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I did the same thing with my '78 Sovereign (see signature for thread route).

While installing the secondary 20 amp line, I routed it through a switch to select power to the water heater, a second AC, or a heater/hair dryer/aux plug in the bathroom tambour cabinet.

There was no problem with room as far as the plastic panel goes, between the sink cabinet and the commode.
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Old 06-23-2016, 09:43 PM   #5
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I installed a gas/electric 6 gal Atwood last summer. I run on propane only.

I intended to hook up the electric, but never got around to it. Alas, another project. At least I've got hot water.

Let me know how you do.

Tom
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